How a Virtual Executive Assistant Can Transform Your Small Business

How a Virtual Executive Assistant Can Transform Your Small Business

Do you and your small business need to be rescued from a long list of ever-growing administrative tasks?  Managing your calendar, updating your social media, helping with client relations, invoice creation and invoice chasing, plus travel booking – it all takes SO.  MUCH. TIME!

A Virtual Assistant can come to your rescue.  Virtual Assistants are not superheroes…but they are darn close to it!

There are so many advantages to virtual assistant services for small businesses, all of which add up to less stress for you and more time to attend to growing your business. Just picture this:

1. A Virtual Assistant can be there when you aren’t.

If you were to hire help to work with you onsite, your new assistant would likely be from the same city and definitely the same time zone. 

Why not extend your ‘open hours’ and your ‘office locations’ by hiring a Virtual Assistant from another part of the country…another time zone?  By having a live body attend to your business before you start your day or after you call it quitting time, your business can be attended to for a longer time by a REAL person.  So great for customer relations!  And happy customers translate to business stability and growth for your small business.

2. A Virtual Assistant can fill in the gaps.

You are a fantastically talented professional (c’mon…brag a bit!), but you don’t know how to do it all, nor do you want to. 

By hiring a Virtual Assistant for small business owners, you can complement your skills by hiring an Assistant who has the skills to round out your business and help you take it to the next level. From recommending improvements to streamline your business processes, to creating forms and templates, to basic bookkeeping…a Virtual Executive Assistant can offer a set of complementary skills – or shall we say the crackers to your cheese?

3. A Virtual Assistant can be the second brain in your brainstorming.

As the old adage says, “Two heads are better than one.”  There is wisdom in that statement!  As a small business owner, you are used to working on your own. 

But wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to hash things over with every once in a while?  Virtual Assistants for small business owners have experience in being a sounding board and can offer the wisdom of their experiences or a fresh perspective on your ideas and business plans.

4. A Virtual Assistant is cost-efficient.

Maybe you have thought about hiring an Assistant but can’t justify the cost of adding another position to your company’s payroll.

Source deductions, benefits, and vacation pay are all costs you just can’t justify at this stage in the business life cycle.  Enter Virtual Assistant services for small businesses.  The savings are two-fold.  First, by hiring Virtual Assistant services for small businesses, you pay an hourly rate and are not obliged to pay a cent more. At VEA we cover the rest by contracting our Virtual Executive Assistants to you.

And second, you pay for only the time you need, varying from month to month as your business needs ebb and flow.  This gives you the flexibility to have help when you need it, without worrying about costly downtime or wage-related expenses.



So…do you think it’s time for you to virtually go ‘plus one’ up?  By hiring virtual assistant services for small businesses, you will expand your open-for-business hours and get help to tackle your daily administrative needs. 

You will add an on-call administrative professional with skills that complement your own, and who can lend an ear to bounce off new business ideas and strategies. All of this, without formally committing another person to your payroll.  It’s the best of both worlds. 

Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant for your small businesses. After taking the time to train your Virtual Assistant you can start to take moments to sit back and enjoy life without worrying about emails, phone calls and scheduling.


Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales and Marketing

Why Your Business Needs a Virtual Executive Assistant

Why Your Business Needs a Virtual Executive Assistant

Before we even get into this, you might be asking yourself, what exactly is a Virtual Executive Assistant? The answer is simple! They are highly valuable and experienced team members that can access the necessary tools and data that a traditional in-office Executive Assistant does. Only remotely.

Before you argue that you need someone in-house to be able to truly get the job done, let me give you some insight into why your business needs a Virtual Executive Assistant.

A cup and a laptop on a table.

1. Your day is filled with monotonous tasks leaving you no room to focus on growth.

Your time is valuable. You are the head of your company. The visionary. The creator. Therefore, you need time to be in your Zone of Genius. To be able to grow your business to new heights. To be able to focus on the bigger picture, not the day-to-day tasks.

Common administrative tasks such as, booking meetings, answering emails, or even making travel arrangements, can be time-consuming, daunting, and ruin your creative flow. You don’t need to use up your energy with these tasks, a Virtual Executive Assistant can handle all of these with ease.

2. You know you need help but not enough for a full-time assistant.

Your business is growing but you don’t have a big enough workload to fill 8 hours of the day that a full-time assistant would require. You don’t want to pay someone to stare at a computer screen for 6 of the 8 hours in a typical workday and hiring a part-time employee is no easy task. It’s hard enough trying to find a full-time good fit these days. That pool gets even smaller when you are looking for a part-time person.

Most Virtual Executive Assistants work with multiple clients, so you get the expertise of a full-time employee that has worked with various executives for a variety of different organizations. But you only pay them for the time you need them.

3. You don’t have time to hire and train an employee.

Listing the job posting, sorting through thousands of unqualified resumes trying to find the diamond in the rough, interviewing multiple people only to have to do a second round and possibly lose your top candidate to another company because you didn’t have the time to offer them a position before they got scooped up by someone else. Sounds like a long, inefficient, and arduous process, doesn’t it?

VEA has a large team of Virtual Executive Assistants which means you don’t have to sort through a pile of resumes and take the time for monotonous interviews. We do it all for you. After our initial call we hand-match you to the best fit or let you interview between the top two we think will be a great fit for you and your business. No AI or “next up”, everything is done by our experienced Onboarding Concierge to make sure the fit is right for you.

VEA’s home base is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada but has contractors all over Canada to choose from. Virtual Executive Assistants in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver or surrounding areas from coast to coast.

Each of our Virtual Executive Assistants has years of experience already and if there is something they need help with? Well, they also come with a whole support system ready to help. VEA can provide training on certain software, assist with problem-solving, and even provide a backup EA if needed.

4. You’re a creator, not an organizer.

Let’s face it, we are all built differently. It has been proven that many of us only operate on either the right side or the left side of our brains most of the time. This means if you are a creator, a designer, or an entrepreneur, you more than likely are not the most organized individual. If you happen to be an individual that is both, congratulations! You are an anomaly! But still, your time could be better spent than doing administrative tasks.

However, if you are more like other right-brain entrepreneurs, you may need some assistance with your organization and administrative tasks. Executive Assistants thrive on organization and structure. They are wired to take on the tasks that you may normally find a constant struggle. They love to help and make your life easier.


Bottom line: Virtual Executive Assistants can offer even more than most traditional EAs because having a whole team of support and resources constantly backing them up makes them an endless bucket of knowledge. Some that maybe even have a few organization tricks you never even thought to help streamline your processes helping eliminate time-wasting clerical errors.

Virtual EAs cost you nothing in equipment or office supplies. No need to pay for an office space for them and no need to provide traditional employee benefits because they come with their own. They are independent contractors that have already taken care of everything they need.

A clock with averlay text "Looking for more time to do what you love? Hire a Virtual EA."

So, is the question really, why your business needs a Virtual Executive Assistant or is it, how can you afford NOT to get a Virtual Executive Assistant?

If you are ready to join thousands of business owners that have already realized that Virtual Executive Assistants are a smart investment in your company’s future, give VEA a call today!

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales and Marketing

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