15 Minutes a Day of Self-Care for Business Owners

15 Minutes a Day of Self-Care for Business Owners

Business Owners, Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs, whatever role you fill, your day is full.

It could be working in the business doing day-to-day operations, managing emails, and doing the bookkeeping or working on the business where you are goal setting, meeting clients, forecasting, and doing sales. With all the tasks on your plate, your self-care is usually the first thing to be put on the back burner.

When you find your mental health declining or if you are having a difficult time during your day, here are 10 tips to turn your day around.

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Before I go into detail on each one, I want to mention that I am not a dietician, a counsellor or a guru. I have however utilized each of these steps and spent some time over the past 10 years trialling each for myself. These are what works for me, but what works for you will be unique to you. Give yourself time and grace to find what works for you.

Here are 10 self-care tips that you can do in 15 minutes or less. If you can’t justify taking 15 minutes for your health, book a call with VEA to start delegating tasks.

 

1. Eat a Healthy Snack

I have gone through seasons of eating terribly and have worked on bringing the right foods into our home. Instead of ramen for a snack, I cut up veggies for the whole week on Sunday night. It takes 15 minutes to cut them up and gives a healthy option to reach for when that impulse for convenient junk food comes in.

2. Call a Friend

Whether you are having a hard hour, day, or season, having a trusted friend or friends you can call is one of the fastest ways to turn it around.

3. Read

As much as we share our favourite business books this might be the time to pick up something else. Self-help or fiction books can take you away from being “on” all the time. If you are like me and have a hard time thinking about anything but work, these two genres will help you disconnect.

4. Go Outside

Nature bathing always works for me. But, to keep it short and sweet a walk around the block without my phone gives me time to breathe and jolts me back into productivity mode. Another favourite of mine is sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee or taking a few shots on the basketball hoop.

5. Meditate

Get away from electronics and find a quiet place to meditate. If you need your phone for a guided meditation set it to “do not disturb” and give yourself time to rest and reset.

6. Nap

My personal favourite and something I consider myself an expert in is power naps. When I was younger, I used to lie down and wait for my body to wake me up. This led to that confused wake-up where I didn’t know where I was or what time it was. Followed by the feeling of grogginess and not sleeping well at night, creating a cycle of naps, and not sleeping at night. When I started setting alarms, I found my perfect nap window of 13-16 minutes. I wake up feeling recharged and energized.

7. Journal

If your mind is circling with the same thoughts, get it out and onto paper. This has always helped me process my thoughts and change my mindset from problems to looking for solutions.

8. Exercise

I had a great exercise routine, then I had kids. It has taken me a long time to find a routine that works for this stage of life. Currently, it is 3 times a week after the kids go to bed and I am only at the gym for 30-50 minutes, but I am still seeing less stress and big body composition changes.

9. Deep Breathing

If you’re stressed and you know it take a breath. *Clap, clap* Slowing down your heart rate brings your body back to a calm state and away from anxious thoughts. This is another way of taking 15 minutes to slow down so when I get back to work, I am more productive than trying to force myself to battle through the stress.

10. Go For a Walk

This goes back to going outside as mentioned above but a big piece of removing yourself from work and resetting with some fresh air.

 

Conclusion:

As you can tell, most of these activities are meant to be a quick reset. By removing yourself from your current state or task and making a healthy choice for yourself will help clear your head. Allowing you to step back into work refreshed, recharged, and motivated. If you are facing a larger issue that can’t be resolved with a reset or break, find a trusted friend or counsellor to begin dealing with the bigger issue at hand. Being in business for yourself is rewarding but can lead to overwhelm, stress, burnout, anxiety, depression and/or trauma that can be avoided.

What is your plan of attack to prioritize your health? Write it down, share it with a friend and get started. But remember to give yourself time and grace to find what works for you.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

Grow and Expand Your Business with an Online Business Manager

Grow and Expand Your Business with an Online Business Manager

Think about your favourite restaurant. What makes it so good? From the best menu for a fair price, to the right music and an inviting host, a lot of processes are working together to create a smooth experience. The sum is often greater than its many parts.

While you might not be dreaming up tomorrow’s amuse bouche or plating any five-star desserts, your business still requires overarching policies, order, and rigor to produce products and services that customers want. To make that happen, enter the Online Business Manager (OBM).

An OBM is like a business owner’s right hand who can play a critical role in streamlining internal systems. In this post we’ve put together a list of the Top Five ways an OBM provides the most value that transcends traditional management functions like organizing, planning, and leading within a business framework.

1. Facilitates Seamless Operations

OBMs are the glue that keep a business owner and various teams working together toward the same goals. OBMs have a bird’s-eye view of operations, meaning they can identify bottlenecks, implement strategies that enhance efficiency, and improve cross-functional standard operating procedures.

