9 Home-Based Business that Could use a Virtual Office in 2010 – Part 2
In Part 1 of this article, we started by giving our twist on the first 4 of Inc Magazine’s list of “9 Businesses You Can Start In Your Pajamas in 2010.” Here come the next 5!
5. The online fitness trainer: It sounds kind of funny, but this is a business that allows you to skip your gym membership and get fit by downloading your exercise program on to your iPod. However, the business itself is a Web site where trainers and trainees meet to discuss custom workout plans by phone, e-mail or instant messages. In short, it’s a virtual business (the kind we like!). The tough part is making this service accessible to the generation of lethargic humans who would rather call in to meet their trainer than do it online. Not only that, when trainers are unavailable and a message needs to be left, it would be a great assurance to know that your trainer has a substitute to answer the phone for his clients. Also, mail needs to go somewhere – a central location where all the trainers can pop in to pick up their personal letters and still maintain a professional, one-company image. Let’s not forget that since this company is growing, it will soon need a 1-800 number with a live receptionist. Why pay a full time employee when only a fraction of your clientele will call in anyway?
6. The Italian shopping tour lady: Yes, she makes a living being the kind of tour guide that takes people shopping in Italy. This unique business, which was featured in the Oprah magazine, is run out of a home in New York. While calls can be taken while in the country, this is, after all, a tour guide business, with trips to Italy 4 times a year. Having a virtual assistant taking calls and using a voicemail to e-mail phone system will allow this business woman to keep receiving messages abroad, while her new tourists can still sign-up, pay for, and get information on the Italian outlet shopping guided tour.
7. The government mapping guy: While an impressive resume is on the side of this business owner who has contracted out to clients like the U.S. military and NBC news, it’s no question that when bureaucracy comes calling, every little detail matters. So it helps to have a big-company image even when you’re not. A live receptionist answering a government contracting company shows prestige that matches the job at hand, and will no doubt benefit this business’s clout to skeptic callers who are unaware of the portfolio proving its capabilities.
8. The baby designer mom: Who says a famous person’s kid shouldn’t have their own closet full of designer threads? Certainly not the Gap or Nordstrom, companies who have bought designs from a mompreneur working from home designing baby items for celebrity class mothers. Why does she need a virtual office? For one, meetings with these big players can’t happen around her coffee table, and it just might be that she’ll need to travel to make a deal with a new company. Yes, she can go to their offices, but she will have so much more clout by inviting them in to hers – which can be worldwide. Virtual offices can be rented by the hour or day, and with a well-connected business center, a network of offices and boardrooms can be accessed instantly for business location hoppers.
9. The podcast organizer: Callisto.fm was founded after a need was identified in the podcasting industry. While content had been organized well with other online mediums, nothing existed for podcasts. So Michael Sitarzewski got busy organizing, and caught the attention of many. But he also has another business for web applications. So how does he juggle them both? A virtual office would help! Two ideas come to mind: he could have two separate lines, which would be answered in individual company names, or he could have a single 1-800 number that would ask a user to press 1 for company ‘A’ or press 2 for company ‘B’. Then the call would be immediately transferred to a live receptionist, or even direct to his cell phone where ever he is. In the background, a virtual assistant would be helping with paper work and keeping office duties in check by providing services such as typing, sending out memos, managing databases and keeping accounts in Excel.
And there you have it! 9 pajama startups in 2010 that can boost their success by making use of a virtual office service.