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Subject: 21.25 hours with Jack C.

Tuesday, Jack called from London at 3:00 in the afternoon (PST) and was frustrated to the max with the project we've been working on for months. The program is due to roll out shortly at XYZ Inc. and the details were a mess because of input and changes from too many people. We needed to plow through a spreadsheet together and address each issue line item, by line item and it was grueling. The phone line was open between London and Lakewood, Calif. from 3:00pm until 9:15pm. Whew...

Today, on Thursday, he called in the late morning and said that he needed to "do it again". I wilted.  I couldn't imagine going through the whole file again as it was so intense and so focused that I was exhausted when we finished.  I asked how long he thought it would be and he said it wasn't nearly as bad as the first round; maybe an hour or two. WHEW!!! He told me that he would call at 4:00 p.m. my time (PST) and we'd start cranking.

He called at 4 p.m.  With lots of focus and motivation, we dug in. Progress was slow.  The reality of the task in front of us was becoming clear.  After an hour and a half, we hadn't made a dent.

Cooking with a virtual assistant
At 5:30 p.m. he asked what the Hipp family was planning for dinner and then offered to buy us dinner.  "Get whatever you guys want and add it to my hourly bill, Susie.  This is ridiculous that we're going through this again."  I was on speaker phone and my daughter was nearby, so I hollered to her... "Tanya, call Spago and order dinner!"  Jack cracked up and asked if Spago delivers.

My husband picked up Subway sandwiches and brought mine to my desk.  I don't think Jack ever knew I was eating while we were working.

Tanya joined me in the office periodically and had conversations with Jack.  He told her about his daughter getting her learner's permit, and about him financing her second car.  They laughed together while I was editing .xls files. Their conversation seemed to revitalize him at times as it was now the wee hours of the morning in London. Conversation to keep us both alert cropped up every now and then.  He even reminisced about the first time he called me and the realization that he'd found an awesome resource. I reminded him that I'd stayed up until 2:00 a.m. that night, but had to get up the next morning to go to work as I was still working a full time corporate job at that time.

Does a virtual assistant ever sleep?
Around 1:00 a.m. PST I was grinding through the cleanup of files and my eyes were crossing. My brain was mush. It was silent on the speaker phone as Jack did whatever on the other end.  A female voice came out of nowhere saying, "Jack, were you here all night again?  Oh, I didn't know you were on the phone!"  She apologized profusely and then I was privy to their entire conversation, during which he introduced me "virtually" to one of his coworkers and explained how he works with a virtual assistant in California. It was fun to listen to his presentation of the concept. She was amazed that I was still working at 1:00 in the morning.  I told her I was too...

After the woman left the room, Jack's tone changed and he said, "Susie, do you have any brain cells left? I have one more task I'd really appreciate if you'd address."  From somewhere deep, I rustled up a smile and the willingness to say, "You betcha."  He forwarded a .doc file and a .ppt file and asked that I move some graphics from the .ppt to the .doc and then make some minor edits to the cover, footer, and index of the .doc file.  I opened both and went to the .ppt file to grab the graphics and realized that I had to actually create one of the images.  I dug in, created the image, and dropped four different graphics into the .doc file.  Off they went in email to Jack and I sat waiting for confirmation of receipt. Meanwhile I created my invoice at

"Nothing received, Susie."

Oh, please.  After all this, we're going to have email difficulty?

Out came my webpage editor... click, click, click... "Jack, you can go to and pick up that file by clicking on the filename.

"Susie, you're so Hipp" was his reply.

While the file was downloading on Jack’s end, he clicked onto the homepage at  "A virtual assistant. Does that really work?" he read from my web page content. He chuckled aloud. "Susie... this definitely works" was his reply.

I later thanked Jack for having dinner with me twice this week.  He thanked me for sharing two London sunrises with him.  He expressed his utter appreciation for my support and again let me know how much he enjoys working with me.

At 1:47 a.m. I sent Jack an invoice for this week's hours (21.25 over two days). I knew he was heading to Paris this afternoon (or whatever day this is in London) and didn't know when he'd see a computer again and wanted him to receive the invoice before he headed out.  When I woke up this morning and checked email, I had a message generated by PayPal. "You've got cash!" in the subject line.  Jack paid me at 1:55 a.m., eight minutes after I sent the invoice.  At the bottom of his invoice, where it usually says, "GetHipp: We fill in your blanks and make you shine" I had edited to say...


Names have been changed for privacy sake.

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