Dreaming of a laptop lifestyle or spending more time with family at home? Considering becoming a virtual assistant? Great! To succeed as a VA though, you’ll need to be perfectly organised, manage your time well and communicate in a timely and professional manner. Fortunately, there are some tools that will help you with the following tasks:

• Communication with your clients – scheduling meetings, free video calls, free chats
• Graphic design – online design tools, stock photo websites
• Project management – assigning projects to your team members/ freelancers
• Time management – time tracking tools
• Social media marketing – post scheduling, creating reports
• Accounting & Invoicing

Grab our list of must have tools for virtual assistants to make sure you start off the right foot!

Communication tools. Calendly (www.calendly.com) – the first thing you’ll need as a VA is probably a tool to schedule meetings with your potential clients. Calendly is an amazingly simple on-line tool that permits you to create availability time slots and allow individuals to choose a meeting time via the link: it synchronises with your Google and Apple calendars and sends you e-mail reminders to your e-mail so you never forget the meeting again. You may also see all of your previous and upcoming meetings.

Slack (www.slack.com). Once you get hired by your client, how are you going to discuss the details of the projects with them? Slack is a collaboration tool that permits you to organise your communication to different channels. Instead of talking to your clients on Messenger and losing track of all the conversations/ deadlines/ files you share, you can create a separate channel for each client and easily find things you’ve been discussing with them. Slack is free until 10,000 messages in chat history – more than enough for beginners – and paid plans are affordable too, once you need to upgrade. Whenever you need to have a meeting with your remote clients, how are you going to organise it? You’ll need a simple, but reliable video call solution. My absolute favourite video calling tool that permits you to hold video conference calls with as many individuals as you wish without registering any account or downloading anything – you just generate a custom link once and you may share it with anyone you wish to invite to the video call. The tool is basic but includes the usual features like chat and screen sharing.

Graphic design tools. Canva (www.canva.com) – as a virtual assistant, you’ll have to create a lot of graphics for your clients, specifically for social networks. That is why graphic design is probably the most crucial tool for virtual assistants. Canva is among the most versatile tools for virtual assistants. And if you need to resize the already created graphics – you’ve the magic resize tool in the paid plan.

Project management tools. Even if you’re only starting now – before you realise it, you’ll have to collaborate with some other freelancers. And you’ll have to ensure that everybody is on the same page regarding deadlines, task allocation, etc. Email doesn’t cut it anymore, and you need proper project management tools. Fortunately, for a small team, they’re free! Asana (www.asana.com) – Asana is a wonderful tool that permits to assign and manage tasks with a team of up to 15 people completely free! You can switch tasks, move them around different phases of completion on your kanban board, assign them to team members, send them e-mail reminders, and see the work-in progress either as a kanban board, to-do list, or a calendar.

Tracking tools. Toggl (www.toggl.com) – if you are billing your customers by the hour, they’ll eventually ask you for a justification for your bills. Better be on the safe side and track your time from day one – set up an on-line time clock and track how much time you are spending on every task. This way – you’ll also be more productive and be capable to help more clients and have better client satisfaction. Toggl is a free on-line timeclock that permits you to set timers and save the time you spend working on specific tasks, for specific projects, for specific clients: it is super easy to use and free for an individual user – ideal for a self-employed VA.

Social media marketing tools. Postfity (www.postfity.com)- probably the most typical tasks you’ll do like a virtual assistant is offloading your clients with social network marketing. If you need to post 5 times per week for five customers though – doing it every day directly on the social network platform becomes impossible as it’d completely derail your daily schedule – you need a tool which will automate the process of posting for you so that you can allocate e.g. one day to this task and batch work. This is where a social network scheduler comes into play. Postfity is a free social network scheduler that permits you to schedule posts for the main social network platforms in advance. In the free account version, you may add up to 5 social network profiles – and a schedule of up to 10 posts per week.

Accounting & invoicing tools. One of the most must have tools for virtual assistants is an accounting software that will allow you to invoice your clients, make your invoices look professional, and keep track of your income and expenses so you can quickly prepare your accounts for tax purposes. In my business, I’ve used Wave Accounting (www.waveapps.com) for several years. Wave Accounting is free on-line accounting tool that permits you to track your income and expenses, create and send invoices automatically to your saved clients from the tool, and take credit card payments. It is on-line and it is free. Additionally when your company grows, you might need to upgrade to a more robust tool like Freshbooks (www.freshbooks.com) which offers complete accounting as well as time tracking, with automatic checks and balances to ensure accuracy and compliance. They also provide financial info to assist you make better business decisions and facilitate collaboration with your accountant. Furthermore, Freshbooks offers a number of customisable invoice templates that can help you match your brand identity. Here is the link to their invoice templates, many of them are free. https://www.freshbooks.com/invoice-templates/category/other. Hope this round-up of best tools for virtual assistants helps you begin your VA career off the right foot and save you time, stress and money. Good luck!