Running a home-based business requires the right set up, the right services and a set of freelancers perfect for your specific business. With the freelance industry thriving, you can run many different types of businesses from home. However, you will need to set up a virtual office for your home-based business.
From call handling to content creation, you can outsource just about every task of your business. Here are seven great tips to help you set up your virtual office if you plan to run your business from home.
Start with the Phones
Since many businesses rely on contact via telephone, this is a great place to start. Finding a quality virtual receptionist will ensure your phones are always covered. Whether you’re dealing with a crying baby or you’re on the other line with an important client, your virtual receptionist will ensure no call goes unanswered.
For just about every home-based business, a virtual receptionist is where it all starts. This will allow communications to happen without missing a beat. Your VR can handle orders, scheduling, answering questions, taking messages and so much more. They are an integral part of your virtual office set up.
Use an Intranet
Setting up an intranet will allow your freelancers and employees to work and communication as a team. You won’t have to get them all in one location to make this happen. Instead, they can connect via your intranet system and share information as necessary.
Test Out New Freelancers Often
Your team may include developers, designers, writers, editors, virtual assistants, virtual receptionists and many others. They don’t work for you, however. They are freelancers providing a service for you.
Even though these freelancers don’t work for you, they need to go through a similar process as an employee would. You need to test them and keep a new batch of freelancers tested and ready to go, just in case.
For example, if you need a large amount of content written, you will want to have a backup writer or service ready in case your current writer or service goes out of business or cannot keep up with your needs. A backup plan including tested freelancers will allow you to run your business without missing a beat.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Your team members need to feel like they can ask questions and communicate with your freely. Even if the question seems stupid, they need to be able to ask it without feeling judged or waiting forever for a response. Using Skype and email will help you stay in contact with your team on a consistent basis.
Make Payments Per Your Agreement
Paying freelancers is a very important part of running your virtual office. If you agree to pay them every week, make sure those payments show up on time. If they don’t, the freelancer may slow down your work or stop doing work for you in order to complete a project from another client.
Remember, they have bills to pay and things to take care of just like you do. If you have a reputation of not paying on time, they may take another client’s work over yours when they need to pay a bill or need money for something else.
Meet In-Person, When Possible
You don’t have to meet every freelancer in person before you hire them or ever. However, if you happen to be traveling to where they live or they are near you, invite them out to lunch or dinner. A face-to-face meeting shows appreciation for their hard work and it helps you to put a face with the work. This is a great way to reward your freelancers and keep them working hard for you.
Professional Image Matters
Even though you may be sitting on your couch watching TV while you do most of your work, you need to put forth a professional image. Clients don’t need to know you run your business from home. Instead of letting them think you work in your pajamas, you can use a few tools to create a more professional image.
First, hiring a virtual receptionist to handle incoming calls will always make you appear more professional. This will give you the appearance of having a receptionist, which automatically makes a client think you work from an office location.
Second, using an address other than your home address for business is a good idea. You can use a mail service to set up a business address or just use a P.O. Box for your business.
Finally, dress the part whenever you take important client meetings. When you dress professionally for client meetings, whether over the phone, Skype or in person, you will put forth the right professional image.
Setting up a virtual office doesn’t have to be difficult. You can run your business from home and still appear very professional, while getting everything you need done.