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

Automating Routine Tasks in Your Business: Automate, Delegate, Alleviate

Automating Routine Tasks in Your Business: Automate, Delegate, Alleviate

There is an infinite amount of advice on the internet that comes from experts, influencers, and AI. This leads to Business Owners and Entrepreneurs being inundated with ideas and resources on how to grow themselves and their businesses. There is never enough time in a day to implement everything you learn, and a lot of the advice won’t work for you. The easiest way to complete anything is to break it into bite-sized, manageable pieces.
It’s a lot like automating processes and delegating tasks. You are inundated with ideas and advice on how to automate and delegate processes, but you don’t know where to start. If you are looking at the whole picture and the hours it takes to complete something, it is way too overwhelming to grasp. This leads to you continuing to do it the way you always have and continuing to complete the processes that could be automated. If you are ready to bring in experts to free up your time, this is how VEA helps businesses grow by breaking down their processes into these 3 pieces: Automate, Delegate, Alleviate.

 

The first step is to automate that process which takes too much of your time. Whether it is email management, project management, travel booking, bookkeeping, invoicing, or recruiting and onboarding new staff or clients. A Business Manager will build and document each process, find faster ways to complete it and help you decide whether or not it’s worth your time. If it isn’t worth your time, we help you delegate it to a virtual Executive Assistant or Bookkeeper.
If you are stuck in the weeds and not sure how to audit your time or discover which step to automate, simply take a step back. Review what your days have looked like so far and even what you are dreading or putting off doing. Those should be the first tasks you automate. Many of our clients also audit their time. A resource like Clockify is very helpful for this. Sign up for a free account and track how long you are spending on each task. If email management takes you a combined 2 hours a day, that is a perfect opportunity to find better systems like “Inbox Zero”. After a few weeks, you can discover where your time is being spent and ask yourself, “Should I be doing this or automating it.”

 

You will quickly discover that you do not have to do everything. A business owner who tries to complete every task themselves will hit burnout, procrastination, and bottlenecks. The truth is some owners are micromanagers and find it nearly impossible to let go of tasks but usually, the issue is that they don’t have time to discover a faster way. That is where a Business Manager comes in to help them discover how to delegate and who to delegate to. It could be someone on your team or you can hire an Executive Assistant or Bookkeeper to completely take it over from you.

Some of the most common tasks our Online Business Managers improve are:

  • Project planning
  • Project management
  • Recruitment
  • Client onboarding
  • Team onboarding
  • Team mentoring
  • Biz dev research
  • Reporting

Again, these are common tasks but we are consistently receiving and discovering new opportunities to streamline processes.

Once our clients have automated and delegated processes they have saved anywhere from 5 hours to over 14 hours a month! Imagine saving yourself almost 2 full days! The hours you save can have you working fewer or no evenings and weekends, and removing bottlenecks from your organization. Freeing you up so you can run more efficiently and work on higher-level tasks to grow your business further.

If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, automating and delegating always leads to alleviating time, pressure and stress from your business.

 

Then What?

Once you have saved yourself hours a month, repeat the process. Our Online Business Managers can repeat the process for different tasks, processes, or projects in your business. If you’ve cleared up your emails and spent fewer hours in your inbox, move on to the project you have been putting off. If you have removed bottlenecks within your team by hiring a Business Manager to take over projects and mentoring, move on to a new internal system for them to streamline.

VEA has been helping small businesses run efficiently for the past 8 years and even though the term “expert” is thrown around everywhere these days, we are experts at what we do. If it is time to automate, delegate and alleviate, book a call with our team to see if we are the right fit for your business.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

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32 Ways Virtual Support Services Scales Your Small Business

32 Ways Virtual Support Services Scales Your Small Business

Business owners, CEOs, Entrepreneurs and Solopreneurs have a hard time letting go of pieces of their business, many times it’s because they don’t know what to hand off. Some are great at delegating while others, let’s just say they need a bit of coaching and prompting. That is where our Onboarding Concierge comes in. However, the problem with delegating is that usually, you don’t know what to give to your assistant or team member. Or they are great at delegating a task but terrible at giving them the information and access they need to complete it.

