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Is It Time to Hire an Executive Assistant? How to Know for Sure

Discover when to hire an executive assistant and how to find the perfect one. Plus, explore innovative alternatives for the busy executive.

Benita Liew
Writer at Motion
Mar 1, 2024
Table of contents

Feeling swamped by endless emails, meetings, and paperwork?

If you’re nodding, it’s clear that those tasks are hogging the time you’d rather spend on big-picture stuff — like strategizing or nurturing your team and clients. Puzzling over what needs your attention first doesn’t help, either.

Maybe it’s time to hire an executive assistant (EA).

But is that really the right call for your business? Or are there other options?

In this guide, we give you the ins and outs of hiring an EA and explore some alternative solutions to help ease your load. Let’s find the right support for you.

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What is an executive assistant?

If you’re the superhero of your company, then an EA is your professional sidekick.

They’re the ones who manage your calendar so you don’t get double-booked, handle your emails so your inbox doesn’t drown you, and make sure everything from your meetings to your travel arrangements runs smoothly.

Essentially, an EA does all the behind-the-scenes work to make your life easier and keep the business engine running smoothly. Think of them as the ultimate jack-of-all-trades.

How do you know you need an executive assistant?

Ever feel like you’re juggling too much and dropping the ball on what’s most important? This feeling might indicate that you need an extra pair of hands.

Here are the telltale signs that hiring an EA could be your next best move:

1. You’re overwhelmed by administrative tasks

Emails, scheduling, and calls are eating up your day, leaving no room for the big stuff. As a result, you’re starting to get overwhelmed.

2. You’re missing out on opportunities

Buried in daily tasks, you’re letting new ideas and potential leads slip by you. You’re missing out on some golden chances to grow and expand.

3. You struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance

Work’s consuming your life, leaving no room for chill time. You’re so frazzled that you’re having nightmares of being buried underneath your pile of emails night after night.

4. Expanding your business feels like climbing Mount Everest

As your business grows, tasks pile up until you feel like you’re pushing a boulder uphill with no end in sight.

5. Managing your daily schedule is cumbersome

There was a time when you could organize your day without breaking a sweat. Now, just ticking off one task on your daily schedule is difficult.

Signs you need an EA

‎6. So is travel and event planning

Choosing flights, hunting for hotels, and finding the perfect venue — there’s so much to plan, yet so little time. Maybe it’s time to try out an AI event planner.

7. You’re inundated by messages and calls

You’re so swamped with communications that you’re hearing pings and rings even in your downtime. It’s gotten to the point where you don’t know who to answer first.

8. You recognize that you need to delegate

Admitting you can’t juggle everything is huge. Whether you’re faced with tasks that are outside of your expertise or there’s just too much on your plate, an EA can take a lot of the weight off your shoulders.

9. Big projects have hit big roadblocks

You’re falling behind on deadlines, and your projects just aren't lifting off. They might as well be sitting on a windowsill gathering dust.

10. Your stress level is skyrocketing

You can’t sleep. You’re drinking coffee by the gallon, and if that bird looks at you funny one more time, you’re going to lose it.

How can an executive assistant help your organization?

Because EAs handle the time-consuming admin work, they free you up to shine where it counts — like leading and expanding your business. This is a win-win: you thrive, and so does your company.

Here’s how EAs work their magic:

For you (the executive/business owner)

With an EA by your side, you can:

Take back your time: Your EA organizes your day so you’ve got time for work, play, and everything in between — especially if they use Motion’s meeting assistant and task manager for AI-powered organization.

Zero in on what matters most: With your EA handling your monotonous, day-to-day tasks, you’re free to focus on big ideas and projects. Plus, if they use Motion, they can schedule some focus time into your schedule so that you can get in the zone.

Melt away the stress: Your personal assistant can take care of the details, from organizing meetings to booking your next business trip. That means less stress for you, so you can stay chill and do your thing.

Get your ducks in a row: No more scrambling for that important document five minutes before a meeting. Your EA keeps things tidy so that you’re always prepared.

Supercharge your communication: An EA acts as a communication hub, keeping tabs on your emails and calls. They’ll make sure you never miss a beat while also not getting bogged down by information overload.

Benefits of hiring an EA

‎For your business

An EA can help your business:

Make its operations as smooth as butter: EAs handle the nuts and bolts — managing appointments, document prep, and ticking off tasks to keep projects on track.

Put its best foot forward: Your EA is your front-line ambassador, too, dealing with clients and partners in a way that shines the best possible light on your brand.

Keep projects on the winning track: EAs manage deadlines and coordinate teams to make sure everything’s moving forward. This is especially handy if they’re rocking tools like Motion for task and project management.

Craft winning strategies: An experienced EA can offer insights and support to help you craft strategies that push your business to new heights.

Build a strong team spirit: EAs are also the glue that holds your team together, making sure everyone’s in the loop and paddling in the same direction.

But if EAs are the ideal solution, why doesn’t everyone use one? This is a great question, which we’ll answer below.

What are the drawbacks of hiring an executive assistant?

While EAs can be game-changing, there are drawbacks to working with them. Here are a few things you need to be aware of:


Bringing an EA on board isn’t cheap. And for small businesses watching every penny, it’s an especially big deal.

Starting out, you might pay an EA about $56,000 a year, and that’s just for someone new to the game. A seasoned pro will likely ask for $70,000 or more.

