Virtual Assistance Transforming Business Operations

A Case Study with Katie Crane

Katie Crane, the owner of Encore Pilates & Wellness, Sanctuary By The Sea, Pilates Pro Academy, and podcast ‘The Pilates Lounge‘, shares her journey of streamlining business operations through virtual assistance with Virtual Elves.

Business Landscape Before Engaging Virtual Assistance

Katie manages three distinct businesses: brick-and-mortar pilates and wellness studios, teacher training under Pilates Pro Academy, and a podcast as a resource for students. Katie has always been driven by a desire to help others find joy and freedom in movement. However, the demands of running multiple businesses soon became overwhelming. Despite having a full-time studio manager and limiting her teaching days, Katie found herself juggling numerous tasks, often outside her expertise. The pressure to maintain a consistent brand voice across all platforms, manage social media, and handle administrative duties left her feeling reactive rather than proactive.

“I have three different businesses that I run… I definitely felt before I engaged with virtual elves that my cup was overflowing with jobs to do and I was working reactively rather than proactively.”

Challenges Faced in Business Operations

Katie often found herself handling tasks outside her expertise, detracting from focusing on her strengths and passion. Tasks like social media management consumed significant time and effort, diverting her attention from core business activities.

“A lot of the time I was doing things that weren’t what I think of as my superpower… I just found myself always dipping into those tasks that are not necessarily the most valuable tasks for me to be doing.” Katie reflected. 

Katie’s struggle was not just about time management but also about maintaining consistency and alignment with her brand voice. Despite experimenting with various staffing solutions, including casual staff for teaching, reception, and social media, finding the right fit remained elusive.

Overcoming Overwhelming Tasks


Despite experimenting with various staffing solutions, including casual staff for teaching, reception, and social media, Katie struggled to find consistency and alignment with her brand voice. Her reluctance to fully embrace virtual assistance stemmed from uncertainties about integrating remote support into her predominantly brick-and-mortar businesses.

“Social media I find really time-consuming… I know from experience that you need to be on social media to get the reach that you want to get, but I also feel like it’s Monopoly money.”

Embracing Virtual Assistance

Through recommendations from peers and associations like Her Business, Katie explored the idea of virtual assistance, eventually partnering with Virtual Elves. The vetting process and assurance of working with trusted professionals alleviated her initial concerns, paving the way for a seamless transition.

“I was just speaking to other people within Her Business Marketing Masterclass and Virtual Elves was recommended by some of the other women… I really like that Virtual Elves did all the work for me to make sure that the person I found was the right fit.”

“I had looked at other options like Fiverr , where you are doing all the vetting but that felt like picking the winning lotto ticket, re finding the right person.”

Transition Period and Task Delegation

The initial phase involved onboarding a virtual assistant specialised in Kajabi, Canva, and ActiveCampaign. Through collaborative efforts and clear communication, the assistant quickly adapted to Katie’s brand voice, streamlining social media management and content creation.

“I just got her to do some creative work for me so that I could see what her style was… We worked together pretty closely for about a month just while she really learned my brand voice.”

Later, a second assistant joined to spearhead podcast production, showcasing Katie’s shift towards delegating tasks and aligning with her own strengths.

By the time I hired a VA with Virtual Elves I was so desperate for help, it felt like a huge burden was taken off me and I was willing to work with my VA closely in order to make sure we were successful together.” 

Impact on Daily Workflow and Time Management

With structured weekly check-ins via Zoom and streamlined communication using Slack and, Katie experienced her own improved time management and workflow efficiency. The remote nature of collaboration encouraged her to be more organised and intentional, leading to enhanced productivity.

“I’ve learned better time management working with VAs because they are remote… It’s actually made me be much more organised and intentional with the way that I work.”

“Before I had VAs I would kind of just dally along and you know just get work done as I needed. Since having VAs my time has opened up and I have more structure.”

Evolution of Business Operations

Delegating non-core tasks to virtual assistants empowered Katie to focus on strategic growth initiatives, particularly in expanding her teacher training platform. With assistance in content creation and platform management, she realised her long-term vision more effectively.

“It’s allowed me to work more intentionally on the part of the business that I want to grow… I now see that my long-term plan is coming to fruition much easier.”

Future Business Strategy

While still in the learning phase, Katie acknowledges the importance of ongoing communication and mutual understanding in remote collaboration. She plans to refine her business strategy further based on evolving needs and insights gained from working with virtual assistants.

“I think I’m still at the stage where I’m just tidying things up (three businesses is a lot)… Going forward for sure, but we’re just not there yet.”

Katie's Advice for Business Owners Considering Virtual Assistance

Katie emphasises the significance of clearly defining tasks for virtual assistants and maintaining open communication channels. Acknowledging cultural differences and investing in mutual learning fosters a collaborative and productive working relationship.

I think especially as a small business owner we don’t necessarily realise how much of that we continue to do just intuitively and it’s important that we keep those communication lines open…” 

“I would say it’s definitely worth considering taking on a VA, but go in knowing exactly what it is that you want them to be doing.”

Katie’s journey underscores the transformative impact of virtual assistance on business efficiency and growth. By leveraging remote support and fostering effective communication, she navigates the complexities of managing multiple businesses with greater ease and focus.

“What I’ve noticed the last few months, working with the VAs, is that they’re so amazing at what they do… They are also really passionate about your business and they are hungry to learn as well.” 

“You have to be willing to meet people where they’re at and be part of the learning.”

Download our ‘100 things a VA can do for you’ checklist and start taking control of your growth.

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