Dreaming of laptop-lifestyle or spending more time with family at home? Considering becoming a Virtual Assistant?
To succeed as a VA though, you need to be perfectly organised, manage your time well and communicate in a timely and professional manner.
Luckily, there are some (free!) tools that will help you with the following tasks:
Communication with your clients – scheduling meetings, free video calls, free chats
Graphic design – online design tools, stock photo websites
Project management – assigning projects to your team members/ freelancers
Time management – time tracking tools
Social media marketing – post scheduling, creating reportsco
Accounting & Invoicing
Grab our list of 8 must-have tools for Virtual Assistants to make sure you start off the right foot!
#1 Communication tools
The first thing you will need as a VA is probably a tool to schedule meetings with your potential clients.
Calendly is an amazingly simple (free-mium) online tool that allows you to create availability time slots and allow people to choose a meeting time from a link:
It syncs with your Google and Apple calendar and sends you (and the person you’re meeting) email reminders to your email – so you never forget a meeting again.
You can set different meeting types (although only one type can be used at a time in the free version).
You can also see all your past and upcoming meetings:
Once you get hired by your client, how are you going to discuss the details of the projects with them?
Slack is a collaboration tool that allows you to organise your communication into different channels. So – instead of talking to your clients on Messenger and losing track of all the conversations/ deadlines/ files you share, you can create a separate channel for each client and easily find things you’ve been discussing with them.
Slack is free up to 10,000 messages in the chat history – more than enough for starters – and the paid plans are really affordable too, once you need to upgrade.
When you need to have a meeting with your remote clients, how are you going to organise it?
You need a simple yet reliable video call solution.
My absolute favourite video calling tool that allows you to hold video con calls with as many people as you want without registering any accounts or downloading anything – you simply generate a custom link once (such as https://meet.jit.si/PostfityDemo) and you can share it with anyone you want to invite to the video call.
The tool is basic, but includes the usual functionalities such as chat and screen sharing.
#2 Graphic design tools
As a Virtual Assistant, you will need to create a lot of graphics for your clients, especially for social media. That’s why graphic design are one of the most important tools for Virtual Assistants.
Canva is one of the most versatile tools for Virtual Assistants. It’s an all-in-one graphic design tool that lets you create graphics based on thousands of templates in many formats: for infographics, social media (Facebook/Twitter covers, posts, profile pictures, ads etc.), posters, leaflets, PDFs, presentations, ebooks covers etc.
All templates come in the right dimensions for the different platforms– which saves you time figuring out what dimensions you need for different social media. And if you need to resize your already-created graphic – you have the magic rezise tool in the paid plan.
#3 Project Management tools
Even if you are only just starting out now – before you know it, you will need to collaborate with other freelancers (graphic and web designers, Google Ads experts etc.).
And you will need to make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding deadlines, task allocation, etc.
Email doesn’t cut it anymore, and you need proper project management tools.
Luckily – for a small team, they are free!
Asana is a great tool that allows you to assign and manage tasks with a team of up to 15 people completely for free!
You can toggle tasks, move them around the different stages of completion on your kanban board (assigned – in progress – done), assign them to team members, send them email reminders, and see the work-in-progress either as a kanban board, to-do-list, or a calendar.
#4 Time tracking tools
If you’re billing your clients by the hour, they will sooner or later ask you for justification of your bills. Better be on the safe side and track your time from day one – set up an online time clock and track how much time exactly you’re spending on each task. That way – you will also be more productive and be able to serve more clients, and have a better customer satisfaction.
Toggl is a free online timeclock that allows you to set timers and save the time you spend working on specific tasks, for specific projects, for specific clients:
It’s super-easy to use and free for an individual user – perfect for a self-employed VA ;)
#5 Social Media Marketing Tools
One of the most common tasks you will do as a Virtual Assistant is offloading your clients with social media marketing.
If you need to post 5 times per week for 5 clients though – doing it every day directly on the social media platform becomes impossible as it would totally derail your daily schedule – you need a tool that will automate the process of posting for you so you can allocate e.g. one day to this task and batch work. This is where a social media scheduler comes into play.
Postfity is a free social media scheduler that allows you to schedule posts for the main social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn) in advance.
In the free account version, you can add up to 5 social media profiles (usually more than enough for 1-5 clients, especially if you specialise in one social medium only – e.g. Facebook) – and schedule up to 10 posts per week – also enough for starters.
Once your business grows – and you have say 5-10 clients – you can schedule up to 100 posts in advance for just $ 9 per month – which makes Postfity the cheapest tool in its class.
#6 Accounting & invoicing tools
One of the most must-have tools for Virtual Assistants is an accounting software that will allow you to invoice your clients, make your invoices look professional, and keep track of your income and expenses so you can quickly prepare your accounts for tax purposes.
In my business, I have used Wave Accounting for many years.
Wave Accounting is a free online accounting tool that allows you to track your income and expenses, create and send invoices automatically to your saved customers from the tool, and take credit card payments.
It’s online and it’s free :)
Alternatively – when your business grows, you may need to upgrade to a more robust tool (which allows you to file VAT returns etc.) Freshbooks offers a full-on accounting as well as time-tracking, with automatic checks and balances to ensure accuracy and compliance. They also provide financial information to help you make better business decisions and facilitate working with your accountant.
Moreover – Freshbooks offers a number of customizable invoice templates that will help you match your brand identity. Here’s the link to their invoice templates, many of which are free and can be put directly to use!
Hope this round-up of best tools for Virtual Assistants helps you start your VA career off the right foot – and save time, stress and money! Good luck! :)