Even though your virtual assistant will most likely never set foot in your office or business, there are countless online resources that will make it seem as if your VA is right across the desk from you. The tools for business owners we’ve shared with you below will leave you wondering why you ever thought you needed an in-house employee in the first place!
Slack is a communication channel that is organized by project, topic, team, or whatever makes sense for you. Team members can IM, share files, make voice and/or video calls and screenshare all from a handy app or via the web interface.
Whatsapp allows for fast, simple, secure messaging and no-cost calling on phones all over the world. Whatsapp is available for users of Android, iPhone, Mac or Windows PC, and Windows Phone.
Google Voice – Google Voice gives you a central phone number (and voicemail) from which to access and manage all of your other phone numbers (cell and landline). It also has the ability to automatically forward voicemail messages to email, and can also send a transcript of the voicemail.
Skype – Skype is the leader in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services – with the ability to instant message and call other Skype users anywhere in the world for free, it’s a reliable communications solution. Additional free features such as conference calling and file sharing allow you and your virtual assistant to collaborate in real time. Factor in the optional paid features such as a Skype number and voicemail and you may find yourself giving up your landline altogether.
Facetime – Facetime is Apple’s iPhone video chat feature. With the click of a button on your iPhone 4 start a video conference with your virtual assistant on their iPhone. Also works with iPad 2, Mac over WiFi.
join.me – join.me is an app developed by LogMeIn. join.me is available for both the iPhone and iPad as well as on Mac or Windows PCs and allows you to view someone else’s screen while collaborating in real time. Additional features include: VoIP calls, chatting (IM) with other callers, zoom, and the ability to see who is in attendance on the call.
Viber – Viber is another iPhone app that allows for international free calls to other Viber users using 3G or Wi-Fi. Viber will use your existing iPhone contacts list to see which contacts are already using the service. Use of the service does utilize your iPhone’s data plan – it eliminates per-minute fees for international calls.
ooVoo – ooVoo is a cross platform instant voice and text messaging app which supports HD video calling simultaneously with 8 people. Call from PC to PC, Mac to PC, mobile to PC, mobile to mobile, etc. Also provides the ability to record and send video messages, share files, record and store audio and video calls, and real-time desktop sharing (an invaluable resource for the times you need your virtual assistant to be able to see what you’re working on, or vice versa).
General Online Business Resources
Adobe Sign (FKA EchoSign) has revolutionized the way businesses get contracts, proposals, agreements and other important documents signed, sealed and delivered. With five free signatures per month in their free account, you can get started and take advantage of this forward-thinking service right away. Use the document library to store often-used agreements and other documents. It used to take days or even weeks to mail a contract to the client and wait for the signature and return of the document. EchoSign boasts an average time to signature of 42 minutes.
Panda Doc also has a free plan and an “Essentials” plan for $19/month
Hello Sign also hasa free plan and an “Essentials” plan for $15/month
File Sharing and Storage Tools for Business Owners
Send This File – Send This File is a file sharing service that allows you to quickly and easily send and receive large files (attachments that would otherwise be too big to send via email). The free account allows for files up to 2GB with unlimited transfers per month – perfectly adequate for sending large files to your virtual assistant. All transfers include encryption and security and you won't have to configure a single setting and there's no software to download for you or your recipient.
Dropbox – Dropbox is a secure file hosting service which utilizes cloud computing to enable users to store and share files and folders with others online using file synchronization. The free version makes up to 2GB of space available (paid accounts offer up to 2,000GB), with the ability to create permissions for specific folders in your Dropbox so that you can share the contents with users of your choice. Dropbox’s sharing feature supports multiple users working on the same document in real time. Dropbox’s synchronization feature also includes a month’s worth of history as well as an ‘undelete’ option to help you recover accidentally trashed files.
Google Docs – Google Docs allows you to upload and store files in the cloud. You can upload both files and folders, including an array of file types ranging from document types to image types to video formats. You can access your files and folders online from any computer, anywhere in the world by signing into Google Docs. Share files and folders, even photos and videos. Convert files to Google Docs format and collaboratively edit these files online.
