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

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 a Meeting Assistant Can Make You More Productive

How a Meeting Assistant Can Make You More Productive

You wake up in the morning and see your calendar is jam packed full of meetings. You take this schedule one of two ways:

#1 – Stress: You know you are going to be ghosted at least once or twice, you see the tight time windows and worry about being prepared for each meeting and having proper notes taken during. Then there is the follow-up afterwards that will take time out of your day.

#2 – Ease: You have a meeting assistant who schedules all the meetings, follows up with a reminder to confirm with those you are meeting with, prepares all of the notes and will take minutes, follow up and not only create to-do lists out of those meetings but complete many of those tasks as well. You know today looks busy but will be pretty seamless.

In the online meeting era with Zoom fatigue being a buzzword surrounding it, your days can look stressful, or you can enter them with productivity and ease knowing that these meetings are going to go smoothly.

What Causes an Unproductive Meeting?

To run a smooth meeting, we need to address what makes for an unproductive, clunky meeting.

An unproductive meeting includes no:

  • Agenda
    • An agenda provides guardrails for the meeting, if you haven’t properly prepared one or transferred a meeting template to this meeting it will delay the meeting or lead to an unproductive meeting.
  • Meeting notes
    • If notes are not properly taken with to-do lists created, important topics covered and completion timelines set, it usually means the meeting was a waste of time.
  • Reminder emails before the meeting
    • Setting these up for all attendees beforehand is crucial to prevent no-shows and 5-15 minutes wasted in an empty Zoom meeting room or coffee shop, not to mention potential time driving to the meeting.

Not having these three areas covered leads to meetings running over time, going off-topic, and ending with no conclusions or concrete takeaways.

 

How do I Set Myself Up for a Smooth Meeting?

Having an agenda prepared beforehand with meeting notes and reminder emails sent means you are much more confident going in. You know attendees are most likely going to show up and you have everything in front of you to get started immediately on topic. This is where a meeting assistant will save you hours a week and set you up for productive meetings. Business owners know how many hours are taken up by meetings, feeling like one was a waste of time means many wasted hours which translates to dollars.

Our virtual Executive Assistants are experienced meeting assistants for Business Owners, C-Suite Executives and Entrepreneurs. They work with clients who go from meeting to meeting with very little to no buffers. Instead of leaving one meeting with a few notes rushed and a quick follow-up email before jumping late to the next meeting, they structure their day and meetings to maximize their time.

Here are the goals of your virtual EA when it comes to your busy meeting days, your EA wants you to:

  • Rarely have to book a meeting.
  • Never be double-booked.
  • Go from meeting to meeting fully prepared.
  • Leave the follow-up to them.
  • Review the notes and to-dos in a specific folder or project management software that has been created by them.

Are You the Bottleneck?

If a decision maker is in a meeting it can quickly go off the rails if the decision maker is the bottleneck to the organization. If their team cannot get a hold of them to answer requests or move projects along everyone wants to have their ear during the meeting so they can move tasks/projects along. If you are being asked numerous questions by multiple team members during a meeting, ask yourself “is this part of the agenda for this meeting?” and “are they asking this because I haven’t responded to their email or previous request?” If the answer is yes, it means you are a bottleneck in your organization.

Chances are you will never have a focused meeting again. If you are finding yourself to be the bottleneck your virtual Executive Assistant can manage your email to ensure anything not needing your attention gets removed or answered on your behalf. This leaves only the most pertinent and important communication on your plate and removing the rest.

Your virtual Executive Assistant can also be a gatekeeper to your email and calendar. If your calendar is a free for all, your EA will help you set rules for who gets your time and for how long. They will set time blocks so you can focus on actual work, not just replying to emails and having meetings.

 

Conclusion

If you are sick of meetings, feel like you are in too many or meetings are unproductive your virtual Executive Assistant has vast amounts of experience being a meeting assistant, gatekeeper, calendar manager and email manager to help you gain your time back. If it’s time to get your life and business back under control schedule a call with our team to learn how a virtual Executive Assistant will get you more productive, in less meetings and back to doing what you love.

