After being a virtual assistant for several years now, I’ve had the “opportunity” to test out quite a few different tools over the years.
Some have worked wonderfully and others… not so much!
Because let’s be honest, there are THOUSANDS of business tools on the market. They all promise to be the one thing you need to increase your income, be more productive, grow your email list, get more likes/followers/page views/whatever else. But realistically, they can’t ALL be the one thing you need.
While tools can help you with all of those things, at some point the cost of the tool outweighs the benefit. Plus, if you have too many tools, not only are you probably overspending, but your business will be disorganized. Just keeping track of the tools you use will become a job in and of itself.
These are all reasons why I’m a fan of keeping my list of tools as small as possible. And, that’s why I’m sharing my favorite, essential tools for virtual assistants in this post so you don’t waste time or money on trying out all the other things out there.
You’re welcome! 😉
- Financial Tools
- Social Media Tools
- Scheduling Tools
- Organization Tools
- Other Tools
First, let’s start with financial tools. If you’re a VA and own your own business, you need to keep track of incoming and outgoing money. You also need to make sure that you’re in the right position while filing taxes from year to year.
Instead of worrying about your money and business finances, use one of these tools to keep everything organized.
If you’ve been here long, you may already know I’m a HUGE fan of FreshBooks.
I’ve been using FreshBooks for almost three years now and it’s easily the best money I spend in my business when it comes to tools.
There are tons of reasons why I love FreshBooks, including that it saves me time, makes my invoices look professional, makes account and taxes easy!
HoneyBook isn’t just a financial tool. It can also help you manage projects, book clients, send invoices, and get paid on time.
It’s one of those systems that is pretty much an all in one. It has its own project management system, a client portal, and invoicing capabilities.
3. QuickBooks Self-Employed
QuickBooks Self-Employed is a great tool to use if you’re scared about taxes and figuring out what you should be paying quarterly.
Not only does QuickBooks offer you the option to pay your taxes right through their site, but they also have an invoicing system and a way to track all of your business expenses.
Hurdlr is a great add-on tool used to organize and track your business income, expenses, and taxes.
If you find yourself driving around for your business (yes, even as a VA this can happen) Hurdlr can track your mileage for you automatically! It also offers a free option if you don’t need any of the paid features.
Wave Accounting is a free online accounting software program that offers the ability to add payroll, send invoices, have an e-commerce shop, and even store client credit cards.
You can even track your income and expenses with it and have everything organized come tax time.
Social Media Tools
Some other essential tools for VAs are social media tools. As a VA, clients may ask you to manage their social media, or you’ll need to manage your own if you have a website that corresponds with your business.
Here are some of my favorite tools to help automate social media and make it easier to manage.
Hootsuite is a scheduling tool that you can use to automatically share Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and tweets. While there paid plans may work for you, a free plan was all I needed when I used it.
It’s easy to use, and you can get your social media up and running in no time.
If you plan on using Hootsuite for clients, you may have to upgrade to a paid plan to hold all of the accounts you’ll be working with. Or, you can have your client sign up and give you their username and password to schedule on their behalf.
Tailwind is the ultimate tool for Pinterest scheduling. If you have a client that wants to up their Pinterest game or stop wasting time pinning on Pinterest, Tailwind can help.
Tailwind is a simple tool that allows you to schedule and post pins during optimal times on Pinterest to increase engagement, get more eyes on your pins, and even take away the need to constantly pin in order to stay in Pinterest’s algorithm.
It takes the guesswork out of figuring out what works and what doesn’t on Pinterest.
I like to think of it as a cheaper version of Meet Edgar, and it can be a great tool to use if you’re just getting started and need to keep costs low.
If your client needs help with Instagram, or if you want to automate your own, you can sign up for Planoly.
It offers the option to schedule Instagram posts and stories that automatically post for you. It even lets you enter in your caption and hashtags so you can set it up and forget it.
Planoly offers a free plan up to 30 Instagram posts a month, or you can sign up for their paid plans starting at $9/month.
Do you find yourself talking to clients a lot via meetings or phone calls? If so, you may find out that it’s difficult to coordinate a lot of meetings and projects. Here are some scheduling tools that you may want to try instead of going back and forth over email to get a meeting scheduled.
Acuity is great for any VA that finds themselves scheduling different types of appointments like discovery calls and regular check-in calls with clients.
It even offers the option to text a client to remind them that they have an appointment with you.
If you have forgetful clients, or if you need to charge for your time, Acuity offers great options for paid and free calls.
I use Calendly to schedule all of my appointments. I love Calendly because it syncs with my Google calendar, which is pretty much my life (and business) scheduling tool.
This helps avoid double booking myself and missing appointments or having to re-schedule and seem disorganized.