Apple iCloud – Apple’s new iCloud is built into every Apple device and stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and more across all your devices automatically. The files you keep safe in iCloud Drive are easy to get to, no matter which device you’re using. Everyone gets 5GB of free iCloud storage to start, and it’s easy to add more at any time. iCloud makes sharing files fast and easy with a private link to give instant access to the folders and files you’ve chosen to share with live updates so you and your collaborators will always be on the same page. They note that access to some services is limited to 10 devices
SugarSync – SugarSync provides automatic online backup, remote file access, file and folder sharing as well as a small assortment of third-party apps designed to allow you to use SugarSync on various devices and platforms.
Carbonite – Carbonite provides backup and syncing solutions for both home use / home offices, and small businesses. Affordable, at $72 a year for smaller operations, and $288 a year for small businesses, Carbonite provides secure automatic backup and syncing of files and folders as well as recovery of accidentally deleted data, and access to your files and folders from anywhere.
Amazon S3 – Amazon S3 is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers by providing a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. When you use S3 you have access to the same highly scalable, reliable, secure, fast, inexpensive infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of websites. Example uses include: content storage and distribution, storage for data analysts, backup archiving, and disaster recovery. Amazon Cloud Front is an extension service for content delivery. It integrates with s S3 to provide an easy way to distribute content. Amazon’s services are for true ‘power users’.
Online Fax Services
Using an online fax service not only serves as a convenient way to stay connected and a quick way to transfer information; it has eliminated the need for another piece of equipment – the old school fax machine.
Listed below are some of the most popular and respected online fax services on the market.
RingCentral Fax features a toll free or local number, dedicated fax number, receives faxes on your PC, via email, or with our mobile application, sends faxes by email and from your PC from any application. RingCentral’s most popular pricing package is the Fax 1500 which includes 1,500 free pages each month for $17.99 per user. Or you can bundle fax, phone, and video for $34.99 a month per user.
eFax is an internet fax solution offering the largest selection of local and toll-free fax numbers in over 3,500 cities and 48 countries around the world. It features lifetime storage, local and toll free numbers, electronic signature, enhanced security, to send or receive faxes as email attachments and fax from up to five email addresses. eFax Plus is $16.95 per month with a one time set-up fee of $10.00. This option allows you to send and receive 150 pages. eFax Pro is $19.95 per month with a one time set-up fee of $19.95 allowing you to send and receive 200 pages.
FaxZero – Fax zero lets you send up to two free faxes daily over the internet to any fax machine, anywhere in the United States and Canada. No fax machine or number required for you to send, just an email address. Additional faxes and premium fax sending services are available for a small fee.
Screen Sharing Tools for Business Owners
Screen sharing is another great method to easily communicate with your VA. Screen sharing allows you to share your desktop in real-time with others. This is ideal for an online meeting, training, demo or web conferencing.
Below is a list of popular tools used for screen sharing.
Skype allows you to share your screen with anyone on Skype for free. There is also group screen sharing but it is currently only available to Skype for Mac.
GoToMeeting is a simple screen sharing tool perfect for impromptu meetings. This free tool gives you the ability to share your screen with up to 250 views. You may also share control, chat and send files. For additional features you can upgrade to Join.me Pro for $19 per month.
Zoom.us Easily schedule online meetings, training, and support. Free accounts for online meetings shorter than 45 minutes.
Free Conference Call is a free online meeting service designed for screen sharing, web conferencing, product demonstrations, webinars and more. FreeScreenSharing features free unlimited meetings with up to up to 1,000 participants with a standard account, audio conferencing and your own lobby.
Social Media Management
As a business owner you understand the importance of marketing your brand online. You know that social media can be a valuable and inexpensive marketing option. What is often difficult is finding the time in your busy schedule to consistently monitor and manage your business profiles within your networks. A virtual assistant can easily assist in the management of your company brand on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with one of the social media management tools listed below.
Social Media Pro Training system and community resources to become a social marketing professional. Designed to empower you with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and community support to help you get started fast and stay abreast of this ever expanding and evolving world of social media.
