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  • Want To Work As An Executive Virtual Assistant? You Must Have These Tools

    Two moms working as executive virtual assistants share some tips.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
Want To Work As An Executive Virtual Assistant? You Must Have These Tools
PHOTO BY Shutterstock
  • While job hunting online, you may have come across with posts looking for a virtual assistant (VA). It’s essentially an executive assistant position, but everything works outside a traditional office setup. That’s why you need the necessary work at home tools if you intend to embark on this career choice.

    What work at home tools you need

    As a VA, you are required to provide administrative, creative, and technical assistance to your client or several clients. Your tasks include managing email, social media, website, as well as lead generation, data entry, and even email marketing and sales funnel.

    Moms Sheila Flores and Lorilie de Guzman share with SmartParenting.com.ph their must-haves working as executive virtual assistants. They also have parallel jobs as a project manager and community manager, respectively.

    Communication tools

    Email is a must for detailed correspondence. For her email communciation with internal and external clients, Shiela opts for Gmail and Outlook. She also uses Mailchimp for sending out newsletters to clients, maintaining client database, and managing social media posts.

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    For more real time correspondence and quick calls with clients, messaging apps are very useful. Lorilie explains that the choice of messaging app depends on the preference of the client or partners. In her case, she uses WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber.

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    There's also Discord, says Lorilie. She explains, "My client created one channel in Discord with all the teams. There are sub-groups where you can collaborate with your own team as well as with members from other teams.

    "It is a good collaboration tool and maintain the connections within members. We actually have a social channel where everyone can just join and listen to music together while working. We also use this for tool daily check-ins."

    For collaboration meetings with clients, Lorilie points out, apps such as Zoom or Google are a must to "explain things faster" with the help of the share screen feature.

    Research and documentation tools

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    An executive VA's work at home tools are never complete without any or all of components of Google Suite. The Docs, Sheet, and Slide, for instance, Lorilie says "allow for easier sharing of documents with clients and other remote team members since it saves files on the Cloud."

    Lorilie adds, "You can also work on the same document at the same time with your team mates or client, so this really saves a lot of time." She also relies on Google Drive for storage of files and for easy sending and receiving of files, as well as on Google Calendar for scheduling of meetings and tasks.

    For Sheila, nothing beats Google search engine in doing research. She also depends on Google Drive and Dropbox for file management; Google Calendar for managing time,  meetings, and tasks; and Google Docs and Sheets for documentation.

    Additionally, she uses Meister Task for project management and Squarspace for website management and updates.

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    Design tools

    Both Sheila and Lorilie depend on Canva in designing tasks, such as posters, menu, and images for social media and website. Says Lorilie, "I usually do some design work for my client, and Canva really makes my work easier."

    Other essential tools

    Sheila points out that an executive VA should have access to various social medial platforms. particularly Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

    For hardware requirements: laptop with built-in camera; extra monitor; strong internet or Wifi connection, iphone; mic or headphones; good lighting or a ring light, and printer. Plus a good, and quiet workspace.

    Tips to make working from home really work for you

    Sheila advises would-be VAs to be open to new learnings. She explains, "The digital world is continuously evolving. Join webinars, especially those that are free! YouTube has a lot of content you can use to learn applications that may be new to you."

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    She adds, "Find or create a workspace that is conducive to learning or working. Find a community or support group that can help you and inspire you to be better at work."

    Sheila herself joined an international Executive Assistant group on Facebook to pick up tips and then attended seminars organized by Connected Women Philippines, for which she now works as project manager.

    For Lorelie, the support of her family, along with all the work at home tools, makes working from home possible. She explains, "I share my work schedule with my husband and kids and they give me the space to do my work.

    "By now the kids are already used to my work from home set-up. They still approach me from time to time when they need something, but since they are already used with my work, they will check first if I am in a meeting or a call.

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    "Also, it works when everyone in the family is helping out in household chores and are ready to cover for each other in cases where work takes a bit more time."

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