You can’t run free tools forever, so take advantage while you can. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
We know you cannot run your business using free tools forever. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
The freemium plan is there to get us hooked in. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hi and welcome to The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant. I’m your host, Tiffany parson, and you’re watching episode number 109.
Now, today, we’re going to talk about free tools and your virtual assistant business. I thought this would be a good topic because there has been a recent tool that’s been free for a long time and now you have to pay for it. We’re going to talk about that.
We know you cannot run your business using free tools forever, so time’s up on this particular one.
All right, before I dive into all that, I feel like I have been gone forever. Last week’s episode number 108, I recorded the week before I went on vacation, and then we were away for a week, came back. Then that following weekend it was a holiday weekend, and so the whole week I was still in vacation mode and I did the minimum, y’all. I did client work and that was it. I may have posted a couple of times on social media. I don’t even remember if it was even that much.
My head was just still, you know, on vacation mode. I wanted to still be away, and then the whole hurricane situation came and they thought North Carolina was going to be a part of it and it wasn’t. I think before Hurricane Irma, it was Hurricane Harvey in Texas and I just was all wrapped up into that and really thinking about the people in the Houston area and what they were going through. I mean, it was just a lot. So all that and getting my mind back into tune. Okay, got to get back to business. Got to get back down to doing things and push.
I’m sharing this with you to let you know it happens to all of us. We’re also in the middle of, you know, we’re crossing over from summer to fall. By the time this episode is released, it will be fall. That’s another thing. When the seasons change, your mood may change. Energy level changes so you have to do what you know will help you get back into the swing of things.
One thing I started doing this weekend was really cleaning my house and rearranging furniture to welcome in the newness of the season and get myself motivated to work on some projects that have long been neglected just in the house. Anyway, that got me pumped because I was so proud of myself for what I had done, because you know how you see it in your head and then it finally happens. It’s like, okay, it’s done.
I was like, all right, so what am I going to talk about on the podcast? You know, I’m so proud of myself doing stuff in the house and I thought, you know, oh, let’s talk about free tools in our business.
I’m in one of these groups for my direct sales business and I saw several different posts about PicMonkey. I don’t know if you guys use that in your virtual assistant business to create images or social media images or what have you. PicMonkey, P-i-c-M-o-n-k-e-y, and of course we’ll tag it in here. But PicMonkey has been free forever.
Now, when I first started using PicMonkey – and I can’t remember how long ago it’s been. It’s been a while since I started using PicMonkey. Started out with the free one and then they had like an upgrade. I think they came out with some new fonts or something like that and you could upgrade to get access to the new fonts and different options.
Way back when, I upgraded and I think it’s like $33 for the whole year, which was cool at that time. But just this week I realized or saw in the group that now it’s no longer free. I went and looked at the pricing structure and the pricing that I have is no longer available. It’s more than that.
I thought this would be good to talk about on the podcast because there are a lot of things we start out using in our virtual assistant businesses that are free tools and we’re like, oh, great, it’s free, and we rock it out using that particular tool. But what happens when they switch on us from the freemium plan to where we now have to upgrade? We have to make a decision is it worth it for me to upgrade?
You may be experiencing this right now with PicMonkey. Maybe you already decided to do the upgrade. That’s going to be different for everybody what you decide to do as to, you know, whether you decide to upgrade or not. I’ve learned not to make immediate decisions because I have ended up, you know, messing myself up being a part of a good plan and then maybe cancel and have to come back and end up being a higher price.
When you have to switch gears from using something free and now there’s a price for it, evaluate whether it’s worth it to you and your business. How valuable has the tool been to you? How often do you use it? Is it worth it? Then decide from there, monthly or annually, whatever the options are.
I’m looking at my notes here. Another one that I learned about around the same time as PicMonkey too is BeLive.TV. Several months back when this tool first came out, I experimented with it on my Facebook Live. I did one live podcast using that tool and it was really neat, allows you to do different things.
They upgraded to where you could bring, you know, have two people on the screen, and different people were creating shows and doing that with the BeLive.TV and it was free. It was in beta. They made it very clear, you know, it was in beta testing and all this stuff. Now, there is no longer a free option. You have to pay for BeLive.TV.
I haven’t used it in a while because I stopped using it because it would not – Facebook Live has captioning and BeLive.TV recordings didn’t work for the closed captioning with Facebook. It wouldn’t automatically do the closed caption if you chose that option. So I stopped using it and started using Zoom. But if you tested out BeLive.TV or your clients have, this is something that they face now. Is it worth paying for or should I use something else?
Now, I mentioned Zoom. Zoom is a webinar tool. It’s been around for a while, maybe a few years, and everybody usually starts off with the free option of Zoom. There are limitations to that free option. When I first signed up with Zoom, the limitation with the free, I think, was like your webinar was limited to 45 minutes. I’m not sure if that is still the same thing. I eventually upgraded to monthly. I even tested out their webinar option, which lets you go live on Facebook.
