A virtual assistant is an independent contractor, paid to provide administrative support to businesses. Such individuals work remotely, away from their clients’ offices. Many different types of businesses use virtual assistants because they are considerably cheaper to hire than secretaries.
Virtual assistants are able to juggle multiple clients at once, maximising their workloads and increasing profits. If you are interested in becoming a virtual assistant then there are some tools you will need.
In the context of this article, the word ‘tools’ is synonymous with software, as there are not many other tools virtual assistants can use beyond software. Here are the essential tools you need to invest in:
Digital Guidance Platforms
Making decisions can be difficult when it comes to another person’s business. Unless you are an accomplished and experienced businessperson, you will no doubt encounter problems that you will struggle to come up with resolutions for. Digital guidance platforms like SupplyGem provide advice for digital entrepreneurs and virtual assistants. You can reach out to SupplyGem and ask them for guidance, then use their advice to fix whatever’s bothering you. You do not have to tell your employer you are using third-party services. Ultimately, whatever tools you use are up to you and are nobody else’s business. Taking credit for advice given by a supply platform is legal and perfectly ethical.
As an assistant, an important part of your role will be keeping track of your boss’s schedule. You will need to know when they have specific meetings, so you can send them documents relevant to their appointments. Ideally, you should use a calendar application that allows you to share dates and times. Recording your employer’s meetings and keeping track of them will show you care about your job and are an organized individual. Care and organization are desirable qualities in an assistant, virtual or otherwise.
How do you intend on communicating with your boss if you do not use a messaging platform? If the companies you are contracting for have their own messaging portals, they will likely invite you to join them. If they do not then you will need to arrange to use a platform exclusively for talking to your manager. Having your own account on a platform like Slack or Zoom will show initiative, further proving your organizational skills. Take time to research platforms so you can find the one most suitable for your line of work.
As you will be contracting, you will technically be self-employed. Thus, you will need to set an account up with a payment processor, like PayPal. Until you have an account with a payment processor you will be unable to accept payments from your clients. An inability to take payment for your work will slow you down and make you look unprofessional. It is especially important to have a payment processor in place if you will be working with international clients, as they will not be able to offer direct bank transfers.
File-sharing tools are important investments too. Without them, you will have no way of safely transferring documents to the companies you are working for. Email transfers are often too risky, especially nowadays when you consider the huge threat cybercriminals pose to online businesses. A single intercepted email could devastate your career, losing you your employer’s trust and destroying your reputation. Companies talk, after all. If word gets out you do not use safe transfer programs, nobody will want to work with you again.
Social Media Management
Many of the clients you get will want you to manage their social media pages for them. Social media is an important part of 21st-century business. Unless you have social media management tools, managing your employer’s pages will likely not be possible. These tools are widely available and most are very affordable.
Adding graphic design to your resume can be a good way of making you more attractive to employers. Most virtual assistants are only able to complete minor tasks, like compiling spreadsheets or writing out emails. Learning graphic design will open up a whole new world of opportunities for you.
Video editing, in addition to graphic design, will further boost your career. Since many companies are turning to video marketing, learning video editing will make you more of an asset to your clients. In addition to being able to track their appointments and complete administrative work for them, you will be able to aid them in their marketing efforts.
Virtual assistants earn a lot of money, which is why so many people are entering this line of work. It is a competitive area, therefore. If you are interested in getting into it then investing in the tools outlined here will put you a step ahead of your competition.