Creating Business Owner Success: Your Virtual Executive Assistant and Time Management

Creating Business Owner Success: Your Virtual Executive Assistant and Time Management

Virtual Executive Assistants and Virtual Assistants are extremely popular in the remote world, but what exactly are they? As the name suggests they are both fully remote. A Virtual Assistant or VA, is less experienced working in their role and usually requires more hand-holding and training. A Virtual Executive Assistant or Virtual EA, is highly experienced, can work more autonomously, requires little to no hand-holding and has a vast skill set due to their years of experience.

At VEA we only hire Virtual EA’s who have at least 5+ years of experience working with business owners, Entrepreneurs or C-Suite level Executives.

Whether you are hiring a Virtual Assistant or a Virtual Executive Assistant, the end goal is to delegate tasks and save yourself time. Usually, business owners will hand off the tasks that drain their time or energy, freeing them up for higher-level tasks that grow the business. This is usually called “Working On” the business vs “Working In” the business.

Here are a Few Examples of Our Clients who Saved Hours in Their Day By Hiring a Virtual EA:

1. Meeting Assistant/Calendar Manager - 15 minutes per meeting

Imagine reviewing your calendar and seeing 5 meetings in your workday from 9am-5pm. There are two reactions you may have, either stress or peace. The stressful part is that you have to prep for the meeting by creating an agenda, take notes and send follow-ups afterwards.

Our clients have a peaceful reaction by allowing their EA to act as a Meeting Assistant. They know their Virtual EA:

  1. Set up the appointments
  2. Created the calendar invite
  3. Prepped the meeting notes
  4. Suggested software to take notes in the meeting
  5. Reviewed and sent the notes
  6. Put the to-dos in their project management software
  7. Sent a follow-up email on their behalf.

This allows their client to go from meeting to meeting fully prepared without wasting time doing administrative tasks. In one instance this saved their client 15 minutes per meeting, equaling 75 minutes in their day! This opens up more time to work on higher-level tasks, remove bottlenecks or meet with 2 more prospects each day.


2. Email Manager - 1 Hour a Day

The first thing most business professionals do in their workday is check their email. After weeding through spam, responding to requests and crafting the perfect email, an hour of their day has gone by. If you start your day in your email rather than spending time on what needs your attention, a Virtual EA will be a gamechanger for you.

Having a Virtual Executive Assistant check your email before you get to your desk will give you a head start on your day. They leave what is urgent and needs your response and remove everything else. In many cases, this saves our clients an hour or more a day! By utilizing the “Inbox Zero” strategy, your Virtual EA will keep your day on track.


3. Data Entry – 30 Minutes Per Appointment

A Solopreneur client of VEA’s would spend 30 minutes after an appointment entering information into spreadsheets and a PDF order form which kept a large amount of their calendar blocked off after every appointment. When their Virtual EA recognized this, they took over their data entry. This opened up an extra appointment time in their calendar to spend with clients and generate revenue, allowing for an extra $900+ to be made each day. Their next step is hiring an Online Business Manager to automate the process.


4. Process Management – 14 Hours a Month

A professional services client of VEA’s was manually invoicing their clients every month. This meant the first few days of each month were spent in QuickBooks. Once they were brave enough to ask “Is there a better way?” Our team went to work. An Online Business Manager (OBM) and Virtual Executive Assistant worked together to implement a new process utilizing digital tools to save them 14 hours a month!


5. Creating Work Instructions and Standard Operating Procedures – 15 Hours a Month

Implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Work Instructions across your business is the biggest way to streamline and grow. It helps onboard new employees, speed up every level of the organization and potentially sell your business at a higher evaluation. If you are finding that you work over 8 hours a day or 5 days a week, implementing SOPs and Work Instructions will allow you to get back to a normal life and take a vacation!

Our OBM’s are experts at both. If you need to speed up your team, onboard clients and team members quickly and take some time off, reach out to our team to see if we are the right fit.



Have time management tips been your most searched Google term? Are you spending more time working this year? Feeling bogged down in administrative tasks?

Have a call with our team to see how we can streamline your business, free up your time and get you working on what you enjoy and what needs your attention.

Book A Call with VEA.


Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales and Marketing

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.


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.



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

Mistakes Business Owners Make When They Hire a Virtual Assistant

Mistakes Business Owners Make When They Hire a Virtual Assistant

Through our countless sales calls with business owners, c-suite executives and entrepreneurs, we’ve heard the many reasons why hiring a virtual Assistant hasn’t worked in the past.

We even had a lot of turnover in our first three years for the same reasons virtual Assistant (VA) services hasn’t worked for a lot of people. It is why we created our onboarding process a few years ago, it comes with your own Onboarding Concierge who asks targeted questions to understand you, your business, and your goals. From that call we hand match you with one of our talented virtual staff and discuss the game plan with them before you officially get started.

