Tools of the Trade

As a digital marketing specialist I’ve tried various tools throughout my career and know the right tools can save time and make work as a freelancer easier.

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just know the right shortcuts to use!

Below are tools I use, love, and highly recommend. 

I’ve also included my personal reading list + courses from people I know & trust for anyone looking to hone certain skills or niche into specialties.

Some of these links are affiliate links, which means I may get a commission if you purchase. You will not be charged more to compensate me. Instead, many of the creators of these tools have given me special discounts to pass on to you!
Thank you – 💖 Emily

Freelancer Must Haves:

Video conferencing tool

The ability to hold face – to – face meetings remotely with clients is gold for today’s VA. I love how easy it is to use for group coaching calls with my students and workgroup members. I’ve also used it for FB live interviews as well.

Free and paid versions available.

Freelancer Contracts & Client Agreements

Client Services Agreement. All the templates you need. All in one place. All for one price. From friend and tax attorney Braden Drake

Only $30

Marketing Tools:

Email marketing, automation, and CRM tool.

The user-friendly email marketing platform I use. I love the flexibility and advanced features which allow me to segment and tag my email list as needed. They also offer excellent migration services.

Free trial available. 

All in one platform to sell, market, and deliver your content.

My course is hosted here. I track payments, student progress, and affiliate transactions plus create landing pages for all my marketing inside Kajabi.

Free trial available. 

Quiz creation program

I use this for all my quiz clients and my own quiz. Interact offers templates, integrations, and live examples. Free and paid versions available.

Use my 20% SMARTCOOKIE off discount when you sign up!

Awesome online photo editing program

My go-to program when editing client photos and creating graphic designs. Quick and easy to use.

Free & paid versions available.

Online photo editing & template design program

Similar to Photoshop without the high price tag. I use it for advanced photo editing.

Free & paid versions available.

Easy to use online graphic design program

I couldn’t live without Canva! I use it to design graphics for ads, opt-ins, and webinars plus all the graphics in my course.

Free & paid versions available.

User friendly, fun video messaging tool.

Great for creating short personal video messages. I’ve used it in emails and on landing pages. Open rates go up when a personal message is included! Free trial available.

Embedded timers for live and evergreen funnels.

Creates a sense of urgency with timers on landing pages and in emails. I use it for launch bonuses and in sales funnels. Free trial available.

The gold standard for scheduling Pinterest Pins

What I use for all my Pinterest clients. Easily plan, schedule, and track pins. Tailwind now offers Instagram post scheduling.

Free trial available.

Website Hosting

Your site speed matters – I migrated my website to SiteGround and I’ve have zero issues.

Sign up here.

Content and distribution tool for social media

Publish or schedule directly to YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter in one shot! I use this to save time. 

Free and paid versions available.

Webinar hosting platform

Host live and pre recorded webinars, customizable to your brand, with tracking and integrations. 

14 day free trial

Private Podcasts

Quickly turn your content into private podcasts your audience can listen to on-the-go. More consumption means higher engagement, more sales, and stronger connections.

Free trial available.

Video conferencing tool

TubeBuddy is a browser extension & mobile app that integrates directly into YouTube to help me run my channel. It helps with SEO, bulk processing, promotion and more. 

Free and paid versions available.

Social marketing and link in bio tool

Schedule your social media posts and forget! I use this for Instagram and Facebook stories, posts, analytics, hashtags, and a visual planner which I love. It also works with TikTok, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. 

Free trial and paid versions available.

Video organizational tool

I recently implemented this inside my course. It’s the best way to manage videos using a search engine. It’s also good for memberships and FB group videos.

Various plans available.

Private Podcasts

Quickly turn your content into private podcasts your audience can listen to on-the-go. More consumption means higher engagement, more sales, and stronger connections.

Free trial available.

Productivity Tools:

Task organizational tool

This is great for task listing, scheduling, and assigning to team members. I can organize by projects/launches and know where everyone is at all times with it’s timelines.

Free and paid versions available.

Visual online organizer

Great to organize projects and collaborate with clients. Uses boards with index cards which can be moved along a timeline or added to different boards.

Free and paid versions available.

Project Manement Tool

ClickUp project management is a simple way to organize all of your teams, projects and work in one place. Collaborate across your whole organization

Free and upgraded plans available

 

Team project tool

This is great for managing projects that require several team members working different areas at the same time and handing off sections as completed. It’s also great for storing SOP’s or creating processes as part of the new VA onboarding.

