Delegate, Focus, and GROW Your Business

Different Time Zones Work Virtually

I have a client with her own skin care line. She invented her products herself, at her kitchen counter, that are for a niche market. She went from selling her products directly from her website to selling in a few salons and beauty supply stores. When I started working for her almost two years ago, she had just begun to wholesale to a major nationwide natural foods grocery store. Since then, her line’s availability has grown to nearly 1,000 retail locations, including another, even bigger nationwide chain. As her virtual assistant, I do a variety of tasks to help her run her business smoothly.  Some tasks I do every day and some are just random things that come up here and there. Here are some examples:

That major nationwide natural foods grocery store–their 200+ stores send us orders via email or fax. It’s my job to place the orders. I use an ordering system that was custom-built to interface with Freshbooks. I do the data entry and the orders are then sent to our warehouse to be packed and shipped. I place orders for some other stores as well, although many of the small stores place their own orders in a similar system. I get anywhere from 10 to 60 orders per day and always get those out of the way first, so that the warehouse can get the orders out same day. I also keep track of our inventory status so I know if we’re out of stock on a particular product.

Another regular task is setting up new wholesalers. My client goes through the applications and makes the final decision of who she wants to represent her line, but after that, I take over. I use a WuFoo database to keep track of everything. I prepare the contract, send it to the wholesaler, make sure it’s signed and dated in the right places when they send it back, set up their account in Freshbook and add them to our website and Mail Chimp, which we sometimes use to send out communications to all of our wholesalers. I talk to prospective wholesalers via email and phone to answer their questions about the line, wholesale terms, and anything else they may need to know.

One-off projects have run the gamut from reconciling bills to collecting RSVPs for a personal party. I’ve helped out with graphic design, proofread presentations, coordinated shipping of special orders, and spoken with current wholesalers about whatever needs and concerns they have.

Working remotely with this client has been easy. I’m on the east coast and she’s on the west coast, but because I’m not a morning person, we start our day at the same time and it works out perfectly. We use Yahoo! email to communicate and we usually talk on the phone at least once a day. We’re in the process of transferring more of her daily tasks to me, such as ordering ingredients and coordinating with the lab that now produces the products, so she can focus more on marketing and development.

We’ve found that working virtually works and I love that I’m helping her business to grow and thrive.

Posted on November 1st, 2010 by Team CVA

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