What you can expect to find in a Virtual Assistant’s (VA) toolkit
Hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) means they bring their toolkit of magic along for the ride, and I’m not even touching on their skills and talents here!. VA’s typically own and subscribe to a number of fun gadgets and software, which stem from what work they are delivering for their clients or as a result of running their own businesses. If they don’t own or subscribe to it chances are they have worked on it in some form ( think CRM’s).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a VA is, apart from being superstar support for any business, here’s a quick definition from the ever-helpful wikipedia;
As a client, having a VA and what’s in their toolkit translates into money, time and sanity savings for you. You don’t need to purchase, subscribe, ‘try out’ or search for what’s best to use.
Some items on our list below do cross borders, so I have tried not to clutter my word limit on the no-brainers; like Adobe being used to convert word documents into the polished pdf format.
Administrative & Home Office tools
- MSOffice – is a definite winner in the mix of laptop essentials for most VA’s because you can do everything when you splash in a word template or document, create a self-serving spreadsheet and show off with a presentation or flyer using powerpoint …and every clients wants a bit of that!
- Productivity software – like 17hats, Evernote, Google calendar ( or anything Google!) often make it into the mix so VA’s can keep on top of their multiple projects, schedules and client work.
- Home Office – expect to see a dedicated workspace that mirrors the traditional office – desk, chair (mine’s cherry red), organised files and folders in the filing cabinet, reference books, and a printer/scanner. Their setup may be a little more relaxed than a corporate office, but there’s rarely anything left wanting, ensuring professional business takes place. Don’t forget the laptop, tablet and phone essentials!.
- Adobe Suite – for picture editing and content creation the Adobe Suite has been a long time go to.
- Canva – A New Zealand based company who’s taking the pain of measuring content size with a ‘magic resize’ option for everything from business cards, flyers to most social media graphics & prettied up text creations. Not so secretly…. I’m a little bit in love with the ‘magic resize’ button!
- Stock image savvy – With creativity comes a number of resourceful VA’s who know the streets of the internet when they search for stock photos, so a VA offering content creation will have a good knowledge of where to find quality pictures.
- Video – Throw in a few video creation apps like Videoenhance, IMovie, Powerdirector etc and you have a creative VA that can make your digital content look amazing.
Landline, mobile phones, email systems, web- conference tools are all in a day’s work with a VA.
- Web-conferencing – Skype remains one of the most popular platforms for many VA’s and clients when needing to collaborate and discuss; because it’s free and familiar. Google hangouts is a good backup to Skype but just doesn’t seem to be a popular. GotoMeeting and Zoom paid versions are also quite handy and may be seen in your VA’s toolkit.
- Gmail and outlook – Gmail was never intended for business users, but as its low cost or free it’s a popular choice by soloprenuers or small businesses just starting out; and it’s even better when you feed it through to outlook so you combine their power. Both outlook and Gmail are popular so you can expect a VA to be familiar with either.
- Phones – I’ve often come across the issue of ‘how to have your VA answer your phone’ whilst not investing in a dedicated phone line. One solution Virtualetic came up with was to offer clients a dedicated monthly plan mobile service with our Team Package. Why? – small setup costs and most importantly if you’re working long term with a client; and you need to make and take calls on their behalf (in a professional manner) you need a separate number and something that a landline can be diverted to; without over investing. There’s also skype phone numbers and VOIP that we think gives you dedicated line options ( but don’t quote me on those) .
- One nifty idea to add to the bucket list is an answering call service for your office landline; you can then direct messages to be taken and emailed to your VA; they can then call your customer back.
I realise this already sounds like the toolkit to rival Ben Hur; but there’s more…so much more; however I have no intention fry your brain today. Whats above serves to effectively communicate that as a client, you can expect your VA to come armed with many tools; so it’s not simply skills and talent that add value to your business when you hire a VA.