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What Software Should a VA Have?

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I am just wondering what software I should have installed to be an effective VA.

 

What does everyone else use? I am sure a list would help a lot of newbies :mf_type:

 

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Guest coxadmin

Some of the software you need will depend on the type of work you are offering. The basics (in no particular order) would be:

 

1. A word processing program (e.g. Word)

2. A presentation program (e.g. PowerPoint)

3. A spreadsheet program (e.g. Excel)

4. A database program (e.g. Access)

5. Anti-virus

6. Firewall

7. Anti-spyware

8. Email (e.g. Outlook)

9. Diary / Calendar (e.g. Outlook)

10. Task management (e.g. Outlook)

11. Contact management (e.g. Outlook)

12. Accounting / invoicing software

13. Time tracking software (e.g. Timestamp, TraxTime)

 

There are Open Source versions available if you don't want to use Microsoft.

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Microsoft office is the most used by far around the world (at least with everyone I've had contact with). Which version you get depends on whether you wish to offer database services or just word processing and data entry.

 

Apart from that an email client - don't use a free service like hotmail, yahoo, etc. If you don't have your own domain I think it's better you at least use your ISP provided mailing address than one of those that is more frequently used by spammers. Domain addresses are so cheap to buy that there really isn't any excuse for not having one.

 

If you use Outlook it also includes a calendar, task list, contact management and mail merge facilities for linking with Word and you can import/export to/from Excel.

 

You should definitely have an antivirus program otherwise you won't be online safely for very long.

 

Some kind of invoicing system or bookkeeping program.

 

Others you might want to consider, depending on the services you want to offer are:

 

web design/publishing and perhaps an FTP program

graphic design or image editor

desktop publishing program

a PDF creator

IM program such as Skype

 

Also, you need to think about your backup systems - whether you have a software program handling it, or you do it manually, you need some kind of external hard drive system - something you can grab and take with you. Or consider an online storage facility. You need to protect your bread and butter and that's what your computer data is.

 

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Guest intouchva

I think as the others have already posted, we all use some of the standard programs like MS Office (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook). I don't use Outlook again, it's a personal choice. I use Google calendar and can sync it with my Treo smartphone.

 

We all have different Target Markets and some of the software we use is directly related to that target market.

 

I do suggest using some type of software to handle the following:

 

time tracking

Project Management

PDF Creator

Instant Messaging (Like Kathie said a lot of us use Skype)

Calendar Management

 

In addition to the above I use:

 

Macromedia Dreamweaver

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Illustrator

Quark Xpress

Adobe Professional

Time Slice

 

If you download the VANA Toolbar it has a list of software suggestions that a lot of the VAs use...it's under VA Tools

 

I hope that helps.

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Darrell, they gave you great suggestions. Since I am the queen of cheap, I have to tell you that most of the things you need can be gotten for free, either because there's a free version of the software, or with Open Source (www.opensourcemaven.com has a great list).

 

This is the list of what I use. All of it was free.

 

AVG 7.5

Ad-aware SE

Firewall (came with the computer)

Diskeeper Lite

Adobe Reader 7.0

eFax Messenger

Zoho CRM

PDFCreator

Instant messengers (Skype with Pamela, AIM, Yahoo, MSN)

Switch (for switching audio to another format)

TimeStamp and MyHours

WinZip (evaluation version)

Extract Now (opens some programs WinZip doesn't)

WinAmp and Windows Media player

NVU HTML editor

Folder Marker (unneccessary, but fun)

Open Source Office Suite

 

Plus, your computer comes with stuff installed so take a good look at your list of programs under the Start menu.

 

Free doesn't always mean you get the best programs. Free is good in the beginning when you don't have money coming in. If you are going to spend money, I'd recommend you start with the Microsoft Office. Open Source is fine "for now" but Microsoft has so many bells and whistles that you will love it.

 

 

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Since I am the queen of cheap, I have to tell you that most of the things you need can be gotten for free, either because there's a free version of the software, or with Open Source (www.opensourcemaven.com has a great list).

