In my last blog, we talked about how to have a successful working relationship with your client. While this factor is valuable, having the right tools is as equally important. I have been a VA for more than 3 years now and the truth is, it's completely different from working in the corporate world. Being a VA means that you are your own company. That's why it's important that you are capable of being your own tech support and invest in tools that will help you be better with your job. Here are my top 5.
Most clients and work from home companies require the minimum speed, which is 10mbps. But I would recommend something higher, minimum of 20mbps. I have a subscription of 50mbps and let me tell you why this is important. Having fast internet connection means being more efficient with your tasks. You'd be able to research faster, upload and download large files and attend virtual meetings or trainings smoothly. Imagine if you're in training and you couldn't keep up because of slow internet connection. Note that video conferences eat up a large bandwidth. So if you have slow internet, this can hinder you from learning and can be unimpressive to your clients which can possibly put them off.
Computer With High Specifications
Let me just give you a heads up that I will be a little technical here, but I'll try my best to keep it simple. If you have a computer that has an Intel i5 Processor or AMD Ryzen 5 (or something equal for Mac), this should be good. But when we're talking about efficiency and how to succeed as a VA, I would recommend something with a higher processor like Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7. The higher the processor and RAM, the better. Intel i7 processors have hyper threading which makes them good not only for high-end gaming, but also really awesome for multitasking and multimedia.
Fast internet connection and a computer with high-end specs goes together. One cannot do without the other, it just wouldn't make sense. Having both would make your work life easier, fun and stress-free.
Project Management Tools
Project management tools assist an individual or team in organizing and managing their projects and tasks effectively. It also gives you the ability to quickly set a hierarchy of tasks for efficient and effective completion. In addition, it allows you to indicate which actions are sequential and which tasks are dependent on one another. In turn, this makes it easier for the team to accomplish their tasks.
Now, why is this important? Having one client can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you have multiple tasks. Imagine if you have 3 clients. Unless you can memorize everything - schedules, tasks, websites, names and due dates, then I would recommend using a project management tool. Some of the best are Monday.com, Asana, Trello, Wrike and Clickup. I only have experience using Asana, Trello and Monday.com. They are very similar and very user friendly, and I must say, it helped me improve on my time management and kept me organized. If you are a Real Estate VA, this tool is a must.
A VPN App establishes a secure connection between you and the internet. Via the VPN, all your data traffic is routed through an encrypted virtual tunnel. This disguises your IP address when you use the internet, making its location invisible to everyone. This tool is most useful when you are accessing websites that are crucial for your tasks with your client, such as lead generation and skip tracing. There are free VPN programs that you can use such as Hola, but I would recommend that you subscribe to a good one because it will give you less hiccups when accessing critical websites.
Microsoft Office Programs
It is not necessary to get all the Office programs but my top 5 are Excel, Word, Outlook, To-Do and PowerPoint. Microsoft has a free trial, although you can still use the programs once the trial ends, some features will be disabled. Getting a one year subscription would be practical, but I would recommend that you get a monthly subscription because you may or may not use these tools much often. In my case, if I know that I would be using these tools for the month, then I subscribe and cancel anytime if I feel like it won't be used in the next coming months.
A lot of people think that being a VA is easy because you are working in the comfort of your home, but what most people don't know is the "fine print" that comes with working freelance. If you want to succeed in this industry, the key is to invest with tools that can help you and your client achieve your long term goals. And trust me, it's worth it.
What other tools do you think are crucial and can help you working as a VA? Let me know!