Today’s technology provides us the freedom to choose where we want to work. Some of us work at home, others travel around the world. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection. Even online meetings are a breeze, using skype and the built in camera, microphone and speaker of your laptop or a (cheap) headset.
More and more consultants and bloggers are offering online consultancy services. Organizing these meetings can take a lot of time. Think about all the emails to afspreken the time of the meeting (don’t forget the different timezones!). And how will you handle the payment?
This is where vCita comes into the field. vCita offers 1 simple tool to manage online meetings. In short, this is what vCita does:
- your visitor / client wants a meeting with you and selects 3 possible moments you defined
- you get an email and select the moment that suits you the best
- both your client and you receive an email that the meeting is arranged (if you want to, vCita syncs with your Google Calendar)
- vCita handles the online meeting (video and sound), there is no need for extra software, and your clients don’t need any technical knowledge
- vCita handles the payment through PayPal (this function requires the pro version)
Is vCita Really That Simple?
As a blogger, I am very interested in vCita. For me, this could be a very simple way to create an extra income. I can give online consultancy and online support to my readers and clients. Just sign up and install the vCita plugin. But is it really that simple as they say?
Create a Contact Page
So I did the test and signed up. The first step is to create your own Contact Page at the vCita web site. This contact page contains 4 parts:
- Profile: here you have to fill in some general info (name, email, picture, languages, short description)
- Meetings: set up your meeting settings (length, pricing,…)
- Schedule: select your time slots and sync these time slots with Google Calendar (optional)
- Payments: fill in the payments information (pricing, PayPal account)
Add a Widget to Your Web Site or Blog
Ok, you have your own vCita contact page, now it’s time to connect that contact page with your existing web site or blog. This is very simple to do; on the vCita Dashboard, click on “Add vCita to your Websites”. Here you can create a widget for your site or blog.
For WordPress users there is also a plugin. Just install this plugin, fill in the settings (under Settings) and you’ll be able to move the vCita widget (in the widget screen) in the widget area you want.
Starting a Meeting
After you created a contact page and added the widget to your web site or blog, it’s time to get ready for a meeting. Once a client contacts you, you’ll see that vCita leads the whole process. The url of the meeting room will be mailed to you and to your client. The great thing is that you and your client don’t have to install extra software.
After the meeting has ended, vCita will send a payment to your client (not for free accounts). This payment will be handled by PayPal.
Video / Sound quality
I had some meetings and I have to admit, video and sound quality was rather good. Don’t forget there is no extra software needed… For these meetings, I just used the default webcam of my Macbook, and a Plantronics audio 646 headset. During the meeting, you see your client and yourself. Sound has a little delay, but no more then for example you should have using Skype.
One thing I missed during my meetings, was the possibility to send files. Okay, there are other ways to do this, but because vCita is an all-in-1 solution, I would like to see this function added.
Another cool feature (but maybe I’m dreaming now ) would be to capture (a part of ) my screen and send that to the other side instead of the image of my webcam (and off course the possibility to switch between my screen and the webcam ). This just should be awesome to demonstrate things on my screen!
My personal contact page:
The vCita dashboard:
Edit your vCita contact page:
You can find more screenshots at the vCita web site!
There are 2 versions, a free version and a commercial version. The difference between the 2 versions is that the commercial version also handles payment through PayPal. You also get support by phone. For more information about the pricing, please check the vCita web site.
I believe software and services are as good as the support that’s provided. I had some chats with the people of vCita, and I can’t complain about this. There is support via mail for the free version and support via phone for users with a business account.
For me it’s clear, I really think vCita could be an extra way of income in the near future. As I wrote in the begin of this article, more and more people start to work on other locations then the office. That’s no problem thanks to computers and wifi. Arranging and handling meetings could be very time consuming and vCita solves this problem.