Top 10 Online Tools for Virtual Assistants

I’m often asked to recommend tools that a virtual assistant should for their business. Here are my 10 favorite tech tools to use in my business.

1. Basecamp – https://basecamp.com/: This is a very simple, web-based, project management tool. You can store files and create task lists with due dates that can be assigned to different team members. You can share folders with clients or choose not to show certain files to clients. It also has a calendar. There is a free trial and the basic monthly fee is $20.

2. Dropbox – https://www.dropbox.com/: This is a file-sharing tool that can be synced with your computer. You can share links with colleagues and clients and invite them to a shared folder. It’s very easy to use and serves as a good backup for files. There is a free version as well as a more robust paid business version.

Top 10 Tech Tools for Virtual Assistants
3. Google Mail, Drive and Calendar– https://www.google.com/: I use Gmail for all my email needs, as well as all of Google’s tools such as Drive, formerly known as Google Docs, and the calendar. With Drive you can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. These can be shared and downloaded. You can upload your Word documents and Excel spreadsheets also and they convert very nicely. The calendar can also be shared so other team members know your availability.

4. Skype – http://www.skype.com/: This free tool can be used to speak with anyone else who has a Skype account. For a small fee, you can make calls to landlines and cell phones as well. There is also video conferencing. There are also free tools you can use to record your conversations if needed.

5. Jing – http://www.techsmith.com/download/jing/: Jing is a free tool that allows you to create videos and take screenshots. This has been very usefuly in my virtual assistant business to show a client or team member where to find something on a web page or to provide instructions. Videos are limited to five minutes.

6. Evernote – http://evernote.com/: The free version of EverNote has been plenty for me. I can synch it across all my devices – computer, phone and tablet. I can keep track of notes and to-do items. My lists can be updated from any device and then synched so it’s available on all of them. There is also a great search feature. Now if a client calls while I’m away from my computer, I can just make a quick note of it in EverNote on my phone.

7. WordPress – http://wordpress.com/: If you don’t yet have a blog and, you should set one up at WordPress. It’s easy to use and the perfect way to show off your expertise.

8. EchoSign by Adobe – https://www.echosign.adobe.com/: The free version of this web-based tool has been all I’ve ever needed to get contracts sent and signed by all parties. The perfect tool for any virtual assistant who needs to get their contract signed quickly to commence work.

9. QuickBooks Online – https://qbo.intuit.com/: A great tool I use to track all my income and expenses. I can use it from anywhere since it’s a web-based tool.

10. HootSuite – https://hootsuite.com/: The free version of this tool is all you need to manage your entire social media presence from one place.

What are your favorite online tools?

Tips to Effectively Manage Work Flow

In response to a recent search on our blog, here are some tips to effectively manage your work flow as a Virtual Assistant.

  • Set boundaries. Let your clients know when they sign the contract when you will be available to work, answer emails, return phone calls. Clearly stating these up front creates the correct expectations for your clients and prevents the majority of last minute rush requests.
  • Schedule specific times to check your email. Then close it. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted while working on client projects by new emails that come in.
  • Prepare for each day. Decide at the beginning of each day what needs to be done, prioritize, and stick to you schedule.
  • Use a white board to track client tasks. I note on a white board on my wall tasks for each client with their due date so that at a glance I can see what needs to be done.
  • Use online tools for project management and time tracking. There are a variety of online tools you can use. You can find some of them at 37Signals.

What other tips can you share to effectively manage work flow?