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Monday, November 5, 2012

If you're a solo entrepreneur and you're not using Google voice you are doing something wrong.

Yes, I know that's a powerful statement.  But I want to shake you, get your attention and excite you to action.

In this series of blog posts I will talk about why a solo entrepreneur needs Google voice as well as how to use Google voice and exploit little-known features while saving you and your business lots of money.
Before continuing, I want to define who I refer to when I say "solo entrepreneur”.  Simply stated a solo entrepreneur is a business person who is in business by themselves. Other terms used to describe a solo entrepreneur include freelancer self-employed sole proprietor and home-based business owner. Consultants, business coaches, career coaches and life coaches are typically solo entrepreneurs. So if this describes you and you're not using Google voice read on. (If you are already using Google voice and eager for tips and tricks, you'll have to wait for the second blog post in this series).

So why do I think Google Voice is so critical for the solo entrepreneur?  Because Google voice allows you to convey a professional image to current and prospective clients, gives you an arsenal for managing your voicemail communications, allows you flexibility to do what you want to do when you want to do it and does it all for free.

Let’s examine each of these variables using a fictitious character, Hank Smith, a life coach.

Your Professional Image

Nothing says UNPROFESSIONAL more than calling up Hank, being forwarded to his answering machine and hearing “Hi, Hank, Francis, Tommy and Gonzo the dog are out right now, leave a message and what you want and we’ll call you back.”  Google Voice gives you the ability to have your own phone number and own voicemail.  Imagine if you gave out your Google Voice number to clients and they called and heard a professional message from their prospective life coach.  What would they think of you?

The Google Voice Arsenal

We will be delving into the Google voice arsenal of tools in subsequent blog posts.  But I would like to give you this preview:
Imagine you are trying to reach a new prospective client, John, and you are playing phone tag.  John doesn't have email; just a mobile phone.  John calls and gets your voicemail because you are out hiking and hears, “Hi John.  I set up free consults for people interested in getting more balance in their life while making their dreams come to life. Please leave me three times on Wednesday where we can talk on the phone for a ½ hour.”
You check your email messages on a peak and read John’s voicemail because has been converted to text and sent to your email automatically.  You send John an email to his mobile phone confirming his choice of time and it looks like a text message that came from your phone.
On Wednesday, 10 minutes before the call, you accidentally drop your phone and it breaks.  You log onto Google Voice and when John calls your business number, your friend’s cell phone rings. You answer and John knows nothing about the obstacles you just navigated through.


I have already illustrated this concept with the example above.  Here’s the specifics:
Because Google Voice is web-based, your incoming calls can be forwarded ANYWHERE.  You can answer “your phone” on your mobile, home or office lines.  You can answer “your phone” on the line coming into your hotel room.  You can answer “your phone” on any computer.  And, with a handy-dandy gizmo I will tell you about in part 4 of this series, you can even answer “your phone” on your home or office telephone handset when you don’t even have any phone service.
Coming in part 2 of this series:  how to set up Google Voice, migrate your existing phone number to Google Voice and (a SECRET TIP) how to get a second Google Voice number in another target market for a couple of sawbucks.