Creating time for hard-working service professionals has been Chantelle Good’s priority for more than two years. She developed this selfless mantra after serving in multiple administrative roles, where she was forever fighting against the clock and grew to understand the true value of time. That’s why, in 2015, Chantelle founded her own company called Varntige, a virtual assistant service run out of New Zealand, for professionals like her who were fed up with the headaches that came with being stretched for time.
“I know first-hand how hard it is to run a successful business and focus on revenue-generating client work when there's a lot of administrative tasks holding you back,” said Chantelle.
After years of assisting a wide variety of teams, Chantelle learned that there were always lots of redundant tasks (like manual data entry) that stunted growth and held back service businesses and teams. By harnessing technology to leverage a distributed team of experienced professionals, Chantelle realized that many professionals - especially in small and medium-sized businesses - could be freed of the burden of administrative tasks without the costs of directly employing assistants.
“Virtual assistants like us can work for anyone without them having to hire staff, and the best part is that they only have to use us as they need us, yet we are available during all working hours - which is very cost-efficient,” said Chantelle. She added that her team of personal assistants are your 'masters of everything' when it comes to business operations: they’re your receptionist, bookkeeper, graphic designer, administrator, and more. Their team completes each of these functions ‘specialist’ by having staff specialize in a certain area so you don’t get the ‘jack of all trade, master of none’ experience. Chantelle said that her team works hard “to take on the tasks that other professionals don't have time for or enjoy, leaving them to get on with the jobs they do best,” because there's always a task that needs to get done, but never enough time.
While being extremely efficient at helping run another person's business, Chantelle faced her own internal challenges when it came to managing her own operation. Varntige was being run out of four outdated, disconnected tools “including Outlook Forms and Tasks, and other bespoke programs,” and it meant that Chantelle and the team had important information and client work scattered everywhere, with no efficient or reliable way of finding it. She was in desperate need of a streamlined solution that could unite her team, clients, and data all in one place - because only then could she focus on her client work while technology took care of the rest. “I researched and tested 4-5 products, but Accelo was the only solution that did everything we needed it to do. By that, I mean it could track leads and client communication, manage tasks, and most importantly, manage time,” said Chantelle.
By streamlining their operations, Accelo was able to give Chantelle back the gift of time she had been offering others, increasing her team's productivity by 15% - in effect getting almost 10 hours of work done each day while only spending 8 hours on the job. “Now, on any given day, my team works directly out of Accelo’s Taskboard where they can easily see what they’re supposed to be doing in order to stay on track.” This is especially helpful for Varntige whose clients need real-time transparency into what their assistant is working on, at any given moment.
Moreover, because her team doesn't engage in face-to-face client work, Chantelle relies on Accelo’s automatic time-tracking features to accurately log all of their billable work for fast and easy invoicing. “We outline in all our invoices where we spend our time during a set Retainer period - which Accelo manages too - so that our clients get clarity on how much time is being spent doing what - which is necessary for people like us. We need to be able to show our clients exactly how much work is being done. We also have internal Retainers setup for staff to track all of their non-billable work so that I can see how much time is being spent on clients versus my day-to-day requests.”
Tracking time for greater profits
Chantelle explained that while her team “bill out for 15% more work each week” as a result of automatic time tracking is a great achievement, there's another important benefit from streamlining operations: it has freed Chantelle up to work on the business, not just in it. “Before Accelo, if I had to do monthly progress reports, it would take me about 30 mins per client. So with my 50 clients that would take around 25 hours every week. That’s 25 hours of non-billable revenue I’ve recovered now all thanks to Accelo! Spending this time with clients - and growing the business - means I'm expecting to see a 250% increase in growth by the end of the year.”
Now that Chantelle’s team isn’t wasting time working between separate tools, or manually trying to import and find data using multiple spreadsheets, they can focus on much more profitable and productive things. “Now it only takes about an hour to invoice all of my clients because of Accelo’s integration with Xero. So, I just send my invoices from Accelo, and then it's automatically pushed into Xero, where it's ready for me to do all of my accounting. And that alone saves me around 10 minutes per client, per month.”
Integrate, automate, & do it all with confidence
Accelo’s integration with the likes of Dropbox and Office 365 has also improved Varntige’s efficiency across the board. Chantelle and her team can easily see a client's communication history, send and receive attachments, and sync their calendars to stay on track with smart automation technology. That way, no client or staff member is ever left in the dark when it comes to the status of a certain task or project - because all the information they need is right there in front of them. This, as you can imagine, is necessary for virtual assistants relying on clear, seamless communication to get the job done. With Accelo, Chantelle can experience the same sense of freedom and flexibility as her clients, and get back to doing the work she loves.
As Chantelle put it: “without Accelo, running my business would be impossible. It really is the best software available for professionals charging by the hour for their services!”