5 Must-Have Tools for Every Freelancer

Technology has made it possible for people thousands of miles away from each other to work together, so aside from the skills and talent that your virtual assistant brings to the table, he or she must be equipped with the right tools to be an effective member of your team. There are 5 must-have tools for every freelancer or VA that are so basic, you might even just assume that your team has it. Know what these tools are to ensure that the efficiency and productivity of your team will not be jeopardized.

1. Own computer
Some freelancers work online without having his or her own computer by working in an internet cafe. While this might work, this is a disadvantage for a lot of reasons. Aside from being inconvenient, it is usually a place of many distractions. Just imagine your VA working on a crucial task for you alongside a bunch of kids playing their noisy online games; or maybe a nosy seatmate listening to your conversation during your meetings. Not cool, right? Though it might work for some people, I still think that in this line of work, it is important to own a personal computer so that one can work productively and securely. Opening or sharing your files and passwords in a public terminal that exposes you to the possibility of getting hacked is an unnecessary risk.

2. Stable internet connection
One of the main advantages of working online is the ability to work anywhere – in coffee shops, malls, libraries, and virtually anywhere else…for as long as there is an internet connection. A stable one, that is. Having a stable internet connection is essential for easy access to documents, fast downloading or uploading and processing of transactions and overall efficiency in communication. You need to know or at least have an idea about the quality of your VA’s internet connection to determine or anticipate how fast they can work on their tasks.

3. Communication tools such as an email, Skype, and a contact number
Nowadays, almost everyone has an email or Skype account for personal or business purposes. Just the same, confirm this with your VA to make sure. It is a must for you to know how often are they active online and how often can they respond or communicate with you and by which channels.

4. Payment tools such as Paypal, Escrow or any other money transfer services
We are talking about business and a job, so of course, one of your VA’s primary considerations is compensation. Pay your VA team on time and he or she will most likely return it with a job well done. Give bonuses or incentives if and when possible, and that will be a great motivating factor to continue working for you. Before hiring someone, make sure you agree on payment terms and a method that is convenient for both of you.

5. Social media accounts
Just like having an e-mail, most people nowadays have social media accounts such as Facebook or Linkedin where they voluntarily post information about themselves. There is a line that separates snooping on someone else’s business and checking on his or her background for security or business purposes. You have a legitimate reason for the latter so do not hesitate to check out your VA’s social media accounts to confirm his or her identity. I call it a background check to simply see if the other person is real or not. Do not let the horror stories of interacting online with someone who eventually turns out to be posing as someone else, happen to you. Again, while it is true that it is unethical to sneak around other people’s lives, this cannot be considered as such. It is important for you to know the person whom you will be working with.

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