During my time working from home, I’ve gathered a list of the best virtual assistant tools from trial and error. These tools have helped me, and I hope they will allow you to save time and stress less.
These tools and software allow virtual assistants to be more productive and focus on the tasks that allow you to make money – instead of messing around on the tasks that really don’t help your business grow.
I personally use all of these tools. And the best part is they are all free or fairly inexpensive tools that I wish I had found or upgraded to sooner in my work-at-home mom and online business journey.
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1. FreshBooks Online for Invoicing and Bookkeeping
I stumbled upon FreshBooks when they were running a deal where all payment fees via PayPal were only 50¢! Since the standard charge is around 3%, I did the math and figured out with all the invoicing I was doing as a freelance editor, writer, and virtual assistant, I would actually save money in fees by using FreshBooks. Little did I know how much time FreshBooks would save me too.
FreshBooks allows virtual assistants and freelancers to:
- send quick and professional invoices to clients for one-time projects
- automatically send recurring invoices and templates for repeat clients
- organize expenses with little effort
- see monthly business expenses vs income at a glance
- easily see any outstanding balances from clients
If you are looking for an easy way to send professional invoices, track time for projects, and organize expenses then try FreshBooks. They have a free 30-day trial with no credit card required so you can see if you like it as much as I do.
- Freshbooks is the best accounting software for freelancers and sole proprietors, which fits many virtual assistants, on this PC Mag review.
2. Calendly for Scheduling Meetings
Calendly is a huge time-saving tool for virtual assistants. The back-and-forth emails to try and find a mutual time is maddening. Enter Calendly…
Calendly works like this:
- Set your availability
- Share your link in email, on your business Facebook page, or on your website
- Clients schedule a time
- Meeting is added to your calendar
- Integrates with your calendar so you never double book
I also like that you can set an advance notice requirement to prevent last-minute meetings and buffers between meeting times. The free version worked fine for my virtual assistant needs but there are advanced features for the paid plans.
- Zapier’s blog lists Calendly as the “best meeting scheduler app for letting others schedule meetings with you.”
3. Trello for Project Management, Pitch Tracking, and Weekly To-Dos
Trello is another free virtual assistant tool I love. There are a lot of things to keep track of as a virtual assistant or freelancer, and Trello has been a lifesaver for my own projects and the projects I manage for clients.
A few of the things I track on Trello are:
- most important tasks for the week
- content calendar for blogs
- time blocking (when to work on which project)
- client pitching and follow up status
- steps for writing and publishing my book
I have Trello boards that are shared for working together with clients and I have boards that are for my own work. Ok, I admit…I even have Trello boards for myself that have nothing to do with work! My life would not be organized without Trello.
- 20 Creative Ways to Use Trello to Organize Everything – Personal and professional tips that can help any virtual assistant get more organized.
4. LastPass for Sharing Passwords
LastPass is another one of the best tools for freelancers and virtual assistants because it allows you to securely and easily share passwords. Often times a business owner is leery about giving out their passwords, but as a virtual assistant, you need access to their accounts to do work for them. This is were LastPass saves the day.
LastPass allows you to:
- store passwords so you don’t have to remember them
- customize access those sites (without actually sharing the password)
- change your password in one location (but everyone with access to that passwords automatically gets the new password)
So as a virtual assistant, you might need access to a client’s blog, email provider, Canva account, and many others. With LastPass, a client can grant you access to those accounts without actually sharing the password. It’s a very slick way for virtual assistants and business owners to securely share accounts and passwords.
- The Beginner’s Guide to Setting up LastPass – This explains it step-by-step.
5. Slack for Team Communication and Collaboration
Slack is a great tool for virtual assistants to keep in touch with clients and team members. With different channels, tagging of individuals, and private messages, Slack can virtually eliminate email communication for a team.
Without a ton of lost emails, Slack can:
- be a means for quick communication 1:1 or for a whole group
- share updates, ask questions, and make decisions
- store files, links, and information in a searchable database
- have different channels for different teams, professional development groups,
Slack is one of the best tools for freelancers and virtual assistants who want to stay in touch with clients without the frustration of emails.
- 14 Tips and Tricks to Master Slack – I’ve been using it for years and didn’t know all these tricks!
6. Canva for Branding, Social Media and Graphic Design
Canva is my favorite virtual assistant tool for creating designs. The templates and layouts are a huge time saver for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a ton of time on designs or doesn’t have a lot of design skills.
