When it comes to being a Virtual Assistant, you’ll quickly realize that there are a ton of different tools out there and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what is effective. Not to mention, worth your time and money. In the beginning stages of your business, you don’t likely haven an abundance of time and definitely not money. Speaking from personal experience, my goal was to get my business up and running for as little money as possible. However, I did recognize the value in a few key virtual assistant tools that were worth the investment. Now, it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things! Here at The Virtual Assistant Studio, we want to get you to generating full time income as fast as possible. The thought of a thirty-dollar paid plan subscription, to help aid your business, shouldn’t cause you to bat an eye. Plus, this will help you to avoid credit cards and going into debt in order to start your business!
After giving just about all of them a try, I’ve narrowed it down to the top 3 tools you need to be a successful Virtual Assistant. These are the same tools I use in my business daily. Yep, even now, years later I’m still using and loving them! But in true Amanda fashion, I’m throwing in a few tools that I love and use on the daily too!
As a virtual assistant, you need an easy way to invoice your potential clients! After all, you need a reliable and professional way to receive payments. I’ve been using Honeybook since day one because it’s easy to use, has the ability to create systems and super affordable! There are a variety of different invoicing platforms that small business owners can utilize. However, I’ve found that Honeybook is the most user-friendly.
You may be wondering why you even need an invoicing software? Well, honeybook is more than a way to simply send invoices. It’s a complete client management software. You can create automations, send invoices, keep track of contracts, send emails that all new clients to set up discovery calls and more!
It sounds almost daunting, I know. But I did a complete setup in a matter of just a few hours when I was first starting my business, and still use the templates I created back then, to this day! You want to think about on-boarding a new client as a whole experience. From the time they reach out to you on social media or through your website, their experience should be a reflection of the amazing work they are about to receive from you. Remember, first impressions are lastly impressions! It’s kind of like if you open a jumbled box that’s half crushed from Amazon, you don’t expect much. But if you receive a beautifully branded box that has nice tissue paper and a custom sticker holding it all together, you know the contents are about to be really good! The same applies for your client experience.
Not only is their platform easy to use but it’s visually enticing for the client too. You can set it up to where when a client inquires they automatically get an email for a form to fill out and a time to book a call on your calendar. Or if you have a link to book a call on your website you can have a confirmation email automatically sent once they book their call. From there they can receive a questionnaire prior to the call so that you have all the info you need and to make sure they are a good fit before moving forward.
This has saved me a ton of time. This way I’m not sending email each time I get an inquiry and I’m not wasting time on calls with people that are not within my service niche. And they aren’t having their time wasted! Finally, once the client decides to move forward we can send, sign and store the contract in Honeybook and then I can set them up for automated payments. My clients love the ease of the process and knowing exactly what’s coming and the constant communication while it gives me peace of mind knowing no one is getting missed, or forgotten about.
If you’re wanting to give Honeybook a try, here is 50% off your subscription!
Depending on how you structure your business, you may charge by the hour for the work that you do or you may offer packages for specific services, some virtual assistant call this a retainer. This means that your client pays a certain amount of money each month for a specific set of services. In our business, we currently use both models! Depending on what services you’re offering and how long you’ve been a virtual assistant may dictate which direction you go. However, there is no right or wrong way to charge. Whichever way you decide to structure your pricing, I highly recommend using a time tracking tool. My favorite is Toggl!
This is by far my most used tool as a Virtual Assistant. The best part is, it’s completely free. Yep, FREE! While I love the free version, they do offer a paid version with even more features and benefits.
I use it to track every single thing I spend my time on. From checking emails to delegating tasks, if it’s happening, I’m time tracking it. You may be wondering why track everything you do in your day? To which I ask you this question. Have you ever had a day that felt busy and chaotic and yet your to-do list is still fully in tact? Somehow three hours just went by and you know you were are the computer doing things, but you’re not really sure what those things are. Yeah me too, friend. Toggle allows me to see if I’m wasting time clicking around, answering slack messages, texting, or even hop on social media to grab something and end up scrolling. It’s okay, we’ve all been there. But it’s important to be able to recognize just how much time we can waste away.
Not only does Toggl show you time wasted but it helps keep me on track with the task at hand. If the timer is running for a specific client I don’t want to have to shut it down to hop over to email for two minutes, so instead it forces me to complete the task at hand in its entirety and then move on. It sounds simple, but as someone who as an active brain and can jump from thought to thought, this can be challenging.
The final reason Toggle is amazing is if you are charging your clients hourly, Toggl allows you to create beautiful breakdowns that you can then use to send to clients and create invoices with.
As a business owner of a VA business, I have my entire team using Toggl too! I do this not to micro manage. But to gauge about how long it takes to complete certain tasks within the business. This helps me to know who to delegate things to, how to set pricing within the business, what our bandwidth is, who might need guidance and more. It’s very eye opening to be able to see productivity in such a birds eye view. I’m a firm believer that the more we know about ourselves the better we can be!
The final, and possibly the most important, tool you need in your arsenal of weapons as a virtual assistant business is a project management tool! I remember the days when a simple to-do list or paper planner was totally fine for keeping my life organized. However, the more complex my business became, the need for a task management system became greater than essential. Now, I will say, there are a lot of options out there. I’ve used Trello and Asana before and both are fine. Click Up was the first free task manager that allowed me to truly integrate it into my life with ease.
We do a lot of shared Google calendars with our clients. This allows them to add and change things within their business and make notes for us to see on demand. This is especially helpful in doing things like scheduling out posts ahead of time, allowing us to batch content. With ClickUp we can integrate our shared client Google calendars within our task management system. This allows the whole team has access to the document. We can create tasks out of the calendar items with the click of one button. We can even message each other right in click up. This helps to eliminate the amount of weekly team meetings, so that we can gain some of our time back.
I also love that Click Up integrates with Google Docs and Google Drive. This way we can create client profiles for each of our clients that allows us to have all the information in one place! This can be anything from their top performing brands to their brand guide for graphics and more!
I mentioned how much I love Goggle Calendar. If you’re just getting started and aren’t ready for a task management system, check out this post, where I dive into how I use my Google Calendar as a scheduling tool to save time and increase productivity. It truly is a great tool for getting started with productivity and organization of your time.
At this point in our business we are using a wide variety of tools, from Planoly to schedule out social media management posts like Instagram and Facebook page posts, to Flodesk for email marketing and building an email list for all of our clients. We also love Gsuite for emails, managing domains and google drive. Another favorite of ours that we use daily is Canva! As an agency that support bloggers and influencers, we spend a lot of time creating custom graphics for our clients. However, we use this for our own social media, Pinterest, course graphics and everything in between. I even created my son’s birthday invites in Canva! We also love Social Squares for stock imagery and Kajabi for hosting our course and creating easy customizable landing pages. Our newest favorite is Captivate for hosting our podcast!
Whether you’re just getting started, or have been at the virtual assistant business for a while, I guarantee with these tools at your disposable, you’ll be unstoppable!
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