transition from your office to a virtual businessTransition from Your Office to a Virtual Business

If you’ve been on the fence about going fully virtual, now’s the time to do it. The available technology makes switching over easier than when I did it in 2009.  As you know, many tasks once done manually are now efficiently handled by technology.  This creates an opportunity for you to fully transition from your office to a virtual business.

After years of commuting to the office, the change can seem daunting. Many routine in-office structures and conveniences no longer apply. The biggest hurdles include culture, routine and processes. So, you wonder how to navigate the change.

Follow these insights, tips and strategies to successfully navigate your transition.

Clarify What You Want

Before you even start the transition, describe your vision. Your vision, or your intention, is like the master blueprint. Figure out what you want and why you want it. As you gain direction, you reduce overwhelm. Basically, focus on what’s highly important to you and why those things matter.

Ready to define your vision? Then answer these questions first.

  • Who are your ideal clients?
  • What strengths do you bring to your work?
  • Which services do you enjoy offering?
  • How will your clients communicate with you?
  • How will you blend your lifestyle with your home based office?

Your Unanswered Questions

Over-thinking often slows down progress. Your mindset influences everything you do. Either you move forward or you consistently postpone the decision. Don’t be surprised about having more questions than answers.

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Remember courage before confidence. Find the courage to move forward, although it seems risky. The confidence appears down the road.

  • Awareness. First of all, many parts of your business are already virtual and in the cloud.
  • Flexibility. Anything done in person can be done virtually. It’s a matter of adjusting your perspective. Discover new opportunities as you shift away from doing business as usual.
  • Physical to virtual space. The work can be done anywhere. There’s evidence all around you of entrepreneurs operating highly profitable virtual businesses.
  • Experience. Tap into your own experience of working with someone remotely from two points of view. First, consider how you already work with some remote clients whom you never met in person. Next, consider the pros and cons when you used a virtual service.

transition from your office to a virtual businessMaintain Your Quality Connections

I deeply care about people. So, my #1 concern when transitioning to a virtual business involved people. I wondered about my clients, my staff and my network. “How do I maintain my connection when I’m no longer in the same room as them?

Because I viewed this as my primary challenge, I intended to find a solution. Well, it all boiled down to these four things.

  • Tuning in. Figuring out how to maintain a solid connection when we were not sitting together in my office. Back in 2009 when I made my transition to a virtual business a lot of the technology wasn’t available. At that time, my client conversations were either by phone or on Skype.
  • Focus.It’s easier to be distracted, or attempt to multi-task, when someone can’t see you. With that realization, I made a decision to fully focus and remain present when virtually meeting with someone. Here’s a bonus – my other senses heightened to compensate for the lack of visual information.
  • Meetings. Most of my conversations are on Zoom or phone. What percentage of your meetings are on the phone or Zoom? Remote meetings remove all geographical borders. You can now work with people anywhere in the world. Or, you can be anywhere in the world and still conduct business.
  • Your client attraction strategy. All the same strategies still apply, regardless of your business location. Plus, anything done in-person can also occur virtually. I currently do as many, if not more, virtual coffee connections than in-person ones. Because most referral connections are already virtual, you’ll continue to get great referrals. I recently did a Client Attraction Marketing Secrets master class. If you’re looking for strategies to attract new clients, then listen to the actionable tips I shared.

Create Order to Avoid Chaos

Simply because your business loses its physical structure doesn’t mean it lacks an internal structure. A free-wheeling structure is a breeding ground for chaos. Once you step away from the office, you need even more work flows in place.

Start to develop a combination of boundaries and workflow. The boundaries offer structure around when and how you work. This reduces the risk of work tasks spilling over into your personal time. Or, vice versa.

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Sometimes it’s tempting to binge watch your favorite shows when work becomes overwhelming. Or, transfer your load of wash to the dryer during business hours. I’m sure you don’t run home from the office to finish your laundry. Treat your virtual business the same way you approach your office-based business. When you’re at the office, you focus on getting work done.

  • Isolation sets in.
    • You’re the boss. You’re discreet about who you discuss your business challenges with. Therefore, it’s possible to feel isolated even when you’re at the office. So, how do you deal with isolation when working in a virtual business? I’ve gradually developed a trusted inner circle of entrepreneurs and coaches. I know they’ve got my back and never judge me.
    • You miss the water cooler. You no longer casually bump into your staff at the water cooler or the kitchen. But, what if you had a virtual water cooler? Slack and other forms of communication are great replacements for quick check-ins.
  • Build your team. If you already have a team, then support them as you transition from your office to a virtual business. Since people don’t like change, they may need some additional hand-holding in the beginning. With a virtual business, no one’s commuting to the office. As a result, consider hiring team members who live outside of your local region.
  • Create structure. I tell my clients that structure gives you freedom. If you don’t have standard operating procedures (SOP), then create them now. Workflows and processes ensure consistent quality work. SOP’s reduce the likelihood that someone decides to “wing it,” eventually cascading into larger problems down the road.
  • The money part. This boils down to cash flow and profits. You don’t want to appear highly profitable on paper, but experience serious cash flow problems. Both are equally important.
    • Pricing. Switching to a virtual business lowers your overhead and increases your profit margins. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of lowering their prices because their costs are down. Don’t do that. The value of your service isn’t connected to your physical location. Your clients hire you for your expertise.
    • Collections. Entrepreneurs are often the biggest block to collecting money. Either you lack the structure or you avoid dealing with the money collections part. The mechanics are easy to implement, whether it’s a virtual terminal or automated payments. Where do you block money from flowing into your business?
  • transition from your office to a virtual businessEstablish your boundaries. Things get messy when you lack boundaries. A little prevention requires less energy and reduces the messy parts.
    • Don’t sacrifice your life. You’re home is now your workplace, too. Be mindful about constantly working at the expense of other parts of your life.
    • Privacy. Imagine your customers randomly knocking on your front door at all hours of the day. If that’s not a pleasant thought, then don’t use your home address as your business address. Invest in a PO Box or virtual mailbox for an added layer of privacy and security.
    • The legalities. Continue to follow best practices for your industry. Maintain your business license, liability insurance and security measures. Your sensitive client information needs to remain locked. And, avoid sending sensitive data through email.

Focus on the benefits as you share your decision with your team and your clients. Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. Then think about the concerns from their perspective.

Challenges will arise as you transition from your office to a virtual business. At first you’ll face a steep learning curve. Like anything new, expect growing pains along the way. Remember, gain clarity about your intention. Focus your mindset on the new opportunities as you navigate through the process.

The transition from your office to a virtual business isn’t easy. Follow these recommendations for a business to be successful, and grow while keeping your passion alive. Are you tired of doing work for free because you don’t know how to charge for it? Discover how to get paid what you are worth and attract clients who understand your value. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to create value based pricing.