I've been a full time virtual assistant since May of 2015, but in administration for years before that. Starting a business based on client retention is fun -- but also a little daunting. (And more so if you are new to business building.) Being a VA is my true calling, but it took me launching three other businesses to get to where I am now.
That means I've got a lot of time invested in starting businesses.
And it means I know exactly what you need when you're making your debut as a VA.
You need a time tracker. I use Harvest -- they're amazing, and their service is easy to use. You can segment your clients out, and track different kinds of time for each client as well. It's exciting when you're able to see reports of how much time you've spent on a certain task. (The total time report for clients is something I like giving out at their 1 year mark.) You can also invoice clients straight from Harvest -- including recurring invoices. This makes my life so much easier. You'll be able to skip needing a program to run your invoices and accounting this way. Extra systems just weigh you down. Harvest has a free plan, and their next step up (the one I use) is $12/month. This is what I use for a full client load.
- Project Management software. Even if you are getting business set up and don't have clients yet, get your workflow and systems set. Asana is my favorite of the many project softwares out there. They're easy to use, update often, and they take great care of me. I use Asana with all my clients, and they're hooked too. It's that good. Each client gets a screencast video when I onboard them, learning how to use Asana. Bonus: they have robust iPhone and Android apps that are easy to use. I use their free plan. They're amazing.
- CRM / Customer Relationship Management. Keeping track of your clients -- prospective, future, and past pays off. A lot of my clients use Mailchimp, which is ok. I use ConvertKit, because of their incredible automation and segmentation workflows. They keep track of my first dibs list, current clients, prospectives, and a main mailing list. I pay them $29 a month because they're worth it.
- Google Suite -- most people know about Gmail, sure. There are so many other apps in the Google family that deserve recognition. I use Google Flights almost daily for clients and for myself. I use Google Voice to catch voicemail for clients, and some clients use it as their main phone number. I use Google Sheets, Google Docs, and Google Slides all the time. Another hack is the undo send feature in Gmail -- check that out if you haven't! Google is free to use the options I've listed here. Starting out, make sure you have a good handle on the Google suite! It's important. Have a good understanding of before working with clients in a big capacity! (Keep learning!)
- Boomerang! It's a program built in to Gmail that allows you to send an email at a scheduled time. This is useful if I'm working late and want to send a client an email. I just queue it to go out at 9am Mountain when I'm "back in the office". This way I keep my boundaries with clients, and also can get the email out of my brain. This is a great way to start to set up boundaries with your clients, with the help of technology. Start these at the beginning of your relationships. You'll reap the rewards the entire time you work together. Check it out here.
Starting out as a VA is a fun experience! It seems daunting to work for yourself, right? Good news: the more you manage your own systems, the better off you are working with clients! Get your own business straight, and the clients will follow. I promise!
What questions do you have for me about starting as a VA? Let me know in the comments!