 

I am with you Crystal, I think I will be using first a lot of free software since i am just a starter but once I get big on this biz, I think I'll buy those with really good name products :-)

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Hi, I am new to the forum and have yet to do my "introduction" post but I couldn't help replying to this question. For Microsoft products, make sure you check their website and look for their events. I went to their launch event this year and got a free copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2007 and Office Groove 2007. That's hundreds of dollars worth of software for free and really helped.

 

Sarah

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The software you need will greatly depend on the services you are offering. Here's a quick list of the programs I use most often...

 

Programs I use on a daily basis:

  • MS Office 2003 (mostly Outlook, Word, & Excel)
  • Skype
  • Quickbooks Pro (includes timer for tracking billable time)
  • FireFox & Internet Explorer (if you're working on websites, you'll need to check your work in both browsers. I use FireFox for my own internet surfing, though.)
  • Graphics software (Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro X, Fireworks... I use all 3 for different things, but you could get by with just one if you aren't doing a lot of this type of work.
  • Dreamweaver (I use it almost every single day, but you may not need it if you aren't doing any web work)
  • Anti-Virus & Firewall with up-to-date virus definitions (having the programs won't help if you don't keep the virus definitions current)
Programs I use regularly, but not every day:
  • Adobe Acrobat (not just the reader)
  • WinZip (free evaluation version is all you really need)
  • MyFax (toll free fax line receives faxes for me and sends them to me via email... if you want to sign up, let me know and you can get your first month free)
  • InDesign (for dtp, but if you're just doing in-house printing you could use Publisher or a similar program)
  • LogMeIn (for remote access)
  • Quickbooks Customer Manager (contact database program)

I agree 100% with Kathie re: the need for a professional (non-hotmail/yahoo/etc) e-mail address and a good computer back-up system.

Edited by julieensor

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I took on the challenge of finding the most I could for free;all of the software & services below are TOTALLY free & are not evaluation versions.

 

Newbie Budget-$100

 

Office Suite-Free (Open Office-comparable to & compatible with MS Office)

On line Calendar-Free (Brown Bear-comparable to iCal)

On line Note/List Organizer-Free (Backpack-like no other)

On line Contact Management-Free (BusinessITonline-don't lose contacts ever)

Website,URL, e Mail-Free (MS Office Live-easy website design tools)

On line Collaboration-Free (Officezilla-Store files & allow clients to access)

e Mail Invoicing-Free (Paypal-fee charged per transaction;pass cost to client)

Printing Service-Free (Kinkos-send to Kinkos near client;pass cost to client; don't print & mail)

Fax Number-Free (FaxDigits-unlimited free incoming faxes)

Faxing-Free (Faxzero-send six pages free daily)

Checking Account-Free (INGDirect-get free overdraft protection)

Start-up Business Plan Template-Free (Score-every business needs a plan)

Voice mail to e Mail-Free (Visual Voice mail-get messages on PC)

PDF Creator-Free (CutePDF-installs as printer driver;just “print to CutePDF”)

Accounting Software-Free (MS Accounting 2007-integrates with PayPal invoicing)

 

 

Newbie Budget Remaining to date-$100

 

 

 

My list is no way inclusive of all of the software & services that are available for Free. The following are sources for more information on what is available for Free: Open source Wiki, Freebyte, MoneySavingExpert, & SBA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am just wondering what software I should have installed to be an effective VA.

 

What does everyone else use? I am sure a list would help a lot of newbies :mf_type:

 

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I took on the challenge of finding the most I could for free;all of the software & services below are TOTALLY free & are not evaluation versions.

 

 

Makesha...way to step up to a challenge!!! I think you might have outdone yourself on this one. Thank you so much!!

 

Rebecca

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Guest RevWebb

This is a great topic.

 

I have most of the Microsoft products, but I also a found most of the same freebies that have been shared.

 

Just to add to that list:

 

 

Express Scribe(filehippo.com)

Express Dictate(filehippo.com)

Text Tally(filehippo.com)

 

DBF Viewer 2000(filehippo.com & download.com)

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