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.

 

Conclusion:

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

11 Tasks, Projects & Processes to Outsource to Professionals

11 Tasks, Projects & Processes to Outsource to Professionals

As a Solopreneur you are taking care of everything from the top of the organization to the bottom.

 

  • You stock the copy machine and order supplies.
  • You run the whole sales process down to customer service.
  • You are the one ultimately responsible for everything in your business including its success and your failures.

It is manageable in the beginning but as you grow there are more and more unanswered emails, balls in the air, and to-dos that are not getting done. You want to hire your first employee, but you have no idea where to start.

This article will help you understand the who’s and what’s of outsourcing. We highly recommend reviewing our post on “What is One-Hour of Your Time Worth” to start prioritizing the tasks you are currently completing and understanding better what to outsource. The first piece of advice we will give is to hire fractionally.

Hiring fractionally means instead of onboarding a full-time employee at 40 hours a week, hire 4 professionals at 10 hours a week. For example, this could get your bookkeeping, administrative tasks, marketing, AND graphic design miles ahead.

List of Tasks

Many companies start by hiring a marketing person at 40 hours a week but quickly run out of work for them to do or try and make them a customer service representative, assistant, and janitor to justify their hours.

Here are the 11 tasks, projects & projects to outsource to Professionals as a Solopreneur:

Creative

  • Copywriting

Tasks to delegate: Blog posts, landing pages, website copy, social posts, and email newsletter.

  • Graphic Design

Tasks to delegate: Logo re-design, social posts, website, landing pages, brochures, email templates, business cards and handouts.

  • Professional Photography

Tasks to delegate: Headshot, product, location, and behind-the-scenes photos.

  • Web Developers

Tasks to delegate: New website design, website refresh, landing pages, technical setup, SaaS integration, and marketing integration.

 

Virtual Executive Assistant

Tasks to delegate: Email management, calendar management, meeting assistant, data entry, research, travel organization, and vendor/supplier liaison.

Tasks to delegate: Social media strategy, content calendar, graphic design, copywriting, scheduling, posting and engagement.

 

Virtual Bookkeeper

Tasks to delegate: Bank and credit card reconciliation, sales tax filing and compliance, and monthly/quarterly financial reporting.

Tasks to delegate: Following up on late payments, invoicing clients, paying bills, and scheduling payments.

Tasks to delegate: Ensuring your team and you get paid on time while following local and national laws.

 

Online Business Manager

Tasks to delegate: Create job descriptions, recruit and interview prospects, onboard team members and mentor your team.

Tasks to delegate: Document current processes, hand off processes to an Executive Assistant, remove bottlenecks and streamline internal systems.

 

Conclusion

Congratulations! You are well on your way from Solopreneur to Entrepreneur. Putting yourself in a position of working in your strengths and what you love. Doing what you always envisioned when you started your business. If an Executive Assistant, Bookkeeper, or Online Business Manager is the next piece you are looking to hire, VEA would love to help you onboard an expert who will scale with you and your business.

Book a call to learn more about our services and to see if we are a fit.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

How to Find and Hire a Virtual Executive Assistant in North America

How to Find and Hire a Virtual Executive Assistant in North America

Learn what a North-American-based executive assistant can do to help you scale your business

 

How awesome would it feel to take your to-do list from “overwhelming” to “complete”… and keep it that way?!

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 menial 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. Whether you need a virtual Executive Assistant in Canada, a virtual Executive Assistant in Texas or anywhere else in North America, we will provide one for you. 

 

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.  

 

Contact VEA to learn more! Visit our EA services page to discover more about the many ways we can help you grow your business.

 

 

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

Conclusion

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

How to Hire a Virtual Assistant

How to Hire a Virtual Assistant

As small business owners your world is fast paced with hundreds of tasks landing on your plate, leading you to work evenings and weekends. You have quickly discovered that this new life is not sustainable and look to outsourcing various tasks.

