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Davinci Virtual Blog

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S NEW WITH DAVINCI

LATEST POSTS

Follow These 3 Essential Steps to Launch a Successful Side Business

Before the rise in popularity of the gig economy, becoming an entrepreneur typically required a big investment of time and money. Now, as the gig economy becomes a normal part of how we do business, there are more opportunities to take the leap into entrepreneurship with freelance or short-term work. Launching a side business is easier than ever, with lower startup costs and less time involved than a traditional business. However, don’t let the lower barrier to entry fool you. In order to be successful, you have to treat your “side hustle” like a true business and learn the skills necessary to work from home.

#1  Find Your Fit

The biggest mistake you can make in starting a side business is jumping into something without thinking through whether it’s the right fit for you. If you aren’t sure where to start or simply want to make sure you’re on the right track, this infographic from Entrepreneur can help you focus in on what type of gig suits your interests. Maybe you have a creative hobby making something you can sell online, or maybe you love animals and could see yourself as a dog walker or pet sitter. When you start a side gig, you are solely responsible for staying motivated, so your success depends on choosing something you will enjoy spending your time doing.

Others choose to start a side business based on an original idea. If this is you, be sure to put your idea through a few key tests. Does your proposed product or service meet a need? The best business ideas are ones that create a solution for a problem that people are willing to pay for. Is your idea simple and focused? It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of bringing your business to life, but you may run into problems if your plans balloon into something that is overly complicated. Forbes recommends starting small and focused, and then you can add as your business grows. 

#2  Build Your Knowledge Base

When you’re ready to get your gig off the ground, use this time during the preparation and early stages to learn all you can about your field and entrepreneurship in general. It takes a little investment in yourself to learn the skills required to run your own business. Learning these skills will also help shift your mindset from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. Do this alongside your regular job so that you still have money coming in while you build the skills to work on your own. 

This is also the time to start developing key relationships with potential business partners and clients. Start with people you already know, like family members, friends, and colleagues -- past and present. Then expand your contacts by attending local networking events. While you may not have a website or storefront to show potential clients and investors at this stage, you should have updated business materials. As old fashioned as it sounds, business cards and an updated resume listing your new venture will give you and your new gig more credibility. The good news is, online tools make it easier than ever to design professional-looking pieces for print and digital use… with perks! For example, online resume builders not only give you access to proven templates, they also provide writing tips from experts and a tool that allows you to track who’s actually downloading and reading the resumes you send. 

#3  Set Up Your Office and Operations

Even though you plan to work this business on the side, your workspace and daily operations should be just as organized as if this was your main source of income. Many people who start home-based businesses make the mistake of blurring the lines between work and home life. To avoid falling into this trap, set up a home workspace that is in a designated spot. Using a separate room as a home office is ideal, but even a corner of a room that you set aside will work. Set up your daily operations by getting the necessary tools you’ll need and organizing all files and supplies from the start.

Successfully running your business from home also requires setting regular “office hours.” Flexibility is one of the greatest benefits of working from home, but don’t be too flexible with yourself. Take a look at your schedule and determine when you can carve out time to work on your business, and then make this time a nonnegotiable part of your routine.

Whether your goal is to simply make a little money on the side or replace your full-time job, starting a side gig can be as unique as you are. Whatever your goals are, planning, learning, and setting up your business correctly are all essential steps to success. Don’t skip these steps because they are what separate a hobby from a hustle!

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Why Virtual Office Services Are Becoming More Popular for Travelers

Whether travelling for a few days or living the “digital nomad” lifestyle, being away from a traditional office environment is no longer a valid excuse to neglect your customers, partners, or any other aspect of your business. 

According to The Global Business Travel Association, the number of business trips taken annually in the U.S. was 488 million in 2016. This translates to an average of 12 to 14 trips per year, with 4 to 6 nights away from home during each trip. This data is for traditional business travelling only, so if we take into consideration freelancers and digital nomads, the number of trips significantly goes up. 

A few years ago being “out of office” meant limited access to email and phone calls. However, in today’s hyper connected and internet-centric business world, being out of office is no longer an option, as people expect you to stay on top of your business at all times. 

