Selecting the right computer for your Virtual Assistant Business is important. Most VAs don't need super fast and high end computers like gamers do, but you do need to make sure you can use complete applications like Microsoft Word, so Chromebooks and other completely browser-based systems won't work.

A computer is a core piece of any virtual assistant business. Questions surrounding the type of computer required for this work are some of the most common questions I receive. These include:

  • Does it matter if I use a Mac or PC?
  • Will a Chromebook work?
  • Do I have to buy a really expensive computer?

I’ve answered these and other questions in the video and transcript. Have more questions? Ask me in the comment section.

Transcript of How to Select a Computer for Your Virtual Assistant Business Video


Hey everybody. It's Kim Shivler welcome. The last few weeks, I've received a lot of questions from one, some of my business coaching clients and from many of my crew who are learning to or interested in becoming virtual assistants. And that question is, what kind of computer do I need to buy? I need a new computer or my old one's dying, or I don't have a computer. What should I buy? And frankly, a lot of that's going to come down to personal preference. My goal here is to just give you some guidelines. We'll talk about things that are just personal preference versus making sure you can do the job you need to do. Now I'm talking specifically about business computers and I'm not talking about anything super high, and you know, this doesn't have to be a super super processor, but this is if you're a business owner working with your blog posts, the virtual assistant, helping your clients doing email marketing, needing word and PowerPoint, maybe even some of the Adobe products like Photoshop. It's going to get the job done. We're not looking at super high gaming computers cause frankly, I'm not a gamer. So know your market.

Can I use a Chromebook?

The first one of the questions I get from people is could I buy a Chromebook because they see these great prices on Chromebooks. And


The answer for business is pretty much no. The thing with the Chromebook is they're great for what they are, but they're not a full computer operating system. They're a stripped down version. So unless there's an app similar to like what you have as a phone app or a browser app, you can't run it. So if you're trying to run again, I've mentioned the Adobe products like Photoshop, or I think even some of the Microsoft products, you're not going to be run those, be able to run those on that machine. So for the most part, if you're using it for business, that's going to be a problem. And definitely for those of you in my virtual assistant training, you're going to need more functionality as a virtual assistant than what the limitations are going to be there in able to serve your audience.

can I get a computer for less than $1000?

So let's look at what can we get and can we get a functioning, good business computer for small business for less than a thousand dollars? The good news is yes.

(02:36): Does it matter if i use a mac or PC?

You may be thinking about the Mac versus PC, the big argument, which is better Mac PC Mac PC, and sadly, it mainly breaks down in, in the world to a religious discussion almost and just personal preference. But the reality is for the most part, it's personal preference is a Mac easier to use. Not if you've always used a PC, not necessarily it's still would be a learning curve is a Mac better at certain things maybe, but that's one of those places where one, you really do need to look at your budget because Macs are almost always going to be more expensive. And is there something specific you need other than that, it tends to come down to and I'm trying to think. I can't think of something very specific that has to be Mac, um, right now. And so don't hold me to it.

(03:33): What do You Use in Your business?

I do use a Mac now I spent my own background. I spent all of my early career with PCs was, uh, once we were after college and big VAX systems and things like that was on the PC. And all of my years in information technology was supporting people on a PC. Later on, I've just maybe the last seven years I have gone to the Mac and I don't think that there's one thing I can do better for me with the video and the audio editing I do. I do like my Mac, but I even with that though, we're talking laptops today. I'm actually coming to you on an iMac and for my bigger audio and video processing, I prefer the iMac to my laptop, which is sitting over there on the side. It's great for traveling, but if we're going just for a laptop, because that's what most people need.

(04:28): A Computer for Less than $1000 will Most Likely be a Windows Device

And most people I talk to, that's what they have. Even business owners, either one that works for you again, trying to keep it under a thousand dollars. We're probably gonna go Windows. Now looking around for people. As people started asking me this, I have been seeing some really good deals in the, I say $500 to $800 range on HP, Hewlett Packard and Dell computers with good functionality. And you know, those are quality companies. They're really good reviews in that price range. So you need to just make sure what are your requirements? So first I'm going to tell all of you, I think there's a couple of these that all of you should have as a requirement. The first is that if you're running this for business, you're going to want it to run windows 10. If it's a PC. And I know people talk about while I liked eight better or this or that X P better going back to the days when I was when Windows, but the point is you need it to have the full Windows 10 stack.

