For some reason, clients that know that you work from home seem to have this belief that you have no life beyond the computer. I’ve experienced this in the past and it can be a little annoying. These are the types of clients that email you at midnight, or call on a Sunday morning expecting support and an immediate response.
Emails arent so bad, but phone calls, especially at all hours, are just plain rude.
Ever felt like this?
If you’ve begun freelancing as an seo consultant, running your business from home or a small office, make sure you tell your clients that you work “normal business hours” and that they should only contact you during these times. Otherwise, you’ll find your phone ringing off the hook, much like I did when I first started. Be sure to set this straight at the very first meeting – not when it’s too late.
I have to admit though, when I first started out I was quite niave. Taking phone calls at all hours didn’t seem to bother me. It wasn’t something that I gave a second thought. Infact I figured it was a good thing. More calls must mean more business, and being busy is a good thing right?
Being busy during normal hours of operation is fine, but being called at 1am isn’t. Over time, it became a real nuisance. I found myself constantly working, or at the very least – worrying about when my phone was going to ring next. In addition to that, the work I was getting done was constantly being interrupted by non urgent phone calls. So at times, I would fall behind with my work.
One thing I’ve learnt, especially within the SEO industry, is that clients tend to get fidgity. If they’re not checking rankings every 5 minutes, they’re on the phone asking for performance reviews. It can get to the point where you’ll find yourself screening calls just to save your sanity.
What to do about it.
The first thing I decided to do to put a stop to this, was to invest in a separate mobile phone. This might sound obvious now, but at the time I had been using my own personal mobile phone, and simply taking calls on that. I never thought it would be a problem.
Changing to a dedicated phone for business was great. During work time, I would have it on and answer it. Outside of work time, I would switch it off, unless I was expecting an after hours, or important call. This brought upon immediate relief. I could go about my day, and get more work done due to less interruptions. It also meant my head was clearer and I could at least think straight. Both great advantages.
Another advantage was that my phone was now a legitimate business expense so I could claim it back on tax. Beforehand my phone bill was a jumbled mess of both personal and business related calls. Lets just say I kind of avoided looking at my phone statement every month!
However by changing my phone over, another problem soon became apparent. My business cards! Because I now had a new number, I had to go about having all my business cards reprinted. Whilst this wasn’t a big issue, it did cost me a couple of hundred dollars. It just wasn’t something I thought of at the time, and It turned out to be a silly mistake I wish I hadn’t made.
So be sure to take my advice. Get yourself a dedicated mobile phone, that you use specifically for business purposes. Otherwise, prepare yourself for ongoing calls at all hours!