In the past few years, the number of people choosing the freelance lifestyle has steadily increased. In fact, Website Planet reported that 35% of Americans were freelancing in 2019, compared to 7% in 2013. Projections suggest that this number will only continue to grow, with an estimated 50.9% of working Americans becoming freelancers by 2027.
Freelancers have unique needs
As this segment of the workforce continues to grow, it’s important to note that freelancers face some issues that traditional 9-5 workers do not. Without a conventional employer to handle the overhead of operating as a business, freelancers have to invest in many resources and tools.
Freelancers have to think of everything from where they will work to the mechanics of how they will get paid. Moreover, because they are their business, freelancers may have to work extra hard to separate their personal and professional lives. These aspects of the freelancer lifestyle lead to additional expenses and paperwork.
Several tools can make a freelancer’s life easier, like invoicing software or building a website with a Content Management System (CMS). However, one often overlooked product that can make freelancers’ lives easier is a virtual mailbox service.
What is a virtual mailbox?
A virtual mailbox service will digitize your postal mail so that you can access it online, 24/7, from any device. When you sign up for a virtual mailbox, you will go through an onboarding process to officially give the company the right to receive postal mail on your behalf. Then, your virtual mailbox provider will begin receiving your postal mail and digitizing it for you to access it like email.
Your virtual mailbox subscription will also come with a virtual address that you can share with clients or other people who may send you postal mail. Virtual addresses are real, physical addresses, but the word virtual is used to clarify that a company or person does not actually reside at that address. When people send you postal mail, they will need to use your virtual address for it to be digitized by your postal mail provider.
How does a virtual mailbox work?
At a basic level, this is how a virtual mailbox operates:
You sign up for a plan that fits your needs. When signing up for a virtual mailbox plan, you’ll want to keep in mind things like whether or not you need to choose your virtual address, how many people need access to your postal mail, and more. We offer three different virtual mailbox plans to suit different needs for individuals, freelancers, or small businesses. Medium to large companies can choose from mailroom plans that allow for larger quantities of mail.
USPS routes your postal mail to a secure facility where it is processed and digitized. At Earth Class Mail, we log, organize, and store your postal mail with the help of our Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) certified technicians.
The virtual address service scans the postal mail and uploads it to a cloud-based service giving you the freedom to access it whenever from wherever. Earth Class Mail uploads your postal mail to our secure cloud as a high-resolution PDF document with a searchable text feature, where you can easily view it in your account.
A virtual mailbox service should provide you with efficiency, flexibility, and, most importantly, security while addressing your postal mail needs.
Why should freelancers consider a virtual mailbox?
Virtual mailboxes are popular with businesses, digital nomads, ex-pats, and location-independent people. There are a few reasons why freelancers can benefit from a virtual mailbox or virtual address. Many of these stem from aspects of the freelancer lifestyle and the need to operate as a legitimate business.
Here are a few reasons freelancers should consider investing in a virtual mailbox:
Separate your personal and professional address. Anyone can benefit from having a virtual mailbox, but keeping your residential address private is critical for privacy and security for independent business owners and freelancers. However, you likely still need an address to share with clients or to register as an LLC. Many small business owners, startups, or freelancers utilize their personal address as their business address. However, this approach can easily entangle your private and confidential affairs and require you to publicize your residential address when you otherwise wouldn’t. With a virtual address, you can register your business or share an address with clients without broadcasting your private information.
Get paid faster with Check Deposit. While some find it hard to believe, many companies still use checks to pay invoices. In fact, we cash anywhere between $8 million to $20 million a week for our customers. As a freelancer, you’ll work with clients who use various payment methods, including checks. With an Earth Class Mail account, you can sign up for automated Check Deposit and get paid faster.
Make document retention easy with integrations. Earth Class Mail makes it easy to integrate your postal mail with apps you know and love, such as Dropbox and Google Drive - all from your favorite device, with the touch of a button. With a virtual mailbox, keeping a digital record of all necessary documents is easy.
Save time and manage your postal mail like email. With a virtual mailbox, you have full control of your postal mail. You have the option to share, shred, or connect your postal mail. The best virtual mail services allow you to do what you want when you want
Flexibility. Freelancers aren’t typically tied to specific offices or locations. Whether you’re on the go or traveling for work or pleasure - a virtual mailbox provides you convenient access to your postal mail whenever and wherever you are. Ideally, a virtual mailbox should have the ability to handle packages as well as your postal mail. At Earth Class Mail, we allow you to store your incoming packages until you’re ready to receive them at your private address – submit a request when you decide. We’ll send your packages directly to your residential address.
Freelancers have their work cut out for them. Between operating as a business of their own and keeping clients happy, there’s a lot to do. Of the many ways freelancers can ease some of this burden, a virtual mailbox is one of the most unique. Not only does a virtual mailbox make it easier for freelancers to separate their personal and professional lives, but it also can enhance their efficiency with features like automated check deposit and document storage integrations.