2. Leverages Technology and Innovation

Choosing the right technologies for your company is important, but it can also be a total time and money suck if you don’t do your research. Worst yet, your team might resist adopting technology that isn’t easy to use or doesn’t serve a clear purpose, creating an uphill battle you are not prepared to fight.

OBMs keep their finger on the pulse of leading tools and platforms to optimize workflows, automate processes, and introduce solutions that harness more of your people’s potential rather than siphon off time, money, and productivity.

3. Oversees Human Resources

If you are scaling a small business, your OBM can serve as a point of contact for employees, addressing HR-related inquiries, concerns, or conflicts.

Hiring the right people, and then managing employee retention requires constant attention. An OBM assists in talent acquisition and management by collaborating with an HR team to develop effective recruitment strategies, ensuring that the organization attracts and hires top talent.

Your OBM may also be involved in the interview process by writing compelling job descriptions and vetting applications. You can still meet with top candidates and make the final hiring call, but hours of prep work have been removed from your plate.

4. Helps with Business Expansion

OBMs contribute to scalability by identifying efficiencies in processes and implementing overarching frameworks that accommodate growth.

They also analyze data, assess market trends, and provide valuable insights to support strategic decisions. An OBM’s expertise allows business owners to make well-informed choices that align with the company’s long-term objectives for expansion.

5. Communicates Effectively and Manages Relationships

Clear communication is the cornerstone of successful business operations. OBMs facilitate communication channels between various stakeholders so that everyone is aligned to the same objectives. Moreover, OBMs often act as a liaison between the business owner and external partners, nurturing relationships crucial for business success.

Real-World Case Story

Nothing brings hypothetical examples to life like a real case study. For example, our professional services client needed to streamline its time tracking system and invoice its customers more efficiently. Under their legacy system, they were still creating all invoices manually. It took two whole days to compile information and send invoices!

A VEA Online Business Manager reviewed the current process and identified areas for improvement. Then they created solid deliverables, researched and found the right digital tools to meet these deliverables, and worked with an Executive Assistant and Bookkeeper to implement the program.

Using a mixture of Clockify, Excel, and business analysis, VEA reduced the billing process from two days to just two hours, saving our client 14 hours per month in labor. Freeing up time by creating better processes enabled our client to grow without a lot of added administrative muscle to make it happen.

Are you Ready to Scale?

OBMs take on a comprehensive and dynamic role that extends far beyond basic managerial tasks. They engage in a broader scope of activities crucial for the success and growth of a modern business in the digital landscape.

The OBM also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and change management within the organization. Of course, culture is something that starts at the very top, but an OBM will promote and evangelize the values that are most important to your company. They can foster transparency, communication, and collaboration across departments, encouraging the sharing of best practices and innovative ideas.

Just like your favorite restaurant, every small business is a complicated, fast-paced enterprise that requires seamless processes for success. Contact VEA anytime to talk about your specific needs. Let’s find the right OBM who understands your business and can help make getting ahead feel easier.

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

How an EA Transforms Businesses

How an EA Transforms Businesses

If you’re a business owner, hiring an Executive Assistant can be a game changing addition to your work life. You might not have an Executive Assistant yet, but there will likely come a time when you should consider investing in one.

Are you able to perform many daily tasks efficiently and on your own? Of course you can. After all, you’ve probably been doing them all since the early days. But your company is bigger now, or you’re trying to grow it, so it could be time to consider the opportunity costs of going it alone.

A skilled Executive Assistant can be the backbone of your more efficient operations. Their primary purpose is to perform a range of administrative tasks, like managing schedules, making travel arrangements, and organizing your inbox–so you can focus on strategic decision making and other higher-value responsibilities. More specifically, a virtual Executive Assistant can swiftly adapt to your changing needs, because they are skilled at using digital tools to handle tasks, manage schedules, and provide crucial assistance without needing to be in a physical office.

Butterfly in Flowers

Curious about what jobs you should hand off first? Here are some guidelines about what we recommend you outsource first to a virtual Executive Assistant.

Case Stories

Rather than talk about the benefits of hiring a virtual Executive Assistant, the following case stories exemplify how two of our clients at VEA have incorporated these skilled practitioners into their businesses in the real world.

 

Case Story: Improving the Intake Process

One client regularly sends multiple intake forms to its customers. For years, these forms were attached to emails and sent to individual users. Not only did customers often forget to attach and send back completed forms, but gathering was a manual process, leaving the door open for human error.

Using a combo of Microsoft Office Suite, Power Automate, SharePoint, and Power apps, our VEA Executive Assistant created online forms that could be updated in real-time and sent out as a simple link. Fewer attachments translated into fewer mistakes and a welcomed uptick in customer compliance.

