Finding a Virtual Executive Assistant in Canada: About VEA

Finding a Virtual Executive Assistant in Canada: About VEA

Girl attending a meeting on laptop

How awesome would it feel to take your to-do list from “overwhelming” to “complete” and keep it manageable forever? 

How relieved would you feel in knowing that the things that keep you up at night are now being addressed and managed?

Manage Your Tasks More Effectively

VEA is a virtual executive assistant (EA) and bookkeeping company. We help business owners and executives free up their time so they can focus on what matters most – working on (not in) their companies!

You probably have a number of administrative tasks that are taking up too much of your time. VEA offers a solution that will help you focus on the most impactful tasks to grow your business while delegating other jobs to a trusted partner.

Administrative Tasks

In many cases, checking email, booking travel, managing expenses, and scheduling appointments is not the best use of your time. We call these items administrative tasks, and offloading work to an executive assistant is a great step toward focusing solely on the biggest projects that help scale your business. 

When deciding what to hand off first to an EA, a good rule of thumb is to pass along the tasks that drain your energy, you don’t enjoy, and drain your time. 

For example, many of our clients have told us that they spend hours a day sifting through endless emails, many of which do not even provide valuable information. A skilled EA can help you achieve Inbox Zero, which is the idea that you spend less and less mental energy on managing your emails as your EA oversees that task for you. Can you imagine waking up one morning with no emails in your inbox? Miracles can happen.

What Tasks Can My Virtual EA Perform?

All of VEA’s EAs are highly experienced and possess a broad professional skill set. Here are a few of the top ways you can work with an EA to lighten your daily workload and refocus on the things that generate growth.

  • Email Management: Productivity and mental well-being improve when your inbox isn’t cluttered with hundreds of unread and un-categorized emails. Your EA will not only help you manage incoming emails but also establish filing protocols that will ensure you can stay on top of emails well into the future. Inbox Zero is possible with the right executive support. 
  • Document Processes: Make employee and customer onboarding a more successful and rewarding experience when you can easily share your tried and true business processes with stakeholders. Your EA can draw up detailed descriptions of how to execute processes and outline the exact steps needed to complete a task from start to finish.
  • Calendar Management: Ensure important meetings and deadlines don’t fall through the cracks. Your EA will manage appointment setting, reminders, and even help you get ready for appointments so you are always prepared and in control of your workday.
  • Travel Booking: Have you tried to change or cancel your travel arrangements in recent years? An experienced EA can effortlessly navigate the world of flights, hotel reservations, and rental car bookings. They also know all the tricks for transferring vouchers, using your points cards, altering itineraries – so you can be on your way without losing years of your life to on-hold music in meantime.
  • Vendor Management: If you run a business, or even head up a department within a larger organization, chances are you contract out for various vendor services on a regular basis. Your EA can communicate with vendors, track and place orders, and stay on top of contracts. There is a lot to do, and nobody should be expected to manage it all on their own.
  • Research: Similar to vendor management, an EA not only keeps tabs on all current vendors, but they can also help research and vet potential vendors, suppliers, product research options, software, etc. If you give your EA the parameters, they will be happy to find relevant options.
  • Data Entry: It may feel tedious to some, but accurate data entry is essential to knowing your customers and building valuable relationships. A good EA has an eagle-eye for precision, and fast typing fingers don’t hurt either, so your databases are always up-to-date and working for you.
  • Appointment Setting: How often do you set a meeting, only to have someone change or cancel it? Or, perhaps your unpredictable schedule oftentimes leads to scheduling gymnastics in order to accommodate you and the team? Rather than risk missing meetings or feeling frustrated over the amount of time you spend on rescheduling, let your EA take over this menial, yet critical, task, so you can be sure you are showing up to the right things at the right time, and not stuck in renegotiating times and schedules if something changes on the fly.
  • Transcribing: Yes, there are a host of tools and apps these days to turn audio into text. However, no technology is foolproof, and transcribed audio still requires some heavy editing in order to make it understandable. No surprise here that a good EA is happy to take on this transcribing challenge. Also, not all conversations can be perfectly recorded by a speaker. An EA can also transcribe what is said during key meetings or presentations so you have a long-lasting record of what was discussed, and when.