Twitter Share status updates in 280 characters or less with your followers. Grow your following by following and interacting with fellow Tweeps with common interests, goals, or in your target market. Use Twitter as a marketing tool by tweeting useful resources and information. Considered one of the four core social networks a business must be active on.
Facebook Create a Facebook page to help promote your business. Utilize Facebook’s Q & A feature to help answer questions that showcase your skills and knowledge as a small business owner, virtual assistant, and within your niche. Grow your company’s Facebook following and use the page to share exclusive information and interact with potential clients. Considered one of the four core social networks a business must be active on.
LinkedIn Professional online network. Add your business to your LinkedIn profile. Use LinkedIn Groups to help grow your network, meet and interact with potential clients, and showcase your knowledge and skills. Considered one of the four core social networks a business must be active on.
Instagram A mobile social network for visual storytelling for everyone from celebrities, newsrooms and brands, to teens, musicians and anyone with a creative passion. Owned by Facebook, it includes business accounts and ads.
Pinterest An online social network built around virtual ‘bulletin boards’. Allows users to collect, organize, and share things they find on the web. Foundationally visual – not a traditional social network – now with business pages!
Hootsuite Social media dashboard. Monitor keywords, manage multiple Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Ping.fm and WordPress profiles, schedule messages, and more.
Tweetdeck Social media browser for staying in touch with what's happening on various social networks including Twitter and Facebook.
More About Social Media Scheduling Tools
Hootsuite – Hootsuite is global leader in social media management dashboard. Leverage their unparalleled expertise in social selling, social customer care, and social media management to strategically grow you businesses with customer insights at scale and collaborative ecosystem to help enhance your media management. The free plan gives a single user a social media dashboard for three social accounts. Plus, you can set up a social media posting schedule, with up to 30 messages scheduled in advance. Paid plans have a free 30-Day trial and range from $49 per month to $599 per month.
Tailwind – Tailwind is the social media scheduling and marketing toolkit for bloggers, eCommerce and other businesses of all sizes. Schedule posts at the best times, create beautiful pins faster than ever, discover content, monitor conversations, amplify your reach, and measure results all with one tool. The free plan includes a singe Pinterest Profile and Instagram Profile, each with 15 designs and 20 posts per month, 5 Tailwind Communities and basic analytics.
Later – If you’re looking for something that’s effortless to use, Later is your pick. Schedule posts across multiple platforms, find new followers, and start getting real results from social. Build a brand that people love on social media and spend a lot less time doing it. Later pairs detailed visuals with easy-to-use features that help to inform and streamline your social media marketing strategy for less. The offer customized plans based on your social set and number of users. Their plan for large businesses and agencies is just $33/month.
Agorapulse – An easy to use Social Media Management Software that enables agencies, businesses and marketers to manage all their social media messages, schedule and publish content, easily manage your inbox, identify key influencers, monitor social channels, and get stunning reports all in one easy-to-use dashboard. You can get started with the free plan which offers 3 social profiles for1 user. The Pro plan is $79 per month for 10 social profiles and 2 users. The Premium plan is $159 per month for 25 social profiles and 4 users.
Sprout social – Sprout’s unified platform integrates the power of social beyond marketing, throughout every aspect of your business. It offers deep social media listening and analytics, social management, customer care and advocacy solution and enables social leaders at every level to extract valuable data and insights that drive their business forward. The plans range from $99 to $249 per user per month with a wide array of features like an all-in-one social inbox, a Social content calendar, Tasking and social CRM tools, Custom workflows for multiple approvers and steps, Response rate and time analysis reports, Trend analysis Chatbots with automation tools and fully automated actions
Meet Edgar – MeetEdgar is a cloud-based social media management solution that helps users organize and publish content across multiple digital platforms. It is loaded with strategic shortcuts and time-savers that keep your social media engagement active. Key features include automation, content library, image/video support, email updates and links tracking. Instead of publishing your updates just once and throwing them away like yesterday's rubbish, MeetEdgar carefully catalogues them in a library that you build and categorize over time. You can break the tedious cycle of writing and rewriting social media updates and spend more of your time on social media interacting directly with your audience in real time. You have the choice of “Edgar Lite” for side hustlers and those just getting started at $19/mo or Edgar $49 per month Edgar and both come with a 7-Day free trial
Whether your business is service-oriented or you sell tangible products (or both!) chances are you’re going to want to find an easy way to gather customer or client feedback. This is the perfect project to pass on to your virtual assistant. Your VA can manage everything from creating the survey questions, to contacting your mailing list with the invitation to participate, and can even help analyze the data. Of course your VA can also help you develop and implement an action plan in response to the information you collect.
