Lessons from a Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant who actually does the work:
I like to nerd out on techie tools and new ways of doing online marketing. But when it comes to my business, it wasn’t hard to come up with my can’t-live-without, best tools for virtual assistants. These are five tools I use EVERY DAY in my freelance business for ME AND FOR MY CLIENT WORK.
Of course, I could go on and on with tons of other cool hacks and tricks of the trade, but these are the essential tools to know.
Whether you’re starting out as a new service provider OR you’ve been doing the freelance thing for some time, I love to help a friend and help you look smart so you book the clients, get paid, gain freedom and change your life.
It’s quite simple, ay?
So let’s dive in!
*Some of these links are referral links. If you purchase or upgrade to the paid plans I could make a small commission. I only recommend products, platforms and programs that I use and love. I appreciate your support.
My Five Most-Used *Free* Tools
1. Last Pass
Keeping track of logins and passwords is not my thing. I’m terrible it in my own personal life. If you offered me $1 million dollars for my apple id, I would hang my head in shame and my bank account would stay the same.
(Same when it comes to that 5-digit code for Verizon’s on-demand movies. I’ll probably just have to reset it next time I want to rent a movie that’s not on Netflix.)
But when it comes to keeping track of clients’ passwords and logins, you cannot be like me. It’s extremely unprofessional if you can keep track of it. And quite often, my clients are the creative types, who aren’t good at it either.
The best solution is Last Pass. (But there are a couple other password managers that are popular with virtual assistants. Get the list here. )
Perks of Last Pass Password Manager
- Saves time – no more hunting for or guessing wrong passwords … or mistyping … Last pass can fill in forms for you.
- Secure – no more notepad, google docs – and it generates secure passwords for you
- You can grant or revoke access to teammates, contractors, etc.
I highly recommend having your own account for your business.
Premium is only $36 a month and allows your clients to share folders and access. Your clients should add you to their account. Then you’ll spend less time hassling them for passwords AND when they change password without telling your, you won’t be taken by surprise. You may need to set this whole thing up for your client!
If you ever have to let a teammate go or a temporary contractor is done with their work, you can revoke their access instead of having to change ALL the passwords you ever shared.
BONUS – Use the Google Chrome extension for faster access
Canva may be old news to some of you, but hands down, my business would not be where it is today without Canva – a free design platform.
Gone are the days when a small business owner hires a $200/hr graphic designer to do the work. Gone are the days when a virtual assistant needed to know Photoshop. (I mean that was 2013 when I had no good options)
Canva makes it possible for everyone to be a designer.
I’ve used canva to design: Pinterest pins, media kits, Facebook cover photos, YouTube thumbnails, infographics, workbooks, PDFs, slide decks, email signatures, invitations, Facebook ads, feature images, podcast cover art and the list goes on.
Sign up for Canva for free here.* And consider upgrading for the $10/month ($120/year) work version down the road. The bells and whistles are worth it – tons of extra graphics, images, branding, fonts, etc.
I was an early user and I’ve just seen it get better and better over the years with more design capability and sharing, templates, pre-fab designs.
If you have time, I recommend hopping into my free Facebook group and watching this free 10 Hacks for Canva tutorial by my designer and friend AIno Horsma from the Daily Creative. It’s only 20 minutes and will get you up to speed on Canva’s recent improvements — some of which I didn’t even know about yet!! gah! I’m embarrassed to admit! — .
3. Google Drive
Google Drive is an everyday part of my life … and now my virtual school mom life! My kids are starting to get better at finding their own documents than my clients! (Sorry, Wendy!)
I highly recommend getting familiar with Google Drive and having a gmail account if you’re going to be working with clients.
Sure there are other options like Dropbox for storing and saving large files.
But I the ability to have live working documents and sheets. You can give access to your teammates, copywriters, students.
The key is in giving the right people access and the roles to either edit or view. You’ll look like a A Gamer if you get this right the first time. Instead of clients having to “request access”
I am constantly use that COPY LINK function, after I have switched the settings to “Anyone with the link.”
Just wanting you get be smart, boo!
