Each month we showcase some of the fantastic stories our community of business owners and professionals have to share. But this month we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on ourselves and the people that make Virtalent tick.
So who are we?
Virtalent was founded by Sam and Ellie Wilson in 2014 and over the last year or so, it’s success has seen our management team expand. In the first half of this year we took on three new members of staff. This has allowed our Directors to step back from the day-to-day tasks that keep Virtalent running, and to instead dedicate more of their time to high impact initiatives that benefit the entire business – affecting everyone from our Virtual Assistants to every single one of our valued clients.
How has this made an impact?
It is a strategy that has certainly paid off. Sam says: “We have doubled in size since December, a metric that can be measured not only by the number of team members we have on board, but also by monthly revenue. We can proudly say that this hasn’t been the result of any outside investment or financing – it is solely down to a growing number of very happy clients. Which makes us very happy too!”
An impressive part of what Sam and Ellie have achieved is that their commitment to providing a highly bespoke service with outstanding customer service has remained constant throughout. Everything is also built to be scalable, so no matter how many clients we win, each and every client will always matter to us.
Let’s find out a bit more about our growing team…
Firstly, we have Samantha Mulondiwa who is our Virtual Recruitment Manager. She is responsible for overseeing the recruitment of all of our VAs. Renu Dhanjal is our Virtual Operations Manager and as well as managing our day to day operations, she also performs the important role of Account Manager to a number of clients.
I’m Jo Leeson, the newest member of the team, and as Virtual Marketing Manager I support us in a range of marketing initiatives, as well as managing the consultation process with prospective new clients.
We all work remotely which perfectly positions us to fully understand the relationship and dynamics our clients have with their VAs.
So what does a typical day look like for our new team members?
Samantha says: “Every day is different at Virtalent, that’s why I enjoy working here. I interview candidates, assess their skills, and carry out reference checks. We’re also starting a new recruitment campaign from next month to help us attract even more applicants, so that’s keeping me busy!”.
Having Samantha on board has helped us streamline and significantly improve our recruitment process. This has resulted in hiring even better VAs who have been more rigorously interviewed and background checked.
For Renu, her normal day looks a bit like this: “My day involves speaking with our existing clients and ensuring they are all receiving the 5 star experience we aim to deliver. I could be arranging holiday cover, updating them on their billing, or helping them to understand how our portal works. It’s completely varied which is what I love about the role.”
With Renu as part of the team, we have migrated all our marketing and communications into new CRM software which has helped improve our account management, kept all clients in the loop and provided them with regular tips on getting more out of the VA-client relationship. We have also introduced review calls after 3 months and then annually, which provides a structured, virtual meeting where clients can speak with their Account Manager. We want to make sure that they are getting the most out of our service, and these meetings help us do that. We are also actively seeking more feedback from both clients and VAs to help us improve what we do.
I manage the consultation process with prospective clients. That typically means having an exploratory call with them to find out what it is they are looking for, discussing those requirements with the team, and then putting forward the best VA we have for that role. I am also providing support on a number of marketing initiatives such as writing blog posts, new internal documentation, and we are also getting started on creating a brand new website for Virtalent.
Having more support for our marketing function has meant that, amongst other initiatives, we can now launch new marketing campaigns aimed at building our community of clients and VAs, as well as develop a new easier to use, more engaging website.
As I am now managing the consultation process, Renu, who used to be responsible for this, now has more time to dedicate to the account management side of things. Ellie says: “We aren’t just about getting new clients through the door. We genuinely want to build long term relationships with them and to be able to do that, we need to commit time and resources to proactively managing their accounts.”
That’s why we are also launching Virtalent Plus, a range of special deals and offers redeemable by existing clients only. So many companies only offer incentives to new clients, but we like to thank our existing ones.
And what made them want to join the Virtalent team?
Samantha says that along with the varied nature of her role, joining Virtalent has also been wonderful for her for more personal reasons . “After having my son I couldn’t see myself going back to an office based job which meant commuting for long periods of time, being away from my son and having to run between work and nursery every day. The thought alone exhausts me. Virtalent has given me the greatest opportunity – I get to work for a great company, doing something that I love, with the freedom that working remotely affords me. For that I am forever grateful.”
Renu says “I joined Virtlant to be part of something that was growing. I had previously worked for a huge international corporate business where my daily impact was difficult to see. Working for Virtalent means that everything I do has a direct impact on the business which is both exciting and challenging in equal measure. With Sam and Ellie’s guidance, my confidence has grown and I now can’t imagine working any other way!”
As for me, I was keen to join Virtalent after being impressed by what Sam and Ellie have achieved in such a short space of time. I’ve worked with businesses of various sizes throughout my career. At one end of the scale there was one of the world’s largest organisations with more than 300,000 staff, and at the other end was a start-up with only 2. It is the latter end of that scale that I enjoy the most. Working for people who are building their own business is varied, challenging and rewarding, and I love that at Virtalent we are helping our clients grow their businesses too.
What have been their biggest challenges since joining Virtalent?
Samantha says she genuinely hasn’t had any challenges since joining Virtalent. “That is because of who I work with. Ellie is wonderful. So is Sam. They both made me feel very welcome and they are extremely patient as I learn how things work.”
And Renu’s challenges? “During very busy periods, I sometimes found it challenging to manage the consultations as well as all of the day to day operations. It was important that I was able to prioritise so that each client and VA was responded to in a timely manner with all the answers they needed to continue with their day. Now that Jo is part of the team I have much more time to spend on nurturing our existing clients.”
From my own perspective, the main challenge for me has been getting to grips with the consultation process. I have worked in marketing for over a decade and am very comfortable with that side of my role. The consultation process has taken a bit of getting used to, but everyone has been super helpful and welcoming.
Please note that none of us were paid to be so complimentary!