We’ve provided a list of the most popular survey tools available on the net, but don’t hesitate to ask your virtual assistant which tool they may already have experience with.
Survey Monkey – Survey Monkey is a free web-based survey tool designed to be “powerful enough for researchers, yet easy enough for a survey rookie.” It is easy to use with no software to install. Survey Monkey features: format-able questions, survey templates, response management tools and reports. The Survey Monkey basic plan is free with upgraded plans starting at $25 per month per user.
Crowdsignal (FKA, Poll Daddy) – Poll Daddy is another online survey tool. It features templates, easy to use question editor, reports and multi-user accounts. Poll Daddy’s free account boasts unlimited questions, surveys, polls, and ratings and 2,500 “Signals” (response you collect via a poll, rating, vote, clap, or a question in a survey or quiz – see more here) per month. Crowdsignal offers a premium, team and business plans at $15 per month,$29 per month, and $49 per month respectively.
Google Docs Forms – Google Docs has a built-in survey form available. Its features include: easily gathering information from people without having to send and receive multiple emails, tracking of answers, and responses automatically added to your spreadsheet. It’s fast, it’s free and it provides all the basics you’ll need to create and run a poll or survey.
Alchemer (FKA Survey Gizmo) – Alchemer is a web-based survey solution tool used to create online forms, surveys, and questionnaires. It offers a 14-day free trial on all accounts. Alchemer features: reports, data collection, workflows, access audience info across CRM tools, social media integration, and branding control. The collaborator plan for simple yet professional surveys start at $49 per user, per month.
Office Suites Tools for Business Owners
As a business owner you will inevitably use some type of office suite in your day-to-day operations. Day to day tasks such as merging letters, updating a database or creating a brochure can be easily delegated to a professional virtual assistant to maintain within your desired office suite. Things to consider when selecting your office suite, also known as a productivity suite, include: cost, ease of use, licensing, programs, web or PC based.
Below is a list of commonly used office suites.
Google Workspace – Google Workspace is a set of web-based cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools similar to traditional office suites. Use of the Google Apps is free but you can upgrade to Google Workspacewith additional features for a reasonable $6 per user per month. Highlighted features of this suite are: Gmail, Google Calendar, and Docs. The Business Starter plan offers 30 GB cloud storage per usert. There is also a Google Apps Marketplace where you can add more paid and free apps to further customize your Google experience.
OpenOffice – OpenOffice is a open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases and more. The most recent edition is OpenOffice 4.1.10. It is a free easy to use software with components similar to other traditional office suites. You may download it free of any license fees, install it on as many computers as you like and use it for whatever you need.
Microsoft Office – Microsoft Office is a desktop-based office suite that has been around for over 20 years. According to Wikipedia, some version of Microsoft Office is used in 80% of enterprises. It offers Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, Publisher and Outlook. The most recent version is Microsoft 365 – a subscription service that makes sure you always have the most up-to-date modern productivity tools from Microsoft.. You also get extra online storage and cloud-connected features that let you collaborate on files in real time. There is also a Mac edition, Office:Mac available. The price ranges from $69 per year for a personal subscription to $240 depending upon your desired Suite. (Academic, Professional, Home and Business, etc)
Zoho – Zoho Office Suite is a web-based office suite that offers 45+ integrated applications including: word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, customer relationship management, invoicing, project management and others. Their applications are separated into functional categories: Sales & Marketing, Email & Collaboration, Finance, etc.. They even provide a side by side comparison of their apps next to market leading products and they offer migration assistance. Zoho is free for personal use. Every one of the many Zoho services will have a free edition for individuals. Businesses may be charged for services; however, they offer a discount for non-profit organizations.
