Most people have heard of a personal assistant, but what about a private personal assistant? This varied and challenging role can be incredibly rewarding for the right person, but you need to know what to expect before you get involved.
What is a private personal assistant?
A private personal assistant works with a family or individual and assists the principals with all manner of personal and private matters. For example, household management, complex private travel with jets and yachts, managing art collections, and being the gatekeeper to the principal’s lives.
It is an incredibly varied and rewarding role that will enable you to work closely with a high-net-worth individual or a family to help make their lives easier. Every day will be different, as the needs of the principal and their family will always be changing.
A private personal assistant is very different to a personal assistant, usually due to the calibre of tasks they are asked to assist with. With high-profile and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, the need for absolute discretion is paramount. Acting as the gatekeeper to their lives will also require sound judgement skills.
How is this different from a personal assistant?
A personal assistant works on purely administrative tasks, such as appointment setting or inbox management. They are usually employed by a business or organisation, working alongside one or more senior figures, and their main place of work would be an office.
In contrast, a private personal assistant will work for a family or an individual. They might be involved in managing the household, assisting with more personal time management, or they could be involved in arranging travel.
Another difference between the two roles is usually the working patterns. A personal assistant is more likely to stick to regular office hours, usually working Monday to Friday from 9-5.
On the other hand, a private personal assistant might work unusual hours to accommodate when they are required. For example, there might be more weekend work or evening work.
What skills should a private personal assistant have?
A private personal assistant should have the following skills in order to succeed in their role:
- Discretion – dealing with ultra-high-net-worth families will expose you to information that might be desirable to tabloids and competitors. Clients need to feel confident that you will be discreet and protect their privacy.
- Organised – it goes without saying that you want your private PA to have impeccable organisational skills. They need to be able to manage a varied workload.
- Good communicator – whether they are answering phone calls or emailing important people, the client will want to feel confident that their private PA has good communication skills.
- Ability to multitask – the private PA role can be fast-paced and incredibly varied, so they need to be able to keep up with a varied and demanding workload.
- Attention to detail – small mistakes can cost time and money for high-net-worth individuals, so they need to feel confident that their private PA has everything covered.
- Problem-solving – the ability to think on your feet and solve problems as they arise will help any private PA to stand out from the crowd and deliver an incredible service to their clients.
- Flexibility – your role might require you to be flexible in your approach to work and be ready to be deployed where you are needed the most. As an assistant, you’re there to make life easier for the family or individual, and this requires a flexible approach.
How much do private personal assistants earn?
Once an individual or family has found a private personal assistant that they like and trust, they will often be willing to make the role more lucrative in order to keep them around. Loyalty and hard work are often rewarded in the private PA sector.
Private PA salaries are not often advertised openly, but industry averages are thought to be anything from £80,000 upwards. However, it is not unusual for wealthy individuals to offer very lucrative remuneration packages in return for 24/7 support and extensive travel.
Working as a private PA offers incredible earning potential and career progression. It is also a highly prestigious role that will allow you to work alongside some truly incredible people.