An executive assistant’s salary

‎Plus, there are benefits and other costs to think about, too. Is this investment going to boost your business enough to make it worth it? It’s a tough call and something you really need to chew over before making your decision.

Management overhead

Hiring an EA adds a bit more to your to-do list. You’ve got to train them, keep an eye on their work, and make sure they’re on the same page as you. It’s an extra layer of responsibility.

If that sounds like a lot, you might consider a tool like Motion instead. Motion can help you manage your tasks without the extra steps of hiring and coaching someone new.

Privacy concerns

Let’s face it: an EA will get a peek into your personal, professional, and financial secrets. You need to find someone you can trust with all that confidential stuff. And vetting the most trustworthy candidate can be tricky.

How to hire an executive assistant

When you hire an EA, you want to find that perfect right-hand person who gets you and your needs. Follow these steps to snag the best possible candidate:

1. Define the role clearly

Start by jotting down the exact tasks you need help with. Zero in on must-have skills like:

  • Top-notch organizational skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Stellar interpersonal skills
  • Software mastery
  • A tight lip for confidential matters

Skills for executive assistants

‎Being clear on these details in your job descriptions will help you find someone who’s the right fit.

2. Scout for talent

Jump right into the talent pool by hanging where the pros hang: professional networks. Don’t overlook the power of employee referrals, either — they can lead you to gold.

Recruitment agencies are also great at finding qualified candidates, saving you some legwork. And, naturally, job boards are your bread and butter for casting a wide net.

3. Screen resumes carefully

As you’re sifting through resumes, keep an eye out for potential candidates who’ve stuck around and moved up in their previous gigs — that’s a good sign of loyalty and growth. Also, weigh their experience and skills against what you need. You want to find someone with the right background.

4. Conduct in-depth interviews

During interviews, lean into behavioral questions to see how candidates handle challenges. Chat about specific scenarios they might face on the job to see their thought process in action. And pay close attention to how they communicate — this is a huge indicator of how they’ll gel with your team and handle daily interactions.

5. Test skills and vet references

Want to know if an EA can really do what they say they can? Give them a real-world task to tackle. This is your chance to witness their skills live.

And don’t forget to check their references, too, to confirm their work history and get a feel for how they operate in a professional setting.

6. Evaluate for cultural fit

Make sure the person you’re considering isn’t just talented but also a great fit for your team’s vibe. Do their work habits, personality, and values gel with your own and your company’s culture? You’re looking for a new team member, not just an employee, so finding someone who clicks with everyone is key.

7. Make an offer

Once you’ve found the perfect EA, it's time to seal the deal with a competitive offer. Show them they’re valued right from the get-go by offering them a package that reflects their worth and makes joining your team a no-brainer.

8. Onboard thoughtfully

Kickstart your new EA's journey with a friendly and well-organized onboarding process. Show them the ropes of your company’s workflow and the tools you use, and introduce them to the team. This is the perfect way to set them up for success from day one.

9. Foster an open relationship

Get off on the right foot with your EA by prioritizing clear communication and frequent check-ins. This is a two-way street of respect and understanding that makes for a powerhouse team.

What are some alternatives to hiring an executive assistant?

If hiring an EA isn’t in your budget at the moment, there are plenty of other great ways to get organized and stay on top of things. Let’s check out some handy alternatives that might be exactly what you need.

1. Motion

Motion is designed to make life easier for busy professionals by automating the tasks that eat up your day. You can toss a task into the system, mark its importance, and voilà — the scheduler automatically finds the perfect spot for it in your calendar.

And it’s not just about you, either. Your team’s tasks can land directly in their calendars, too. Since Motion’s project manager, task manager, and calendar are all on one platform, everyone on the team is always on the same page.

The cherry on top? Thanks to our Zapier integrations, we play well with the tools you already use. This means more time back in your day and fewer “oops” moments.


‎2. Virtual assistant

Looking for some help without the full-time commitment? A virtual assistant (VA) could be your perfect match. They’re super flexible, easy on the wallet, and can handle a wide range of tasks.

3. Part-time assistant

Similar to VAs, part-time administrative assistants are a cost-effective way to lighten your load at a lesser expense. They’re great for smaller workloads and tight budgets.

4. Task delegation

Got a talented team? Use it to the fullest by delegating tasks. This is a smart way to boost efficiency and make the most of your team’s skills. (Just be careful not to overload anyone.)

5. Collaboration tools

Leaning into collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Workspace can transform your team’s communication and project-handling abilities. Hook these up with Motion, and you’re looking at a serious productivity boost with fewer admin headaches.

Simplify your days with Motion

Remember why you started looking for help in the first place. You wanted to free up time for the important stuff, both in your business and life.

Whether you’re eyeing an EA, a virtual sidekick, or a handy tool like Motion, there’s a fit for your current business needs — and it’s okay to switch gears as you grow.

If hiring an EA feels like a big step, why not start with Motion? It’s a fantastic way to organize your tasks. Plus, if you decide to bring an EA into the mix later on, Motion will be a game-changer for you both.

Ready for a lighter workload? Try Motion for free today!

Benita Liew
Benita is a wizard at breathing life into the dry and dense world of B2B SaaS. Bringing a fresh perspective to every piece, Benita turns exhaustive research into a delightful read, making even the most well-covered topics feel fresh and exciting. When she's not writing, you can find her collecting recipes and crocheting her own clothes.
Written by Benita Liew