There’s one thing I am always thinking about whenever I do anything in my business… “How am I paying for this action right now?" Because the truth is we are all paying for everything we do, and it’s in either one of 3 currencies:
I don’t know about you, but for me, I learned really early on that my time is the most valuable currency I have. That’s why I’m obsessed about finding new hacks, strategies or tips to minimise my time wastage and that will allow me to run my business from anywhere.
See, every entrepreneur takes the dive to start a business for one reason…
- Freedom to be with those important to us.
- Freedom to live and visit wherever we want.
- Freedom to do what matters most to YOU…
The big problem is that most entrepreneurs just become trapped in their business and chained to their desk. Working harder, longer and earning less than they would have working for someone else. I was just like that until I started to see other entrepreneurs living, working and traveling wherever they wanted to.
So, I specifically designed my first coaching business to be able to function as a remote side hustle while I was in my corporate career, while I was building a new business in Singapore, while I was speaking on international stages, and even after my laptop died for 2 weeks!
Here are 11 Apps that we use in our (and roll out to our clients’) businesses that has allowed us to create more freedom. Outsourcing Angel’s virtual assistant can manage these apps for you, freeing you up and allowing you to run your business from anywhere.
1. Slack (Communications)
Slack is, at its simplest, a communications tool for your business that acts similarly to WhatsApp messenger. The great thing about Slack is, when you have a remote team, you can instantly communicate with each other (keeping your business and personal chats separate), send files (no more digging in emails) and have integrations combined into Slack.
Slack integrates with tonnes of other apps to notify you and your team of any important updates. Such as having a Dropbox integration to let you know when a client has uploaded a new document to be processed or when payments are received. This saves time having to check up on multiple apps, all the while making it easier to communicate with your team.
2. Trello (Work Flow Management)
Trello is a workflow management tool that should be the cornerstone of any small business. In our team, we use it to store resources, templates and checklists in a location that is searchable. It keeps the team from having to dig through tonnes of folders to find the contract template for the new client you just brought onboard.
Most of all, we integrate Trello with Slack so when actions are completed we can see what’s been completed, what new items have been added and what’s been archived. Your virtual assistant can help you to design templates in Trello, allowing your projects to flow smoothly. Best of all, being able to manage your tasks remotely means you don’t have to be trapped in one place, and can run your business from anywhere in the world.
3. Active Campaign (Email Marketing)
Your email list is your most prized asset in your business and you need to have an application to manage these loyal fans in the best way possible. There are many out on the market, but if you’re starting out, ActiveCampaign is our pick.
Some of its functions include automations, nurture sequences and broadcasts that allow you to do more with your fans and best of all, it integrates with a lot of the other apps that you’ll need to run your business remotely. Your virtual assistant can manage your email list for you, segmenting the list so that your message reaches the right, target audience.
4. Click funnels (Lead Capture)
If the power is in your email list, then the next question is ‘How are you going to get those emails out?’ That’s where Clickfunnels comes in. It is our go-to source for easily building lead capture funnels. Best of all, Clickfunnels can do more than just funnel pages, it also can create and manage membership pages, product pages, subscription and payment pages. This flexibility is what has helped us roll out internal training websites for our customers quickly with professionally looking designs.
5. Stripe (Payment Gateway)
Now if you’re going to be running your business from anywhere in the world, this means you’re going to have to start taking payments online with credit card facilities. You can do this with your bank (expensively) or with Stripe. Think of it as a Paypal equivalent, but slightly cheaper and with easier setup for recurring payments. Best of all, it’ll take almost any currency, accepts most types of credit cards and also integrates simply into Clickfunnels and your website.
6. Lastpass (Password Security)
When you have a remote team accessing some of your account and services, it’s important to not let them have complete control with just the same one password. I use Lastpass to generate an endless amount of passwords for my team to use that differs from my most sensitive accounts. For some websites, Lastpass can also automatically update your password if it hasn’t been changed for too long. The other great benefit of Lastpass is if someone in your team leaves, it’s very easy to change the password to protect your business. With Lastpass, you can give control of different accounts and services to your virtual assistant to manage the less sensitive items for you.
Buffer and Grum are easily the best investments any business should make in this socially connected world we live in.
“It’s ever so important to show the world that your business is here to help."
The best way to do that is to have these social schedulers in place with content prepared at least 1 week ahead. Buffer does all of our Twitter, Facebook, G+ and LinkedIn posts. For Instagram, Grum will publish the image and comments for you, instead of just sending you a reminder to hit publish in Instagram (+1 for automation!).
8. Calendly (Appointment Scheduler)
If you’re going to be running your business as you travel, you’re most likely going to be bouncing around in different timezones. Nothing is worse than playing email ping pong with a prospect or customer trying to figure out the right time for your next call.
So we use one of these awesome scheduling apps where you simply set up the appointment. Choose when you want to be available, how long the appointment is for and link it up with your calendar (so that there won’t be any conflicts). Then it’s as easy as getting your virtual assistant to send a link to let the other person pick a time that works. No more daylight savings calculations, no more missing meetings, just pure, simple and stressfree appointments.
9. Zoom.US (Webinar & Video Conference)
This is our goto app for having our daily team calls and any calls we have with clients. Skype, while widely used, is very bandwidth intensive for video calls. Zoom.US is reliable, requires less bandwidth and allows for recording calls (with Skype, you need to buy an addon to record calls).
The biggest benefit comes from the paid version, here, you will be able to record to the Zoom cloud through your smartphone. So even if you aren’t near your laptop, you can record the call to the cloud and send the link to your team, and assign any tasks associated with the call to your virtual assistant!
10. Dropbox (File Storage & Management)
Dropbox is the cornerstone for our team, they host all of our key documents, templates, videos, guides and registers. It is also the gateway for us to interact with our clients, so we aren’t caught with multiple various versions of the same file clogging our emails. It’s secure and it’s easy to use with many other apps.
11. Hubspot CRM (Lead Management)
This is new for our team, but easily one of the best apps we’ve incorporated. It is a simple CRM (customer relationship manager) tool that helps our sales team to keep track of leads and prospects. The best part is it integrates in with Gmail, allowing the whole team to easily add contacts. Hubspot will also allow your virtual assistant to add notes and tasks to a contact. This means your virtual assistant can now keep track of all your leads and help you to make sure that no lead gets left behind. Whether they are ready now or in months down the line, no one gets forgotten…
With these 11 apps, you can run your business from anywhere and be prepared for success for 2019. A virtual assistant can help you to set up and manage these different apps, freeing you up to focus on your business or allowing you to spend more time with your family. With these apps and an Outsourcing Angel virtual assistant, you can build up your business remotely and gain the freedom to do what you want to do.
For more tips and guidance on how to systemise your business and create freedom for yourself, come visit me at richardphu.com/blog!
Writer: Richard Phu
Position: Operations Manager