When you’re a freelancer or a small business owner, there are a lot of places where your work life bleeds over into your personal life. Your emails might all funnel through the same account. An area of your house might double as an office and a living room. And, your personal cell might act as your business phone line.
When you’re just starting your business, these blurry lines might not be a problem. But as you grow and develop into a larger, more visible and professional business, you’ll find that it’s time to draw a line when it comes to at least one of your communication methods.
Why it’s time for a separate business phone line
Many small business owners put off setting up a second line for their business because it feels like an unnecessary additional cost. Why pay for two lines when one line works just fine? Well, there are actually many reasons why a separate business phone line is important and necessary. Any one of the following scenarios can put you in a bit of a predicament!
Greeting a friend, then realizing they’re a client.
When all of your phone calls are coming through to the same device, it can be easy to mix up a call from Jon, your best friend, and John, your top client.
Few things are as professionally embarrassing as answering a business call with a goofy greeting typically reserved for old friends. It’s hard to rebound back to a professional position once you’ve answered a call from one of your top clients with a greeting like: What up, dude?, Yo!, or Hey baby.
Texting the wrong number.
Most of us have done it. You press the send button and less than a second later, it hits you. You just sent a text to the wrong person. While auto-fill has its benefits, it can be the culprit that directs a text about the latest episode of the “The Real Housewives” to your client, Abby B, instead of your old college roommate, Abby D.
When you’re absent-minded with your personal device that also acts as a business phone line, it can turn a split-second text into an embarrassing blunder that can change the way a client thinks about you.
Pocket-dialing (and leaving long voicemails).
Sometimes, it’s not even your fault when you accidentally connect with a client via your personal phone line. It’s nothing more than forgetting to lock your screen and then sliding your phone in your pocket.
The scariest part about pocket dialing is that you don’t know you’re on the phone. If a client answers or the call gets sent to their voicemail, the client might pick up on conversations they aren’t meant to hear. Imagine you pocket dial Bob, your client and the last person you called, during a strategic meeting with coworkers about Bob’s business. He could end up with details on his voicemail that were probably best kept in-house.
Kids answering and ignoring important calls.
If you have children, you’ve probably given them your phone to occupy their time at one point or another. While this helps kids pass the time, it can also open a gateway for allowing them to accidently answer and ignore calls.
Kids are oblivious to pop-ups when they’re in the middle of a game or activity.
So if your new prospect calls while your child is in elbow-deep in Candy Crush, you’re probably going to miss the call. Consider the call ignored, the notification deleted, and the connection missed.
Publicly giving out your personal number.
While there are plenty of embarrassing and revealing situations you can find yourself in by using a personal line that doubles as a business phone line, there are also privacy issues to consider.
Whether it’s for online profiles, licenses or any other business account, when you only have one phone line, you have to give out your personal number publicly. This diminishes your personal brand security and leaves you open for calls from solicitors, aggressive sales groups and even unwanted connections who can easily look you up.
Receiving calls during non-work hours.
The boundary between personal and work life is easily blurred for freelancers, solopreneurs and small business owners. There are benefits to this lifestyle, but there are also negatives. One of those negatives is that it’s difficult to turn off your work.
It’s especially challenging to set aside time that is just for your personal life, family, friends, hobbies and fun when your personal phone line doubles as a business phone line. If your phone is with you and on, it’s almost impossible to ignore a business call or allow yourself to disconnect from the business mindset.
Get more freedom, flexibility and peace-of-mind
When your personal phone plays double-duty and acts as your business phone line, it leaves you open for embarrassing and unprofessional situations. It can also negatively affect your life, limit your privacy, and throw off your ability to have a healthy work-life balance. “Why pay for two lines when one line works just fine?” isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
Having a second business phone line provides freedom, flexibility and peace-of-mind. Isn’t it time your business has its own phone number?
Also published on Medium.