Backyard grape crush

A Virtual Assistant for the World of Wine

It’s exciting when you can turn your passion for something into a daily habit – and no, I’m not talking about just the drinking of wine (although we should all know by now that a glass of red wine a day is actually a healthy thing!) but the regular involvement in a subject area that you love.

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be exploring and learning about the world of wine from my home office it’s quite likely I wouldn’t have believed you. But then again, maybe I would have as I am an optimistic type in general.

summer dinnerIn any case, I’ve been working in the wine industry for a year in the capacity of a Virtual Assistant and loving every minute of it. The opportunity to learn new technology and skills, meet new people and perform tasks I wouldn’t have considered before at my former in-office positions – the list of new opportunities is endless.

I’ve always been interested in all things wine, perhaps because I am fascinated by the growing to cooking (um, actually the eating and drinking!) cycle and the happiness that surrounds family and friends when they get together to enjoy great food and wine. And who isn’t captivated by travel and the countries that grow great wines – for me in particular Italy and France.

As I write this post, it is February 2016 and the days in Vancouver are a bit dull and grey, but my mind is humming along with excitement at the prospect of completing my WSET Level 2 this March and travelling with my family to Paris and Normandy this June! Two things I did not anticipate happening so soon or perhaps even this year at all!

So here’s to looking ahead to the months to come and a daily glass of what’s good for you!

Ciao and Bon Voyage!




To find out more about my services as a Virtual Assistant for Wine visit my contact page here.

Meet Your 2016 Business Goals – Getting Started with a Virtual Assistant

The WHY?

It’s now the Year 2016 and a most of us have set new business goals and (hopefully) a roadmap to making those goals happen.

Achieving any goal usually depends on a clear understanding of the desired outcomes, a simple roadmap to get us there and the right tools to get the job done.

The reality is though, that sometimes we find that the tools in the shed are scattered all over the place and in order to get started on our roadmap to success we need to first embark on a clean up phase. This clean up could consist of anything that has become piled up as a result of being a low priority or just plain forgotten in the past year – your email inbox, out of date contacts, a blog that is well behind, a disorganized CRM, etc. Facing this initial obstacle can be overwhelming.

As a Virtual Assistant I’ve seen firsthand at how getting a little bit of help can make the difference in reaching your business goals or not getting started at all.

Let’s look at a comparison:

How do you feel when you go to cook dinner and you walk into the kitchen only to find dishes from the previous meal/s still unwashed on the counter, the week’s mail has joined the dishes amongst avirtual assistant clears clutter growing pile of recycling bits and the cat has strewn it’s kibbles all over the floor? Ugh. It’s going to take you at least an hour or two to clean and organize things before you can even start preparing the ingredients – oh! Not only that, but also the fact that you didn’t shop for the ingredients you need yet! Another hour (at least).

Are you feeling motivated to get started on that recipe? Not likely. That unfinished bottle of 2000 Chateau Le Puy is starting to look like an excellent replacement for dinner…….

Now picture this:

It’s been a long but productive day and you are ready to cook up that delicious recipe you have been thinking about all week. You know the ingredients have been shopped for already and are in the fridge. You walk into the kitchen to find everything sparkling clean and in it’s place, your cutting board and favourite knife waiting for you on the counter.get organized with a virtual assistant

Better? Of course! Realistic? Yes!

While you were shopping for the recipe ingredients, you hired a cleaner to come in and straighten things up. They worked pretty quickly and were able to do more than you expected (by not just cleaning, but preparing the ingredients you had on hand and putting out your cutting board and knife) because she was focused not on cleaning to get to another more important task (your cooking), but only on the task of cleaning and preparing the kitchen itself.

So if you’re ready to start making your business ideas and goals for this year a reality but there’s some clutter and cleaning standing in your way that is where a Virtual Assistant can help you.

The WHAT?todo-list-297195_640

Here are a few things that a Virtual Assistant can do while you are ‘shopping for your ingredients’ so to speak:

  • Update your contact database – out with the old, in with the new!
  • Update all your online profiles – your website, LinkedIn, Social Media – so that they are fresh and consistent.
  • Check your website links and format a list for you to review for updates and changes – then get your Virtual Assistant to make the changes!
  • Organize your Email – set up new folders and filters, unsubscribe to everything you don’t want/need, pull out any unanswered emails that have fallen through the cracks and set them up in a folder so that you can quickly go through them at once instead of searching through the pile or being constantly distracted by taking care of them while trying to do your work.
  • Blog editing and research – have your Virtual Assistant proofread any blog posts you’ve drafted but haven’t had time to format or have them spend some time on researching information for your next posts.

Call a Virtual AssistantThese are just a few ways a Virtual Assistant can help you get started this year.

Don’t be afraid to collaborate. If you aren’t sure where to start, have a conversation with a Virtual Assistant and they can work with you to pull out the priorities from your to do list.



Several options are available to help you find a qualified Virtual Assistant. Check out the Virtual Assistant directories at the following organizations websites, most of which also give you the option to post an RFP for the things you need done.