Versioning issues are a thing of the past. Information is digitized, eliminating all that copying and pasting that was eating up employees’ time. An error-prone system was cleaned up, and since all data is stored in one place, our client can run reports and learn more about customer behaviour. With just a few small changes, so much was gained.

 

 

Case Story: A Better Billing System

Our professional services client needed to streamline its time tracking system and invoice clients more efficiently. Under its legacy system, they were still creating all invoices manually. It took two whole days to compile information and send invoices!

Working in partnership with a VEA Online Business Manager, the virtual Executive Assistant successfully implemented new digital tools to improve processes and meet newly formed goals.

Using a mixture of Clockify, Excel, and business analysis, this virtual Executive Assistant was pivotal in reducing the billing process from two days to just two hours, saving the client 14 hours per month in labor. Freeing up time by creating better processes enabled the business owner to grow without a lot of added administrative muscle to make it happen.

 

Business Gets Personal

Do you ever feel like your personal life seeps into your workday? It happens to the best of us. At VEA, our virtual Executive Assistants not only handle administrative jobs, but they are also happy to take on personal assistant duties, like arranging social plans, ordering household basics, and even sending flowers and gifts, all in the pursuit of giving you more ways to stay in the game rather than getting yanked to the sidelines throughout the day.

 

An Executive Assistant can even drop work blocks into your schedule, giving you permission to simply focus rather than be pulled into last-minute meetings that sabotage your flow. They can also help you strive for “inbox zero”, a productivity strategy and philosophy that seeks to declutter your mind by decluttering your inbox through methodically deleting, sorting, and clearing incoming emails.

Is it Time for an Executive Assistant?

The right virtual Executive Assistant can truly transform how you structure your week and make it more productive. VEA prides itself on hand matching business owners to their Executive Assistants to ensure a good fit from the onset.

Give VEA a call to talk about your virtual Executive Assistant options. Our team can explain what to expect and then walk you through our tried-and-true onboarding process that ensures you and your virtual Executive Assistant work together as an indispensable team.

Book a Call or email me directly at  [email protected]. I am always happy to help.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

Elevate Your Business: Introducing the Role of a Chief of Staff

Elevate Your Business: Introducing the Role of a Chief of Staff

You are surrounded by a talented team, and your Executive Assistant ensures everything from your calendar to your inbox is under control. Business is good, but you’re still doing tasks your team could handle if you had the time to delegate. You tell yourself, “I’ll get to that tomorrow if I can just finish this work right in front of me today.”

If you lack the right processes or systems to grow your business, and/or your team could benefit from better communication all around, it could be time to consider bringing a Chief of Staff, commonly known as an Executor Chief of Staff, Implementer, Online Business Manager (OBM), or Process Manager, into the mix.

 

What is a Chief of Staff?

While the role of a Chief of Staff, or Online Business Manager (OBM), will vary depending on your unique needs, they are not meant to replace your Executive Assistant. An Executive Assistant provides administrative and clerical support, and your OBM is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, including, but not limited to: managing employees, developing and implementing strategies, and monitoring financial performance indicators. 

An OBM typically has decades of experience in a business setting and helps ensure your company is running smoothly and efficiently.

An OBM is your right hand. They bridge operational and administrative functions to get the team working together. An OBM also finds ways to implement your strategies within the operations to keep moving your business forward.

With an OBM overseeing the daily business functions, you will have capacity to refocus on business growth, company culture, and anything else where you feel your contributions are most valuable.

“An Online Business Manager having a remote meeting via Zoom to present reporting, insights and direction”

How an Online Business Manager Can Help?

You and your Executive Assistant have developed a good rhythm, but you need more help at a strategic level. This is where an OBM shines. These professionals are trained to assist in areas such as:

Human Resources:

Hiring the right people, and then managing employee retention, is super important, but it is incredibly time consuming. An OBM assists in talent acquisition and management by collaborating with HR teams to develop effective recruitment strategies, ensuring that the organization attracts and hires top talent. Your OBM may also be involved in the interview process by writing compelling job descriptions and vetting applications. You can still meet with top candidates and make the final hiring call, but hours of prep work have been removed from your plate.

An OBM also contributes to talent development initiatives by identifying skill gaps and facilitating training programs to enhance employees’ capabilities. They help streamline HR processes and policies by assessing existing HR systems and identifying opportunities for improvement, such as implementing HR technology solutions or revising outdated policies. If your company is on the smaller side, your OBM can also serve as a point of contact for employees, addressing HR-related inquiries, concerns, or conflicts.