Project Management and Collaboration
When working virtually, especially if you’re working with a team of service providers, it’s useful to have one central area online where you can access, manage, post and discuss new and ongoing projects. With the growing number of project management and collaboration services out there, you have a plethora of options to choose from. Note that your professional virtual assistant will likely have a preferred software they’re experienced and familiar with. Or, they may have suggestions for which one will best help you work together to manage your own task and to-do lists.
For your information, we’ve detailed just a few of the project management options most-used by virtual assistants:
LogMeIn – LogMeIn is the leading remote access software for small businesses. LogMeIn offers: remote control, file sharing, systems management, data backup, business collaboration and on-demand customer support of PCs, servers, Macintosh computers, smartphones and other connected devices. It makes it easy for your virtual assistant to manage your email, organize files, structure your accounting, and more – based on the permissions you set, of course.
Basecamp – Basecamp is a web-based project management and collaboration tool designed for businesses of all sizes. Features include: to-do lists, file sharing and storage, team communications, scheduling, and milestones as well as wiki-style web-based text documents where you and your team can share ideas and collaborate, and time tracking. With even more options available through the various add-ons developed by the Basecamp community, the software is extremely versatile. For example, cloudHQ which lets you synchronize Basecamp projects with Google Docs and Dropbox storage and edit your Basecamp documents in-browser. Basecamp offers a free personal account with 3 projects, 20 users, and 1GB storage space. They also offer a 30-day free trial of the paid plan for a flat monthly rate of $99 per month for unlimited team members, users, clients, and contractors and includes project templates, priority support and more. . Teachers & students are eligible for free accounts and non-profits get discounted plans.
ClientSpot – ClientSpot is a web-based service designed specifically for freelancers, virtual professionals, and small businesses in mind. The service facilitates collaboration and project management. ClientSpot features include everything needed to manage remote teams and clients, from project and task management to file sharing, time tracking, and calendaring. Offers a free 15-day trial with paid packages starting at $29 monthly for a comprehensive ‘Basic’ plan.
MyIntervals – The MyIntervals site describes the product as “web-based project management software that marries time tracking and task management in a collaborative online space with powerful reporting. Intervals is ideal for small businesses — including designers, web developers, consultants, creative agencies, IT services firms, and communications companies that bill on an hourly or per project basis.” The free 30-day trial provides plenty of time to experiment with features like: milestone management, weekly timesheet submissions, drag and drop calendar, client and contact management and more. Paid plans start with ‘Basic’ at $29/month and accommodates 3 active projects, 3 users and up to 5GB storage. All other MyIntervals plans allow for unlimited users, and unlimited tasks and milestones.
Ora.pm Ora is designed to be your team's command center with kanban, time tracking, reports and much more to get things done. They boast that you will be your productivity Swiss Army knife. You can choose an existing project management methodology or create your own to run your business, product, or service. They have solutions designed for all team sizes starting with a free plan that provides unlimited projects, tasks, comments, attachments (max file size 10mb) ranging to their Enterprise plan for $15.99 per user/month with a wide range of project features that you can turn on and off as you go.
monday.com – Monday.com is a cloud-based Work OS, where teams create workflow apps in minutes to run their processes, projects, and everyday work. Teams can shape their workflows and projects, code-free, with an agile platform that is designed to connect teams in a collaborative work space. The platform’s features include: customizable workflow templates to manage anything your way, time tracking to meet important deadlines, automations to eliminate manual work, dashboards to gain valuable insights and know where things stand at a glance, and integrations with popular tools and apps to streamline processes. Paid plans start with ‘Basic’ at $8 per seat per month and includes unlimited boards, templated, unlimited viewers and a dashboard based on 1 board.
