I remember the first time I thought about leaving the supposed comfort and security of working for a boss to “fly solo” instead. It took me a few years to pluck up the courage, but at the same time I can’t say that my time spent working for a boss was in any way wasted. It allowed me to learn, save money thanks to a regular salary, and gain a better understanding of the industry I was considering taking on myself.
When I tell people that I run my own business, the most common question they ask is why I chose to start my own venture rather than working for a boss. My main reasons, like many, included the desire for freedom, independence, and a chance to pursue what I really enjoy and am passionate about. Yes, money is great but it wasn’t my primary goal. The reality is that start ups don’t start off making a profit. If you’re lucky, you’ll break even, but most new businesses endure months of running at a loss before they get their bank account back into the black.
This is why it was so important for me to save up for a few years before going it alone. As they say, you need to spend money to make money. I didn’t want to lay out too much capital from the start so I looked for some ideas and alternatives to conventional methods. Normally, potential clients and future employees would expect me to have some kind of office or business premises, but rent is pricey so I thought of working from home. The problem with this though, was the fact that I would either have to hide my address from everyone (which doesn’t make you appear very trustworthy) or I’d have to make my home address public (also not a good idea).
I started scouring Google for any and all possible solutions and that’s when I found it. I read about someone who had set up their virtual offices with Vizz Business Centre and it sounded like a good idea so after conducting plenty of research, I signed up for my virtual office space too. The best part, apart from saving money, is the fact that I can give my clients and employees an address which is professional, and avoid putting my personal details on the web.
Once I had everything set up, I got to work on my branding strategy and marketing, along with budgets and all sorts of plans. I had all my mail directed to my offices at Vizz Business Centre, and I managed everything from the comfort of my own home. After sales started picking up, I hired another sales person to help me with that side of things while I concentrated on the financials and marketing. It took a bit of time but I eventually had enough sales to hire another sales assistant, and I outsourced for my marketing needs, so I had a company handle my marketing and two sales people, giving me time to concentrate on other aspects of the business as well as meeting with potential high profile clients and partners.
That was another way in which the business centre came in handy. If I was meeting with local clients, we could set up a time to meet at the offices and discuss all the relevant details in a professional environment. There is no need to meet in public places like coffee shops or at my private home. If my clients were too far away or abroad, then I could simply liaise with them on line from home.
At this stage, I have local employees and some who are abroad. Every month we have a general meeting at the business centre for those who are able to attend. For those who are abroad, we make sure to send them electronic copies of what was discussed during the meeting, and they are also free to join us via video conference if possible. This virtual office solution really is the answer I was so desperately looking for. It’s the perfect middle ground for maximum professionalism without the heavy cash outlay each month.
I recommend this type of set up for all start ups and for businesses that are looking to cut back on their overhead expenses.