If you’re starting to work as a VA (Virtual Assistant), you may be wondering “what are the must have tools you need when starting a Virtual Assistant Business?”
And that’s understandable, as you’ll need to be smart with where you invest your money. You’ll want to bootstrap when you initially start, so you’re not paying for anything you don’t really need. You’ll also want to cut out any nonessentials until you have some clients in place. But what do you really need?
Essentially and at the most basic level, you just need a computer, phone, internet connection and insurance, when you’re starting to work as a VA.
But if you’re looking to invest your money wisely on tools that will make your job a little easier and your business a little more streamlined, here’s a breakdown of the ones you should consider.
A calendar app is a must-have tool for any VA
A calendar app serves two great purposes – it stops you from playing email ping-pong with clients looking to book into your diary, and it provides a professional standard of service for those clients. There are many calendar apps out there, but the one I recommend most is Acuity. It has a free version available. If you are a Microsoft 365 user – they have Microsoft Bookings as part of it.
Tracking time is an essential part of your VA day
You need to be tracking your time. Not only does it help you accurately charge clients, but it also helps you work more efficiently. The best time tracking tool for VAs is Minutedock. There are other free options available, but I found Minutedock gives you everything you need.
Must-have tools for client communication
Zoom is a must-have tool for video communication and conference calls. You can use it for both client review initial consultation calls. Zoom has both free and paid plans available.
Client Relationship Management Tool
There are lots of shiny tools out there, which people will encourage you to invest in – personally I use and am a big fan of Capsule CRM. It has both a free and paid for plan available – it’s been around a number of years (we have a walkthrough training on it in the VA Membership) and does all of things that we need it to do for you, like track contacts and leads etc.
Promotional tools for VAs
When you’re starting to work as a VA, you need to promote yourself. You can use many social media scheduling tools to help raise your profile and promote your business (some of which I’ve listed on my recommended resources page). But none of them are essential when you’re starting to work as a VA. However, the one tool I do recommend you get is WiseStamp. It enables you to create a professional-looking email signature to add to the bottom of your emails, complete with contact details, as well as promotional and social media links.
Must-have security tools for new VAs
All documentation, contracts etc., need to be protected, so always use a password on your computer or laptop home screen and also consider using encryption. But don’t forget, you also need to protect login information and passwords too! That’s where LastPass comes in. It enables you to secure login details and gives you a secure way to share them with your clients.
Document sharing tools
Talking of documentation, you want a secure way of sharing documents, files and folders with clients. There are two options for your document sharing must-have tool – Dropbox and Google Drive. Both have a free option, but if you want a decent amount of storage, you’ll need to upgrade. Remember though if you are an Office 365 user – you get Onedrive and Sharepoint as part of that package.
You don’t need accounting software when you’re starting work as a VA. You can quickly get started with a simple excel spreadsheet. However, if you’re in a position to get one, it will make life easier for you. Take a look at Quickbooks, Xero or Freshbooks, as they all have various plans available to suit your budget and needs. They also give you the option to send invoices and receive payments.
If you’re just starting to work as a VA, you may think you need all the apps and tools, but that isn’t always the case. If you’re looking to bootstrap your business until you get regular clients and income coming in, that’s perfectly OK. You can then look to invest in the must-have tools listed above, as and when you need them. This is about thinking smart rather than being seduced by the shiny object.
Other Awesome Tools and Resources
The above are just some of the tools I recommend when starting out in your VA business – there are others that I think might benefit you and you can learn about those on the Resources page of the VACT website. On the resources page, I also share my recommend Web Developers, other Training Providers as well as my recommended reading list. Please do leave me a comment below if any of these prove useful to you.
If you’re looking for support and training as you grow your VA business, check out our VA Membership. It’s the perfect community for Virtual Assistants looking for help and support as they grow. Whether you’re looking for a community of like-minded peers or some training and support, you’ll find what you need in this online business accelerator! Head here for more info and pricing options.