Clickup – ClickUp says it is one app to replace them all – offering tasks docs, reminders, goals, chats, calendars, templates and even an inbox. It is fully customizable to your team, so everyone across functions can use the same app to plan, organize, and collaborate. With 1,000+ integrations, it can import your stuff from other ‘productivity' apps in minutes. Their website has comparisons to other market leading software. Their free account offers 100 MB of storage with unlimited tasks and members. For $5 per month you can get unlimited storage, views, integrations, dashboards and custom fields.
ProofHub is an all-in-one project management and team collaboration tool that brings everything a team needs to keep track of their tasks, projects, clients, and communications in one place. It makes it easier for teams to handle their daily tasks and projects, whether they are working remotely or in the same office.
Newsletter and Email Marketing
When working with a professional virtual assistant, chances are you’ll delegate some or all of your marketing efforts to your VA, including newsletter and email marketing. There are numerous online services designed to help you get your marketing message out to your mailing list looking polished, and delivered more efficiently. An experienced virtual assistant will very likely already be familiar with at least one of the programs listed below:
Active Campaign Integrated email marketing, marketing automation, and small business CRM with simple pricing and no setup fees starting at $9 per month up to $479 a month depending on how many contacts do you have.
Mailchimp Easy, affordable email marketing software. Features include: customizable templates, a selection of pre-made designer templates, integrates with social networks like Facebook, integrates with Google Analytics, RSS to email, autoresponders and more.
Constant Contact Email marketing and survey marketing software. Free 60-day trial with no commitment and no credit card required. Custom newsletter templates, drag and drop design, one-click editing, results tracking, and more.
Tribulant WordPress Newsletter Plugin- collect emails, manage contacts, and send newsletters all with one feature-rich plugin.
Aweber Email marketing software. Features include: subscriber management, customized sign up forms, customized newsletter templates, autoresponder follow-up, blog-to-email, results tracking, and more. Aweber offers a free account for up to 500 subscribers
iContact – provides from 500 to 50,000 contacts starting at $10 a month and a 30-day free trial to help you get the hang of the system before you select a paid plan. The new ‘free edition’ account allows users with 500 or fewer contacts to take advantage of the iContact system for free, with some limitations to features. With integrated social tools, a survey feature, robust analytics and the ability to publish to the web as well as RSS to email iContact is a viable contender for small and large businesses. The site features webinars, an FAQ and tutorials and videos to help users leverage the power of iContact for their email marketing needs.
Online Calendar and Scheduling Tools for Business Owners
Calendly – Calendly is a powerful yet simple automated scheduling tool that removes the headache of back-and-forth emails so you and your VA can focus on connecting you with others and, ultimately, accomplish more. Their mission is to provide an enjoyable scheduling experience, more time to spend on top priorities, and flexibility to accommodate individual users and large teams alike. Calendly works with most online calendars and apps like Salesforce, Stripe, PayPal, Google Analytics, GoToMeeting and Zapier for a seamless user experience. It also has powerful collaboration functionality and robust administration controls. Their free plan for an individual account comes with unlimited 1:1 meetings, automatic email notifications and Integrations with most calendar and conferencing apps. For $8 or $12 per user per month for their Premium and Pro plans respectively, you get access to advanced functionality like distributing new meetings across your team, branded booking pages, robust customization and access to 700+ app integrations.
Acuity Scheduling – Acuity Scheduling also aims to eliminate the neverending time suck of booking appointments with your clients & customers that works 24/7 behind the scenes to fill your calendar. It lets your clients view your real-time availability, select the date and time that works best for them, pay in advance via Square, Stripe, or Paypal, and even cancel or reschedule all on their own–without you having to drive yourself crazy. Plans range from $14 to $45 per month with a free trial. All plans offer client self-scheduling, unlimited appointments, branded confirmation, reminder, and follow-up emails.
Doodle – Doodle is the simplest way to schedule events with groups of people. It eliminates the email tag, juggling schedules and time zones, work of figuring out when your colleagues or friends can meet. Doodle provides a simple poll where your VA can enter all the date/time options and everyone can choose their preferences and note preferences. Within minutes you've scheduled the best possible date with as many of the attendees as possible and all while keeping your (and your attendees’) calendars private. You can sign-up for the free plan and set up a poll in under 10 minutes. They also offer a 14-day free trial of the Pro or the Team account for $6.95 per month for one user or $44.75 per month respectively. The paid accounts also give you access to tailored solutions for recruiting, board meetings, sales & marketing, non-profits, and more.