Free and paid versions available.

Team Collaboration tool

My team and I use this to keep in touch with ongoing projects and everyday tasks. It’s great segmenting projects and including only members who are working on the project to have access.

Free trial available. 

Voice Communication tool

A must for remote teams. I can send quick messages to my clients or my team discussing hot topics. Sometimes conveying ideas or instructions is best done verbally.

Free and paid versions available.

Appointment scheduler

The best online scheduling tool I’ve used. It’s simple to implement and easy for people to click and schedule times with me. It’s great for guest appearances on Facebook and my podcast.

Various plans available. 

Organize and manage business finances

Bookkeeping is not my fave thing, but QB makes it easy to send invoices, track expenses, generate 1099’s, and create reports.

Free trial available. 

Automated transcription of audio and video

This is the best I’ve found. It summarizes keywords and highlights making it easy to repurpose into blogs or shownotes.

Free version available.

Business Tools:

Mini Ring light for Discovery Calls

Feel more confident and rock your next discovery call by using  the good lighting of mini ring light. It makes all the difference. 

Only $17 on Amazon 

18" Ring Light for Social Media Promotion + Interviews

I use this ring light in my business for all calls, filming reels and social. Good lighting = you look good, feel good, and show up confidently, you book the clients and you put yourself out there marketing-wise.

Available on Amazon for $90

Get a Microphone

Here’s a simple mic for I use for my podcast + course recording, teaching and guest speaking gigs. Only $30 on Amazon

For a hefty duty option: Look at the Blue Yeti – $100 on Amazon

Skill enhancers:

Build your resume with these skills

Get daily mini video tech trainings on Kajabi, ConvertKit, admin, and graphic design. These micro-videos will be powerful resume-building knowledge to get you hired in the online space.

Sign up here

How to build an email list for your clients

My mentor Amy Porterfield teaches she to builds her email list with 1,000 new email subscribers a week in a free masterclass: The Relaxed Business Owners Guide To Building A Profitable Email List

Register Here

Gif and sticker workshop

This super fun and easy training will teach you how to make eye-catching, personalized on-brand gifs and stickers for your clients! You’ve seen them on IG, now learn how it’s done with this quick workshop.

Buy here

Get on the waitlist for my new free workshop

Learn how to package your current skills as a freelancer and what prices you should be charging. 

We’ll go over:

  • How to position yourself in this crowded online space.
  • Uncover which of your unique skill sets you should monetize.
  • Confidence to nail your next discovery call.
  • Crafting an irresistible package your ideal client can’t say no to

Learn more here

Get hired as a Facebook group manager

In just 2 hours learn everything about managing Facebook communities plus discover backend features and analytics that will make you in-demand as a FB community manager. 

Learn more here

Become a unicorn digital marketing assistant

You’ll learn all the skills to get hired right out the gate. This course is for those go-getters ready to start work in as little as 12 weeks.

I’ll teach you all the mechanics to implement your skills as a unicorn digital marketing assistant, including training on online marketing strategy, social media, email marketing, setting up your business, plus access to job leads!

Learn more here

An online referral community

This exclusive membership is designed for skilled freelancers, service providers, and virtual assistants ready to up their game and book out fast. Includes, job leads, new monthly advanced training, extensive resource library, and monthly live happy hours.

Apply here 

Director of Operations certification program

 
Natalie Gringrich’s program is jam packed with everything you need to know about becoming a director of operations. Get better clients, get paid higher rates.
 
Join her free Ops Masterclass here

Become a certified Master Marketer

Cathy and Julie offer everything you need to be certified and  create funnels that work and look amazing.

Part 1 is their offer creation capstone training.

Part 2 is all about copywriting.

Part 3 dives into winning design.

Upon completion you’ll know exactly what works and be able to charge more for in-demand funnel creation.

Bring your client's personality out in copy

Justin Blackman shows how to bring more pop into your client’s emails, blog posts, and sales pages.

In his workshop he offers 57 ways to add punch up your writing. Learn more here: Write More Personality-er Workshop

Looking for copywriting mastery?

Dive deeper into your writing in his way-too-much-fun Personality-er Academy which includes his workshop plus monthly copywriting coaching calls. 

Real Estate Transaction Coordinator Masterclass

If you love real estate and are interested in specialing, consider doing it in high demand transaction coordination. Crystal Allen-Harrahill helps you get started and transform your VA skills into a lucrative real estate transaction coordination business.

