The Essential C’s: Five Free Tools for Virtual Assistants

Learning new technology, platforms, systems, tips & tricks is all a part of being a Virtual Assistant. Clients may have preferred systems they are already working with and some are ready to try something new. It’s helpful to have a few in your back pocket that help you run your own business while you’re also busy supporting others! With so many platforms and systems out there to choose from, it’s hard to tell which ones will work best for you. 

Here are a few favorites that are tried and true!

1. Calendly

That dependable friend who knows the important things happening in your life and always calls. This is what Calendly is to your business. Super user friendly, this platform allows you to create a call link accessible to any potential clients or booked clients. Book discovery calls and learn more about a potential client’s needs or start building a positive relationship with a new client. You set your working hours and availability which helps you allow that flexibility in your week by setting aside certain times for calls and certain times for projects. Clients can look through what you have available and match it to their schedule – a huge time saver! Scheduling doesn’t have to be 7 emails back and forth now. You choose what method works best for you – Zoom, Google Meet, a good ol’ phone call. Get alerts right on your phone to see who books a call. It’s so exciting to see these come through, that means you’re growing your business! 

Pro tip: Add a questionnaire to your event that clients answer as they are booking the call.

A few suggestions include:

  • What are your goals with this position?
  • Are my packages within your budget?
  • What would you like me to know about your business?

Knowing a few things ahead of time can make you better prepared for the call.

2. Clockify

Ever start a project that you think will take you 45 minutes and your next glance at the clock shows that an hour and a half has passed? How much time does it really take to complete a task? You might not know unless you time yourself. Keeping track of time is useful for you and preferred by many clients. Most times, virtual assistants will package their hours by monthly retainers. That’s great! Use Clockify to thoroughly track your projects and time it takes to complete them. This gives both you and your client a chance to recap the month – do you need to ask for more projects to fill up the agreed upon hours? Is one essential task eating up your time and you need to prioritize?

Pro tip: Use tags to keep your projects and clients organized! You may want to tag the type of project you did, tag if the project was invoiced, or tag what part of the business you worked on. Searching a specific tag allows you to see the total hours you spent on that task. Generate a report and your client will be thankful! 

3. ClickUp

You’ve landed paying clients and have so many projects keeping you busy – look at you go! Keep your tasks and deadlines organized with this project management platform. Like I’ve mentioned before, prioritizing tasks is important. On your home page, you can see a bird’s eye view of your day. What is due? What is the highest priority? What can you wait to do tomorrow? A big lesson I learned in a flexible, freelance business is that waiting to do some projects is okay. Templates also make it possible to streamline recurring daily, weekly or monthly tasks – which you’ll have a bunch of with retainer clients.

Pro tip: You can create videos right in Click Up. Videos are such a great way to keep your client in the know – especially if this is new for them! Walk them through your updates or provide a tutorial so they know how to use what you’ve created. 

4. Coloors

Where’s the angel choir sending down rays of sunshine with the unanimous – “ahhhh”. This is the feeling you get when exploring the beautiful color palettes on this tool. I have used it so much in branding, marketing and resource creation. If you need inspiration for a branding board, use their Palette Generator. You can see trending palettes, create your own, or build one around a favorite color. 

Pro tip: Try out the Image Picker feature. A client may not have their branding assets (logos, palettes, images, fonts) ready to hand over. They may give you materials they have used in the past. When this happens, you can upload the image and the Image Picker will create a palette. You’ve now created a branding palette for your client in a matter of minutes and can start using the hex codes in your creations.

5. Canva

Total design expert – yes, you! Canva makes everything easy with templates, tutorials and the coolest elements under the sun. Every type of project you need, whether that’s an Instagram post, a flyer or a presentation, comes perfectly sized. No need to worry about checking the proper dimensions of a post or worrying that your graphics won’t show up right. Drag and drop, select and move. Canva is the most intuitive and user friendly tool! 

Pro tip: Canva Pro is the best decision I made for my business. The Pro version is $12.99/month and is worth every penny. This version allows access to elements, photos, font pairings and the branding toolkit. I have 4 branding kits going right now for my business plus 3 clients. Anytime I’m designing, I use the drop down menu and select the client’s brand kit. It’s a quick switch to all of their logos, palettes and fonts. Even cooler, and included with Canva Pro, is the Content Planner (hi all you Social Media Managers!). Design it, drop it in the planner and check it off your list.

You cannot go wrong with the Essential C’s: Calendly, Clockify, ClickUp, Coolors and Canva. These are your all-in platforms for organization, scheduling, time management, project management, graphics and design. When your own business is running smoothly, you’ve made it possible to successfully support your clients, too!