About the company
The Virtual Gurus matches businesses and entrepreneurs with freelance virtual assistants who offer a variety of services such as administrative, web maintenance, marketing, bookkeeping and social media.
Location: Calgary, Alberta Industry: Remote work services
The Virtual Gurus wanted to make sure that its virtual assistants stayed employed during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering discounts and some free services to its clients in the early months of the shutdown.
“We had a number of clients quit,” says CEO Bobbie Racette. “Then people realized that business had to go on. Everybody had to pivot.”
Racette says the company did its own pivot after she spoke to investors about helping out start-up companies and keeping virtual assistants working, many who are from marginalized communities such as indigenous, LGBTQ and people of colour.
“We provided 110 start-ups with free services with things like social media. We didn’t want our start-up friends to stop working. We offered a 40% discount for one month. Because we wanted to make sure our virtual assistants still had work, we paid them their regularly hourly rate.”
She says Virtual Gurus did take a financial hit during the first two months of the pandemic, but April attracted paying customers and they only ended losing a small number of those clients.
Business rebounded in May and June was a great month for the Calgary company.
“People realized they still needed the administrative services and were done pivoting. I think we have the most requests for services in this month in the history of Virtual Gurus.”
Racette sees opportunity in the new normal because employers are seeing the value of remote work in terms of cost and quality. Clients who had to leave due to the pandemic are starting to come back and are being welcomed with a lower rate.