When we enter the Virtual Assistant online world from a corporate job, the scariest thing can sometimes be the technology we need to use to work with our clients.
There are a lot of options, but it is important to find something that works for you.
You can get into a lot of moving parts when you use a lot of different systems and software. The key is to start using one thing at a time and developing good habits to use it, and then bring in something else.
Here are a few technology pieces you might consider for your VA business:
- Online Signature Software
When you get VA clients, you need to have them sign your contract or retainer agreement. Doing this online is one of the simplest things for everyone. You can find services that are free or paid to do this. What you use depends on how much volume you have. Services like HelloSign, AdobeSign, or Dubsado are good options to explore for this.
- Online Payment Options
Collecting payment by credit card is a simple way to do business with clients around the world. But when you are first starting out as a VA, you might not want to get a merchant account or ecommerce solution yet. Starting with Paypal is very common – you can accept cards easily and the fees are not that much higher than a merchant account in many cases. Freshbooks also offers a credit card payment option using their merchant, WePay – and you can do your invoicing there as well. It’s a reasonable solution that grows with your business. If you are charging in your own currency you can also use etransfers, which are gaining in popularity.
- Password Manager
When you start to manage a lot of different passwords – for your own business and for your clients – you will find a password manager useful. It is a secure way to save and share passwords, so you don’t have to pass them through email. Roboform and Lastpass are two of the most popular options for virtual assistants. Once you use a password manager, you’ll never be without one again!
- Social Media Content Manager
There are many options to manage your social media content – they each have their own features that may be suitable for your business. They also have their own price points. Hootsuite, Meet Edgar, and Buffer are all pretty popular for VAs. My preferred system is ContentCal. Whichever you use, remember that you can schedule some content, but you should be looking to also be present on any social media channels you use as well.
- Project Management System
Starting out you may find a simple way to manage the tasks you need to take care of daily, but as you get busy with client work you will want to have a central place, if possible, to manage the client work and your own work. Sometimes you will work in your client’s project management systems, but you will probably want to have one of your own if they don’t use one yet. There are so many options for these – it really boils down to your own preferences and finding one that you will actually use. Asana, Basecamp, Trello, Dubsado, and Teamwork are all options recommended by VAs.
- Scheduling Software
If you are booking a lot of meetings or calls – for yourself or your clients – you will want to find an automation software that can handle much of the back and forth for you. Calendly, Timetrade, and Acuity are popular ones. There are many, and some of them are built specifically for certain industries, if that’s something you want to look into for your clients. What you really need in them is the ability for the client to choose their own appointment time and for the system to send automated reminder emails for appointments.
- Cloud Storage
Storing your files online from the get-go is a really smart move for Virtual Assistants. It allows you to work from anywhere and access what you need. Some of you may never leave your office on a regular basis, but that first time you go on vacation and need to check in or send a client something they can’t find, you’ll understand why this is important. Dropbox and Google Drive are the two most popular ways to share files with clients. Dropbox is simpler to use and to save things to – but Google Drive is more share-friendly.
Automation and technology are a big part of the VA industry. There are many options that you can decide to use in your business. Just incorporate new things as you need them – instead of trying to implement them all from the start. You’ll find it easier to do a bit at a time (like anything!), and your business will run more smoothly!
Tracey D’Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. Contact Tracey for speaking engagements, group training or private coaching at www.yourvamentor.com.
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