Being a virtual assistant comes with loads of challenges– long-distance bosses, random requests during or after office hours, having to use someone else’s voice effectively, and being efficient enough to ensure that they think you’re better at doing the social media thing than they are (because even if you LOVE doing all the social media, graphic design, and scheduling your client wants, if they can do it themselves just as quickly, why pay you?). There are a bunch of tools for a virtual assistant, though, that can help you accomplish all of that with less headache so having them in a virtual assistant’s toolbox is a must.
A lot of these tools for a virtual assistant will allow your client to see exactly what you have scheduled for when so that they can adjust or add to it as they feel is necessary. Some virtual assistant tools should be paid for by the client (social media schedulers, for example) and others should be paid for by you (project management or customer relationship management tools). That’s something you can figure out on a client-by-client basis, but make sure YOU know what you’re willing to pay for and talk with them about it ahead of time. They’re all tax write-offs, so if you feel like the contract would be worth it, you might be willing to give up their paying for a service. In order to know why I feel these are necessary tools for a virtual assistant, I thought I should share my criteria for them before giving you my list of tools for a virtual assistant.
My Criteria for Virtual Assistant Tools:
- It has to be multi-purpose– If it’s only going to do one thing for me, I’m not likely to log in and use it. Having it send social media posts out to multiple channels, create multiple graphics quickly, or giving me the ability to download a bunch of stock images on the fly makes a tool much more likely to get used regularly.
- It has to allow me to work from my laptop OR my phone– Y’all, I love a smart phone, but sometimes you just need to be able to type using a full keyboard. On the flip side, sometimes you need to handle your client’s business on-the-go. Having a smooth app for that is important, too!
- It has to give me the value I’m looking for if I’m either going to pay for it– I’m cheap– or ask my client to. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on tools that are supposed to be saving me time and money, but I WILL spend money on tools that will save me enough time that I can get more done in the hours I’m being paid for, which makes me that much more valuable of a virtual assistant. Every single one of these is worth every penny and then some (and not all of them cost you something, either)!
Now that you’ve seen just what I look for in virtual assistant tools, you’ll know just why these are the ones you NEED in your back pocket.
A Virtual Assistant’s Toolbox– The Best Tools for a Virtual Assistant
17Hats— Scheduling, client questionnaires, tracking your projects, invoicing, e-signable contracts, even accounting– if you want your virtual assistant tools to do it all, you need this one. It lets you create workflows, including being able to automate project processes. By using this link, you can get 10% off their unlimited plan so you can make your business run more smoothly and therefore use your time to do the money-making tasks, not your behind-the-scenes stuff.
Zoom— Texts and calls are good, but face-to-face, even if it’s across the continent or ocean, is better. Zoom lets you not just talk to one another, but you also have the ability to screen share, schedule meetings, and more, with up to 100 participants for 40 minutes for FREE (as many times as you want). It’s more powerful than Skype or FaceTime and allows you to share what you have on your screen, rather than having to send it ahead of time or try to describe it verbally which makes it much more appropriate as one of your virtual assistant tools.
Pixabay— The tools for virtual assistants are only as good as your content. Having pretty graphics is important for a client’s social media. People choose to click through to a website or purchase a product based on catchy titles and eye-catching pictures. You can’t always take your own images, so having free stock images to use is important, especially since no one wants to break copyright law! After all, the more money you save your client, the more valuable you are.
Creative Market— If you can’t find what you need on Pixabay, check out Creative Market for a ton of gorgeous virtual assistant tools. They have to-die-for vectors, images, fonts, literally anything you can dream up for graphic tools for virtual assistants at SUPER reasonable prices. In fact, the flat lay for this post is from Creative Market! Plus, go get on their email list in order to get 6 FREE products every single week and keep a folder on your laptop to use in your Virtual Assistant’s Toolbox for graphics! (Remember the “more money you save your client” comment above? Yep. Here, too.)
PicMonkey— Once you have a pretty picture to use, you need to edit it to the right size, add text or your watermark, and make it your own. PicMonkey lets you do all of that, and PicMonkey Royale lets you do all of it more easily, more quickly, and with SO many more options. It also lets you use your own fonts, which means you can stick with your client’s branding! As far as virtual assistant tools go, this one seems basic, but it’s actually a pretty important one since people buy with their eyes first.
MissingLettr— When it comes to tools for virtual assistants for promoting your client’s blog posts (assuming they’re a blogger, of course), most aren’t great at helping you remember to continue to promote old posts. We set them up for a couple of weeks and then get busy with newer posts, social media, life, whatever, and forget that those posts are evergreen content that ought to be shared over and over. MissingLettr will create an entire campaign for you, including pull-out quotes and pictures, for you to approve that will then promote on Twitter, Google Plus, Linked in, and soon, Facebook (you might get in on the beta testing of that one!) for the next year on Day 0, 3, 7, 14, 30, 90, 180, 270, and 365. It literally doesn’t get any easier to promote on most people’s least favorite (but still important not to ignore) channels! Plus, you’ll save yourself a ton of time creating brand new social media posts for your client later on.
Tailwind— Pinterest is the #1 social media for direct sales AND bloggers. You HAVE to have your client on Pinterest and as many followers as you can, which means pinning, pinning, pinning CONSISTENTLY. (Noticing a theme here?) Tailwind lets you schedule pins so that you’re pinning various content regularly, as well as at the optimal times. On top of that, it ALSO links to Instagram, so if you’re wanting one of those pretty grids for your client or just to not have to think about it routinely, this is a must-have in my tools for virtual assistants list so you can schedule those suckers, too!
Cinchshare— This is a super powerful scheduling tool for a Virtual Assistant’s Toolbox for Facebook groups, pages, your client’s personal page, and events. If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to their group and page, you can look back and share the posts you create multiple times on different dates across all of your Facebook and Twitter feeds. This is an especially awesome feature if you host Direct Sales parties. Cinchshare also just introduced Collections, a post sharing feature where you can choose to share a single post or an entire Facebook party script with your team. Use this link and the code “CSFree” for 37 days FREE to try it out and make sure you love it as much as I do!
ConvertKit— If your client is a blogger, I cannot begin to emphasize how important an email list is. The more times someone sees your stuff, the more likely they are to open it. Having your client’s posts show up in their email is a usually huge conversion rate, which means more eyes on their blog. Even if they don’t know how they want to use that email list yet, START IT NOW. Every day that they have a blog up without collecting email addresses is a day they’re missing out on those potential touches. ConvertKit is hands-down the most intuitive, prettiest, and most powerful tool for this on the market. GET. IT.
SassySuite— If you need training in Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook parties (especially if your client is direct sales), or even graphics, check out this page. Continued training is a huge part of tools for a virtual assistant. All of her courses have done WONDERS for me, especially Blogging Bootcamp, even though I’d been blogging for a while. She also has a free Facebook group for tips on how to be a non-spammy social media-er, which is great if you’re planning your client’s social media or trying to drum up some more business for yourself!