Other Resources:

  1. Yvonne Weld of (and current IVAA president), Able Virtual Assistant Services,, operates a ‘matchmaker’ service for business owners looking for Virtual Assistants. Yvonne can work with you and pair you with the best VA for your business.
  2. You can search for ‘Virtual Assistant’ or post a request through LinkedIn to help you get started. You could also search LinkedIn Groups for Virtual Assistants.
  3. Try posting a request on Twitter with a link to a more complete job description or search #virtualassistant.
  4. If you have a wide range of tasks, have a need for various specialties, an instant team or you are a larger company with a lot of repetitive tasks that don’t take in-depth knowledge of your operations you might want to enlist the services of a Virtual Assistant Agency. As an independent VA I don’t have personal experience working with agencies but I have heard of positive outcomes for business owners who are able to find a reputable one. A couple I can mention are EAHelp ( ) and UAssistMe (
  5. A fabulous resource for Online Business Consultancy with built in Virtual Assistant services is Michelle Dale of Virtual Miss Friday,
  6. Lastly, here is a link to an article at Effortless Workflow that outlines some of the differences between hiring an independent Virtual Assistant or hiring through an agency:

I hope this article has helped motivate you to get started on your business plans for 2016 and encouraged you to get the assistance you might need. Every business is different and will have different tasks that need to be performed.

Having a little help getting started on those tasks can make the difference between reaching your goals and never getting started to begin with.

If you like this post and would like to receive future posts, please subscribe to my blog. I post regularly but I promise not to clutter up your Inbox so you or your Virtual Assistant has more work to do!

If you’de like to contact me regarding my Virtual Assistant Services just click here to get started!

Hour 25 Virtual Solutions




How A Virtual Assistant Can Save (Make!) You Money

Virtual Assistant can helpFor many business owners the time comes when they need to get help – either in the form of a Graphic Designer, Accountant, Marketing Consultant or a Lawyer – there will always be a need for skills outside of your own to keep your business profitable, manageable and growing.

These needs will vary depending on the nature of each business, but there is one common need that all businesses have and that is the performance of all of the administrative tasks that keep the bigger picture running smoothly: filing, email and data management, invoice processing, social media, blog research, etc. (see my Services page for a more complete list).

Most business owners start out doing these tasks themselves, only to find as their business grows so do the amount of administrative tasks!

Suddenly, your business is at the point where the administrative load is taking too much of your time and you have less and less time to devote to growing your business. Except you are in a position where hiring a full time administrative professional at a full time salary is out of the question – but what can you do? Perhaps it’s time to consider a Virtual Assistant (VA).

The Single Biggest Advantage to Hiring a Virtual Assistant

As a Virtual Assistant (and therefore business owner myself), I believe the single biggest advantage in hiring a VA is paying only for the time you need and being able to tailor this time specifically to the tasks you would like performed in order to effectively decrease your workload.

How Can a Virtual Assistant Save Me Money?

But how am I saving money if I’m paying my Virtual Assistant to do these tasks for me?Hour 25 Virtual Solutions Saves you Money

Simple math! Your billable hours are probably at a higher rate than your Virtual Assistant. By delegating tasks to your VA, you are saving yourself time, which in turn saves you money – the difference between your billable rate and your VA’s.

But it doesn’t end there! This is where the value of your time comes in: the time you save delegating tasks to your Virtual Assistant can be spent creating new business (in whatever form that is – products, networking, etc.).

Or, as frequently is the case in life and entrepreneurship, maybe you really need to put some balance back into your personal life in the form of quality time – for your health, relationships or education.

Remember always, before hiring your VA you will definitely need to prepare:

  • A specific list of tasks that your VA can do for you
  • Your budget for these tasks
  • Your process, tools and desired results for each task
  • Your communication plan with your VA

These are very important to a successful working relationship with your Virtual Assistant and most VA’s will ask you for this information upon your initial consultation. Your Virtual Assistant also should be able to help you organize and prioritize your task list and possibly recommend more efficient ways to perform them.

Partner with Hour 25 Virtual SolutionsAs a Virtual Assistant and business owner I recognize that I need to place value on my time and so should you. A Virtual Assistant is a Partner in your success. I’m invested in seeing your business flourish and grow because that success is a reflection of my own.

And, to be honest, I’m an ‘admin geek’ as well, but that’s a store for another day.

Here’s to making the most of your time!

If you wish to contact me with questions or regarding my Virtual Assistant services please send me a note through my Contact page here.



Hour 25 Virtual Solutions

Welcome to my Blog!


Hello and welcome to Hour 25 Virtual Solutions Blog!

After spending significant time working on my client’s blog’s I’ve decided it’s time to start my own and what better timing than the beginning of a New Year?

My goal is to keep things simple, providing easy ‘how-to’s’ and information and generally have fun exploring new things in the virtual assistant world.

Stay tuned for my next entry!