Project Planning and Management:

You know those people who just love a spreadsheet more than most? An OBM fits that definition. Complicated projects require the attention and rigor only a dedicated team member can give to ensure your vision is carried through to completion.

Your OBM plays a critical role in project planning and management by providing strategic guidance, coordination, and oversight. Everyone approaches project management a bit differently, but generally speaking your OBM will help define project goals and objectives by collaborating with stakeholders, analyzing data, and aligning the project’s vision with the organization’s strategic priorities. Then they can facilitate the creation of a comprehensive project plan and resource requirements, and outline key milestones, timelines, and deliverables.

Your OBM ensures effective project management by establishing clear communication channels, with both the project team and external stakeholders. They initiate regular meetings and check-ins to monitor progress, identify potential roadblocks, and make necessary adjustments to keep the project on track. They also think about resource allocation, ensuring that priorities are ranked in a way so that proper funding can be made available to complete the project within the given time period and team members are not overloaded, working overtime, or faced with complete burnout.

A good OBM can foster collaboration among team members, promote problem-solving, and provide support when conflicts or challenges arise. By overseeing project planning and management, the OBM ensures that initiatives remain aligned with the organization’s strategic objectives, optimize resource utilization, and increase the likelihood of successful project completion. Honestly, would you really have time to do all of this on your own?

Streamlining Internal Systems:

You can’t deliver strategy without systems and processes in place to do so. They create the infrastructure, much like our roads, bridges, and railroad lines do to keep traffic flowing.

An OBM plays a crucial role in streamlining these internal systems. They often begin by assessing existing processes and workflows to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks. They collaborate with cross-functional teams to develop and implement streamlined procedures, ensuring that resources are utilized effectively and tasks are completed in a timely manner. The OBM may also leverage technology and automation tools to optimize internal systems, reducing manual work and increasing productivity.

The OBM  fosters a culture of continuous improvement and change management within the organization. Of course, culture is something that starts at the very top, but an OBM will promote and evangelize the values that are most important to your company. They can foster transparency, communication, and collaboration across departments, encouraging the sharing of best practices and innovative ideas.

By streamlining internal systems, the OBM helps eliminate waste, enhance operational efficiency, reduce Costs, and improve overall organizational performance. They can define performance metrics, monitor progress and iterate on processes as needed. They play a pivotal role in driving organizational growth and ensuring that the company operates at its highest potential.

Is it Time for a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager?

You should consider hiring an OBM if:

  • Important commitments get pushed out due to lack of time, energy or resources.
  • You feel the pressure of not having the time to strategize.
  • Integrating new business opportunities feels more energy draining than exciting.
  • Connection within your team is fragmented, and communication gaps are creating roadblocks.
  • Keeping your team morale up seems to be getting more difficult as you grow.
  • Recruitment and hiring are too rushed, or do not get done at all.

Every leader needs help if they want to achieve big goals, not to mention sustain the colossal energy it takes to lead. Hiring the right OBM could be the most important business decision you ever make as you strive for better performance in your organization.

Contact VEA anytime to talk about your specific needs. Let’s find the right OBM who understands your needs and can help make getting ahead feel easier.

 

Tovey Blake
Operations Manager

 

 

Frequently asked Questions about Chiefs of Staff

Q: How do I onboard a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager?

A: The team at VEA will guide you through a step-by-step onboarding process to ensure you are matched with an OBM who is right for you and your business.

Q: What if I only need help during peak seasons?

A: Our OBMs are available on an ongoing basis as well as for one-off projects to fit your needs.

Q: How can I be sure I will get a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager who understands what I need?

A: We begin with an in-depth strategy session to better understand where you require support as well as assess for personality and culture fit. You get to meet potential candidates and are part of the decision-making process from the beginning. VEA prides itself on HAND MATCHING every OBM to every client. We will work with you to get it right.

Q: What if I quickly realize I don’t need a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager?

A: We will discover that for you before we even get started and most likely recommend an Executive Assistant instead.

Q: How does VEA ensure I am getting the most value from my Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager?

A: Open and regular communication with your OBM is the best way to get what you need. By the end of your kickoff call, your OBM should be clear about the project and/or role expectations. 

The kickoff call for a one-off project entails: Review of scope of work. Your OBM will then use the approved scope to create a project plan and work-back schedule to complete deliverables.

The kickoff call for an ongoing role entails: Creation of a 90-day plan that focuses on a combination of “quick win” improvements and short-term goals. 

In either case, your OBM will lead and execute the work needed to result in positive outcomes.

Q: How many years of experience does a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager have?

A: Our OBMs have at least ten years of experience, and many have more than that.

Q: Where is your team located?

A: We are a Canada-based, remote workforce. Our OBMs are spread across Canada, and we can match you with someone who is within or near your time zone.