4. One Tab
Shout out to my mentor Sage Polaris for sharing this one with me.
I am the classic girl who has one too many tabs open. But yet when I’m working on a certain client’s project, I may need 10 tabs open just to reference and do the work!
Enter OneTab – a chrome extension tool that organizes your tabs into “projects” so you can close and reopen.
This is perfect for the VA who is always context switching. It’s ideal to organize your work by client or by project. When it’s time to resume work, I can bring up everything I was working on with a click of a “Restore All” button.
- It saves so much time.
- It saves computer memory.
- It makes me feel a little less crazy, because while writing this blog I do have 15 tabs opens … and NONE of my other projects are open right now.
- It also keeps me on track with my work. No unnecessary tabs and I can bounce between tabs quicker.
OneTab is a game changer and it’s totally free!
5. Facebook Pixel Helper
Wow don’t we look smart using a “Facebook for Developers” but this is a tool I check once a day to make sure the Facebook Pixel is working for my client’s website and landing pages.
It’s a free Chrome extension tool, click here to get it, that shows you what data is being collected.
You know how Facebook and Instagram show you ads from those sites you’ve been visiting? Maybe you something in your shopping cart and didn’t actually buy. Maybe you were just perusing someone’s program or took their webinar and now you’re seeing all their ads?
That’s the Pixel.
This tool let’s you know if it’s working and makes my job so much simpler when things do go sideways.
Here the Pixel helper showed all the page views and buttons clicks when I was using Canva. Pretty creepy but oh so magical when you’re a digital marketer and helping your clients.
I go into depth about the Pixel and how to do the work in my Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School – the only course that trainings digital marketing specialists to have a solid online marketing background to get hired (and be totally coveted) by online biz owners. Get on the waitlist here because enrollment only happens twice a year.
Well now that I have 22 tabs open, it’s time to wrap up this blog and maybe figure out my apple ID for my kids’ ipad… again.
⚡Related Podcast Alert: 8 Things to Start Your Virtual Assistant Business
5 Tech Skills Business Owners Need Right Now | In-demand Virtual Assistant Skills
The Virtual Assistant Tools Takeaway:
There’s tons of cool tools out there for freelancers, virtual assistants and contractors. The more you know, the better you can serve your clients and cement yourself to recurring billable hours.
Aka you’ll be indispensable to your client with these tools and insider knowledge. I have a bigger list of tools, resources, courses and books here.
You’ll also want to check out:
If you love this techie stuff…
Take the Free Training: You’ll love my free Digital Media VA Training Series where I walk you through 15 behind-the-scenes video tutorials that I do for clients.
- It will help you decide if you’re cut out to be a digital media VA.
- It will teach new techie things with websites, graphic designs and more
Got any questions? Reach out to me on Instagram!
-Emily, Digital Marketing Consultant and Implementer
“I help smart women learn the in-demand digital marketing strategies and profitable tech skills to get hired as a unicorn digital marketing assistant.“
4 ways we can work together:
1. Do you need to acquire digital marketing implementation skills and build our your workflows so you can solidly put yourself out there for work? Check out the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School. (It opens twice a year so jump on the waitlist now!… I also share job leads with my students so it’s gateway for anyone who wants to build a freelance business that gives them flexibility and meaningful work).
3. Maybe you don’t need to learn the hard skills but need help setting up your independent contractor business? Don’t spend $1300 on a “typical start-your-VA business-course.” Learn the quick steps in my Freelance Biz Kickstarter only $297. Inside you’ll get a contract to use with your social media clients and services.
4. Need to hire a Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant? Submit your job opportunity here. I’ll share with my workgroups totally free.
Get started with digital marketing:
Feeling overwhelmed and not sure how you can work from home and build your own online digital media business? Take a deep breath – you can do this. First start here with my list of 10 popular tasks that online businesses need help with the most!
These are the tasks that new clients are constantly asking for help with, and skills that they really need to find in a virtual assistant. Get access to this free download right now. Then make sure your own VA toolkit is up-to-date and relevant, and decide where you might need to invest in new growth and development for your biz.