As a virtual assistant you potentially work for clients across the world. For the most part, you will work virtually and communicate with clients and colleagues via email, telephone, or video chat, rather than meeting them in an office. With the right tools, you need nothing more than a computer and a mobile device to get the job done.
This article will introduce you to a selection of free apps you can use to work as a virtual assistant.
As a virtual assistant, good communication is your bread and butter. Your primary way of interacting with clients will be email, hence you need a thoroughly set-up email client. My personal favorite is Gmail. It is mainly these 10 Best Features That Keep Me In Gmail.
As the article indicates, Gmail offers several excellent features that will enable you to manage communication for multiple projects and clients, e.g. filters, labels, and multiple inboxes to name a few. Not surprisingly Google offers a Gmail app for Android.
Being on Gmail, you can easily use Google+ features, such as Hangouts, a great tool for interactive meetings. Using a Hangout, you can virtually meet face to face with your clients and chat via voice or text, share your screen to present your work, give a slideshow, or collaborate on a Google document. If you are in a country eligible for Google Voice, you can even call phone numbers using Google Hangouts.
Although there is a Google+ app that promises support for Hangouts, this feature apparently is not available on all Android devices or for all locations.
To learn more about Google+ in general, download our Google+ guide for everyone.
If your client isn’t technically minded enough to be using Google+ or if you need an alternative way to call your client on their phone, Skype is your tool of choice. Before using Skype, I recommend reviewing the following articles:
- 10 Tips To Get Most Out Of Skype Video Conferences
- How To Make Skype Video Calls On Your Android Honeycomb Tablet
- 6 Things You Should Check First When Skype Does Not Work
Email is a mediocre way for exchanging files with your client. Online tools like Google Docs, which is now part of Google Drive, or Dropbox offer a much better environment for sharing or collaborating on files. Both Google Drive and Dropbox are available for Android. Both are easy to set up and intuitive to use.
The obvious advantage of Google Docs is that you won’t need a desktop office software, but can create all your documents online. Moreover, with the introduction of Google Drive, you can now share the whole bandwidth of files and don’t need to rely on an additional application to share images, videos, or other non-document file types.
Dropbox was the first cloud storage app to offer a desktop client, blurring the lines between working online and in the cloud. Google Drive now offers the same feature, offering seamless integration with Google Docs.
- A Look At Google Drive, Google’s Long-Awaited Cloud Storage Service
- 7 Tips & Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Google Drive
- Get Easy Access To Your Documents Stored Online With Google Docs For Android
- How To Recover Lost Files In Dropbox
- Share Files Between Your Computer & Your Android Device With Dropbox
There is a lot you can get done with a small selection of apps and a bit of organizing talent. When you are working for multiple different clients, however, you may be in need of an efficient project management app to coordinate your tasks and potentially people you are working with. In this case it’s worth looking into professional project management solutions.
Examples of online project management tools are Basecamp and LiquidPlanner. While MakeUseOf is using the former, the latter recently launched its official Android app. Free alternatives to these paid tools are FreedCamp – A Feature-Filled Project Management Alternative To BaseCamp and Trello – A Unique, Simple & Powerful Project Management System From A Good Home.
Both of these tools are browser-based and don’t offer dedicated Android apps. Trello promises to be working on just about any device as it is optimized to run on any screen size.
Are you in need for more tools to manage your team or organize your virtual office? Check out these articles:
- 10+ Great Online Tools For Group Co-Ordination & Meetings
- 5 Critical Tools You Need For A More Productive Virtual Office
What other tools do you think are essential for a virtual assistant?
Image credits: Virtual Assistant via Shutterstock