I love working virtually and with the many and varied forms of technology and applications that we have at our fingertips these days it is just so easy to make it happen.
The degree of flexibility that those operating virtual businesses are afforded is quite simply amazing. For instance, I’ve been operating my virtual assistant business for over nine years and have been lucky enough to work with some amazing clients throughout that time – and very few of them are located in the same state (or even country!) as I am. And it doesn’t matter! We use email, phone calls, texts, Skype, project management applications etc so well that it honestly feels like I’m part of their in-house team sitting in the same office most of the time.
It also meant that when family circumstances necessitated a move interstate, the impact on my clients was minimal. I was quite concerned about breaking the news that I was moving state, and I was very upfront in providing plenty of notice to my client base of this impending move, however the reality was nobody batted an eyelid, and once I sat back and really thought about it I realised… why would they? Very few of my clients have ever met me in person, and very few of them were based in the same state as I in the first place!
Apart from being out of contact for a couple of days while I was physically moving house/office, their service was not affected in any way and I now operate from my sparkly new office in Tasmania and in reality nobody would be any the wiser that I’m no longer based in mainland Australia!
While it is amazingly easy to relocate a virtual office, there are a few things to be mindful of, and my main lessons learnt throughout this experience were:
- Be upfront with your clients. While my move didn’t end up affecting any of my clients in a negative way, and they were largely unconcerned about the relocation they really did appreciate me keeping them apprised of my situation.
- Give plenty of notice of downtime. In my usual uber-organised way, our move was planned sometime in advance which allowed me to know exactly what days I would be out of the office and unable to be hands on in my business. I was diligent about ensuring that my clients had adequate notice of these days and offered to find replacement support during that downtime, if required.
- Mobile broadband is your friend! No matter whether your internet provider has assured you 1000% that your new internet connection will be ready for you when you arrive at your new location, experience tells me that is not always the case! I’ve never had a move yet where my internet connection hasn’t had some sort of dramas. Invest in a mobile broadband USB (even if it’s only a temporary prepaid option) just in case. It will save your sanity
I even know of some owners of virtual businesses who have taken the virtual office idea and really ran with it – one such gal is now based semi-permanently in Bali! Imagine that, running your own successful virtual business from a beachside tropical location!