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Trying to grow a VA business? Here are five free tools for virtual assistants to help you get started.
I’ve been providing support to a variety of entrepreneurs as a virtual assistant for nearly five years. During this time, I’ve experimented with several different tools, both free and paid.
I didn’t stick with many.
They were either too cumbersome to use, or not worth the time it took to really master them.
But, there are some tools I use on an almost daily basis. These tools are all free. Which is great news if you’re bootstrapping your VA business!
Before we dive into the free tools, I wanted to share the incredible course I took to help me get started. It seriously helped me land my first client within a month of taking it, and I’ve consistently earned money as a VA ever since.
If you’re ready to start your own VA business, I highly recommend Gina Horkey’s course, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success.
Now then, let’s dive into those free tools for virtual assistants. They can really help you stay in touch with your clients, submit your work, and grow your business.
1. Google Drive
If you need to share files with clients, Google Drive is the way to go. It’s so versatile, and I love how two people can view the same file at the same time.
In my VA business, I use Google Drive to:
- Access draft blog posts clients want me to format
- View agendas for meetings and add notes to them in real time
- Access documents to input into my client’s production schedule
- Add information to client spreadsheets
- Send work to clients
- Access videos and images from clients
Google Drive helps you share files easily for a variety of purposes. While you can share each individual file, I’ve found it much easier to create a shared folder.
Then, anything you create inside the folder is automatically accessible to your client. Likewise, anything they add to this folder is shared with you.
This prevents a string of emails sharing links, which saves time.
To share a folder, start by creating a new folder. Give it a title that will make sense for both you and your client. You can use your name + client name, the name of your client’s business + VA Folder, or any other combination that makes it easy to find.
Then, open that file and navigate to the drop-down arrow by the folder name. From these options, select share.
You’ll type in your client’s email address to share the folder with them. Then, make sure you grant them permission to organize, add, and edit the files within the folder. That way it becomes a collaborative workspace.
As a virtual assistant, you’re likely going to need access to some of your client’s accounts. And while you can email those usernames and passwords, or get them over the phone, it’s much more secure to use a tool like LastPass.
With LastPass, your client can share login information with you. Then you can log in as them without ever seeing their data.
My clients and I have used the free version of LastPass for:
- WordPress websites
And more. It’s a quick way to securely share essential data. I can quickly use the LastPass extension to switch between accounts, which is nice.
I haven’t ever felt like an upgrade to the Pro account was necessary, though that is an option.
3. Calendar App
It’s so handy to have a shared calendar for important dates. Google Calendar is typically what I recommend for this purpose.
One of my clients keeps her blog’s content calendar on a Google Calendar, and she’s given me access to it. Now I can see at a glance when each post is supposed to publish.
It’s also where we schedule meetings, and keep track of important business items like upcoming launches and things.
I also use Calendy.com with some clients when we need to schedule a meeting. It’s much more efficient than sending what times I’m available via email.
Also, make sure that you are keeping track of your own deadlines for each client. A physical planner is what I use, I just jot everything down and check it off as a I go. It’s not free, but it’s the best way I’ve found.
No matter what method you use, make sure you keep track of deadlines. You can’t grow your business if you don’t deliver what you said you would when you say you will…
Need help making time for your business as a busy mom? Check out these posts of mine:
Though I now pay for the Pro version of Canva, I used the free one for four years. My clients were able to share templates with me, and I could easily access them and make changes.
As a virtual assistant, you can use Canva to:
- Create social media images for clients
- Update templates for blog post featured images
- Create images with quotes
- Design material to market your business
- Create freebies for clients
- Built printables to accompany your client’s course
It’s perfect for basic graphic design work.
When you do work as a virtual assistant, you need to get paid. It’s not like a 9-5 job where money just automatically gets deposited in your bank account every two weeks.
Nope. When you own your business, you need to send invoices for your work. Then when the client gets your invoice, they pay.
If you don’t send an invoice, guess what happens?
You don’t get paid.
So if you want money you need a simple solution to track invoices. I use Wave. I switched to this free invoicing system back in 2016, and have been using them ever since.
I love that you can customize your invoices with your logo and branding. Here’s what the top of mine look like:
One thing I really like about Wave is that once you enable payments, your clients can just click on a link and pay with a credit card or ACH payment. It makes it super simple for them.
There’s no trying to remember my email address or remembering to navigate to a particular site. They can just click and go pay.
You want to keep payment simple for your clients!
The Best Free Tools for Virtual Assistants
There you have it, five free tools I use on an almost daily basis.
You really can earn money from home as a virtual assistant. These tools can help.
And if you’re looking for a great course to show you the ropes, I highly recommend 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. It taught me so much that I was able to implement right away!
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Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.