(05:35): Microsoft S is not a full-fledged operating system

There are some that run something called Microsoft S which is a kind of like with Chrome, it's specialized, it's not full-fledged. You're not going to have full access to all the apps that you need, all of the programs that you need on your desktop. So we want to make sure it's running Windows 10. I also say go for the biggest hard drive. You can get in a laptop for the most part, particularly on an SSD drive, which is going to be your fastest drive, which is where you want your applications to run. Meaning if you're running Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Photoshop, that type of thing, not browser-based software as a service like MailChimp, but actually things that run on your computer that you install. You want those on your SSD drive. So you want at least the two 56 plus you'll see a lot of them with one 28, really good prices.

(06:33): Get a 256 G Hard Drive If possible

Personally, that concerns me for a business. I think if you're just running things at home, but if you're trying to run even a small VA business and you add these Microsoft platforms and all, I think it's going to start causing a problem. So go ahead and get that a little bit bigger. Drive to 256. Uh, I see a lot of advertised and then up to five, 500 plus if you can get the 500 plus that's in your price range, do it knowing even with this, this is going to be things you're running on the computer. If you're keeping a lot of videos or audio or images, even you're going to need either another external drive or a cloud drive where you're backing up to the cloud, because you can get over a 500 gigs really, really fast. Um, online, I run, uh, three terabytes. So that's 500 times two is one terabyte.

(07:34): Offload files to an external drive or backup to cloud storage

So think of that. That's six of a 500 gig drive. Now I do a lot of heavy video and audio. You don't need that and you don't have to keep it all on your computer. I'm lazy, right? I keep it all here on my big computer. You can actually do the editing on your laptop and then put it either off on an external drive. And we're going to want one. Anyway, we're going to at least want one external drive for our backups. Even if I'm backing up to the cloud, I still like to have an external drive for backups. Now, one of the things you have to ask yourself is, do you want either net or are you good with wireless? It truth is most homes aren't even wired for either net anymore. Uh, some of us were geeks have our houses wired for that, but most computers, particularly laptops don't have that connection out of the box.

(08:29): Evaluate if you need Ethernet or if WiFi works for you.

So if you really need that connection, you may have to look for something special. Make sure you look for it. I don't think any of the ones I'm talking about have that. Why would I want either net being able to actually plug in to my internet instead of going wifi, coming through the air, it does make it, um, faster. It's more reliable, but again, if your house isn't even wired for it, it doesn't help you at all. So that's one to know, you know, do you need it? Do you not out in the blog post? I'll put a picture of an ethernet cable. I should have had one here with me, but I don't. It kind of looks like an old phone line. If you guys remember the landlines, it's anybody, you have a landline anymore. If you do, let me know. I, my grandfather, I think was the last person I knew who still had his landline.

(09:23): Review your criteria and purchase the computer you need

Um, actually that's not true. My mother-in-law does, but it's like that. But the connector's just a little bit different, a little bit bigger. Uh, if you need that, you're going to have to search for that. But if you need regular wifi and you need a good computer, all of the ones I'm looking at that I've got links to here. Um, as far as the Ram memory, that's the speed that you're getting the, the hard drive, et cetera. Those are going to be good. Just be very careful if you're not looking at one of these and you don't have to look at a Dell or an HP, I've had good luck with those over the years. And, but there's others out there use the same criteria I'm giving you here for wherever you're looking and on any of them, read the reviews, search them out and read the reviews, see what people say about them, what they like, what they don't like and be careful, right. If I look at a computer and it's says, uh, the reviews are five stars, but there's only one review. Take that differently than if I work see one with four stars and it's got 426 reviews. So those are my tips for finding and buying your new computer. And if you have specific, okay, I'm looking at all this. And I think this is good for me. And these are my specifications, but I'm not sure reach out. I'm here to answer your questions. You can just send those please to And I will get back to you, uh, with my ideas. And, and again, these are just my ideas. These were things I had luck with over time, knowing that I'm not going to have the exact computer right now to help you with, I think that's it for some highlights of picking your computer I'm Kim Shivler. Please check back in for those of you looking forward to, or wanting to become a virtual assistant, please visit a virtual assistant For those of you interested in business tools, just your basic business tools, please visit business tools for coaches and And for all my general information, at, I look forward to seeing you next time. Bye.

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