Back Story – click here to skip
I recently accepted an invitation from the Manager of Carmarthenshire Enterprise Hub, Angharad Harding, to speak at a ‘coffee, women, and business’ virtual networking meeting.
The event took place online (15/07/2020) and was attended by 10 female business owners including my client and friend, Rachel Jenkins of Rachel Jenkins Online, who I invited to join me.
*Please click the image below to book yourself onto the next ‘coffee, women, and business’ networking event which take place every fortnight – spaces are limited and must be booked in advance
During my 10-minute presentation, I talked about why and how I became a Virtual Assistant and listed my Top 10 online tools that I have personally used in my business since launching in January 2018. Most of these tools are free (paid options are available) and they are all linked for you below;
* = My affiliate links
Just remember ‘the hardest part about doing any project is starting it’, ANON.
No 1 – Website
It can not be overstated how important a visually pleasing, easy to navigate, user-friendly and informative website is for your business – hence it’s position at No 1 in this list! If you already have a website – great! Click here to skip to No 2 on this list.
If you are still here, great! This is a huge topic – to get you started, here is my top 10 list of must-haves, regardless of what industry you are in;
- A business name (sounds obvious I know…keep reading!)
- A plan/budget (think of it as an investment)
- A brand (another HUGE topic that really needs a separate blog)
- A Web Designer (if you don’t have the skill set – outsource it to someone who does, as I did)
- An API (Application Programming Interface) e.g. WordPress
- A Domain Name(s) & Hosting Provider (.co.uk/.com if available)
- A business email address/phone number
- Images (logo)
- Social media accounts
No 2 – LinkedIn
The No 1 business networking platform in the world deserves a place in your marketing plan…right?!
Click here to read my blog ‘how to increase engagement on LinkedIn’
Click here to read my blog ‘how to schedule a post to LinkedIn for free’
No 3 – Facebook
With a Facebook business page you can;
- share photos
- share updates/news
- grow your audience
- promote your services
- sell your goods
- manage appointments
- communicate with your customers
- gather email addresses
- create groups
- have fun!
No 4 – Instagram
I would suggest a professional or creator account as that gives you more functionalities business, and there is also the option to use ag TV as well for any videos, or lives that you’d like to do. Very easy to set up. And within Instagram there’s also the option to have a link in your bio, which is basically an interactive link as opposed to just a bog standard link straight to your website and that is an exclusive feature in later which i’ll come on to in a second. That’s the social media scheduling platform that I use to schedule my posts. So that’s Instagram.
N o 5 – MailChimp
MailChimp is a massive marketing resource, you can have a free account but there are there are of course paid professional accounts as well. And within MailChimp you’d have your master audience list, and perhaps some other lists as well, and signup forms for collecting an email addresses landing pages, pop ups on your website, which are linked to your Facebook master list automated responses so that your so the system’s working for you in the background while you’re asleep, so you don’t have to do anything. And of course, the most important one, I guess of all is your regular newsletters, which if you’re not doing, I would highly recommend that you do but of course first of all you have to have less. So that’s, that’s the first and first thing to think about is get gather gathering together a list of contacts.
No 6 – Zoom
would be zoom, because all of the work that I do at the moment is online. It’s a huge platform, it’s. Occasionally I do have a few issues with it. It’s not intuitive to me. But it works, and it’s helpful for this this medium.
No 7 – Later
is a social media scheduling platform, you can connect to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest accounts, and post one post out to all four platforms simultaneously. It also has the unique function of enabling an active link in your Instagram bio, which you can set it through later. So that’s something I coach online as well.
No 8 – HubSpot
has got a free account which is perfectly acceptable for startup and in fact and established business. Obviously there’s more functionality if you pay for it but the free account is perfect. And it also has some great functionality links with your Gmail so that means whenever you send an email to an existing client, it will automatically update that person’s personal profile within your HubSpot account, which saves time is more efficient, great ways of saving time and streamlining your business. It also connects to zero if you use zero as a financial management package and MailChimp as well so whenever you send out a newsletter to your list, it will update that record within their HubSpot account as well.
No 9 – Invoice ninja or Xero
is fantastic, all encompassing financial management package for me as a VA, it’s got a timer that I use whenever I’m doing tasks which I’ve perhaps pitched hourly I predominately work in a project way but the timing function within invoice ninja is second to none. It’s a click, click, and you’ve got an invoice and it’s done all online, and it costs about six pounds a month. But then of course if you are looking to be to maybe go next level, there’s a package called zero out there which again, I would highly recommend if you’re a startup or an established business for managing finances got this got a lot of automation and great functionality within zero and again it connects to HubSpot as well so that’s perfect.
No 10 – Google My Business
, which is free to use for everybody. You do have to go through a little bit jump through a few hoops to get it working. You know, in an audit for them to establish that you are a real person with a real business. So, but on there you can put posts you can add photos, you can list your products and services and of course, do some advertising as well. So that’s really really good, and how much time.