The above is why virtual offices are a perfect solution for those seeking to make the best of their travels, whether business or pleasure, while growing a business. 

One of the largest benefits that virtual offices provide is the ability to perform work from anywhere and at anytime. While traveling, a virtual office can offer you the ability to present your customers and business contacts with a professionally answered telephone at all times.

A virtual office is also a great thing to have if your business requires you to send and receive packages and mail. While you are doing business away from home, Davinci’s Mail Handling and Forwarding service enables you to receive  your business mail at your virtual office address. You then have the option to pick it up at the location or have it forwarded on a scheduled basis to wherever you are.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a formal workspace or are in need of a conference line or meeting space to meet with potential clients, you can easily access a network of meeting rooms, conference rooms, day offices, event space, and coworking spaces while traveling. These spaces are fully equipped for people to simply plug in and get to business.

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How a Virtual Office Address Works

Virtual offices are not a new concept; they have been around for some time now, providing valuable services and products for all types of businesses and professionals around the world. 

One of their most valuable services is providing businesses with an address. But how exactly does a virtual office address work and what are the benefits of having one?

A virtual office address, unlike what the name suggests--virtual--, is an actual, physical, concrete, brick and mortar place where a businesses can exist. 

Virtual office addresses are especially beneficial to startups and home-based businesses that are just starting out because it legitimizes their operation. In certain cities and countries, businesses need an address in a commercial area in order to register the company and acquire the necessary licenses for operation. 

Additionally, these types of addresses also help legitimize your company in the eyes of potential clients, partners, or customers when they look up your business on any search engine (which they will definitely do before doing any kind of business with you). By having a virtual office address, they will see an address at a Grade A Building in a premium location instead of an address in a residential area, which will give you extra credibility. 

Imagine you need one of your clients to send you a package full of samples for an upcoming trade show and all you can provide them is your home address. It doesn’t seem very professional, does it?

Virtual office addresses are also low-cost, meaning that they are very attractive for freelancers, home workers, entrepreneurs, and startups, especially when they are in the early stages of development. Established businesses can also benefit from a virtual office address when they are looking to  enter a new market outside of their current location.

There are many uses for a virtual office address such as:

• Mail and fax handling

• Parcel receiving

• Telephone forwarding service

• Voice mail service

• Reception service

• Rental agreement

• Utility bill

 

Want to learn more about what benefits you can get from a virtual office? Click here. 

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Virtual Assistant Positions Benefit Remote-Working Pregnant Women

It is estimated that more than 65% of American mothers work during their first pregnancies. And, of those, about 80% keep working until within a month of giving birth. Combine this with the fact that more and more companies are seeing the benefits of a virtual office and it makes sense that remote jobs for pregnant women are gaining more and more popularity. From the ability to manage your own schedule, learn new valuable skills and even make time for all of your doctor appointments, there are many reasons why working as a virtual assistant while pregnant is a great option for telecommuting moms-to-be.

The simple skills you probably already possess

If you have acquired entry-level data entry skills, are great at administrative tasks, love to write and know how to work your way around a few social media accounts, then you might want to try your hand as a virtual assistant. Virtual task and administration is a popular entry-level remote work job that can include tasks such as inbox management, calendar management, and document formatting. However, if you are more interested in the social media side of things, you can put your love of Pinterest to use and become a social media manager or social media consultant that still falls under the umbrella of a virtual assistant of sorts. If you want to take it slow, you can apply to perform basic administrative or supportive tasks for a small company or entrepreneur who doesn't have a busy schedule, but it is in an industry that interests you to ensure you are still gaining valuable experience.

The perks of working from home

There is no doubt that working from home while pregnant is much better than commuting to work and putting on stuffy office clothing every single day. However, the perks of working as a virtual assistant while pregnant are much more than avoiding morning traffic. For starters, you will be able to tend to your body more easily in times of need. Seeing as many women suffer from morning sickness, working from home allows you the freedom to care for yourself when you feel sick and not have to hide it from co-workers. Working from home also allows you to free up more time to engage in maternity exercise routines that can increase your productivity, keep you healthy and actually help you avoid certain pregnancy woes. You'll know that you have your dream job when you can ace it as a virtual assistant while juggling various doctors appointments throughout the next nine months. 