You can even connect it with your payment system to accept payment for coaching sessions before they’re scheduled.
I used to use Skype for my online meetings, but now I use Zoom for all of them!
It works way better than Skype in my opinion, with less dropped calls and lag time. It’s great for team meetings, client meetings, coaching calls, and more.
I record my screen to share training with my team members, and it’s how I recorded the bonus interviews for my course, $10K VA.
Plus, it integrates with Calendly, so whenever someone books a call with me, they are automatically given the Zoom link for our meeting.
One of the most essential skills every VA needs to have is the skill of organization. Here are some of the tools I’ve used to keep my clients and myself organized.
I use Google’s G-Suite for everything, including email, my calendar, documents, spreadsheets, document sharing with my team and my clients, and more!
It syncs well between my phone and computer, plus it works great with Asana too.
Without Google’s suite of tools, I’d definitely be a disorganized mess in my business!
While I prefer G-Suite, Dropbox is another great organization and storage option for virtual assistants.
It’s also great to use if you have multiple clients and want to keep their info separate from each other. All you have to do is create a folder for each client and share a link to the folder with them!
Besides all the tools already listed above, there are a few other tools for virtual assistants that I highly recommend.
15. A Project Management System
Here are a couple of quick reasons why Asana is my personal favorite.
- It’s free! (There is a paid version, but I’ve never used it!)
- It has multiple views, including a calendar view, a board view, and a list view.
- Creating sections and color coding helps keep things organized.
- You can create secret projects so not every team member has to have access to all of your information.
- The duplicate task feature saves me a ton of time!
I’ve been using Asana for years for my business and many of my clients use it too.
If you haven’t used Asana, I recommend checking out this course from my friend Matt. It’s super in-depth and only $25!
16. A Business Credit Card
I believe it’s super important to keep your personal and business expenses separate, even if you’re just starting out. Keeping mine separate makes tax time easier, and it allows me to see exactly what I’m bringing in and spending each month.
If you aren’t really sure how to separate business and personal money, try signing up for a business credit card.
You can use it for business expenses to keep all purchases and extras that you spend on your business separate from your personal expenses, like food, rent/mortgage, and gas for your car.
Another perk to this is if you’re ever audited by the IRS, or if you ever need to show proof of business income and expenses, it’s easy to go through your business credit card vs. sharing all of your personal financial information.
17. An Email Marketing Program
Since not all virtual assistants are also bloggers, you may be thinking you don’t need an email marketing program. But, if that’s what you’re thinking, you’d be wrong.
There’s a lot more you can do with email marketing other than sending newsletters to blog subscribers.
I use my email marketing program to keep in touch with my blog readers (of course!), my coaching students, $10K VA course students, my course affiliates, and even my clients from time to time.
Email marketing makes it easy to pre-write any updates you need to send out. You can schedule them, or even set up automated sequences.
For example, you could set up a client welcome sequence.
I’ve used a lot of email marketing programs on behalf of my clients over the years and ConvertKit is by far my favorite.
18. Expert Technical Services
One thing I’ve paid for since the very beginning of my business is technical help.
I use Grayson from iMark Interative and he is amazing! He always keeps things up-to-date on my site, and is constantly on the lookout for new bugs, hackers, viruses, and things I probably don’t even know about.
He willingly shares his knowledge with many Facebook groups and other online communities when there are security threats they need to be aware of. Plus, he’s always willing to help any other technical issues I run into too!
If you don’t know how to protect your website yourself, you need to hire someone to do it for you. Because my site serves as my largest body of work, a portfolio, and a landing page to many people who are seeking my course and my virtual assistant services, I know it’s important to protect it. If my site were to go down for too long, it could mean a huge loss in income.
19. Video Storage
You may be wondering why you need video storage as a virtual assistant, but I’ve found that it’s come in handy many times in my business.
First, if you decide to hire subcontractors to help with your workload, or if you decide to use video as a marketing tool to help you find clients for your virtual assistant business, a video storage solution will be very helpful.
You can record training videos for your subcontracts and store them. Or you can record videos testimonials with your clients and use them to market your business on social media or on your website.
I use Vimeo because it’s pretty affordable and is way more professional and secure than just using YouTube and having videos be “unlisted”.
20. A Great Support Group
While not technically a tool, a great support group can go far. I’ve been very blessed with the friendships I’ve formed in the digital space and many of whom I’ve in person at least once or twice.
Without a support group, entrepreneurship can get lonely, especially if you work online.
Here’s a thank you to those of you who have offered support to me and my business over the years!
Even though being a VA can mean low overhead to get started, I have found that these tools have really helped my business grow beyond what I imaged it would be. If you’re looking for some great tools that make running your business easier, these are what I’d recommend!
Do you have any of these tools or resources for your business? What other tools do you consider essential to your business?