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What Speakers Pay Their Assistants

Ann Wylie

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I asked: What kind of salary are you paying your assistant? Also, what other benefits do you provide, and at what value? My assistant does clerical work, manages my Web site shopping cart, runs errands, ships products, etc. No marketing, product development, etc. She has asked for a whompin' raise. Now she and I are trying to do some benchmarking to find out what other speakers' assistants make. Any information you're willing to share would be greatly appreciated! We'll compile the results without listing your name or identifying information, just your state.

Office Assistants

Location Title/Responsibilities Compensation
Ohio Following up on leads, sending out press releases, typing labels, preparing sales flyers, promoting my book, teaching me some software skills, and corresponding with my contact data base. She knew every software program I knew except ACT, and she attended a class with me last week and caught on fast. retired teacher, aged 52, who had never worked for a speaker before $8.75/hr.

No benefits
Colorado Clerical, product shipping, errands, etc. No program stuff or marketing in the traditional sense (will return phone calls to check dates and ship press kits, however). $10 per hour
Washington, DC A college student who packs and ships most of the orders, assembles kits of various kinds, and enters names into our email subscriber list (the ones I bring back from gigs). $10 per hour with no benefits.
Maine Makes information-gathering and follow-up calls, no marketing calls $10 an hour, no benefits

3 hours a day, four days a week
Colorado Sales, return calls, answer phone, buy air tickets, admin, even makes cold calls $12 per hour, plus 10% of everything she brings in

No benefits
Missouri Handle banking, figure payroll, complete and send invoices, organize information for bookkeeper, distribute e-mail newsletters, maintain e-mail newsletter distribution list, process and fill product orders, maintain buyer's database, maintain office supplies and products, prepare sales reports, scan images, download information from the Web, Make copies, file, make travel arrangements, handle shipping, prepare BOR order forms, file copyright forms for new products, update office manual, run errands, make appointments, other projects as assigned.

Computer knowledge: MS Word, simple spreadsheets, Web shopping cart, e-mail, Web browsing
$12/hour plus contribution to profit sharing, usually 25% a year

No other benefits
Florida Maintain company database, make all prospect calls and follow-up calls, all word processing, updates the website, and follow-up on speaking engagements after I'm booked. She creates the press release, the promotional poster, and runs the audiotapes after the group orders them. $12.50 an hour, plus 5% commission if my Assistant contacts and handles and closes an engagement

She picks her own hours

When we do a bootcamp workshop, we give her between 5-10% also

No benefits.
Washington, DC My administrative assistant handles the travel arrangements, most details re: gigs, books phone appointments, and processes most product orders (we do a lot of product sales). $16 per hour for 20 hours a week

no benefits

Now, in her second year, I'm giving her all standard vacation days with pay (4 hours for each of those days).
California (Silicon Valley) * Supervise student worker
* Ability to accurately and speedily use Macintosh (Word & PageMaker familiarity needed, helpful if some knowledge of Quicken, FileMaker Pro, and PowerPoint).
* Transcription of dictation from tapes on to computer
* Prepare marketing packages to send to prospects
* Fill orders for tapes/books
* Light bookkeeping
* Phone answering, accurate message taking, helping clients
* Assist in preparation of workbooks for seminars
* Create drafts of flyers, letters, and materials in PageMaker
* Assist in travel arrangements
* Occasional errands (we reimburse mileage)
* Office supply ordering and inventory
$17-$22/hour in 2000; no benefits (this was during the boom years when it was hard to find good people to work part-time with no benefits).
Arizona * Light bookkeeping--Accounts payable and expenses, credit card transactions
* Scheduling my appointments
* Watching out for my house as well as the office when I'm traveling
* Some errands
* CSP records (I'm a candidate)
* Managing my e-zine database
* Receptionist for 4 hours a day
* Follow-up phone calls as needed
* Maintaining office equipment
* Keeping office clean
* Printing and binding of workbooks and other class materials
* Shipping and Mailing of order, press kits, etc
* Cleaning up my email while I'm away and answering urgent messages
$18 an hour for 18-20 hours a week

We have gone to $20/hr. for people who are creative, worked fast and found other things to help keep my office efficient.

Bonuses when they help me land a deal by being particularly helpful on the phone and with mailings, especially when I'm traveling
Washington, DC My business manager does a bit of everything. She's great on the phone with clients and prospects. She helps book phone appointments (I rarely talk to anyone w/o a phone appointment), she manages product production (I've taught her how to buy printing, audio duping, etc.). She ships orders, manages my website, and a host of other things. $57,000 per year full time = ~ $28.50/hour

Plus $8,000 toward her pension (14%)

Flexible hours.

No medical benefits

Virtual Assistants

Location Title/Responsibilities Compensation
Virtual assistants virtual assistants and/or assistants - who own their own businesses. minimum of $25 (usually the minimum) to $150 (for web design/database) per hour.

average of $35 per hour for anything from research to bookkeeping to copywriting
California virtual assistant Assistant work plus marketing and sales $25 an hour
+$50 for each booking
+ a bonus at the end of the year determined by the client usually after a large contract has been booked


$40 an hour without commission, bonus

Assistant pays her own taxes, benefits

Other Resources

  • One place to check would be your local State Employment Commission or Worksource (the names are different in different states). They'd be able to provide salary/benefit ideas.
  • Danielle Rodenbaugh, free-lance HR consultant, 816-345-8593, drodenbough@kc.rr.com
  • World at Work: The source for compensation, benefits and total rewards information, www.worldatwork.org
  • Salary.com salary wizard, swz.salary.com
  • International Association of Administrative Professionals, www.iaap-hq.org

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions