Hey! Made your mind working as a VA? Good for you! However, there’s still a long way to go. As mentioned in the previous article, (Make Money From Home Working as a Virtual Assistant); skills are the essence for any virtual assistant to stand out in the crowd.
In this article, you’ll be provided with essential tools that will embrace your skills and talents. Luckily, everything is online. So, get comfortable on your computer as you’re about to dive into a very successful ride!
Best email software for virtual assistants
A professional email address is a necessity. You can choose between various email software as each has its own benefits.
It supports email, contacts, calendar, and many more. You can share attachments from OneDrive, view LinkedIn profiles and access contacts with the assist of the Office integration.
Check Microsoft Outlook Reviews.
It gives you the privilege of accessing the other G-suite apps with 30GB of inbox storage. It’s user friendly and the most commonly used.
Check Gmail Reviews.
Yahoo! Mail is a traditional messaging tool supporting multiple accounts and email alerts.
Check Yahoo! Mail Reviews.
File sharing and document management
Thanks to the evolving technology! You no longer need to dwell into a loop of versions of the same file to find the most updated one. There’re now plenty of file sharing and document management apps saving you much time and effort.
Dropbox is one of the most popular file storage apps in the world. As of the beginning of 2020, more than 600 million users registered on Dropbox, according to Expandedramblings.
It stores and shares files in a central location for better collaborations between teams.
Google Drive allows you to store and share files with virtual teams to work concurrently on the same document or sheet.
As it belongs to the G-suite family, it’s usually synced with your Gmail so you’re staying updated on your work status.
Google Drive also includes other document management tools such as:
- Docs for word processing
- Slides for presentations
- Sheets for spreadsheets
- Forms for surveys
Here’re some browser extensions that any virtual assistant will find beneficial.
As the name implies, it merely pauses your email inbox until you turn it back on. It pulls the plug for a peaceful working environment in case you have a big project that needs all full attention.
Nowadays, Ad-blocker has become an indispensable extension for internet browsers. It automatically blocks all the commercial ads as you’re searching for work-related information.
It guarantees privacy, quicker loading and lower resource waste by excluding the ads tracking systems.
Countless bookmarks saved in your browsers make you actually forget why you saved them in the first place.
Rather, Evernote Web Clipper enables you to save the exact information you want from the webpage. It gives you the option to save an image, article or highlight text.
In the last decade, 50% of employees will be expected to telecommute, as LoopUp stated in 2018.
Furthermore, virtual assistants who depend on video conferences instead of just emails and chats tend to be more able to overcome any misunderstandings.
It’s recommended to schedule weekly calls with your long-term clients to discuss the updates and get immediate feedback.
Due to the pandemic, video conference apps flourished, and have proved useful. The following are examples you can explore to decide which app is suitable for you.
Zoom blazed a trail for the video conferencing industry. It’s the most used video conference app worldwide.
Medium pointed out that Zoom jumped from 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020.
It boomed amidst the pandemic for its wide range of features. For example, it’s not only limited to video conferences, it hosts virtual events and video webinars.
Zoom services expand to HD video and audio, recording, transcripts, screen sharing, enterprise phone systems and divided rooms. With these outstanding features combined, zoom becomes the first priority for businesses and professional use.
The same happened with Google Meet. The daily usage increased 30x adding 3 million new users and 3 billion video meeting minutes per day in January 2020, as India Times claimed. It’s a new addition to the G-suite apps meant to replace Google Hangouts. Its unique features include adding real-time software-generated captions for a super clear conversation.
Join.Me is suitable for non-tech savvy users as it’s easy to use. It can become handy with clients who are old or not into technology.
Scheduling & appointments
Organization is the linchpin to everlasting success. It’s inevitable for virtual assistants to use calendar software to schedule and plan their appointments ahead of time.
It’s the most popular scheduling tool as it’s already built-in your Gmail address.
It allows you to sync multiple accounts giving you an overall view of your schedule. You can also create events and share them with outside parties.
Calendly lets you send a link to your clients to book appointments according to your schedule. In the meantime, it’s eases collecting credit card payments.
X.ai is powered by artificial intelligence to schedule meetings and send follow-up emails. Though, you can program it to do regular tasks.
Social media management Tools
While there’s a cumbersome degree of variations between social media platforms, certain apps are assumed to be helpful for virtual assistants working in social media.
For instance, there’re several apps that can schedule social media posts and analyze your social media campaigns performance.
Buffer is a software app available on both the web and mobile providing users the option to schedule posts for different social media accounts beforehand.
You can schedule posts for the whole month and leave them to Buffer to post them on the specified dates and times.
Giving your posts reach, engagement and overall performance, Buffer generates in-depth insights and reports highlighting any significant findings.
It’s free for up to 3 accounts as you can subscribe to the premium version whenever you’ve more clients.
Likewise, Hootsuite is a well-known social media scheduler. Nevertheless, it manages paid ads as well.
The key feature here is the universal inbox that allows you to access and reply to messages across different platforms simultaneously.
This will help you keep track of inbound messages in order to stay as responsive as possible.
Unlike Buffer and Hootsuite, Oktopost takes you to the next level of professionalism.