When is it Time to Hire an EA?

How do you know if you are ready to hire an executive assistant? Ask yourself – what is one hour of my time worth? Calculate your current hourly rate by dividing your salary by 48 weeks (assuming you take vacation) by 40 hours/week.

$125,000 / 48 weeks / 40 hour = $65 hourly rate

Or, calculate your intended future salary by dividing your desired salary by 48 weeks by 40 hours/week

$250,000 / 48 weeks / 40 hour = $130 hourly rate

Once you have learned your business and you become profitable, start handing off tasks that drain your time and energy so you can focus on the highest-value jobs. If you are taking out a business loan or bringing on a VC, you can start to build your team and outsource faster.

Free up Your Time and Grow Your Business

VEA offers a range of executive services to support busy business owners. We find passionate, creative, experienced, and dedicated talent in many of the departments necessary to run a successful company. 

In addition, our staff is 100% North-American based. Our specialty is long-term partnerships that come at a fraction of the cost of traditional, in-house employees. There is only a 20-hour minimum requirement per month for our EA services and no minimum requirement for bookkeeping and fractional controller services. And, we’ll never ask you to sign a long-term contract. Set up is quick and easy, and your EA will become a vital part of your team in a short time frame. 

As a business owner/executive, you should be spending your time on the things that only you can do – the tasks that provide true ROI to your company.

In a lot of cases, that isn’t checking your email, booking travel, managing expenses or booking appointments. This is where a virtual executive assistant comes in.

We have passionate, creative, experienced and dedicated talent in many of the departments necessary to run a successful company. In addition, our staff are 100% Canadian. Our specialty is long term partnerships that come at a fraction of the cost of traditional, in-house employees. VEA has low minimums of 5 hours a week and only requires 30 days cancellation. You pay only for the time that your virtual executive assistant is actually working on your tasks. Set-up is quick and easy and your virtual executive assistant will become a vital part of your team in a short time frame.

Contact us to learn more! Visit our EA services page to see some of the ways we can help you & see our blog post on how VEA can help you with our Virtual Bookkeeping services.

Lanna Thompson
President, VEA

How to Launch with Your Virtual Executive Assistant in 4 Guided Steps

How to Launch with Your Virtual Executive Assistant in 4 Guided Steps

Hiring your first virtual Executive Assistant is exciting! The decision means your business is growing and that you now need help accomplishing the goals you have set. However, if you’ve been doing it all on your own for so long, how do you pass along work to someone else, and where do you begin?

At VEA, we’ve got you! After our team has HAND-MATCHED your EA (no computer matching here!) to your needs, we’ll walk you through a customized onboarding process.

In just four steps, you’ll be on your way to delegating the menial tasks that can hold you back from focussing on higher-value work. In this blog, we’ll cover:

  • Step 1 – EA selection
  • Step 2 – Kick-off
  • Step 3 – Three-week check-in
  • Step 4 – Falling into rhythm


Step 1 – Selecting Your EA

hand matching your virtual executive assistant

Before your EA is selected, you will meet with a VEA Onboarding Concierge. In this 30-minute onboarding meeting, your Onboarding Concierge will take you through a custom-designed questionnaire to find the perfect match for you. The Onboarding Concierge will ask specific questions to identify your top three priorities, in addition to the software and technical knowledge that your EA will need to possess.

Once you have completed your onboarding call, the onboarding concierge will review your criteria with VEA Pod Leaders. We will select the best candidate for you based on your personality, tasks, and software requirements. Careful consideration goes into selecting the best candidate for you based on our years of virtual assistance experience.

If you would like us to select your EA and start right away, we can accommodate that. If you prefer to interview the candidate first, we can coordinate an interview for you.