Usually, you want to hire a Bookkeeper to take those tedious tasks off your plate, next, is your administrative tasks. Removing data entry, research, calendar management, email management, travel booking and ensuring that meetings go smoothly with an Assistant who doubles as a meeting assistant. Now that you are looking to outsource, an Administrative Assistant, virtual Assistant (VA) or virtual Executive Assistant (VEA) become search terms you are familiar with. However, what is a VA, or virtual EA and how do you hire one?

Shaking Hands

What is a Virtual Assistant or Virtual Executive Assistant:

A VA or VEA takes over tasks much like an Administrative Assistant, however they are strictly online. A VA will have less experience and generally requires more hand-holing and back and forth. A virtual Executive Assistant is highly experienced working with c-suite executives and business owners. Our clients usually call us because they are doing the tedious, time-consuming tasks that don’t require their attention. Those tasks can be travel booking, invoicing, setting up rules and filters in your email to remove junk or spam before it reaches your inbox, CRM management an countless other tasks on your to-do list.

What to do Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant:

Recognize how much your time is worth and tasks that are draining your energy. If you are unsure of where to start, our onboarding process helps create a plan of action over the next 6 months to ensure your launch with VEA is successful. Our Onboarding Concierge asks pointed questions to draw out your needs, your loves, your hates, your dreams for your business and discusses them with your virtual Executive Assistant before you begin with us. The last thing any of us wants is to waste time for weeks discovering the gameplan as we go, let’s create it before we start and tweak it along the way.

How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Cost:

That all depends on experience. If you don’t mind handholding for the first few months and waiting 24 hours for a response, hire overseas. This is usually the start for companies looking to hire for only a few hours a week. If you are looking for a highly experienced Assistant who will be client facing, the price can go up. If you are hiring a less experienced Assistant, the price can range from $5-$30 USD per hour. If you are hiring an experienced Assistant, the price ranges from $35-$60 USD per hour. Most of these Assistants will be hired on contract so you don’t have to worry about benefits and perks.

How to Hire a Virtual Assistant:

You need to first discover what you are looking for and how many hours you need. Once you have your gameplan in place, it is easier to discover more tasks to hand off and how many approximate hours you need. From there, decide whether you want someone experienced or inexperienced, this factor will most likely be determined by your budget. If your budget is lower a lot of these factors like location and experience will be decided for you. A higher budget comes with more experience and on shore Executive Assistants, where a lower budget (under $750/month) will take you offshore with less experienced virtual Assistants.

How Many Hours Does a Virtual Assistant Work:

This is all based on how many hours you need and can limit the pool of Assistants. If you are looking for only a few hours a week or close to full-time, you may have a harder time finding or keeping a VA. Most VAs are remote and prefer to control their hours, having close to 40 hours a week makes that harder for them to be flexible with their schedules. Hiring someone around 2-3 hours a week makes you less of a priority and normally means you have 0 hours for them in one week and 5 in the next. With the unpredictability or hours and pay, many VA’s end up firing you as a client. At VEA, we have 20 hours a month as a minimum to ensure that you are consistent with your EA and their hours are guaranteed. If you need full-time, we offer that as well. Our team of over 70 virtual staff are all over the map with their desired hours, ensuring that we have someone experienced to fit your needs.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant, Again:

We’ve heard the many reasons why hiring a virtual Assistant hasn’t worked in the past. It is why we created our new onboarding process complete with your own Onboarding Concierge. If you’ve tried and failed in the past the main reasons, are you didn’t have enough work for them, your communication was sporadic, you didn’t know what to hand-off or they were too inexperienced. 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.

Conclusion

If you are looking for highly experienced virtual Executive Assistants, meet VEA. Our EA’s have over 5+ years, but must have 10+ years of experience, working for C-Suite level executives, business owners and Entrepreneurs. If you have tried alternative routes and failed, our onboarding process will give you the perfect jump start you need to make this time around successful. Book a call with VEA to get those time-consuming, energy- draining tasks off your plate so you can get back to what is important.

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing at VEA