It goes beyond the basics of social media scheduling, content curation and analysis reports all the way to targeting enterprise B2B businesses.
Oktopost is valuable for social media managers as it has dozens of advanced features.
Also, check DigiUTM’s article on 25 Apps to Help Small Businesses Manage Their Social Media Accounts From their Mobile.
Password Management Tools
Organization begets organization. Especially for social media managers, it’s impossible to memorize all the passwords you use as the managed accounts are too abundant to remember.
Besides social media accounts, there’re work tools, online stores, online banking and club membership.
Hooray! It doesn’t matter how many accounts you have; password management tools are here for you.
Password managers secure your logins in one place. Hence, you only need to remember the app password.
Obviously, the password has to be strong enough containing symbols and upper-case letters.
LastPass is a browser extension that stores your passwords across devices. You just need to log into LastPass and you’ll have access to your passwords even if it’s from a device you never used before.
Similarly, Dashlane creates and saves passwords, but with a remarkable bonus.
It auto-fills personal and payment information for account registrations or checkouts from online stores.
Blogging & Website Creation Tools
Depend on blogging for a living? Then you need to enhance your writing with extra tools to ensure your content is engaging and mistake-free.
Owned by Google, a great web tool to write, once your website has enough traffic, you could monetize it easily for passive income!
One of the most famous platforms for small and medium businesses to depend on as a blog, website or an Ecommerce tool.
Website creation tool, they have an extra tool for creating logos for 20$, you could use them to enhance your brand identity or help your CEO create another brand
Simple, cheap tool to learn how to create a website and connect all necessary tools while learning to be a digital marketer.
Writing & Spell-Check/Writing Tool
First and foremost, a proper writing tool is vital for any writer.
Grammarly has a free grammar checker, plagiarism checker that spots typos, grammatical errors, and sentence structure along with copyright issues, you could use it to check your writing or, if you are a VA project manager, for others’.
Portfolio Tools – Showcase Your Talent
For writers and bloggers, social media writers to showcase their content in a professional way!
For designers, illustrator and digital artists to show their work.
Coming up with a catchy, SE-optimized and friendly headline is oftentimes challenging.
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer saves you a lot of time and effort by providing you with recommendations to support your website traffic.
Producing timely content is conditioned to your level of media grasp. But, what if you’re not into following the media that much?
BuzzSumo provides you with trending topics, top influencers and social media insights.
It’ll most likely inspire you by investigating competitors and trends.
You don’t have to trade quality for reach as SEO tools are used to maintain website traffic, search rankings and content performance.
Powered by Adobe Inc., Spark is a media creation application available for mobile and web. It combines the 3 design apps of Spark Post, Spark Page and Spark Video.
Also powered by Adobe Inc., Photoshop is the magic stick for the successful designers out there. It’s the most professional app used for graphic editing and the whole digital art industry.
Eager to learn more? Check Udemy’s photoshop course for beginners.
Canva is a graphic design tool for beginners or non-designers. It offers free tools including free stock photos, website featured images, Instagram Story templates and YouTube thumbnails.
It’s the right call for you when you want to jazz up your photos in no time.
It comes in 3 web versions giving the type of image editing you want to apply.
- The Fun Version: It has filters and a few editing options.
- The Express Version: It has a wide range of effects.
- The Advanced Version: It’s similar to Photoshop but less complicated.
Virtual Assistant Programs
It’s sort of funny that you as a virtual assistant can use a programmed virtual assistant of your own.
Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have created virtual assistant software to handle daily tasks for individuals and businesses
In an article for Reviews, Lee Mallon, founder of voice and mobile application company Rarely Impossible, said that “voice assistant technology is still in the early stages and requires a learning curve.”
Still, they can handle basic tasks like adding calendar appointments.
Google Assistant was first popular as the Google Home Smart Speaker. However, it’s available on all android devices.
Although it’s known as a voice-activated virtual assistant software, it supports text commands offering you the top-rank answer of your question in a fraction of a second.
Moreover, you can ask personalized questions like “What’s on my schedule today?” or “Who called me in the past hour?”
The program will check your calendar and call log then respond in a clear way.
For Apple users, you’re definitely familiar with Siri.
It can do the previous tasks, plus posting on your social media accounts and providing location-based reminders.
For example, if you’re planning to pass by the bank after a business lunch, it’ll detect your location and reminds you as you’re leaving.
Since restaurants are being mentioned, it’s good to note that Siri connects with OpenTable restaurant reservations. Thus, you can ask Siri to book your favorite restaurant as long as it uses OpenTable as well.
Cortana is a virtual assistant developed by Microsoft to aid you with work-related tasks. It helps you navigate your computer quickly if you’re looking for a specific file or program. Like other virtual assistant programs, it manages meetings and reads out emails.
From video conferences to password managers and browser extensions, virtual assistants have a great deal of tools to pick from.
It doesn’t matter the number of tools you regularly use. There’s neither a minimum nor a maximum when it comes to work as VA. What matters is that you feel less overwhelmed using them, and more satisfied with what you’re doing, and that your client, whether a business person or a company, are getting the results with your help.