Some of these tools you may want to just go ahead and upgrade to test out so you’ll know how it works. So when clients are using it, you’ll already know the behind the scenes, the ins and outs of it and everything like that. Again, deciding is this best for me?
Right now, with Zoom, I’m having, you know, I’m thinking about it. When is the last time I used it? Is it still a good option right now? One cool part about signing up for the monthly upgrade is that you can come back and forth. You can go down to free and go back up to paid. You’re not locked in. It’s just for that month, which is really cool.
There are other systems, same thing where you sign up for the free option. I signed up for UberConference. I’m going to tag all of this so you can check out all the tools in the show notes. I’ll have it all tagged for you, I mean, linked up. Can you tell I’m still getting back into the motion of the podcast and recording and all that stuff?
If this is your first time listening, I don’t take out – if there’s a blooper that happens, I leave it in. I want it to be like a real conversation where we’re sitting in front of each other face to face having this whole conversation. If something falls in real life, it just falls off the table, right? So I knew when I started this podcast I didn’t want to totally, you know, edit those things that happen out because I want this to be as real life as possible.
I will have the links in the show notes for you. UberConference is something that I use for my clients when we’re doing strategy planning sessions and I record everything there. Also, if it’s a first time, you know, it’s the start of a new project whether it’s a new client or not, I record the call so I can go back and listen to what we said. Years ago, when I just used to do the calls and not record them, sometimes the details would get missed and I really wanted to make sure that I could go back and double check myself, and so that’s why I like to record all of my calls.
But UberConference has a free option and it worked very well for a long time. Just recently, within the last couple of months, I upgraded to the premium plan because it lets you call out. It also gives you a local number, which it didn’t matter to me about, you know, whether the number was local or not. But for my strategy planning clients, I wanted to be able to call them for their conference calls so that, you know, we would start on time and everything. We’d connect. They didn’t have to fumble around and find numbers or anything like that for our call. Just we’ll call them, so that’s why I ended up upgrading.
It’s interesting how all these different free tools now, you know, you have to make a choice. Hiveage is another one, and I’m probably not saying that right, but it’s an invoicing system that I use, and just yesterday I was using the Lite plan that was like $24 for the whole year for invoices, and it has a limit that you can only do 100 invoices.
I needed to send an invoice to a client just yesterday and I was already at my limit so I had to upgrade. I had a choice. Do I dig around and try to find another one that is on the cheap side or do I just go ahead and upgrade? This system, it’s simple, easy to use. I like it, so I just upgraded to the monthly option.
You know, those kinds of things you can always switch out. You’re not locked into whatever plan you have, so you’re not locked in.
We can start out with free tools with our businesses. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there comes a time when, especially if it’s a new tool, when they’ll decide to switch from freemium because that’s how they’ll get us hooked. It’s like getting a sample at Costco or wherever, you know, you get samples of food and it’s really good, or like at the ice cream place and you get a little sample. “Oh, you can try it. You can taste it.” They want to get you hooked so you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I have to have that. That was good.”
That’s how the freemium is, gets us hooked in.
Those of you that have been using PicMonkey, because of all the ones I’ve mentioned, that one’s been around, I think, the longest, and with the free plan, you’re probably hooked. You love it, and now you have to make a choice. Got to decide to upgrade, and it’s probably time to upgrade anyway if you’ve been using it this long. You love it. They now have the mobile app and all that good stuff. You might have to make a choice.
A few ladies were bothered by the change and were looking for some other free options. But for me, if they make it so that we have to start paying, it’s a tool that I love, I don’t want to start learning something new, I’ve been using this for a while, it’s working, it’s great, then we just have to make the change, right.
Can’t run free forever, so take advantage while you can. But when they do switch on you, don’t be afraid to switch out.
All right, so I want to hear from you on my Facebook page. Let me know what questions you have. Recently, I heard from Dominique. She got her first client on Upwork. I’m so excited for her. She had asked me a question that was really good not too long ago. I answered it on the show.
She’s out in the Houston area, so shout out to you, Dominique, and your family. We’re praying for you and everybody in that area as you are going through the clean-up and relief process from Hurricane Harvey, so our hearts and love are with you.
If any of you have a question, go ahead and post it on my Facebook page or post it on Twitter, and I’ll see it that way and I’ll be happy to answer your question here on the podcast. Thank you for hanging out with me. You’ve made it all the way to the end of the show. Let me know what you think.
Again, where are you in your business? Are you just starting? Are you in the middle? Are you transitioning? Let me know, and how are you doing in this whole transition to summer and fall? Are you having to give yourself an extra push, do something different so that you don’t fall short in your own personal business?
You have a wonderful and fabulous day.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time!