Join her masterclass here.

Nurture to Convert Society

Dana Malstaff has a wildly successful Facebook group, Boss Moms, which is a community for us moms who are also entrepreneurs. Pro tip: it’s also a great place to offer help and pick up work.

Dana offers training and support through her Start and Grow Your Facebook group course

and in her membership, Nurture to Convert Society, where she helps mom-owned businesses grow to 6 figures.

Planning, productivity, process improvement

Brittany Dixon is an expert at being organized and productive with envy-worthy efficiency. She will help you scale and make an impact in your business and in your client’s. 

Brittany offers VA’s the tools they need: 

Business Organization Course

Client onboarding kit

Business Organization Templates

Day rates for VIP days

Sarah Masci is an expert on day rates. She created this pricing structure to help eliminate scope creep, inconsistent timelines, and burnout.

She now works just 1 week per month making a consistent $10k in income! Her Get Booked by the Day course teaches you exactly how to setup and design your business on the day rate model.

Learn sales strategy

Michelle Terpstra spent over a decade working for Fortune 500 companies and is now using that sales and speaking experience as a sales coach.

She helps service providers (and other entrepreneurs) supercharge their sales skills to build businesses of their dreams.

Her discovery call insight is gold. Looking to up your closing rate check out her masterclass

The Secret to Discovery Calls that Convert

Become FB smart

Rachel Miller IS the queen of Facebook. I took her Grow Your Audience (formerly called Moolah) course years ago and learned so much.

Rachel blew me away with her tech knowledge and showed me there is a whole other side to Facebook when using the platform for business & marketing!!

She spoke inside my FB group showing us how she uses VAs to help her business. If FB is your jam, (and it should be if you’re just starting out), check out her masterclass on how to Confidently Turn Strangers into Buyers

or get her Grow Your Audience course here.    

Books on my reading list:

These are books I've read and found helpful
or come highly recommended and I plan to read soon.

I don’t know about you, but I love to read and find gold nuggets I can apply to my business. My book list includes: mindset, marketing, business practices for service providers, and a few for business owners. Enjoy and let me know what your thoughts after reading them!

For business sense:

Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman https://amzn.to/3f7oiDA

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz  https://amzn.to/2XBu0u0 

Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less by Michael Hyatt https://amzn.to/2Xzcir5 

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown https://amzn.to/3C366ql 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear  https://amzn.to/3nfPh59

Traction: Get a Grip on your Business by Gino Wickman (recommend haven’t read yet) https://amzn.to/38CVyjL 

Clockwork: Design your business to run itself by Michael Michalowicz (recommend haven’t read yet) https://amzn.to/38CVyjL

What the Heck is EOS? A complete guide for employees in companies running on EOS (recommended haven’t read yet) https://amzn.to/3pnyksc

For mindset:

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck https://amzn.to/2XC98CW 

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks https://amzn.to/3ppnNNi 

We Should All Be Millionaires: A Woman’s Guide to Earning More, Building Wealth, and Gaining Economic Power by Rachel Rogers  https://amzn.to/3B11KP1 

Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo  https://amzn.to/3E3tiFy 

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday https://amzn.to/3m2gHMH 

Quantum Success: 7 Essential Laws for a Thriving, Joyful, and Prosperous Relationship with Work and Money by Christy Whitman https://amzn.to/3vwTLrZ 

Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis by Ada Calhoun https://amzn.to/3E8Luh3 

Rich As F*ck: More Money Than You Know What to Do With by Amanda Frances by Amanda Frances (about to read this)  https://amzn.to/2Zk8Jpn

For marketing:

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller https://amzn.to/30P4K4I

Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Converting Your Online Visitors into Lifelong Customers by Russell Branson https://amzn.to/30PrSA3

$100M Offers: How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No by Alex Hormozi  https://amzn.to/3C2KYQQ 

Stories that Stick:  How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business by Kindra Hall  https://amzn.to/3na3hNQ

For biz owners:

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Goodin  https://amzn.to/3jnXEe1

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott (recommended haven’t read yet) https://amzn.to/3jor0bW 

I’m always adding to this list so check back often. I also love fiction so message me if you’re interested in what I’m reading right now!  

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may get a commission if you purchase. You will not be charged more to compensate me. Instead, many of the creators of these tools have given me special discounts to pass on to you!   
Thank you – 💖  Emily