I work out of multiple offices or on the move, but I’ve found a way around a phone problem that had been bugging me. BRENDAN LEWIS
By Brendan Lewis
I said to my wife: “I believe my problem is I have current and future communication complexity.” She said “[email protected]”. I said “I’ve got a phone problem”, so she said, “then fix it”.
I work out of three offices (that’s including the kitchen table at home). At one of my offices I am not the primary tenant, so the phone gets answered with another company’s name.
I believe that at some stage in the nearish future I will be moving offices. I don’t just want to be handing out a mobile number all the time, as I feel that its like walking around with a t-shirt saying “small-time”.
What to do?
The answer was SkypeIn. “I’ve heard of Skype,” you say, “but what’s SkypeIn?”
First you get a free Skype account that allows you to make free computer-to-computer calls. This isn’t a tutorial on how to use Skype, so skip to the next step.
Next you buy yourself a local number from Skype. They call this service SkypeIn. In real terms this is going to cost you less than $100 a year.
You connect the phone number to your Skype address (it’s simple, and done via their online control panel). Finally you decide what you want to do with the calls you receive.
Option A. Take the phone calls on your computer.
If you don’t answer the call (say if you are away from your desk) the calls can automatically go to your voicemail system. The other choice is that if you don’t answer the calls, you can have them forwarded to another phone (small per-minute cost for this) such as your mobile.
Option B. Forward calls to your Skype phone number to the office or wherever you are or your mobile.
A couple of cool things about this solution:
- People see a landline number, not a mobile or weird address.
- If you are overseas, local people call your local number and get charged for a local call, despite the fact you might be routing the number to a village in Siberia.
- You can have local numbers in lots of areas in the world. Want to Set up a virtual office in San Francisco?
- Finally, if you are like me and using lots of computers, you can login to your Skype account with any of the computers.
There are lots of other good ways of using the SkypeIn number, but the above are what appeals to me.
The solution appeals to the wife as well, as now she only has to call one number to find me.
Brendan Lewis is a serial technology entrepreneur having founded : Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, The Churchill Club, Flinders Pacific and L2i Technology Advisory. He has set up businesses for others in Romania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Qualified in IT and Accounting, he has also spent time running an Advertising agency and as a Cavalry Officer with the Australian Army Reserve.
To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here.
Shuba writes: Thanks a lot for the tips! I didn’t realise Skype was so versatile. This will really help me out as I am in a similar situation as you and am running events around the country, making it extremely difficult re-routing calls all over the place and expensive retrieving voicemails.
Ross Hill writes: I think all of the three phones come with Skype as a program as well, so you could easily use Skype on your mobile but with a landline number.