As you begin your Virtual Assistant journey, money is often tight.
You are going to want to use products that are free and/or low cost.
1. Google Products: Google offers a large variety of tools for you to utilize.
Many of the Google products are free (if you set up a Google account). These solutions are easy to use and are accessible anywhere when you have internet access. These are a great way to get started with no cost (other than your time).
Google+ has made many changes over the past few years. Most recently, Google has added new areas called: Communities and Collections. These are areas where you can create engagement and share pictures in the communities and post information by topic in Collections.
b) Google My Business (formerly called Google Places)
This is a very powerful tool to have your clients listed on Google easily. You can add images, update hours, information, website, etc.
I must say that gmail is one of the must have tools when starting your business on a low budget. It allows you to organize your gmail into folders, and also allows you to search your email and "label" the messages.
If you are used to Microsoft Outlook, Gmail has some tools for you as well.
- Gmail Time Saving Tricks (great article from PC Magazine)
See the below overview video for Gmail.
- Have a domain (i.e. GoDaddy or HostGator forward to gmail account)
- Create folders in Gmail
- Searchability in Gmail
- Priority Email vs Inbox Email
- Sent and Draft Folders
- Google Apps
- Live Google Chat
Google Apps for business is a great option for those clients who have a larger team and wants to keep everyone on the same time. Those with bigger teams tend to use Google Apps.
You get a larger space for email, video and document storage with Google Apps. Also, it is easier for teams to share information one with the other. There is an annual cost $50 (lower for non profits).
Please Note: Many of the micro business owners (solo preneurs) utilize a regular Google Email and Calendar that are free.
e) Google Docs
Share documents with other people (and allow them to edit, change, update, etc.)
Google Docs is similar to MS Office (but not exactly the same). If you are familiar with Microsoft Office you will be able to navigate around Google Docs.
- Please Note: that the level of functionality in the Microsoft products are more efficient than Google.
- Google Document (similar to MS Word)
- Google Presentation (similar to MS PowerPoint)
- Google Spreadsheet (similar to MS Excel)
Google Docs is a nice and secure way to share documents online securely
The Google Calendar is a fabulous option to allow you to manage your online appointments and recurring events. You can also view these appointments with a synch to your smart phone.
- Accessible online calendar
- Synch to your smartphone
- Often on an event click (add to Google Calendar)
- Invite attendees to event
- Set up reminders (email x weeks, days or hours ahead of appointment).
- Multiple calendars for multiple clients
Often a client will be part of a Google Group. This is a great way for all of the members of the group to connect and relate with each other. You can add one post and it is sent to the entire group.
You can modify the settings so that you only receive emails once a day.
I like to use this tool for clients who send me content for future posts at a time that is convenient for THEM!
In December 2015, Google Hangouts received their own domain: hangouts.google.com. This allows you to connect with your Google contacts via chats (text), phone calls and even video calls. You can also search for other hangouts that are currently on the Air at that time.
Adwords is how google helps you to organize advertising options on Google. Google adwords are a vital part to many companies as they expand their brand online.
j) Keyword Planner (Google Adwords)
This is a MUST USE tool for determining which search terms Google is reviewing and views as important. It is also a good option to see how much competition is in a certain area online.
- Search for target client
- See what Google views as important
- Use the results in all of your marketing (blogs, emails, posts, etc.)
The Google Alert is a huge VA NINJA TOOL! See when a certain subject is archived by Google. Create an alert on your clients, keywords and even their competition.
- Get an email notification when Google archives your information online
- Receive Google Alerts on clients’ topics, name, etc.
- Use double “” before and after text “” to ensure that you will only receive alerts for EXACTLY what you are searching for.
- Use Google Alerts to determine what your competition is doing
- Determine what questions people are asking online.
l) Google Voice
Google Voice has some amazing features. The one I appreciate the most is that voice mails are turned into text and either email and/or texted to you. This is a HUGE timesaver in that I am able to discern the focus of a message quicker, and get the resolution for the client faster.
- Google voice allows the user to hide their personal phone number if they are using a personal cell phone
- You can get a free 800 number from Google
- You can also get your voicemails emailed and a text sent to you upon voice mail messages received.
- Google Task List allows you to track your tasks online and cross them off as they are finished.
- There will be a running online account of the items you update.
- You can also synch this tasklist to your Smartphone or IPhone.
- This is an old Google Task video, but it gives a nice overview of the product
n) Google Keep
Note: I also use a paper task list so I can stay organized on paper and online. I never want to miss a task or an important client appointment.
- Google Keep is a fast way to jot down notes or reminders for a later time
New as of March 2016: Google is expanding it's presence into the travel industry. Just type into google where you want to travel and pricing, location and date availability is available.
Remember, work at your own pace and take good notes. This is a private network where you can take the time you need to learn the material in a way that works for you.
Here are shortcuts to each of the Trainings:
- Video Welcome from Angel
- Beginner VA - 1.0 = VA Set Up and Intro (1 to 6)
- Beginner VA - 1.1 = VA Set Up Continued (7 to 16)
- Beginner VA - 2.0 = VA Solutions: Google Products (1 to 13)
- Beginner VA - 3.0 = Virtual Assistant Springboard (1 to 7)
- Beginner VA - 4.0 = New Client Checklist (Detail Steps with Docs)
Questions / Comments - please go to the Peer to Peer Groups (on the right hand side of each page or convenient links below). Our network is amazingly supportive and helpful with each other!
- Beginner VA Group
- Social Media Manager Group
If you find some cool shortcuts that you want to share with the community, here is our Cool Tools section! I update this group with information from all of us!
MOST OF ALL...HAVE FUN! This is an investment in you! Take your time and learn in a way that works for you!..Ready??
So buckle up...and let's get started!