I’m confident I’ve found the best free tools for Virtual Assistants… don’t believe me? Just you wait.
It’s fair to say I’m something of a productivity geek. I spent a good chunk of my career in process improvement type roles and it’s kind of ingrained now. However, it does mean I’m always on the lookout for things to make my life easier now I’m a Virtual Assistant.
You may call it lazy.
I call it productive.
Either way, I’ve found 8 tools that I can no longer live without (no joke!). I use them every working day and I’m confident they’re the only tools you’ll ever need as a Virtual Assistant!
My Best Free Tools for Virtual Assistants List
Manage your workload and your client tasks easily with this easy-to-use project management tool. Originally created to manage large scale projects, Trello is actually perfect for managing your own workload and provides a simple interface for both you and your clients to go and update outstanding tasks.
You can create boards that only you and your client can view and within that board, you can have lists for tasks such as “To do”, “In progress” and “Completed”. This pretty much makes your task management about as easy as it can possibly be.
We work in a role that requires precise billing and so Toggl is the perfect time tracking tool to enable that. Simply provide the name of task, name of client and click “GO” and Toggl will start a timer to begin tracking how long you’ve spent working on that task.
The free version allows for multiple clients and projects. At the end of each day/week/month you can run a report by task or by client to download into pdf and accompany your invoice. I’ve recently had feedback on this report from a new client who said “I really like the way you track time. Thanks for the report”.
If you’re doing any work on social media, either for yourself (you definitely should be!) or for a client, then you’ll need to create graphics at some point. Not everyone can afford or even knows how to use Photoshop and other complicated software. Canva is a free alternative and better yet, it provides literally thousands of free templates, images, and graphics that you can use right out of the box.
It’s particularly good at creating multiple social media graphics all at once which you can then download in a handy little zip file in either jpg, png or PDF format.
Bookkeeping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but as self-employed business owners we need to do some tracking of expenses but we also need to invoice our clients! Wave is a cloud-based accountancy tool which does all of the above and then some. You can customise your invoices with your logo and preferred colours, itemise your invoices and even accept card payments by integrating with Stripe (not as difficult as it sounds I promise!).
Wave has also announced recently that the upcoming “Making Tax Digital” requirements are now covered by their software and so there’s no need to pay for other accountancy packages.
You’ve likely heard of this and may even have a Gmail account already. If so, jump over to Google Drive and see all of the tools you’re missing out on. They have cloud-based tools that allow you to create written documents, spreadsheets and presentations with their own versions of the MS Office package.
More that just those tools though, the free account gives you up to 15GB of space which makes it perfect to share files and documents with your clients where necessary. As it’s cloud-based it’s also perfect for access your documents anywhere providing you have an internet connection.
Audio and video calling is almost always needed when onboarding clients or taking them through the work you’ve done for them. I’ve chosen Zoom over other free tools as it’s easy to use, integrates easily with your Google Calendar and even records every call!
I use Zoom when I’m handing over a website to new clients. I’ll take them through the WordPress admin screens and explain how it all works. I’ll then send them the recording, by uploading it to my Google Drive and sharing it (obvs)… see what I did there?!
Similarly with Canva, if you’re doing lots of social media posting, website design or blog posting then you’re going to need to edit photos at some point – even if it’s just a simple resize or crop. Pixlr provides a completely online solution to that.
Whilst it’s a very easy tool to use, it’s actually really powerful. So, if you have the time to learn it can be amazing for general photo editing and touching up where required.
Last… but by no means least(!) is LastPass. This is a great tool for storing and managing passwords for all of your online accounts. It’s free (of course), easy to use and even allows for sharing of credentials without ever sharing your password explicitly… perfect for your clients giving you access to their social media account or WordPress site.
Be sure to get the Chrome extension so that passwords are auto-filled for you. There’s also a mobile app for iPhone and Android which works in much the same way, meaning you can access all sites from anywhere you are in a pinch.
I use these free tools all day every day and I’m sure you will too. If you have any others that you use religiously but aren’t featured in my list of best free tools for virtual assistants, then let me know in the comments below or pop over to my social media channels to discuss.