As a freelancer, I don’t have an office, or employees, or all the extra stuff that one might have as a business. I work from home, with my laptop, my cell phone, and if I need to offload some work, I have a group of subcontractors I can call. This of course makes it harder to separate personal and professional life, especially if I’m giving people my cell phone number as a means of contact. That has changed with Google Voice.
Recently Google Voice announced that they can offer voice mail for your current number, which is great; but my favorite part of Google Voice is the ability to get a brand new number forwarded to a current one. That way, I have one phone, but 2 numbers- a personal and a business one. Now I don’t have to give out a personal number for business contacts. But some might argue, “what’s the point if it’s all going to the same place?” Google Voice allows you to select when the number will go to your phone or go right to voice mail.
In Google Voice’s settings, you can specify both weekday and weekend hours for each phone. That means my Google Voice number rings only during business hours. Any other time, it goes to voice mail. There is also a “Do Not Disturb” feature which sends all calls to voice mail, no matter when it is. I do hope to see more robust settings for this- for example, control by day and by group. I have 4 groups in Google Voice, and being able to specify the call hours for each of the groups would be great.
On top of these two features, which I consider most important for business use, Google Voice has a number of other really great features such as email and text notification of voice mails, transcribing voice mails, and listing to them in mp3 form in your email. If you use GMail, it’s even embedded right in the email for you. Google Voice’s inbox even performs exactly like a GMail inbox with the ability to archive, trash, and organize voice mails and their transcriptions. Plus, cheap international calls.
All-in-all, I strongly recommend it if you’re looking for a free alternative to a business line, or even your personal line, now that they support your current number. I’ve got 2 invites- if you want one let me know in the comments, and make sure you leave your email address.