Freelancing is fast becoming one of the most popular career paths in the modern digital workforce. In America, freelancing makes up 35% of the total workforce and make combined earnings somewhere north of a trillion dollars. To many, freelancing is a cheap way to perform that which they’re good at, and get paid for it, from the comfort of their home and laptop.
This kind of job isn’t without its pitfalls however. Each and every task in your freelancing business needs to be done by you or outsourced; cutting into your bottom line. Then there’s the issue of brand perception when clients come to you with work that needs to be done: Freelance customers are far less likely to be excited about working with someone running a home office than they would a professional with their own receptionist and a business address in a reputable location.
Quite simply, virtual services make it easy for freelancers to conduct business in a more professional manner.
Virtual services can heighten brand perception among your clients
If you can’t afford to, or can’t justify the cost of a rented office location, the most logical choices are to use your home as a mailing address, or rent a P.O. box. Unfortunately, neither makes you look more professional to the clients you service. Then there’s the issue of missed phone calls, and lost voicemails and faxes.
Not only is it not advisable to give out your home address to clients, it looks unprofessional when considering anyone who sees your business card can quickly do a Google Street View search and see that you’re headquartered in a townhouse or apartment complex. P.O. boxes can be just as expensive as renting a virtual office, with the added problem of making it seem like you’re trying to hide something or don’t have enough clients to afford an office. These issues are remedied instantly when you rent a virtual office, which also includes limited access to professional conference rooms and other meeting facilities you can use to entertain clients.
Virtual services will also include virtual reception and message forwarding, which also adds to your reputation by adding an air of professionalism to your business when clients call and get an employee answering the phone when you’re unable to speak with them right away.
Fewer distractions when working from home starts weighing you down
There are a number of reasons people choose to freelance over working in a traditional office including a dislike for being required to acclimate to office culture, the desire to choose their own hours, and a growing tendency to be closer to their family. Sometimes though, a freelancer really needs to double-down on their focus and free themselves from distraction.
A visit to the local Starbucks or the like might seem like a good idea, but there’s no guarantee of a distraction-free workday, as not everyone visiting local hangouts will be there to keep quiet and focus on their work. Such options require to you to spend money also, to be granted access to WiFi and other essentials. Virtual services that include a virtual office option, often give freelancers access to a fully outfitted physical office to get their work done, free from the distractions that often come up at home such as noisy children, repairmen, or construction taking place outside their home.
Add to this the fact that virtual services offer bonus features like virtual reception, and you can rest comfortable even when you just want to turn your phone off and get down to work at the home office, while a virtual receptionist answers your calls and forwards those messages to your email to be viewed at your convenience.
Trusted help when you need it
Most, but not all virtual service providers will have a stable of trustworthy virtual assistants skilled in areas that can be a big help to freelancers working in multiple industries. Freelance consultants can access data entry professionals and appointment schedulers. Writers can gain access to experienced researchers and proofreaders.
Once you find a virtual service that offers the kind of help you’ll need over the course of doing business, you’ll never have to worry about going through the tedious hiring of freelance VAs, which can obviously create more problems than they solve.
Test the waters before setting up actual shop
Some professionals start off as freelancers but desire to one day run a much larger company, complete with lots of clients and staff, and a physical office location with their business name on it. Unfortunately, it’s often hard to make such a dream a reality when you’re currently a one-person operation operating out of a one bedroom apartment.
With a virtual office, you get the ability to see how your business can operate on a large scale, complete with a receptionist, virtual employees, and an office where packages are dropped off and clients can be entertained. This makes for a much calmer transition from freelancer to full-on business, as you don’t need to sink money into renting, furnishing, and hiring employees to work in your office before the profit potential can be accurately calculated.
There are definitely more advantages to freelancers using the assorted virtual services currently offered online by various providers. Freelancers across all industries will certainly benefit from having an accredited business address to display on their business card, website, and social media accounts.
With that in mind, one of the biggest advantages is in being able to leverage the virtual services offered to grow your business on a budget, from anywhere in the world you currently find yourself.
Not to mention all the headaches a single receptionist or virtual assistant can remove from your day-to-day. If you’ve been considering starting out as a freelancer, or are looking for ways to grow your business, don’t hesitate to find and hire a virtual service agency any longer — the future of your business likely depends on it!