Having an online business is simply wonderful, it gives you the opportunity to gain more independence, be your own boss, and really give yourself some discipline. Running your own online business is far from being easy, in fact, just running your own business, in general, is considered harder work than working for an employer. It can be very stressful as well, especially due to the inconsistencies of monthly income. While there are downsides to running a business, there are positive sides as well.
One of the major downsides of running an online business would be the lack of privacy you get, the same can be said for running a physical business that has its own location. If you’re working for an employer, they at least get to take care of the dirty work of having their employee’s privacy protected and secured. It’s far too difficult to do that if you’re running your own business. Depending on where you live, your local government may have laws in the place where your name, phone number, and address are out in the open for people to see in a directory. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen everywhere.
While it can be a bit difficult to protect your privacy as a business owner, there are still some ways that you can do it so you, your business, and your household can remain safe and secure. So with that said, here are some tips for protecting your privacy as an online business owner.
Rent an address
While it’s true you can start a limited company and keep your home address private for no one to find, if you’re really wanting that extra layer of protection it may be helpful to go a step further. This doesn’t mean you can keep your home address when starting and registering your business, but it helps a lot by taking additional steps. When it comes to having an online-based business, owners usually have two options. That’s either to work from home or find an office or some other workspace and do that.
If you’re planning to work on your business from home, then renting a business address could help a lot but it does depend on where you live. All businesses need to be registered and this information tends to be accessible to the public. These can be in a directory on a government website for instance. It’s completely understandable that you’re wanting to keep your home address private as this is the place where you and your family live after all.
There is the option of renting an area and using that as the address. But you just need to do some thorough research to see what will benefit you and your business the most. It’s also important to think about whether or not your local government has a public directory for business owners. Sometimes you can go to a certain office while registering and request your information to be hidden. In general, it’s just best to do some research on this topic and keep your options open on what to do.
Try mail forwarding
Whether you have a digital work-from-home business idea or you’re still trying to strategise what you’re going to do, it’s best to think about some additional options when protecting yourself. If you’re selling a physical product rather than doing a service online, then there is a very high chance that some purchases from customers will be returned.
There will need to be an address for that. The same can go for invoices you need to make for your business, those are going to need an address as well. If you’re looking for a loophole in protecting your privacy while still running a business then this could be an option for you. There are plenty of mail forwarding services and plenty of business owners will even opt into having a PO Box as well. This means you can still get your mail while keeping your personal information private.
Have a separate phone number
Getting a second phone number will have plenty of benefits to your business and your personal life. This is going to be very professional for one, but it’s also going to help you out in staying more organised. You’ll be able to keep better track of phone calls as you’ll have to separate numbers (and possibly phones). It’s also going to entirely prevent the possibility of any confusion happening to you as well. When someone calls, you won’t have to worry about an incoming call being business-oriented or personal as long as your phone numbers are separate.
An added benefit of having separate phone numbers for your personal life and business would include having a better work-life balance. If someone calls you after hours or when you’re unavailable such as on a weekend then you can simply ignore the calls and text messages that you receive from your business phone number.
Have separate emails
This may already be obvious, but it still helps a lot to add it. When it comes to personal emails, the average person will have their first and their last name in the email. These aren’t considered the most secure as social engineering could be on the way for people to find your email address or other tools and break-in. But regardless of what your personal email is, it’s far better to keep your business-oriented emails and your personal email completely separate from one another. If possible, try to not let anyone know about your personal emails either except for those you personally know. This is going to help with your privacy as well as security.
Get a security system
You could consider something like CCTV or some other type of security camera or system for your home or physical workspace. If there is any suspicion that you’re running your online business from home then this can make criminals suspect that you have expensive equipment and inventory in your home. Whether you do or don’t, you’re going to need to protect it at all costs. It’s best to take multi safety steps to ensure that your home and your workspace will be safe from theft or just by any unwelcome visitors in general.