Step 2 – Kick Off

Kick off for starting with your Virtual Executive Assistant
You have selected your EA and it’s time to get started! Once you have selected your EA, you will receive a kick-off email from your VEA Onboarding Concierge. This email outlines your agenda for your first meeting with your EA including.
  • Kick-off date
  • Top three priorities you want your EA to focus on in your first month
  • Passwords and software access to share
  • Contact information for our IT expert should you need technical assistance
In your first meeting, your EA will confirm your weekly meeting schedule. We recommend scheduling daily check-ins in the first two weeks of working with your EA. Block a time in your calendar and commit to meeting your EA daily at that time. This allows you to build a rapport with your EA while transferring knowledge and delegating tasks in a manageable way. Be prepared to communicate your needs and expectations clearly. Communication is key to a successful partnership with your EA.

Each meeting should have a theme. For example,

  • Monday can be dedicated to sharing login information, reoccurring tasks, and Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Tuesday can be about email management and discussing your email preferences with your EA, and so on.

Holding daily meetings for two weeks will help your EA get up to speed quickly.

This time spent with your EA allows you to free up your time in the rest of your day. You’ll be amazed by how much information you can share in just 15-30 minutes! We encourage you to visualize your EA sitting beside you as an extension of your business as you go about your day. You EA is here to help you trade in tedious tasks so you can accomplish great things!

Weekly Summary Report

At the end of your first week, your EA will start submitting Weekly Client Summary Reports to you every Friday that will include updates on:

  • Number of hours used (month-to-date)
  • Tasks completed
  • Future items they can help with

Step 3 – Three-Week Check-In

Three week check-in with your virtual executive assistant
By now, you are probably seeing some of those projects and tasks that have been sitting on your to-do list forever getting completed! Your Onboarding Concierge will reach out to arrange a 5-10-minute check-in phone call to see how things are going.

We want to know early on if your expectations are being met and if your EA could use any additional training. We’ll also ask for a progress report on your top three priorities. Your honest input and feedback are always welcome!

Once the three-week check-in call is done, your Onboarding Concierge’s role is complete. They will introduce you to your EA’s Pod Leader. The Pod Leader will be your go-to contact moving forward for questions or feedback that fall beyond your day-to-day work with your EA.

Step 4 – Falling Into Rhythm

A rhythm to show how the first month should go with your virtual Executive Assistant
At the four-week mark, you should feel like you have fallen into a regular rhythm with your EA. Your day has structure and ease, tasks are being completed, and you have time to focus on the areas of your business that you most enjoy. You also have more free time, and you can go on holiday knowing that your business will being in good hands while you are away.
Book a Call for Virtual Executive Assistant Services

1, 2, 3, 4 and You’re Off to the Races!

The right EA will fit seamlessly into your business processes and become an essential part of your business operations. Our tried and tested four-step onboarding process ensures that getting started is easy and sets you up for a successful EA experience for years to come.

To get started with a Virtual Executive Assistant, reach out any time to book a discovery call!

Alison Scholefield

Onboarding Concierge

Why Personal Retreats Matter and How to Make Them Effective

Why Personal Retreats Matter and How to Make Them Effective

Work environments are often so fast-paced that there is no time for deep reflection in a typical week. But the reality is that you can’t grind away and expect to find time to work on the long-term health and trajectory of your business or career at the same time. 

Our minds, not just our bodies, must rest. We all need space to think and reflect in order to tackle business challenges with fresh eyes and a revived outlook.

Afraid you’ll miss too much if you leave work for a couple of days? You might miss a lot more in the long run if you just hammer away without thinking about what or why you do the things you do. Bill Gates famously took a “Think Week” every quarter, and legend has it that one of these retreats resulted in Microsoft changing direction and betting on the Internet.

Get the Most from Your Retreat

Several years ago, I started taking 48 hours away every quarter. I have continued doing this because these retreats have been a game-changer in my business and in my personal life. I am the type of person who has a million ideas swirling in my head. If I wait longer than three months to go away, my work becomes scattered and unproductive because I am trying to do too many things at once. And my personal life also suffers because I feel stressed that I’m not accomplishing enough at work.