Appointy – Appointy is a simple, functional and power scheduling software designed to help you grow and manage your business. Appointy allows you to accept appointments online, send automated email/ Sms reminders, integrate with social media and Google calendar, accept online prepayments, create deals & discounts and much more. Their plans range from free for 1 staff, 5 services to $49.99 for 5 staff and unlimited services.
Teamup – Teamup offers easy to use shared calendars for groups to simplify organizing, scheduling and communication. You can choose from free and paid plans with a 3-day trial, so you can see for yourself if this app is a good fit for your team. Your VA will be able to have visibility of who, what, where and when across the team empowering you and them to communicate efficiently with fewer emails, messages, Excel sheets, or copy-pasting information without security risk by creating custom calendar access for each individual and group.
Time Tracking Tools
Toggl Track – Toggl Track is a leading online time tracking tool, which is extremely popular among freelancers, consultants, and small companies. It allows users to track the time spent on various projects, analyze productivity, and the ability to see trends across team members enabling you to easily rebalance work loads to stay on track.Toggl Track can be up and running from scratch in less than a minute and has real-time sync with web tracker, desktop widgets and mobile apps. The free plan includes compact time tracking & reporting, auto-tracking, timeline view, idle detection, and 100+ Integrations for up to 5 users. Paid plans range from to and offer features like billable rates, saved and/or scheduled reports, time estimates, project templates, audits, data insights, dashboards, Jira and iCal Sync,and much more.
Harvest – Harvest is a web-based time tracking and invoicing application that makes time tracking easy (and almost fun), keeping you on top of project budgets without the hassle of spreadsheets. Features include time tracking your team will actually use, easy and professional invoicing, powerful reporting to keep you on top of project progress and profitability, and integrations tailored to your workflow. The free account includes 1 Seat for 2 Projects and they offer a fully functional 30-day trial of Pro account priced at $12 per seat per month for unlimited seats and projects.
Everhour – Everhour is a lightweight scheduling app that syncs with productivity apps you may already use making it easy to have all your project details automatically get populated in Everhour. It can track employee availability and set a maximum number of hours per day or week to work on a particular project. Everhour even has an option to log scheduled time off so you see the team's schedule and availability. Free for up to five users, but without the ability to integrate with project management apps like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp. The basic plan $8.50 per user per month for at 5+ users with unlimited projects, integrations, and a Public API.
HourStack – HourStack is a collaborative time tracking tool that looks different from other time tracking apps with time in blocks or windows that show working time like an event on your calendar. It puts more emphasis on planning your time before you start working compared to other apps. For example, you can allocate blocks of time on your calendar for tasks you intend to work on later in the week. You can indicate that you think the task will take one hour, or that you want to spend no more than an hour on it. Once you launch the timer, HourStack will keep an eye on the clock for you to help you stay within the expectations you set. The personal plan is $5.60 per month and the Professional plan is $12 per user per month which includes reporting, user permissions, and unlimited guests.
RescueTime – RescueTime is an automatic time tracking app for understanding your attention on your digital devices. It a platform frequires an install of a small monitoring app so it can work in the background to observe your computer usage. No need to manually log your hours (though the app still provides this option if you need it). You can choose free for basic, automatic time tracking or $12/month for the Premium plan, which includes project and document tracking, offline time reporting, and features for blocking distractions. It also offers FocusTime time feature which block distracting websites and helps you optimize work days for maximum efficiency, balance, and happiness. You can automatically schedule FocusTime sessions by simply typing “#focustime” in the event name or description on your calendar or set FocusTime to start after 30 minutes on social media or after ten hours of total time logged. And that's not all—there's also a Slack integration that automatically updates your status and notification settings based on what you're working on so your team knows when you're focusing on deep work.
Did we leave out your favorite tool? Let us know in the comments!