If you’re thinking of becoming self-employed, then you’re in good company. According to recent figures, there are almost 10 million self-employed people in the US alone.
There are a lot of advantages to becoming your own boss, but you also have to compete with more established companies who have more resources than you. Even if your business is just you working at your kitchen table, you need to make yourself look like a professional to the outside world.
Create your brand
Your brand is not just your logo, it is a representation of who you are and how you do things. Putting thought and resources into this, in the beginning, is a good use of them as they will go a long way to giving you a professional and consistent edge. Hire a marketing freelancer or agency to help you refine your brand and design your look. This can include logos, social media, custom signs, and anything else that you’re going to be showing to the world or clients.
Get a virtual address
Let’s face it, you don’t want your personal home address out there for everyone to find. But when you’re self-employed, you’re going to find that you need an address for correspondence purposes, or to comply with email marketing regulations. Virtual offices are great for this. They allow you to have a legal business address at a different location, where you can receive mail to. Many of these buildings also have meeting rooms or desks you can hire out when you need to.
Depending on the type of service you buy, you can also have your mail forwarded or scanned and emailed to you. The virtual address can be for purely practical purposes, or you can select one at a prestigious address.
Get a virtual phone number too
You’ll probably be doing most of your talking on your cell phone, but you might not want to put this number all over the internet or in your marketing materials. Not only does it make it nearly impossible to separate your home and work life, but you could end up on a lot of scam call lists.
A virtual number only costs a few dollars per month and can give you a landline number for people to call, which looks more professional. You can also set up a professional answering service too so that you’re not missing calls when you’re too busy to answer the phone. If you receive a lot of calls, you should think about a virtual answering service.
A business domain email
You don’t want your business emails to end in a @gmail.com or other personal domain. It doesn’t look professional and will often get you to put it in a spam folder. Buy a business domain URL and set your email up on that. Having your website and email use the same domain is pretty much expected now.
Give your new business a great start by ensuring you’re putting out the most professional appearance possible. These don’t have to cost a lot but can make a huge difference.