Whether you are looking for a virtual Executive Assistant (virtual EA), virtual Bookkeeper (BK) or Online Business Manager (OBM). If you’ve tried and failed in the past, we see your pain and understand what the main issues are. Thankfully, we have grown VEA to help you learn how to hire a virtual Executive Assistant to ensure a long-lasting relationship.

Guy in front of a computer

The mistakes and hiccups of hiring a VA stem from the following:

1. You Didn’t Have Enough Work for Them

This can lead to you spending more time finding work for your virtual Assistant than the time it takes to complete the tasks you create for them. So, how do you find and create work for your virtual Assistant?

Rule #1 is to give your virtual EA recurring work that takes your time but doesn’t need your attention. An example is to hand off your email and calendar management. You spend too much time reading through, responding to, and deleting emails that don’t really require your attention. If you are like many of our clients, you also spend a ton of time setting up meetings, booking appointments, and playing email tag trying to “find a time that works.”

Your virtual Executive Assistant can double as a Meeting Assistant which allows you to jump from meeting to meeting without having to set up, take notes or follow up, saving you hours in a week. Having your virtual EA managing your calendar, meetings and emails are three simple ideas to give them re-occurring work.

2. Your Communication Was Sporadic

In many cases, the first point of not having enough work leads to sporadic communication. If you don’t have enough work or are too busy, meetings get pushed which causes a breakdown in the relationship and any trust that has been building, starts to decline. We recommend that all our new clients meet with their EA every day for the first 2 weeks. Even if that is only for 15 minutes. Each day in those 2 weeks should have a theme.

On Monday you get them an email address with your domain and have them connected to your inbox to clear out unwanted emails, set up filters and ensure you no longer have to spend hours a week managing your inbox. On Tuesday, you give them access to your calendar; Wednesday is invoicing…every day for 2 weeks there is a goal. This gets your EA set up quickly and starts to build the relationship. From there, you can go down to a meeting once or twice a week, whatever your needs are. Without set meetings, communication will be sporadic, any changes that need to be made won’t be and tasks will start piling back up on your plate.

3. You Didn’t Know What to Hand-Off

This usually applies to your virtual Executive Assistant. For a Bookkeeper you don’t need to think twice about what to give them and our OBM services have an initial strategy call to set the pace of the engagement. Without the Onboarding Concierge setting the pace for your launch with your EA, it is easy to go aimless without a clear plan. If you are not utilizing VEA for your virtual services the same answer from question 1 applies here but to expand on that, add in your to-do lists.

Whether that is for work or personal. Your virtual Executive Assistant can double as a Personal Assistant by placing grocery orders, buying gifts, setting personal appointments, and blocking off time in your calendar to ensure you don’t miss important life and family events.

4. They Were Too Inexperienced

During our initial call, we always ask if you’ve worked with virtual staff before. If the answer is yes, the main reason clients have ended services was because their virtual staff were too inexperienced to complete the tasks. They are usually offshore VA’s or family members completing their bookkeeping.

As your business grows, you need a higher level of support which is where we come in. Our virtual EA’s and BK’s have over 5, but most have over 10+ years of experience in their role. Our OBM’s have up to, if not over 15 years of experience. If you’ve settled in the past

Call now


If you are giving it a go again, ensure you have tasks assigned to them. For example, every time a new client request comes into your inbox, they set them up in the CRM and schedule the call/appointment. Having your virtual Assistant managing your email is also a time-saving task that keeps you in front of what is important. By handing off repetitive tasks, you ensure that your VA will have work to do and keep the relationship going

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales and Marketing at VEA

What Keeps You Up at Night?

What Keeps You Up at Night?

If you are a business owner, chances are you have a strong gut feeling about your business. Whether you listen to it or not could be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful business. The goal of this post is to focus on the nagging thoughts and stressors in your business that keep you up at night. We all have them but they never go away until we address them and create a plan of action to overcome them. Don’t miss our worksheet at the bottom.

On the worksheet we will ask what your stressors are and to rank them from 1-10 (10 being the highest). We will start with the top ones and create a plan of action to eliminate them, whether that means delegating, hiring someone new, bringing in new programs to help or to remove a product or service. Here are a list of examples:

StressorRank 1-10
Client Follow Ups8
The Cost of my Product6
Presentation Next Week4
Losing Top Client9
Social Media Content3
Cash Flow10

Once you have identified your biggest headaches it is time to make a plan of action:

Stressor1-10Plan of Attack
Cash Flow10Talk with a Bookkeeper to create monthly financial statements
Create Savings Accounts for current and future needs
Have ________ hold me accountable to my spending habits
Create a budget/assess every bill
Renegotiate interest rates with the bank
Worst Case Scenario: Take a part time job
Losing Top
9Continue to build relationship
Build my systems to handle their orders and communications better
Build Relationships with potential new top clients
Hire a Client Care Associate to handle their account
Client Follow Ups8Build e-mail template for appointment follow-up e-mail
Hire a Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA) to handle all follow ups
Cost of Product6 
Social Media3 

Having a plan of attack will not only help you sleep better at night but also create plans to grow your business in new ways. Now it’s your turn. What are your stressors and how do you plan to attack them?

