You can project a professional image, even if you choose to work from home, with these 3 easy tips to leverage a NYC virtual office.
You may choose to work from a home office simply because you can, or for other valid lifestyle reasons. After all, it is one of the perks of being your own boss. However, as a home-based lawyer, you will encounter clients, colleagues or adversaries who assume that you are less professional (or less successful) because you work from a home office. This may result in greater difficulty negotiating deals with adversaries, prospective clients not hiring you, or demanding that you lower your rate since it’s not going to the overhead of an office.
1. Do the work from home, but use a permanent commercial address for your practice.
Consider using a permanent, commercial address for business, not your home address. A commercial address is important because it gives the impression of being more professional and more permanent.
Consider sharing a commercial office address with a friend, or you can rent one through a virtual office NYC provider such as Law Firm Suites. By renting virtual office space, you give the appearance that you operate from a commercial office building, while avoiding the overhead of an actual office. You receive your mail and packages there, and meet clients and colleagues.
A good office suite operator will never let on to your guests that you are anything other than a full time office renter.
P.S. If you are an urban apartment dweller, changing your home address from “Apartment 17B” to “Suite 17B” fools no one.
2. Have a permanent business phone number.
Keep a separate landline for your practice, and never use your home phone for business calls. Clients and adversaries often redial from caller ID.
If you have an office line and call from your home phone, you risk a business call coming through to your home and your grade school aged child picking it up, or clients calling you at odd hours of the day thinking that they will just get voicemail.
This can ruin the professional image you have worked hard to create for your home-based law firm.
3. Never meet with clients in your home.
Professionalism matters most when it comes to meeting clients face-to-face. This is one of the most important parts of practicing law, and how you build a connection with clients. Do not let your clients come to your home to meet you! EVER!
You must meet the clients in a professional space. Your dining room should never be your conference room. You can rent a conference room or office from a virtual office NYC provider each time you need to use it, or you can have an arrangement with an executive suite for law firms where you buy a package of time per month. Pricing generally begins at $99.00 a month for these services in urban areas, such as New York City and Boston.
Just make sure that if you’re using a new space, you know how all the technology works in advance of your meeting, and where to find everything you’ll need before the client arrives. For all they know, this space is the office where you work every day. Don’t blow the illusion by being incapable of dialing the phone.