Being a successful virtual assistant requires using the latest technology, it’s that simple. We work with lots of clients, all in different locations and that requires a host of collaboration tools that we can access at any time and from any device.
I thought it would be cool to share a list of some of the online collaboration tools that we use on a daily basis. The kind of tools that are accessible for any small business or startup like ourselves! If you want to add to this list please drop me a comment at the bottom of the post.
We all need to be able to share and store files these days – and avoid emailing and clogging up our inboxes! DropBox is the first tool I started using to share and backup documents with clients. You can use it through the website directly, or even better download the app which syncs files and folders directly from your computer. The first 2GB of storage is free and there’s incentives to get more free space if you successfully get friends/colleagues to signup for space too.
Trello is a super simple, but indispensable tool for creating lists and getting your workload organized with others. We use it to create to do lists, which we share between ourselves on private boards – we love the simplicity of “to do, doing and done” as a 3 column layout. You can also login with your Google account so you don’t even need to make a separate account.
Yes, good old Skype. Most of us have used it at some point, and it’s still the “default” communication tool for our team of virtual assistants. The mobile app syncs everything perfectly for when we’re on the road and instant messaging helps cut down on the noise of emails. We also use the share screen feature when we need to share something visually.
Basecamp is a highly intuitive project management tool. We use it to organise projects, both internally and externally, and it lets us store all the associated files, notes and timelines in one central place. Clients can get updated when something is completed or there is an issue to resolve. Because it’s web-based, anyone can easily work out how to use it.
This is a useful screen sharing/online meeting tool with audio over the internet. There’s a basic free version and then paid plans which allow for lots more people and features like recording and storing your meetings. In a nutshell it’s very easy to fire off an invite to someone who will instantly be able to see your screen and just get on with a meeting with no fuss.
Evernote is a great tool for teams to research topics and store useful info they have found on the web. You can store notes, web pages, files and images in one place and then collaborate on the same project with other users. One of the coolest things about Evernote is the seamless integration between desktop and mobile – everything is synced up.
Yammer lets you create a kind of private social network for your employees, just by using the same company email address. You can create groups for different departments, store important company documents and files and post announcements to all your employees. It has integration with Office365 (as it’s owned by Microsoft) and there’s a free plan to get you started.
Similar to Yammer, Socialcast is another flavour of private social network, or intranet type collaboration tool. It’s a cool way to keep employees in touch, posting ideas on a Facebook style feed but in a secure, private environment. It’s free for up to 50 users so it’s perfect for SMEs to get started who need to improve their internal comms.
Asana is a task management tool. It lets you assign tasks to people and then track and organise jobs with associated ideas, files and comments all in one place. Tools like this can cut down on email noise and keep people focused on the important stuff. It’s free for up to 15 members to get started and also has cool iOS and Android apps to sync everything.
Nothing new or amazing about Google Docs – but their simplicity and accessibility makes them one of the most valuable online collaboration tools around. The speed at which a document/spreadsheet/presentation can be created, shared and collaborated on is hard to beat. Combined with the free 15GB of Drive storage you get from Google it’s kind of a no-brainer for businesses to take advantage of.