October 10, 2012 | 4 minutes

Life in the St. Louis Virtual Office

St. Louis virtual officeI just switched to a St. Louis virtual office this month (after contributing to this blog since February) and I love the decision. Essentially, I work from home, but utilize the virtual office for my business’ professional address and as a client meeting space. Life in the St. Louis virtual office isn’t all that much different from working from home, so it’s nice to have the additional professional perks to run my business without the overhead or the hassle.

The Best Part of the Virtual Office

My favorite part about the switch is the money I save. Even though my monthly fee is slightly higher than the coworking space I was at previously, the increase is made up for by the gains made in transportation costs, food, coffee, and productivity. No longer am I wasting an hour each day commuting. No longer am I spending so much money eating out or getting my afternoon caffeine fix. No longer am I waiting to get to the office in order to get something done; I can cross something off my task list halfway through my morning cup of coffee.

My second favorite part about the virtual office is that I get the best of both worlds. Since I’m working from home as a solopreneur, I get to set my own hours and to be my own boss. I work because I want to, not necessarily because someone is telling me to. I get to have the office that fits my needs and personality. However, with the virtual office, I have the professional address so no one has to know my home address. I also have someone professional to meet with clients so I don’t have to meet with them at home, at the coffee shop, or strictly over the phone.

What about a Live Receptionist?

The one aspect of a virtual office that I am not using is the live receptionist, and at this point in time with my business, I don’t need it. I don’t get that many phone calls, and the ones that I do get I am either expecting or are looking to talk to me anyway. There’s no need to have someone forward or to screen my calls. This is something I might like in the future, when my business is a bit bigger, but right now I don’t have a whole lot for this live receptionist to do.

Any Downsides to the Virtual Office?

Maybe as a solopreneur, I don’t get the social interaction that I may get at a coffee shop (you’d think with my love of coffee that I would be at the coffee shop all the time. Remember, the point is to cut expenses, not accrue them!) or at a coworking space. To extroverts, that might be a concern, and something that is easily taken for granted in a traditional work environment. However, I am an introvert, and the minimal social interaction doesn’t bother me much. Besides, I can always make up for it by participating in networking and community events.

No, the adjustment and the switch weren’t exactly quick and seamless. It wasn’t easy to move all my stuff from the coworking space to the home office (much of it still in plastic bags because I still need the right furniture). I’m still figuring out a good way to get a little more exercise and perhaps get out of the house more often. However, I’m halfway into my second week with the virtual office, and I don’t regret my decision one bit. It may be a month or two before I notice the difference in my pocketbook, or really have enough information to gauge how much my productivity has improved, but I have no doubts a virtual office is better for myself and my business in the long run.

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