20 Tools to Tackle Tricky Tasks – What this VA keeps in her toolbox!
April 3, 2021
Having been a Virtual Assistant for three years now, I’ve learned to use a few online business tools. I thought I’d share the ones I’ve found helpful so far in my own business journey.
Communication is vitally important when I work with business owners. We both need to know what is expected and who’s doing what to make sure tasks are completed but not duplicated. Email is the obvious option, (I use Gmail and Outlook mostly) but often the people I work with are drowning in emails so adding to that is not very helpful!
Other options I’ve explored include WhatsApp, Messenger and text. I’m also part of a client’s team on Asana. It’s a really useful project management tool. She can assign tasks to me with a due date and detailed instructions, and we can communicate in real time within the team.
If there are particularly tricky questions or details need to be discussed verbally Zoom is a great tool to speak face to face. The screen sharing capabilities help with being able to view and discuss documents together. On occasions we’ve made recordings of our conversations so I can use them as “how to” videos while I learn a task specific to a client’s business.
Another really important part of any business is bookkeeping. This is something I’m asked to do a lot! It’s very time consuming and nobody seems to enjoy doing it. For my own business bookkeeping I use QuickBooks Self-Employed. It is a simpler version of QuickBooks but meets my requirements.
The clients who use my receipt sorting service mostly use QuickBooks or Xero to keep track of their finances. I have a login for each client’s account and can then keep their incomings and outgoings up to date. Other clients ask me to record their transactions on an Excel spreadsheet.
File sharing and document management
It’s often useful to be able to access and edit documents. Emailing back and forth can become confusing as edits are made and updated versions are created. There can be so many versions it can become difficult to remember which one is the most up to date. To get round this I have shared access to documents in Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. This enables edits to be made and saved and the most up to date versions are always accessible to everybody who needs them.
Working with different clients involves a lot of logging in to multiple accounts! I’d love to be able to memorise all the passwords I need but I’ve not worked out how to do that yet, so the next best thing is LastPass. This tool stores all the passwords I need securely in one place. When I log in to an account, I can choose the details I need or generate new, complex passwords when I want.
When I send out an invoice for work I’ve completed I like to let the customer know how the hours I’ve billed for have been spent. To do this I use a time tracker called Toggl. With this tool I time how long I spend on tasks and produce a pdf report for the customer if they want it.
Social Media Management
This is not something I offer as a service, but I do have my own social media accounts. To save having to post every day I like to batch my content and upload it to Meet Edgar. This tool enables me to schedule posts, and it can analyse how well they perform.
To create images for social media posts I use Canva. It’s a great tool which provides ideas and templates to customise and adapt. Very helpful for somebody who is not the most visually creative! I sometimes use my own photos and videos and other times I find photos form Unsplash.
My last and probably most used tool is good old Microsoft Word. The list of ways I use Word is endless! From creating forms to writing blog posts, typing letters to producing templates it’s a great tool for most of the tasks I’m asked to do as a VA.
So, there you have it! These are some of the tools I use on a daily basis to save my clients time in their businesses. My tool box is filling up…. perhaps I’ll need a bigger one soon!
Cover Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst.