Business technology

Managing phone calls when working part time

- July 20, 2009 2 MIN READ

Do you want to create a perception of being available full time whilst working part time? Here are a few tips on managing phone calls and emails that have served me well along the way.

At some point in your soloist journey, you may want to create a perception to your market of being full-time, whilst only working part time. For most of us, this perception of availability is important as it’s linked to feeling credible and legitimate as a business.

I have been in this phase twice during my personal journey.

The first time was during the start up phase, when I held down a four day a week normal job whilst building my coaching business.

Secondly (and currently), following the birth of my first child I chose to take six months maternity leave from clients and then only return two days a week.

One of the challenges has been keeping on top of and managing phone calls and emails when working part-time, while still create the perception that I’m a full-time business.

Here’s what I do.

Managing phone calls

1. If an unknown number calls your mobile when you are home with children, let it go to message bank, although try and answer the call later that same day.

2. Structure times that you can return calls in peace and quiet. If you still have your “office job” this might be at lunchtime. If you have children it might be during their sleep time. Or respond via email instead.

3. Consider a Virtual Phone Number – this can be especially helpful if you work from home and don’t want children picking up a business-related call. A virtual number can be as simple as a voicemail that then sends an audio file to your computer. Or you can have a service where a person will answer the calls for you.

4. Set realistic yet professional standards for returning calls. Your voicemail might let a caller know that you are currently unavailable however you will return their call within 24 hours. That will reduce the pressure you feel to call back straight away whilst making the caller feel they will be taken care of.

Want more articles like this? Check out the managing email section.

Managing emails

1. I never let business emails leave my inbox after 7pm or on weekends. I don’t want my clients to think I am always available and I want to project an image of a business that operates in business hours. Does this mean I never check emails after 7pm or on the weekend? No … but what I do is draft all my replies, save them in my draft folder, and then hit send the following morning.

2. Block out set times to respond to emails as you will be more efficient working in a block of time instead of constantly jumping in and out.

3. Consider having an auto-responder that will outline what response time will be to emails – 12 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours … the number doesn’t really matter. The important factor is creating expectations for the people emailing you that you can easily meet.

Only being available part-time as a soloist can definitely feel like a juggling act. The clearer you can be with yourself about standards and processes, the easier it will be.

Do you have any tips on mamaging phone calls and emails when working part time? Post them via a comment.

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"