Here are some tips on how to structure a retreat that has worked for me:

A cabin in the middle of nowhere, completely disconnected
  1. Disconnect completely:
    • No email, no social media, no texts or phone calls (okay, you probably will want to check in on family, but minimize communication as much as is reasonable)
  2. Remove yourself from your regular environment:
    • Do not do this at your home or office. You don’t need an off-the-grid log cabin in the woods, either. Just find a place that feels remote for you.
  3. Set an intention or goal:
    • Make it high level and keep an open mind. For example, your intention might be to explore new avenues for revenue—and then allow your mind to wander.
  4. No chores allowed.
    • Bring meals and drinks so you don’t have to cook or clean. I found that packing microwaveable meals and healthy pre-made snacks, as well as drinking only water, kept me going. On the other hand, if cooking is your way to relax and unwind, then do what works for you.
  5. Bring books, pens, and paper:
    • Just brainstorming or just reading the whole time can get stale. When I get bored reading, I brainstorm. When I get bored brainstorming, I read.
  6. Set aside time shortly after you return to jump into your Action Items.
    • If there are a lot of tedious tasks on your Action Items, ask yourself – how much is my time worth? It’s probably worth a lot, so consider handing off some of those tiresome to-do’s to one of VEA’s experienced virtual executive assistants. You’ll then be able to spend your time where it provides more value.


When you get back, your vision for what needs to be done in the grand scheme of things will be crystal clear. However, be careful not to switch gears too much from one retreat to the next. For example:

Q1 – Your focus is on how to empower employees to do more things that they are passionate about at work.

Q2 – You switch your focus to social media brainstorming.

Q3 – You change your focus to billboard ads and abandon the social media growth, and any idea of helping your team feel more excited about their jobs has all but been abandoned.

Not only will this jumping around drive your team nuts, but you won’t follow through with any of your plans. That is why it is crucial to take Q1 to focus on your overall goals for the year. Every other retreat should be designed to ensure you are not drifting too far from those goals, assess what is working, what isn’t working, and quadruple down on the positives.

Is 48 hours away too daunting?

The Challenge

Take 48 hours away to rest, recharge, and re-focus. If you are not sure where to start, utilize my structure below and tweak it to what fits your needs.

On your drive home and over the next few days, assess what worked and what didn’t during your time away. Review your notes and start to put your findings into action. Ask yourself if next time you need to be a little closer or further from home. Maybe 48 hours is too short and 72 hours is ideal. My suggested structure is a starting point. Ultimately, there are no rules except to do what is right for you.

The most important thing to do when you return is to execute on your strategy. If you need help with goal setting, creating KPI indicators, or executing your marketing plan, check out our Goal Tracking Worksheet.

The Structure: Here is what my personal retreat looks like

Puzzle pieces to illustrate how to piece together your time away

I take about 48 hours. I leave after my childrens’ bedtime on the first day. I set up and work for two hours before going to bed. The next day I brainstorm from 8am to 11pm, and on the final day I stay focused until 4pm before driving home.


Away from home and work, completely disconnected. My retreat location is only an hour from home, but it feels worlds away. It’s only a five-minute walk from the ocean,and every night I go and watch the sunset.


All meals are packed and I only drink water. This keeps me from having to take time out to prepare something. I just pop my meal in the microwave, wash the container out in the sink and continue on. I also try to drink at least one glass of water per hour. If I’m feeling cooped up, I sneak away to a coffee shop for a quick break.


I bring three books, my day planner, and countless pieces of hole-punched printer paper. Notice how my computer is not on that list? I do bring my phone so I can download a long playlist. Then I shut off my data and wifi to completely focus.


Post-Retreat. When I come back, I have more hours in a day (in part, because my EA takes over a lot of the tasks I have identified are not a valuable use of my time). I am firing on all cylinders, and operating with total clarity about what I am trying to accomplish. I find this motivational sprint fades within two months or so, just in time for my next 48 hours away

Follow us on LinkedIn for more time-saving tips, and let us know what your retreat looks like or will look like.

Also, check out our blog posts on “Push Your Business to the Next Level” and “Goal Tracking” to help with casting your vision for the next quarter.

If you have any questions or need some help with setting up the structure of your retreat, contact me directly at [email protected]

Derek Burbidge

Manager of Sales & Marketing