Being a Virtual Assistant is often described as being a “jack-of-all-trades” (or Jill). You’re capable of doing so many different tasks and often your clients will expect you to wear as many hats as they need.
Virtual Assistants can be SUCH a valuable asset to a business. After all, you’re a multi-talented team member who is well versed in a plethora of different tools, apps and systems. This can be a bit scary to get your head around at the beginning, but don’t worry! The great thing about being a VA is that you can continue to learn as you go. You can build on your skills and keep adding to your ever-growing resume.
Using tools can make or break a business. Many are designed to make a business run more efficiently. There are tools for literally everything you can think of! It can be hard to know where to start. Having worked with a range of these tools for some time now, I’ve got some firm favourites! Let’s dive in.
Use Zoom as a Key VA Tool
What is it?: Desktop and online video calls
What’s it used for?: For discovery calls, fitting calls, kick-off calls and everything else in between.
Zoom is an absolute must for any online business owner. It is a great way to connect with your potential clients in a way that email or texting just can’t. It’s as close to a face-to-face meeting as possible and can help get your personality and offer across in the right way. Zoom is basically Skype but just that little more professional. Zoom has free and paid options. The free one is great but has a 40 min max on any one call. You can, however, just relaunch the meeting. Be mindful of doing this with a prospect in case it comes across as unprofessional. Don’t worry that much as you will probably be closed off on a discovery call well within the limits of the free version.
As briefly mentioned, it can be great for getting your personality across. Try and build rapport with the prospect and connect with them. Ask them questions at the beginning of the call and start to create a business relationship. All of these things just couldn’t be done with an email or phone call the same way.
A lot of the time, you can be an entrepreneur’s only virtual assistant. You want to be able to portray yourself to your strongest ability and come across as understanding, knowledgeable and trustworthy.
Google Drive is the Perfect File Sharing System
What is it?: Cloud-based file storage and sharing
What’s it used for?: Creating, sharing and storing files within your business and for clients
Oh, our sweet friend Google. Google Drive is to 2020, like Microsoft Office was to 2000. It has Google Docs (MS Word), Google Sheets (MS Excel), Google Slides (MS PP) and the rest.
It’s not only a goldmine to help you answer those 3 am questions but a great free, safe and accessible way for you to store and share your files.
Depending on certain services you offer as a VA, you’re going to get asked to see a portfolio at times and you’re also going to be asked to create documents for your clients.
Google Drive is my go-to for all of this. I always store files in their cloud-based system, which is absolutely amazing for the files that you constantly use like portfolios and contracts. Its shareable links make it easy to share your work with a potential client quickly and easily.
As for your clients, you can create and share files you may be co-working on so that you both have easy access to it without having to email back and forth when updates are made.
Do yourself a favour and make the switch to Google Drive, if you aren’t using it already!
Plan Your Social Media with Planoly
What is it?: A scheduling tool
What’s it used for?: Great for scheduling social media content in advance
Let’s not kid ourselves, there is absolutely no way to do our jobs without having our hand in social media. Whether it’s for us or our clients…it’s inevitable.
So whether you’re comfortable with social media or not, you’ve got to get at least a basic hand on it! If not for you, then at least for your potential client. They will need it. I promise you this.
Planoly allows you to keep that hand in the game. It’s a system that will allow you to schedule out your content ahead of time which then saves you SO MUCH TIME.
You simply upload the content, write out your captions, or copy-paste from your google doc, add hashtags and then schedule them out for the date and time you want it posted. Planoly then does the rest.
As you will need to have a social media presence as well, I recommend setting aside a day to plan out a month’s worth of content and then use Planoly to schedule it. We get so caught up in our client’s work that our business can take a backseat.
So go ahead and start scheduling!
Planoly (I’ve been using Planoly for ages now and have an affiliate link)
Asana is Project Management Bliss
What is it?: A project management tool
What’s it used for?: Ideal for managing projects either solely or as part of a team
Asana is a work/project management platform that gives you a meeting room of sorts. You can use it for yourself to keep track of all that you’re working on or you can use it for a team. Using it as a team is a great way to keep everyone in one place instead of scattered across emails and Zoom calls.
There are calendars within Asana so everyone’s schedules can be viewed. But mainly, you’re able to set up projects and tasks within those projects. You can then assign those tasks to team members along with due dates and leave comments for them within those tasks. I love this feature when working as a team because anyone can pick up a task as needed if someone else isn’t able to do it.
When you’re communicating across emails with multiple people, it may be hard to pass on tasks and share them because the new person may not be caught up on everything that has preceded. In Asana, all team members can keep up-to-date on the conversations surrounding certain projects.
We all know that teamwork makes the dream work, right?
Slack is a Fantastic Communication Tool
What is it?: A team communication tool
What’s it used for?: It helps to manage tasks and communication within a team
Ok, so I mentioned Asana for communicating with team members and I stand by that. But I also standby Slack because it’s communication on steroids.
While Asana is great for leaving comments on certain tasks, you’d have to remember the certain task where something might have been mentioned and you could ultimately waste a lot of time looking through it for that piece of information. Asana is great for immediate tasks. However, some tasks/projects are part of a bigger picture and that bigger picture is ongoing.
