Are you a Virtual Assistant as well, maybe just starting out? Are you a small business owner in any other field? Chances are you have to organize your working environment and streamline your working processes, no matter what's your business. Chances are you're overwhelmed by the amount of tools that are out there to help you get organized and that isn't much help at all. There is an online toll for everything nowadays, from coordinating you calendars, to sharing passwords and creating newsletters. It's tempting to try them all.. I know, because I did it...
I wanted to know them all. I've spend a lot of time getting to know more project management tools, CRM tools, graphic design tools, email campaign tools, and what more. I've set aside time weekl, next to starting my business, to google, watch YouTube videos, ask in facebook groups and going through emails and videos other business owners offer as part of their sales funnel to learn more and find the perfect tools to use for myself and my future clients.
With growing understanding of the different tools and their pro's and con's, I felt confident when talking about upcoming tasks with potential clients and it was easy to discuss the different tools and compare them to different ones. And even though I'm using a lot of different tools now, there are a few that I am particularly happy with and I use with my clients:
Both Basecamp and Trello are task organizer systems. They're great for laying out tasks, creating processes and moving the tasks along as you go. You can invite your clients to work with you and communicate with clients and in a team using functionalities like commenting and uploading attachments.
When I started my own online business, there was so much to think of. Very early in, I needed a tool to help me organize all my ideas and all the things I need to get done to get started. Finances, Marketing, Sales, Website, Blogs to read, Skills to learn and so much more. Having worked with both tools in all of my previous office jobs as a project manager, it came naturally to go back to these tools for help. And my last boss would probably be very happy to hear that I became a huge Trello Lover since I started my own thing. It works wonders for my productivity as a virtual assistant.
These tools help a lot with communication and the overall process in design work as well as with general project management clients. The more clarity you can give a client about the roadmap you're going to move along together, the easier it becomes to work with them as expectations are managed and met in the project. Educating clients to use these tools as well helps a great deal in versioning and keeping these various emails going back and forth to a minimum.
I personally think that no business should run without a project management tool!
MailChimp, my favourite tool, as well as ActiveCampaign or ConvertKit are options for email subscriber programs to send automated emails to your audience for marketing purposes.
I started by using the free MailChimp version to grow my own email list. I also looked into the other tools, to make sure I'm working with the tool I find most intuitive to use. There are a lot of tutorials and Youtube videos you can watch to learn using MailChimp, but the tool itself helps you a great deal, too.
MailChimp is the easiest to use, both other tools are more advanced, but relatively easy to understand when you're already able to work with MailChimp.
Most online businesses use email marketing, so it's good to be able to offer this to my clients. Also, I'm using it for my own business.
I love Dubsado, but as it is quite pricey for a start-up when there are other options out there, I actually work with Hubspot. As soon as my client base allows me to pay for Dubsado, I will start using this though.
Both Hubspot and Dubsado have an own set of tutorials and onboarding videos that make it very easy to get up-to-speed with working with these tools. Hubspot, I learned in one of my office jobs as a project manager, where we used it for sales and marketing, as well as for blogging and the website.
Dubsado, I actually really just sat down, played around a bit with a mockup client to learn to understand their workflows and dependencies and watched the tutorials that are out there.
Hubspot and Dubsado both allow you to create a data base of clients, create workflows, invoices, tasks and keep a good overview on all this. It even allows for automation to make your life much easier. Man small business owners use either one or the other, so it's good to be able to set up and manage working with both of them.
For graphic design I love using Canva for the quick and easy work like creating social media graphics for the right format of a picture to put on a website. For more complicated tasks, like Letterheads, Business Cards and everything else with a lot of text, I love using InDesign. And, if the job really requires it, as well as for manipulating a picture, of course, Photoshop is still the best but most complicated tool out there.
I've worked with InDesign my whole life, so that was easy to take over into my own business and I really enjoy working with it. Canva is super easy to learn, if you can work with Microsoft Powerpoint, you surely can manage Canva, too. For the Adobe Products like Photoshop or Illustrator, I bought some online courses at store.entrepreneur.com
Many clients ask me to do design work and that's my go to tool when needed. No matter if it's a logo, a business card, flyers, proposals or what not, one of these tools is always open on my laptop.
1Password allows to share access to password protected accounts without having to reveal the password itself. It even can include credit card numbers.
In my last full-time job, we used 1Password and it's very easy to use. You just copy and paste the site URL and the hidden password and that's it.
It's super convenient to tell your clients that you don't have to know all their passwords, so they don't have to change them if it's a personal one they use more frequently. You'll still be able to do your work. And you don't have to worry about keeping track of all the passwords you get since they're stored safely on the 1Password site.
So, these are my favourite tools for being able to run my business and work with my clients. Knowing how to wokr with these tools increases your confidence and helps you working with your clients by assisting them better.
What are your favourite tools? Do you want to learn a specific tool and don't know where to start? Drop me a message, maybe I can help.
Do you think there are way better tools out there that I haven't listed. Let me know, I'd love to discuss and learn more!
Have a great day!
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