Written by Jamie
Part of the reason for our decision to live across the world was the ease and ability to still have a presence in the United States from abroad.
I thought it would be good to share some of the tricks I have learned for setting up a global office.
Thanks to the advances in technology, all you need is a laptop and high speed Internet. Below I list what I consider to be the most important parts of the set up.
To be successful, I found you must be able to make and receive phone calls. Emails are a very efficient tool, but there is something to be said for voice relations. I use www.skype.com as my VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) service. In addition to making $.02-.03 a minute phone calls anywhere in the world, I have a phone number in the United States (you can choose a number from anywhere) that rings to my laptop. I also purchased a cordless phone that is directly connected with Skype, in case I don’t want to be connected to my computer. I especially enjoy it on sunny days when I feel like sitting outside to conduct business. Skype also has a voicemail service included that works great if I am “out of the office.”
The ability to scan and fax is very important. During a recent real estate transaction, I received, reviewed, scanned, and faxed over 70 documents alone. The best way I have found to do this is through www.efax.com. For a nominal fee, you can receive your own fax number, send and receive faxes like a machine, minus the paper and delay. They even have a feature where you can insert your digital signature and avoid printing at all.
For our businesses we need to be able to send and receive money. The best way is to tie the two together. For payments such as a vacation property, sales for goods and almost anything else www.paypal.com works great. I set up an account with a bank that offers online access for bill paying, wire transfers, and an ATM/Debit card that works anywhere in the world.
By linking the Paypal account to transfer funds into our bank account, it makes for a seamless banking system. I went one step further and signed up for a debit card that accrues Frequent Flyer miles.
Sign up to receive your bill on line whenever possible. This eliminates the need for paper and having to have an address to collect them. I receive an email when a bill is due and set up payments via online bill pay. For set monthly payments like mortgage payments I have it automatically deducted monthly.
To maintain an address in the United States, we have set up an account with Mail Box, etc. We have a suite number with a regular street address. This is especially useful for receiving occasional things that can’t be sent online. We have set up an arrangement with MBE. They email me when something important comes in and if I need it, they mail it to where I am at the time. I also have stuff sent to them for times when I know a friend is coming to visit. They pick up the care package from MBE and deliver it in person.
I feel very grateful to be able to live across the world but still be part of the “mainland”. The world truly is flat.