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

Utilizing Your Virtual Executive Assistant as an Online Personal Assistant

Utilizing Your Virtual Executive Assistant as an Online Personal Assistant

If you are looking to find an online Personal Assistant and getting frustrated by the lack of options, you will be happy to know that our virtual Executive Assistants can take on the role of an online Personal Assistant as well.

On top of corporate responsibilities like email and calendar management, travel booking, data entry, research, meeting assistants and the many other administrative tasks they take on, they can also take on personal to-do lists.

It is one thing a lot of our clients ignore delegating for months into their relationship with VEA’s virtual Executive Assistants (EA). Our clients mainly focus on their business-related tasks and don’t utilize their virtual EA as an online Personal Assistant. Once they have the epiphany that their personal tasks are taking too much time and are not necessary for them to complete the tasks start falling off their plate and on to their EA’s.

Their EA is obviously still virtual, but they can handle many of the various tasks on your personal to-do list. An online personal assistant can’t go to the grocery store for you, but they can order groceries or meals and have them delivered to your door.

Typing on a computer

 

Here are a few common tasks our virtual EA’s do for their clients that fall under the umbrella of an online Personal Assistant:

 

Reservations

• Any appointment booking for things like the doctor, dentist, massages, or chiropractors.

Scheduling house cleaners, maintenance people.

Buying gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc.

• Family vacation booking including flights, hotels, excursions, and rental cars.

Keep in mind they are not travel agents but if you give them your choices, they can book directly for you or give them the area you want to go so they can research the top places and run it by you in your 1:1 meeting before going ahead and booking.

Time blocking

This is usually the focus of productivity in your workday but if you need an hour to hit the gym, want to pick up your kids from school or can’t find time for that hobby, let your EA know. They will make sure there are blocks in your calendar for activities that recharge and are important to you.

 

 

Your virtual Executive Assistant can perform many other various tasks to ease your workload. The easiest way to utilize them as a Personal Assistant is to look at your to-do list. You can easily decide what is something an Online Assistant can do and delegate it to them.

 

Tasks of a Virtual Executive Assistant for Business Owners

In many other blog posts, we discuss at a high level what a virtual EA can do for you, but let’s be a bit more specific with examples.

 

Tasks your virtual Executive Assistant can perform:

 

Meeting Assistant – Imagine going from one meeting to the next without having to book them yourself. While at the meeting you will have the notes in front of you so you don’t skip a beat and the minutes taken to review afterwards if needed. Having a meeting assistant will make your meetings more productive and make more space in the rest of your day.

Travel Booking Assistant – Before you travel your virtual Executive Assistant will act as your travel assistant booking flights, hotels, and rental cars. Using your rewards points and preferences for seat location on a plane, type of car to rent and any musts for your hotel. Once we have the information on file, your dedicated EA will never have to ask your preferences again. You give them your travel dates and they will get to booking. Taking yet another time-consuming, tedious task off your plate.

Calendar Manager – Most business owners are sick of booking meetings, being stood up and accidentally double-booking meetings or appointments. With your virtual Executive Assistant taking over your calendar management, all you must do is wake up in the morning and review your day. Pairing your virtual EA’s calendar management abilities with their meeting assistant role, you can move through your day at a steady, flow-like pace, not wasting precious hours on small, administrative tasks.

Email Manager – Email management is the number one task that all our clients hand off to their virtual Executive Assistant. Instead of adding a new email management software to your ever-growing list of new software, having an EA take it over is a much more productive choice. Your EA will delete spam or unwanted emails, respond to emails as needed on your behalf and keep only what is urgent or needs your attention. Instead of waking up to 100 new emails, you will start your day with only what matters.

 

Conclusion

Many Business Owners, C-suite level Executives and Entrepreneurs look for a Corporate Assistant who can do email management, calendar management, book and manage meetings, and become a travel booking assistant. As the role evolves, they get stuck on the executive-level tasks an in office Administrative Assistant would normally do in person. However, they don’t expand the role to their personal lives. If you are missing date nights, buying gifts last minute or living off a fast-food/convenience diet, talk to your virtual EA to learn how they can support you more in these areas.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing