Angela Jia Kim

Savor Beauty + Spa / Savor the Success - CEO + Founder
New York, NY

    Question from Readers: How much should I pay my Personal Assistant?

    September 8, 2011

    Dear Angela, 

    I am hoping you can share some insight with me... I have found that I need much help and with the economy now, don't particularly have the finances to pay top dollar for what I really need.

    Your compensation is confidential, but would you be willing to share with me some sort of range? I would like to get some help with this as I tend to overpay what I'm unable to afford, or underpay and then it causes me to miss the good ones.

    I'd appreciate your tips, hints or experience.



    Dear S.N.,

    This is a great question, and a tough one to answer! How much you can offer to pay comes down to many, many factors. I have experimented with all sorts of structures, and I have found that the one that creates the best win/win is a mid-range hourly wage plus commision. If the employee proves herself to be an invaluble asset to the company, we will transition her to full-time with benefits. 

    The one thing that I learned from Taryn Rose (the shoe empress who sold her company for millions in in 2008) is that your first employee should be a salesperson. I will take it one step further and say that now I require that all my employees do something that "brings home the bacon". In my company, each employee must have some sort of sales role so that they are selling enough to actually cover their salary. 

    So, for example, my Personal Assistant will work in the Om Boutique and do sales when needed. It serves two purposes for me, and her position pays for itself. During down times, she can return my emails, do admin work, and return phone calls. 

    The reason I pad commission into the job - and I'm very clear from the outset about this - is that I want highly motivated people to work for me. I start to raise my eyebrows (and it raises red flags) when an employee asks for a hourly pay raise but is not meeting her sales goals. This, for me, is not a profitable employee and it's time to move on. 

    Instead of asking for the raise (which is fine after a year if her performance warrants it), I question why she is not figuring out how to make more sales for a bigger commission check. 

    As for how much to pay a Personal Assistant? It really depends on where you live, what level of skill she has, if the job is part or full-time, and how demanding the work is.

    When we put out our Craigslist ad, we asked what their hourly requirements were for the part-time position. Majority of the candidates asked for $12-$17/hour. There were some that were asking for $40/hour but they had mad skills that included web development, photoshop, graphic design, etc. 

    Since my business has product sales involved, I am paying my Personal Assistant a mid-range hourly wage plus a generous commission. I also offer her access to the Savor the Success community and my 7-Figure Club where she gets invaluable Business 101 experience. 

    It's important to remember that not everyone works only for money. People also want to work in a happy environment where they are learning so if you can provide an educational component, this is something your employees will appreciate. 

    It's a constant dance and work-in-progress, but give it a whirl and don't be afraid of mistakes. They are your greatest teachers!

    Good luck! 


    Angela Jia Kim

    Angela Jia Kim is the founder of Om Aroma & Co., fresh organic beauty, and Savor the Success, the premium business network for women entrepreneurs.

    She is a mom, wife, author-in-the-making, entrepreneur, and former concert pianist. She splits her time between New York City and the Catskills

    Read Angela Jia 's other blog entries >

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