As a Virtual Assistant it’s crucial that I do all I can to keep up on the newest, latest and greatest technology out there so I can service my clients in the best possible manner. (we won’t even get into a discussion on how it changes faster than we can possibly keep up with!)
These are just a few of the tools that I use that I have found to be a life-saver in my business:
- Fences by Stardock this is by far one of my favorite applications – this funky software will turn a cluttered desktop instantly into a highly organized one.
- Jing is a free screen snapshot service. I have used this to create content for blogs or to show things to a client (particularly for Excel or QuickBooks). They have an upgraded version for $14.95 a year which also allows you to record “video” tutorials, etc on your computer. I haven’t used that but have heard great reviews on it from others that use it.
- For my online video tutorials I have begun using Camtasia – this particular version is free. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the paid version but as you can see by the video I created for this blog post it still works fantastic even without all the fancy features. Once recorded the videos are very easy to upload to YouTube.
- Skype – believe it or not, some people still haven’t signed up with Skype (really, what are you waiting for?). With Skype you can have computer to computer calls, video calls and instant messaging. With computer to computer calls you can have up to 24 people in the party. Have I tried it yet with 24? No but I have done up to five before! Dawn Riley with A Virtual Assistant in Paradise told me she uses a Belkin WiFi phone with her Skype calls and with that she is not tethered to her computer during chats.
- For remote screen-sharing (especially great when doing training calls) I highly recommend Team Viewer. It’s free for personal use. This software allows either party to share their screen.
- A very real threat to any small business is losing all the data and programs you have on your machine. At less than $55.00 a year you get unlimited storage with automatic backup protection with Carbonite. Somehow this service knows exactly when you’ve changed a document and will proceed to back up the revised ones.
- Have large files you want to share with someone else? My favorite is TransferBigFiles you simply type in an email address and attach the file. Once uploaded it sends an email to the recipient notifying them to download the file.
- Another great service for sharing large files is DropBox (this saved my life when I had to transfer all files from my old laptop to the new one). 2GB of free storage space.
- This is one of the few services I actually pay for. Ring Central – this is an online fax service and at less than $100 a year you can’t beat the price. And it Includes 300 FREE Fax Pages per month. All faxes are sent to you as a PDF so it’s quite easy to save them on your computer’s hard drive. It also integrates with Outlook so you can send faxes directly from your machine.
- For audio: record and turn it into an MP3 Audacity is free and super easy to use.
- Resizing pictures (and fun other options as well) I love Picnik.
- Last but not least my favorite software for newsletters, ecourses and follow up messages is Aweber.
What free or low-cost services are you using that have been beneficial in your business? I’d love to hear what you have found and used (and please include links if you don’t mind)