Ask An Expert: The Personal Assistant Forum
(NEW) If you would like to know more about working for celebrities or high-net-worth families, then send us your question and we will post an answer when time permits. We also suggest looking at our A to Z Site Map for hundreds of pages of free resources. Additionally, you can read Brian Daniel's book for free HERE.
I want to become a personal assistant. Where do I start?
The first thing to do is get the training you need. Personal assistants who work for the 1% need to be "worldly" and have a broad range of skills, so knowing about Estate Management, Calendar Management, the Luxe Market and Private Jet Management is a good start.
Can I start my PA career working for a VIP as an assistant?
The short answer: Maybe. It really depends on what "transferable skills" you already possess. As with most other professions, you have to "start in the mail room" and work your way up. Usually finding local part-time personal assistant jobs online is a good place to start. After you get some experience, then you can move into higher pay scales.
Will I need a lot of designer clothing to work as a PA?
That's hard to answer because it really depends on who you work for. If you are a personal assistant to a famous fashion designer and you are working in a corporate environment, then you certainly will need to "dress up." Some employers allow jeans if you are working out of a home office, so there is no way to accurately answer this question. For additional information, please refer to this article about an ultra-in-depth Q & A about PA life on the job.
What do VIP employers look for in an assistant?
There are so many things: being organized, discreet, and prompt are just a few. You need to be great with Microsoft Office products and generally a wizard with technology. Finally, you need "thick skin" and need to work well under pressure. For more information, read this post about the Characteristics of a Great Assistant.
What's it like to work for a billionaire?
No two jobs are alike. Some personal assistants travel with the Principal, and some stay behind and work in an office. It also depends on how much seniority you have. If you travel with your UHNW employer, you will likely have Lifestyle Management duties. To learn more about this topic, see our post about Traveling Personal Assistants.
How much money can I make as an executive personal assistant?
This part is a little tricky. The short answer, it depends on who you work for, your level of education, and the employer. We represent several assistants who are in the $150,000 to $250,000 range. Usually the UHNW employers pay more. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hollywood assistants make very little when they start. For a complete A to Z guide on PA salaries, go here.
I don't quite understand all of the terms regarding acronyms like UHNWI. What does that mean?
It's a great question, and people in the industry actually debate it as well. We made a complete guide to understanding High Net Worth Categories here.