This is Day 18 in the 31 Days to Become a More Efficient Virtual Assistant Series
Previous post: Using Google Drive for Real Time Document Collaboration
As a business owner, it is important for me to test out different tools that not only help me be more productive and effective, but it is also crucial for me to use tools my team members and clients will find helpful as well. I found that when you work in sync, your results are more effective. When it comes to file sharing, Dropbox is my go to solution.
For those of you who don’t know what Dropbox is, it’s a file hosting service where you can share photos and documents securely. With Dropbox you can create separate shared folders for your team members, clients and even your vendors. All files automatically sync to all connected computers and devices (Dropbox needs to be installed on your computer for this to work). With business being conducted on a global scale, this is perfect for teams working remotely.
Dropbox is also helpful when you need to share large file format documents and graphics. No need to prepare and send zip files or large email attachments. A huge time saver and much less hassle!
Why sign up for Dropbox?
Anyone can sign-up for an account that includes 2GB of free storage space. You can earn additional free storage by inviting friends to sign up for an account. For most non-business applications, the 2 GB free option is plenty, but for me a paid plan is a better fit. If you are like me and working with fellow VAs, clients and vendors and share files regularly, you’ll want to upgrade to a larger plan. Here are some other benefits I particularly like about Dropbox:
Working remotely, I know I can access my files from any computer and work on files directly with clients from anywhere. When I make a revision on a document and my client makes their changes, those revisions will be reflected on our files real time. (This only works, to my knowledge, when you have Dropbox installed on your computer. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work if you’re only using the web-based version.)
The web interface allows me as the administrator to see everything happening with my account. I can see what files are being shared as well as general activity reports.
Customization of shared folders is another super helpful feature. You can change the filename of any shared folder without affecting your clients or team members filename. If I change a file name on a shared file on my end, it will only change on my files and not change on my client’s folder.
Aside from file and photo sharing, you can also share videos and music as well. Even though I use Dropbox for my virtual assistant business, I also use my account for personal files as well. (Example: I have Dropbox installed on my Samsung Note 3 and it’s configured so any photos I take are automagically uploaded to a private folder.) I also use it as a back-up, in addition to CrashPlan, for my documents and something that I recommend my clients do as well. The time and money I save is huge and the peace of mind is priceless.
If you are looking for a file sharing solution for your business I don’t think you’ll go wrong with Dropbox. Give it a try and let me what you think. How do you collaborate with your team? What file sharing solution do you use? Share them by leaving a comment.