How to run a business like a digital nomad

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It’s hard to believe that only 3.6% of the world’s population had access to the internet 20 years ago – a figure that now stands at around 55.1%. There’s little doubt that widespread WiFi access and cloud technology has made the world a smaller place and given rise to a new type of worker: the ‘Digital Nomad’.

These enviable entrepreneurial types are defined by their ability to traverse the globe while running a business or working on a freelance basis. It’s a lifestyle many of us dream of, and having the option to sip a mojito on a beach in Bali while responding to a disgruntled client really does take the edge off.

Joking aside, running a business as a digital nomad can be incredibly rewarding but equally, it can be difficult to sustain. We’re here to explain how investing in a Virtual Office and a Live Receptionist can help overcome the obstacles that might get in the way of business growth for those on the road.

But before we delve in, let’s define digital nomadism.

Telecommuting vs Digital Nomads

Although the two are often used interchangeably, there are some fundamental differences between digital nomadism and telecommunication. Telecommuters predominantly work from home, whereas a digital nomad is always in transit, traveling from one place to another.

Some key differences:

  • Internet connection and quality varies in different parts of the world; a telecommuter’s internet access is pretty reliable and predictable by virtue of being in the same place most of the time.
  • A digital nomad has limited storage capacity. This is fine if they operate from a laptop, but can be problematic if they rely on bulky equipment.
  • Moving through different time zones as a digital nomad can be challenging when it comes to communication and can lead to missed calls and delayed responses.

How to maintain credibility as a digital nomad

A digital nomad must go the extra mile to create and maintain an air of credibility. Initially, customers are more likely to trust a business that, on the surface at least, seems secure and stable. Having a business address and phone number that serves as a single point of contact for a client base will make the business seem more rooted, reputable and well-established.

Digital nomads can obtain a business address at a relatively low cost without having to pay for a physical, full-time office by investing in a virtual office space. It’s possible to obtain a virtual address pretty much anywhere in the world, from San Francisco to New Delhi.

A virtual address can be stated on a business’ contact page and on any other marketing collateral.

Another huge benefit that comes with a virtual office address is that it acts as a centralized mailing address. The virtual office will receive, sign for and store any correspondence at the location until the nomad is back in town and ready to collect it.

Alternatively, mail can be forwarded to a specific location, making it even more convenient for those on the move.

Utilizing a Live Receptionist for customer service and lead capturing

It’s no secret that the quicker a business responds to a new lead, the more likely they are to convert the inquiry into a paying customer. But client acquisition and retention can be trickier for digital nomads who spend periods of time without access to calls or emails.

Research by Harvard Business Review reveals that companies who contact prospective clients within an hour of receiving an inquiry are seven times more likely to qualify the lead. Long haul flights and patchy WiFi can make this harder for digital nomads to achieve.

Live Receptionists hold the key to consistent and efficient communication and can actually form part of a virtual office plan. A Live Receptionist works remotely to answer calls in the digital nomad’s name, take messages and schedule appointments on their behalf.

A local or toll-free business number is provided and the digital nomad has unlimited access to a professional scheduling app, enabling them to track correspondence and streamline their business on the move.

The world is a digital nomad’s oyster…and office. Having a virtual office in place takes some of the pressure off, enabling them to run their business as efficiently as possible at a fraction of the cost of a full-time office.

Many virtual offices also offer the option to cowork, providing digital nomads with a drop-in space to work or a place to meet with clients.

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