That’s where Slack comes in. Slack takes the work of “emails” out of the picture. It gives you a central arena for all team members to talk and share updates, tips and suggestions on certain topics.
Slack categorises topics into “channels” that are similar to hashtags in the sense that you can pull up a certain “channel” and see all comments, conversations and/or updates on that certain topic. It’s the social media for your business.
Canva: User-Friendly Graphics Tool
What is it?: A graphic design tool
What’s it used for?: SM graphics, presentation materials, portfolios and everything in between
Any graphic lovers out there? Even if you’re not, Canva is for you. Canva makes graphic design so user-friendly, it’ll have you considering a career in it, maybe.
Have you ever seen those social media posters with those awesomely curated feeds that consist of graphics that you just KNOW they didn’t create from scratch? Chances are they used Canva. It’s an online graphic editing platform that allows you to create graphics such as IG posts, Facebook covers, infographics, menus…you name it!
It’s a treasure trove for creative deliverables and your content. It comes with a ton of different fonts, pictures, templates and elements. You can save your branding colours, fonts and logos too so they’re easily accessible anytime you go to create.
It’s your free tool to help you create things for yourself as well as your clients. As with anything, it has a premium feature that unlocks many more fonts and pictures. I would highly suggest using it for anyone starting out as a VA as it could be a cheap and easy way to create a logo and/or portfolio until you have the funds to spend on leveling up.
Are you the next graphic art Picasso?
Canva (I absolutely LOVE this tool and love recommending it to people. Note: this is my affiliate link)
Quickbooks Takes the Headache out of Accounting
What is it?: An accounting software
What’s it used for?: Assistance in managing income/expenses, invoicing, taking payments
Quickbooks is accounting software that is focused on aiding small businesses and it gets as technical or as user-friendly as you want! It can help you manage bills, track income and expenses, send invoices and take payments and that’s just to name a few. What I love about it though is that it has versions specifically for freelancers.
Its self-employed tax bundle is a must-have for me because it helps to prepare for taxes which could seem extremely ominous for first-time freelancers. It can be challenging at the beginning to know how to best set aside money for your taxes, how much to set aside and when to send it out.
Their tax bundle also comes with help! You can speak to their customer service reps who can answer your tax questions as their software is integrated with Intuit. Keeping all of your money-related things in one place is key to keeping your business organised and running smoothly. For me, that’s just one area that I can’t allow to slack off.
Schedule Calls with Acuity
What is it?: A call scheduling tool
What’s it used for?: Allows potential clients to book a call easily
Scheduling is key not only for you but for your potential clients as well. Acuity is a scheduling platform that allows you to create a calendar with slots and your preferred hours throughout that week. It then offers a scheduling link for you to share with potential clients so that they can directly book calls with you based on your availability.
It’s also pretty customisable if you opt for the premium version. You can edit how your scheduling page looks to your customers which is often your first impression with how working with you can be for your clients.
After booking through the link, Acuity automatically adds it to your calendar and it has a great system that can also be integrated with your Google calendar! Confirmation emails are also sent out closer to the date to both you and your call attendee.
This is great for managing your time and keeping all your important calls in place! Time is money, after all.
Dubsado is the Ultimate Biz Management Tool
What is it?: A systems management tool
What’s it used for?: Creating workflows and streamlining your business
Dubsado is a business management solution that does it all. You can set up all your clients with the system including onboarding, creating proposals and contracts, invoices, sending emails and so much more.
Dubsado can create projects to share and work on with a team, you can send emails within it, you can do bookkeeping, schedule calls, track your calendar as well as create and edit documents within it.
Dubsado is a beast in the best and worst ways.
On the downside, because Dubsado has a lot to offer, it’s also a lot to become acquainted with. There are many VAs who offer to set Dubsado up as a service. It’s intricacies may be a small downside, however, I still think if you have the funds for it, it’s a great centralised system to run your business.
If not for you, many of your clients may already be working within it so it might be worth training yourself on it because chances are you’ll have to interact it with it sooner or later while on this VA journey.
Dubsado (Use this link and you’ll get 20% off your first year. If the link doesn’t work you can also use code “1795”)
Grammarly for Fine-Tuning Content
What is it?: It’s a writing aid
What’s it used for?: Helps Perfect your grammar and vocabulary
Grammar! Your words represent what you’re bringing to the table and like anything you submitted in school…you need to double-check your work!
Grammarly does that for you. Scan any emails or content writing that you may be submitting/sending to a client so that Grammarly can give you that extra eye. It’ll take a look at your work and give you feedback on things that are outright wrong and need to be fixed along with suggestions on things to change.
It’s not always right because your voice might be unique but it’s a good way to triple check your work. You want that proposal you send to come across just right and any content writing you do to be A+ quality.
The great thing about all of these tools is that when they all come together or are used in conjunction with the other, you’ll see that you’ve created this beautiful, streamlined and cohesive business model that your clients will love and respect you for.
Have I missed any of your favourites?!
To find out more about my service, feel free to get in touch!