Working from home as a solopreneur is a fantastic lifestyle for many people. It allows, essentially, complete freedom over your working hours, lets you work in the ways (and wearing the clothes) that best suit you, and can be invaluable in allowing you to attend to your children, without sacrificing your career at the same time.
When it comes to being successful as a solopreneur, however, it’s important to know the rules of the game. Being competent in what you do is, of course, essential, but it’s just not enough by itself.
No, in addition to being good at what you do, you also have to be a savvy marketer, and you absolutely must master the art of presenting a professional image to would-be clients, even if you’re working from the sofa in your pyjamas.
Here are a few web-based services that can help to give your business an extra sheen of professional credibility.
Getting caught unawares by a client or prospect calling you up on your personal phone, in the middle of the day, while you’re out shopping or doing the laundry, is far from ideal. For one thing, you’re likely to come across as flustered and distracted, and present an unprofessional image at the same time. Even if you have the phone-manner of a supernatural being, background noises are likely to give the game away.
And even if those two factors don’t sour the call, you’re likely not going to be in a position to address all the finer points raised in a business call, while you’re away from your home-office and those spreadsheets you’ve so carefully prepared.
A virtual receptionist can be an excellent solution to this problem. Virtual receptionist services differ from company to company, but the basic arrangement is that someone else will receive your business calls for you, and then forward you your messages as a result.
This allows you the time you need to mentally — and physically — prepare before calling a client back on your terms.
Using your home address as a business mailing address is another one of those little things that can make business people and ordinary shoppers alike wary. Even if there’s no good reason for it, people are generally more at ease about spending their money when they sense that a business ticks all they’ve come to expect, including having a physical office or warehouse.
An online forwarding service can allow you to set up a “professional address” with a company, who will then receive mail on your behalf and forward you scanned digital versions of your letters.
If you’re working as a solopreneur, you are inevitably going to need to send off a large number of invoices. At least, if you want your clients to actually pay you for your services, at any rate.
Invoices quickly typed out and sent off on Word documents or as Excel spreadsheets tend to look a bit messy and underwhelming. Using a professional invoicing tool such as Freshbooks will allow you to send neat, professional looking invoices with minimal effort, and will also keep all your invoices recorded in one central location.
Invoicing services will also tend to include other benefits and features, such as allowing you to automate the process of asking your clients for testimonials following the payment of each invoice.