 

The Vicious Cycle of a Business Owner/CEO

You may have gone through this cycle as a Business Owner, CEO, Entrepreneur or Solopreneur.

Step 1: You are bogged down by various tasks, a bottleneck in the organization and when asked how many hours you work you say, “all of them”.

Step 2: You recognize the need for support, so you search the internet and ask peers for recommendations.

Step 3: You choose someone and hire them either on payroll or contract.

Step 4: You delegate a task to them.

Step 5: They ask for access or do something incorrectly or not the way you do it.

Step 6: Instead of correcting the error or granting them access, you do it yourself without providing feedback.

Step 7: You keep doing that task yourself and stop delegating because “I can do it myself faster.”

Step 8: You fire or ghost your new hire.

Step 9: You are bogged down by various tasks, a bottleneck in the organization and when asked how many hours you work you say, “all of them”.

Step 10: You recognize the need for support…

…you get the idea. If this sounds like you, here are the top tasks to delegate and here is how VEA onboards all of our clients with goals, clear communication and a clear plan of action to help you exit the cycle for good

 

Top 15 tasks for a Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA):

1. Email management: Efficiently organizing, filtering, and responding to emails to maintain communication flow.

2. Calendar management: Scheduling appointments, meetings, and events to optimize time management.

3. Travel arrangements: Planning and booking travel itineraries including flights, accommodations, and transportation.

4. Meeting coordination: Scheduling, preparing agendas, and taking minutes for meetings.

5. Administrative tasks: Handling paperwork, filing, data entry, and other general administrative duties.

6. Research: Conducting online research on various topics to gather information and data.

7. Correspondence: Drafting and editing letters, memos, and other business communications.

8. Document preparation: Creating and formatting documents such as presentations, reports, and spreadsheets.

9. Project coordination: Assisting with project management tasks, tracking deadlines, and coordinating team efforts.

10. Event planning: Organizing company events, conferences, and team-building activities.

11. Client/customer support: Providing assistance and support to clients/customers via phone, email, or chat.

12. Database management: Updating and maintaining databases with accurate information.

13. Follow-ups: Sending reminders and follow-up messages to ensure tasks and deadlines are met.

14. Vendor management: Coordinating with vendors and suppliers for procurement and deliveries.

15. Personal assistance: Providing personal support to executives, such as managing personal appointments and errands.

Top 10 tasks for a Bookkeeper:

1. Accounts receivable: Invoicing clients and tracking payments owed to the company.

2. Accounts payable: Processing and recording payments to vendors and suppliers.

3. Bank reconciliation: Balancing and reconciling bank statements with financial records.

4. Payroll processing: Calculating employee wages, taxes, and benefits, and ensuring timely payroll.

5. Expense tracking: Recording and categorizing business expenses for accurate financial reporting.

6. Financial reporting: Generating and analyzing financial statements such as balance sheets and income statements.

7. Tax preparation: Gathering financial data and documents to prepare for tax filings.

8. Budgeting: Assisting in the creation and monitoring of budgets to manage company finances effectively.

9. Financial analysis: Analyzing financial data to identify trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement.

10. Audit support: Providing documentation and assistance during financial audits and reviews.

Top 7 tasks for an Online Business Manager (OBM):

1. Strategy development: Collaborating with business owners to develop and implement strategic plans and goals.

2. Team management: Overseeing and coordinating the activities of virtual teams and freelancers.

3. Process improvement: Identifying and implementing systems and processes to streamline operations and increase efficiency.

4. Project management: Planning, organizing, and executing projects to ensure timely completion and quality deliverables.

5. Performance tracking: Monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure business performance.

6. Client/customer relations: Managing client relationships and ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction.

7. Revenue generation: Developing and implementing strategies to increase sales, revenue, and profitability for the business.

Clarity

We hope this brings clarity to our three most popular virtual support services. VEA has helped hundreds of business owners, CEOs, Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs delegate administrative, time-consuming, and energy-draining tasks since 2016. Allowing them to focus on high-level tasks that grow their business. What do you need to delegate to free up your time and energy?

 

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