– Derek Burbidge, Manager of Sales & Marketing

If you need more focus in your business, check out our “Goal Tracking” blog and worksheet, as well as our “Think Week” blog post.

Taking Stress Out of The Equation

Taking Stress Out of The Equation

I have heard Doctor’s claim that stress is the cause of all illnesses, it opened my eyes to the damage that stress can do. Stress shortens lives, leaves days jumbled with a lack of direction, it leads to depression and anxiety…nothing good comes from being stressed out.

But how do we cope with it? How do we get past it? How do we keep it from even showing up in the first place? Below we will give examples of how to deal with it, including links to people much more qualified at the subject than us to help. I personally have dealt with stress in numerous different stages of life and have been pretty active in finding solutions to cope, get past and stay away from it altogether.

Coping with Stress

  1. Physical Activity – I have implemented “100 Days of Movement” into my schedule. For 100 days, I moved. That was a run, walk, gym workout, at-home workout, pacing my home while responding to e-mails…anything to get my body moving. What that did was create a habit of moving in my life.
  2. Meditation – Stillness, self-reflection, and quiet. It is my next “100 days challenge” to enforce this habit. Nothing has worked better for me than this, it helps my mind get back on track and reminds me of my why.
  3. Reading or listening to music – Creating playlists with relaxing music or positive lyrics. Negative or angry lyrics is not going to get you out of the funk.
  4. Massage/Mani/Pedi – This falls under self-care, do something to treat yourself, it doesn’t even have to cost anything. Going to a beach with your favourite book or inviting a friend over for a drink works too.
  5. Comedy – Listening to a comedy special or a funny podcast while I work is a great stress reliever for me.
  6. Counselor/Accountability – I do both. I see a counselor to deal with deeper issues and have accountability partners for certain areas in my life.

Negative Coping Habits

Below are things to stay away from, it can start small but spiral quickly. Creating the habits above will help you overcome challenges quicker, keep your weight down, help you sleep better and cultivate a better mindset. The habits below will do the opposite:

  1. Stress Eating – Last night I had a giant plate of nachos at 8:30pm, it was delicious. But, I feel terrible today, this wasn’t as much stress eating as it was a terrible decision. I have stress ate or drank in the past, for me, it was a beer at night. It messed with sleep and I started gaining weight.

  2. Over Spending – Blowing your budget may feel good at the moment to purchase something you really want, but regret sinks in very quickly afterward.
  3. TV Binging – Has Netflix ever asked you “are you still watching?” My go-to coping habit is binge-watching TV, it would never solve a problem or ever make me feel better. I would go back to work into the problem without skipping a beat, I had to find a new way to deal with my stress which was facing the problem head-on. Once I responded to the problem in a productive way, I could take a quick break and feel refreshed coming back to work.
  4. Working Harder – If you are stressed, take a break. I go away for 40 hours with my “Think Week” if it is getting really bad or stop to exercise. Both help me focus, gain purpose and bring vision back. However, sometimes the answer is getting tasks off your plate.


The key to overcoming negative mindsets and habits is self-awareness. Be real with yourself and track why you are doing what you are doing. Chris & Heidi Powell (fitness experts) were on Ed Mylett’s podcast a few months ago talking about a client who gained back a couple of hundred pounds he had recently lost.

It all traced back to a decision he made in a fast-food restaurant. He chose coke over diet coke, it was breaking a promise he had made to himself to never have regular soda again. From there he spiraled, making poor decision after poor decision which led to a massive weight gain.

Every action we take can be traced back to the root cause. If you are not self-aware and willing, to be honest with yourself, you will continue to make poor decisions.


It has taken me a long time to find what works for me to cope with stress, but it changes every season. Accountability will work until it doesn’t, then I will have to create a different plan through trial and error. My counselor will work, until he doesn’t, then I will have to find a new one for my new season. Nothing in life is a “one size fits all.” Try new things and comment below to help others with what has worked for you.

If there is anything I have learned in my life, it is that all challenges make you better if you let them. They guide you to the right place, make you stronger and wiser. No one has it all figured out but there are proper habits you can cultivate to bring you to the right place. Below we have a few links to help you overcome stress, create better habits and even offload some tasks on your plate.

Many of our clients come to us because they are stressed out. They don’t have time for family, exercise or to work on their favourite parts of their business. It starts out with an e-mail inbox that has tons of unread messages, client follow-ups slipping through the cracks or wasting hours a week bouncing between tasks. If that is leading to your stress, let us help, it is why VEA exists. Start with a couple of hours a week and scale it as you need.

If you feel overwhelmed, please reach out to a professional. The first step is realizing you need it, the second is humility to accept it and the third is reaching out. You are three steps away from changing your life.

– Derek Burbidge, Manager of Sales & Marketing
VEA Pros