Canva is perfect for your own business and client work, including:
- website headers and blog banners
- social media posts and headers for each platform
- business cards
- and so much more
I started with the free version but once I started using Canva for more and wanted to keep track of branding for several websites, I was thrilled with what the paid Canva for Work had to offer.
- Simplifying DIY Design has amazing free templates, tutorials, and Canva design hacks
7. CloudApp for Screen Recordings
CloudApp is amazing. I searched long and hard before I found a free screen recording tool that wasn’t ridiculously limited. I didn’t think I was asking for much in a free screen recorder, but apparently I was.
I’m thrilled that CloudApp allows me to:
- record my screen
- record my voice (optional)
- record my webcam (optional)
- share recordings with others online.
- store recordings in the cloud
CloudApp has been the answer to my screen recording prayers, and I am so happy someone else recommended it to me.
- How to Use CloudApp to Record Your Screen to see how recording and sharing your screen recordings can boost your productivity.
8. Toggl for Tracking Time
Toggl is simple tool for tracking your time. The information with collect with a time tracker like Toggl can help you be more effecient, earn more money per hour, and make smart decisions about which services you offer.
Toggl is a great freelancer tool for:
- tracking your hourly time for each client or project
- figuring out how long each type of work takes you
- better estimate how long future projects will take you
Knowing how long projects take you will be key if you move from charging an hourly rate to a project fee. Doing a project rate is one way to scale because as you get more efficient, you’re earning more money for your time.
- See why Toggl is preferred by freelancers in this side-by-side comparison of time tracking tools.
More Virtual Assistant Tools Worth Mentioning
9. Virtual Assistant Training Courses
You cannot underestimate the amount of time a good course will save you. From free minicourses on Skillshare to comprehensive course + coaching programs like these virtual assistant trainings, watching step-by-step videos from someone who already has success in the next thing you want to learn is a gamechanger for growing a successful online business.
10. Zoom or Skype for Discovery Calls and Client Meetings
As a virtual assistant, you will need a tool for making calls and talking with current and potential clients. I’ve used both Skype and Zoom for these calls and both can get the job done. The ability for group calls, screen sharing, and chat messages are features I used most as a freelancer.
11. Google Voice for a Business Phone Number
You can get a free phone number through Google Voice, which you can use as your business phone number. The number can forward to your cell phone so you will still get the calls but you don’t have to give your personal phone number out to everyone on the internet.
12. Google Drive for Collaboration and Cloud Storage
Google Drive is a key collaboration tool for virtual assistants and freelancers. It’s another free tool where you can store, share, and work on 15 GB of files for yourself or with a team. Google Docs (similar to Word), Google Sheets (like Excel), Google Slides (like Presentation) and Google Forms (surveys) are common ones virtual assistants use.
13. Dropbox for Sharing Large Files
Sometimes as a virtual assistant you will need to share or receive files that are too large for email. Dropbox is perfect for this and it’s a common tool that others are familiar with. The basic version is free and gives you 2 GB of space, allows you to sync files across devices, and share folders and links.
14. PayPal for Collecting Payments
PayPal is the tool I’ve used to collect payments from clients since I started freelancing. It’s been easy and I’ve had no complications receiving payments from clients.
15. SiteGround for Website Hosting
SiteGround is the website hosting I use for this site and it’s an affordable option for virtual assistants or freelancers who want their own website. While you can get by without a website, I personally think a good virtual assistant website sets you apart and adds a layer of professionalism when you have a website others can check out before considering hiring you.
16. Good Walking Shoes
Walking shoes may seem odd, but based on my experiment of walking 20 minutes on the treadmill before starting work, know a brisk walk can help you be productive. Your brain will feel more alert, which is especially helpful if you’re working early mornings. If you need a new pair, these are the best walking shoes for women.
Summary of Best Virtual Assistant Tools to Grow Your Business
When you maximize your time as a virtual assistant with tools that allow you to focus your time on the tasks that actually make you money, not only will you make more money but you’ll be happier too. When you find the tools that help you get the job done right and faster, you’ll have more time for things in life you love most.
Recap of the best tools for freelancers and virtual assistants:
- Mini or Major Courses
- Zoom (or Skype)
- Google Voice
- Google Drive
- Comfortable Sneakers
Cheers to your family and financial freedom,