Setting your own pace

Not only does working as a virtual assistant, or any type of remote job, allow you to work at your own pace, it forces you to manage your time more efficiently and really focus on how you are scheduling your tasks along with your needs. This mindset will come in handy once your baby arrives and you are juggling your new mom life with your professional one. The great news is that you can actually have both, and your work as a VA will likely show you how.

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How to Make a Virtual Mailbox Work for Your Business

Solopreneurs and small businesses are turning to virtual mailboxes in increasing numbers. But what are virtual mailboxes? They are office locations with impressive, professional addresses that businesses can use for listing their office address. They also often include other services such as mail forwarding, lobby directory listings, and access to fully equipped meeting spaces. 

There are a number of reasons businesses should use a virtual mailbox. Let’s go through some of the most use cases.

1. Stop the Business Mail at Your House.

Having your business mail arriving at your home address can be a real irritant. Sorting through and separating personal and business mail takes time. And sometimes you may have more mail than what can fit in your mailbox. A virtual mailbox stops all of that business mail from coming to your home.

2. Make First Impressions Count—Professional Presence.

Businesses need to make first impressions count. It can happen in any number of ways—your website, initial meeting, email communications, and address. A business address in a subpar location creates a first impression that is almost virtually impossible to erase. Some virtual mailbox solutions like Davinci Virtual Office give businesses a professional address in a location, including a lobby directory listing, that garners respect—one a solopreneur or small business typically cannot afford. 

3. Use for Business Licensing and Registration.

Business licensing and registration requires a physical mailing address for the registered agent. If you’re using your home address for your business, this means it gets published. It also means that your customers have your home address, something many businesses may not want them to know. And in certain cases, you may not be able to use your home address—some home owners’ associations (HOA) prohibit business addresses and some municipalities have zoning regulations that prevent home owners from running a commercial business with their home address. Virtual mailboxes (addresses) solve these issues.

4. Connect with Search Engines and Internet Directories.

Getting recognized is critical for any business, and showing up on digital listings can be the difference between a business failing and one succeeding. There are numerous online business listings that a business must complete to be visible: a) Google My Business, b) Facebook Professional Services, c) Yelp for Business, d) Yahoo Local, e) Bing Places for Business, and f) Foursquare for Business, g) among others. (Note: As a reminder, make sure the information you put into all of these channels is consistent; inconsistency in details will affect your SEO ranking. The business categories you select also play an important role.) 

5. Get Mail Receipt and Forwarding.

For some solopreneurs and small businesses, you’re rarely in one spot for very long. Getting your mail can be a real problem. However, as many virtual mailbox offerings include mail receipt and forwarding such as Davinci Virtual Office, this challenge can be eliminated. You can have your mail follow you wherever you’re at.

6. Have a Location to Meet Customers.

Some virtual mailbox solutions like Davinci Virtual Office also have physical offices available for rent. These are particularly important when you need a day office or coworking space to power through work without an interruption or when you need a conference room—with the presentation and collaboration tools you need, a lobby greeter, and more—for a customer meeting. Hotel rooms are bad ideas; they are often 50 percent more than rented meeting rooms. Coffee shops and cafes are noisy, lack privacy and fail convey the brand experience you want to provide customers. 

7. Expand Your Business Quickly and Cost Effectively.

Expansion into new locations can be expensive if you need a fixed office for an address. Virtual addresses give businesses an alternative; they can expand into new locations by simply securing a virtual address. And if the virtual address provider also offers on-demand meeting day offices, coworking space, and meeting rooms for rent, then you have the option to use those when you are on site and meeting with customers and partners or simply needing to get some work done.

To compete today, solopreneurs and small businesses need tools that help level the playing field. Virtual mailboxes and all of the accoutrements that come with them are one of the tools you need in your back-pocket to do so.

 

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