Resourceful. Tenacious. Flexible.

A little bit about me

Emma Crabtree - Business Support

Emma Crabtree - Business Support

Here you have, in  around 500 words, what, why & how I do what I do.

When we relocated to Portugal, in 2004, I knew I would have to work, but at what, or as what? I had no locally recognised paper qualifications or letters after my name, so looking for work locally, where you need a Phd to be the typist, was not going to be an option. I did not speak reasonable Portuguese back then either. Bills needed to be paid, petrol put in the car…

In February 2005 I saw an article in Red magazine about a woman who had started her own Virtual Assistant (VA) business. A high-flying friend was staying and he thought that I would be perfect as a VA. It suited my lifestyle, drew on the experience and knowledge I already had and the start up costs were relatively small. Red Box Virtual Office came into being in June 2005. In 2015, as Red Box Business Support, I celebrated 10 years in business.

In a nutshell, I am a business administrator for lots of other businesses. I’ve worked with start-ups and fully formed businesses, with individual entrepreneurs and teams of people. I’ve also worked with banks and human resource institutions when they needed someone to outsource short-term projects to. As an idea of who uses my services, I am currently working with a not-for-profit fundraising organisation in the UK, a management consultant in Denmark and an executive coach based in Portugal.

While the individuals and businesses that work with Red Box are different, they all require someone to undertake the day to day administration that is time consuming and/or not profitable or efficient for them to do in-house. They may also not need someone full or even part time & not having to pay sick leave or for vacation time, insurance or pension contributions is an attraction. I act as the customer service department, I undertake research, maintain databases, do lots of sourcing & procurement as well as updating websites and blogs, answering emails and taking phone calls.

I mainly work from home. And yes that does mean that I get to work in my pyjamas on the cold days. It also means no commuting, walking the dog when I want to, setting my own schedule & workload, as well as the ability to do those dull but necessary domestic duties through the week rather than just at the weekend.

And how does it all work? By email and Skype and WhatsApp, of course! I doubt whether I could do what I do if I was starting up 15 or 20 years ago. Advances in technology mean that you don’t need to be sharing office space, let alone be in the same town or even in the same time zone. When asked, “How do you receive assignments?” I reply, “The same way you assign projects to your staff or co-workers; via email or a project management system like Asana or Basecamp.” Think about it; when was the last time you dropped a file off on someone else’s desk? Walked down the hall and had a face to face meeting with someone? Quite!

After all, we’re all adults. It’s in my interests to be proactive, tenacious and personable. To get work completed on time and to budget. I can save you time, money, stress and a few tears. Give me a call.


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I know that outsourcing can feel a bit scary. You may also be thinking that taking the time out to teach me your systems & processes would be a lot of hard work. It may be hard in the first few weeks, but afterwards you will think, "Why didn't I do this earlier." Guaranteed.

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