5 Tech Tools I Use To Run My Virtual Assistant Agency
*this post may contain affiliate links...for more info, please see my full disclosure*
One of the great things about running a business online, especially something like a Virtual Assistant Agency is that the cost of running said business is relatively low. There’s no fancy overhead for things like office space or roll top desks (do people still use those?). Instead, the majority of your business’ monthly budget will be spent on online tools.
The not so great thing about running an online business is that shiny object syndrome and FOMO (fear of missing out) are real! It feels like every week there’s a new tech tool popping up that’s “all the rage”. If you’re not careful, you could easily skip from tool to tool, never really settling on one thing and potentially wasting money in the process.
What to Focus On
When you’re first setting up your VA business, you want to make sure that clients or potential clients can do the following:
learn about your services
book an appointment with you
sign contracts & invoices
Once they become clients, you’ll want something that lets you:
communicate with your clients (and eventually with your team)
stay organized & manage projects
So, let’s spend a bit of time talking about the 5 Tech Tools I use to run my business.
Squarespace: A way for people to learn about your services
There are two camps of people when it comes to whether or not building a website should be a priority when first setting up your business- those who think you can do fine with just a Facebook Business Page, and those who think that a proper website is a must when building your business. I tend to hold space with the 2nd camp.
Now, let me first say that, I DON’T think not having a website should be the be all and end all of opening up shop. You can definitely be working on your website while getting your first clients. But I DO think it’s important build your website sooner rather than later. The main reason being that, your website is your hub for everything else. It’s the singular place you can send people to learn more about who you are, what you do, how to contact you…all the things. Additionally, I’ve heard way too many stories lately of people’s Facebook pages getting taken down for insane and very minor infractions. Do we really want to have our entire businesses viability hinge on which way the Facebook winds blow from day to day?
Before I started Tasha B. Solutions (now known as The Launch Guild), I had a healthy frugal living blog. That blog was built on Wordpress because everyone told me that it HAD to be on Wordpress because of all of the great bells, whistles, and plug ins possible on that platform. And while I did like Wordpress, it’s got a pretty steep learning curve and nothing ever takes as little time as you think it should. So, when it came time to build my website for my VA Business, I decided to try Squarespace.
I kid you not, I was able to build my original Squarespace site in one weekend! Here’s what I love about Squarespace.
Drag and Drop Everything
Squarespace was created by designers so every single template is built to be visually appealing. As I tell people all of the time “it’s really hard to make a “Squarespace site look bad!”. When you sign up for the annual plan on Squarespace, you get a free custom domain, an SSL Security Certificate, a professional email address from Google, the ability to customize using css and java, unlimited bandwidth and storage as well as a bunch of other perks.
Cost: $216 per year if paid annually | $26 per month if paid monthly
Acuity: A Way for people to book an appointment with you
If you’ve ever had a client in another time zone I’m sure you’ve gone through the nightmare of trying to find a time to schedule a call. Email after email goes something like this…
You: I have Tuesday at 2 pm, Wednesday at 6pm or Friday at 3pm.
Them: I can’t do any of those, what about Monday at 1pm?
You: 1pm my time or your time?
Them: My time
You: What time zone are you again?
And on and on! Gah! Acuity solves all of that! Send them a link, they pick a time, you both show up for your appointment, BAM!
Here are the reasons I love Acuity:
Integrates with iCal and Google Calendar
Let’s clients sign up in their time zones
Allows you to create questionnaires and take payments via Stripe or Paypal
Integrates with Zoom
FREE with Squarespace Business Plan!
Cost: $15- $50 per month depending on the plan you choose.
*there is a free plan however I don’t suggest it because you can’t use the timezone converter with it #dealbreaker
Dubsado: A way to have clients sign contracts & invoices and answer questionnaires
I signed up for Dubsado a year ago and talked about how life changing it was in blog post- The 5 Pillars of Powerhouse Productivity. Dubsado is a Client Relationship Management Platform (CRM). Through Dubsado I can:
Create proposals for prospective clients
Send client’s contracts & have them e-sign
Send client invoices
Email out client testimonial requests
Create Lead capture forms on my website for people to fill out when they’re interested in working with me.
But the BEST part is, I can do all of this automatically through automated workflows. So, instead of taking up precious time checking my email to see if a client has signed their contract then sending them their invoice then sending them their welcome packet. I can create a workflow that makes all of that happen automatically (like magic!)
Cost: $30 per month if paid monthly | $300 per year if paid annually
*use my code and get 20% off your first month or year
Slack: A way to communicate with your clients (and eventually with your team)
I recently dedicated an entire podcast episode to talk about how I use Slack to communicate with my clients and my team and so definitely check that out! To summarize, Slack is a chat platform that allows you to talk with clients, send files, upload documents and so much more. Slack integrates with things like Asana, Google Drive, Teamwork, Zoom…the list goes on.
Check out the full podcast episode and the download the video I created to show you around my team’s Slack Workspace.
Cost: $0-$12.50 per month per active user
Teamwork: A Way to stay organized & manage projects
When it comes to project management platforms, there are a TON to choose from. Asana, Trello, Monday, ClickUp, are just a few. I started hearing about Teamwork a year or so ago and at first, I didn’t pay much attention to it. At the time, my team and I were on Trello and I was ok with that. But as the team grew and our projects became more complicated, Trello quickly got beyond messy. We needed something more robust that let us manage projects like the lady bosses we are.
What I like about Teamwork is that it’s customizable. I can:
Invite different team members on to different projects
Turn certain features on or off
Assign multiple team members to the same task
Create Project Notebooks
…the list goes on!
In some ways, Teamwork is similar to Asana however, it’s definitely the ability to customize that sets it apart.
Cost: $0-$15 per month per active user
Whatever tech you decide to go with, make sure you try it out for a bit before deciding that it’s not the right one for you. Every platform has a learning curve and moving from thing to thing trying to find the perfect one is hardly ever the solution. Comment below and let me know what you’re using for your biz!