How To Be A Professional When Working From Home
The casual nature of working from home is the primary appeal for most of us. This is the life office workers dream of on a daily basis. Who doesn’t love the idea of being able to take it easy when they’re working? When we leave regular employment, we embrace the idea of makeupless days and slippers on our feet. The ability to access these home comforts makes working like this enjoyable for many.
The trouble is, a home business is still a business. Your clients may not appreciate these little cutesy touches. As such, this is stuff you want to keep on the down low. Instead, dealing with customers should be about painting a professional image to rival any office. All the better for letting them know you’re a serious entrepreneur who can deliver what they’re asking.
So, keep the bunny slippers under your desk. Then consider the following ways to ensure a professional image during every client interaction.
Consider your conference call backdrop
You may think those personal pictures on your office wall are wonderful, but your clients won’t. They’re here to work with you, not to see how cute your niece is when she laughs. At the very least, additions like these look plain unprofessional. That’s not to say, of course, that you can’t find ways to incorporate these things into your office. Instead, make sure to dedicate a space for conferences wherever you decide to set up your home business. For the most part, you just want this to be a blank slate which no clients can make assumptions from. Something as simple as an empty stretch of white wall is all it takes. If you don’t have that, consider buying a screen which you can roll down when clients come calling. It’s like Matilda’s classroom but in the business world. Don’t give Miss Trunchbull (AKA your clients) a reason to put you in the chokey.
Get an address to impress
While there are no rules against using your home address for business, you may find that doing so puts clients off. Houses addresses simply don’t come across as professional a lot of the time. A client may struggle to take you seriously if they’re sending your invoices to 23 Ashcroft Road. Not to mention that your crucial letters could get lost in among your house bills and junk mail this way. Instead, then, you might want to consider the benefits of a mail forwarding address. This allows you to make use of a prestigious city address which is sure to scream professional. It also ensures proper handling of every business letter you receive. This will save you missing out on important correspondence and could protect you from disasters. One thing’s sure; a client won’t be impressed with the ‘dog ate my invoice’ excuse. At the very least, this would stop that from happening.
Make sure, too, that you secure yourself a phone number you can hand to your clients. You probably know by now that mobile numbers aren’t the best bet here. While they are convenient, there’s something unprofessional about an impermanent number like this. While there’s nothing wrong with passing this to clients you’re working with, you want to keep it under wraps when seeking new business. Instead, you need a business landline which, like your new address, lends you a professional image. Don’t make the mistake, though, of thinking that you can use your standard home landline for this purpose. That’s bad news on various counts. For one, your family voicemail message will go a long way towards discrediting you. It may be cute for friends and family callers, but these are serious clients. Plus, potential clients are sure to look elsewhere sharpish if they call you and receive an answer from one of your kids. Not to mention that there’s a chance you’ll get caught in personal calls during the day this way. Instead, then, draw a line. Something like a VOIP business number makes use of your internet connection rather than your home phone line. That way, you get the benefits of a landline number without the risks of letting your personal life creep in.
A final word
As you can see, it isn’t difficult to impress clients, even when you work from home. In fact, you’ll find you can keep your slippers on for the duration of all these points. Yet, the clients you’re dealing with will consider you a freelancer of utmost professionalism. Surely that’s the ultimate goal, right?