From Registering an LLC to Automating Postal Mail and Checks
September 22, 2020
For a small, service-based business, the phrase “time is money” isn’t just a well-worn cliche. It's a fact. Every minute spent on administrative tasks is time not spent bringing in revenue. Business owners must balance the cost of outsourcing against the time required for client-facing activities.
When Daniel Hoang started Nineteen80, a strategic management consulting firm, he brought with him 15 years of consulting experience. But running a business as a solo-entrepreneur (solopreneur) was new to him. He quickly learned that it’s important to be strategic about what tasks to do himself and which ones to look for strategic partners to help with. Daniel found that tasks like handling postal mail and checks could easily be taken off his plate and free him up to focus on growing his business.
Hoang, the Founder and Chief Storyteller of Nineteen80, started his business in 2019. He saw the evolving future of professional services and wanted to be part of the disruptive change. So he dreamed up Nineteen80, a management consulting and creative agency. Nineteen80 helps clients drive progress through articulating clear strategies, developing change management procedures, and producing communications and content campaigns. Hoang’s vision is “a world where elite tools, techniques, and talent are accessible for all.”
When Hoang registered his business as a limited liability corporation (LLC), he used LegalZoom and filled out a form. The form required a physical mailing address, so he added his home address.
He soon learned that registering an LLC with a personal address meant that his residential address would be listed on the Secretary of State’s website. That meant his personal information was available to anyone and everyone who searched for the business. “I didn’t want people sending [me unsolicited] mail or showing up to my personal residence,” says Hoang. “I knew I needed to find a solution.”
His search led him to a solution that would solve challenges he didn’t know he had and create opportunities to build a more efficient business, right out of the gate.
The Problem at Large
Small business owners, especially solopreneurs, are responsible for every aspect of their business. In fact, they often complete all the tasks themselves. If they want to scale, they must find ways to prioritize revenue-generating tasks.
This often means finding strategic partners who cannot only remove the administrative burden but also improve their business processes.
That’s why many solopreneurs and entrepreneurs look for virtual address and digital postal mail providers when they’re first starting a business. A virtual address meets a very real business need: having an address to register a business with when there is no physical office. At the same time, a digital postal mail provider can relieve a busy entrepreneur from administrative tasks like dealing with postal mail or manually depositing checks.
For solopreneurs like Hoang, having the time to focus time on client work or business growth can make a big difference to the bottom line.
For Hoang, Earth Class Mail was the solution to a number of problems. The catalyst for his search was finding a virtual address so he could register his business as an LLC. Once he got started with Earth Class Mail, he ended up valuing the time-saving benefits and the legitimacy provided by a virtual address as well.
To find a virtual address, Hoang started where many people would: Google. “I was forming this business for the long run, so I wanted someone that was going to be around. I didn’t want to have to go back and change my address if someone went out of business or cut their service line,” he says.
When he found Earth Class Mail, he saw a company with longevity. “I was familiar with Shoeboxed (a subsidiary of Earth Class Mail) before, so I knew this wasn’t a fly-by-night company.”
Even though Hoang wasn't originally looking for this feature, Earth Class Mail’s check deposit functionality became one of the big selling points for him. He immediately saw how it could reduce his administrative workload.
Once Hoang chose Earth Class Mail, he was ready to get started. Hoang shared that he frequently signs up for a software program or a service, tries it for a day or two, and then drops it. “With this one,” he says, “someone held my hand early on and said here’s how you do it. It really helped me adopt Earth Class Mail.”
Hoang has a clear picture of what his daily life would look like if he’d never signed up for Earth Class Mail: piles and piles of paper.
“In my home, I get a mountain of personal mail that I haven’t processed. It’s just sitting there,” he says. “Begrudgingly, once a month I sit down and open all the envelopes. Then it’s ‘Oh, I missed this. I didn’t do this.’ So much of my life is digital. I have to sit there and open envelopes, figure out what I need to do, and then do it. Then I have no archive, no record of it.”
Hoang started out looking for a virtual address so he didn’t have to publicize his personal address. But the biggest benefit of using Earth Class Mail has been having all his documents in a safe, secure place online.
“A lot of other services you look at have a very basic system. Earth Class Mail’s system is enterprise-quality document management.” Hoang’s company is lean right now, but he sees the possibility of something larger in the future. He likes that Earth Class Mail allows you to sort, organize, tag, and search through all your documents. “Having access to that kind of capability as a small business is a big deal,” says Hoang.
He can pull up the app on his phone and look for what he needs. “Otherwise, it would be filed away in a box in my office, and I’d have to dig through to find what I need,” says Hoang. “The scanning is impeccable. I can’t replicate that myself at home. I appreciate knowing that if I click 'shred,' I’ll have a perfect record of this thing in a scanned format, and it’s going to be there forever.”
Hoang’s virtual address has also brought legitimacy to Nineteen80. “Anytime when I’m interacting with someone, I can send them my physical address, my phone number,” says Hoang. “I [have] a legitimate business, and it’s a legitimate address.” It’s increased his confidence in business interactions.
And the check depositing service that Hoang wasn't even looking for? That’s allowed him to better serve his clients and get paid faster.
“If people have the ability to mail me a check, I get payment a lot faster than if I force them through an online payment system,” says Hoang. Many of his clients don’t want to go through the onboarding process for a new payment system. “I had some clients that were happy to hear they could just write me a check and be done.” Plus, he saves hours of processing and handling time whenever a check comes in. “Every hour I spend doing something that’s not client-facing—that’s revenue lost.”
And at the end of the day, Earth Class Mail matches Hoang’s lifestyle and how he runs his business. “The whole prospect of physical mail seems really antiquated to me,” says Hoang. “My Earth Class Mail inbox takes this whole analog world and just digitizes all of it. I’ve never opened an envelope for my business. I get a scanned image of [all of my envelopes]. I can search for my actual physical mail. I have no file room at home. It’s really cool.”
Nineteen80 is a storytelling consultancy and agency created to help companies affect positive change. They do so through a range of business disciplines and consulting methods. Nineteen80 believes in a world where elite tools, techniques, and talent are accessible for all.
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