Thoughts From The Cloud: Just Sitting Around In the Virtual Office
Some of you may have already figured out In The Cloud’s biggest secret.
We’re not real.
Put another way, we’re a virtual office. Many of the writers, editors and designers we work with are spread across the country. Our home office, where all the good stuff happens to be stored, is in the DFW area, though. That means we can come by for a visit, help with on-site photography, bring you flyers in an emergency situation and so forth. We can do all the things a real office can do, but we’re sleeker, leaner and draw on experiences of people from all over the United States and Canada.
Why I Chose The Cloud
When I started my illustrious journalism career in 1995, you were pretty screwed if you forgot to save that story you were banging out as a deadline ticked down to zero and your Apple II decided to lock up. In 1998, when I went to work for Carol Jones, Realtors (a southwest Missouri institution), I lost weeks of work during a power surge that destroyed my page layouts for Homes Magazine. I’m sure we can all name instances like this, since it used to happen all the time.
This is a big reason why we chose a virtual office. It’s not the only reason, though. Let me tell you about some of the benefits that The Cloud offers service companies like yours and mine.
- Lower overhead. Sure, you probably need a man on the ground somewhere and possibly a storage facility for tools or vehicles, but you don’t need a big office for that. That means you also don’t need to pay the big power bills, the big water bill, the big rent… you can massively reduce your base costs by cutting back to a skeleton crew plus a virtual team.
- Do more on the go. When your company lives in The Cloud, there’s always an app that will let you connect to your primary software systems. That’s how we can have such fast response times to your problems — we can get to work from anywhere!
- Happier workers. Your office workers may really bloom after you let them start to work from home. Sometimes there are people in the office who are really good at their jobs, but really terrible with other humans. It’s tragic, but they’re not at work to learn social skills. If you give office workers the option to telecommute, those less inclined to succeed in an office environment often come alive in a more personal zone.
- More opportunities to outsource. Depending on who you have on your team, some of the work that’s being done may be able to be farmed out to companies that specialize in that particular task. You might hire an outside bookkeeper, for example. I have an answering service. If you call my office, you’ll get my “secretary.” the answering service. For less than the cost of a meal for two at a mid-grade restaurant, I no longer have to worry that someone will call while I’m doing something else. My service answers, takes messages, patches callers through if necessary and I save money on staff that would otherwise not have enough to do during the day.
Virtual offices make people feel ways. Sometimes those are great ways — they’re totally onboard! Other times, they think it’s weird and irresponsible because you must watch your employees every minute (instead of doing your own work). The facts say otherwise. Telecommuters are often more productive than office-based workers, and, again, you can pull from national talent rather than local talent for jobs that required a specific hire.
I’ve been virtual since 2012 and I can tell you, it’s a good fit for what we do. If there’s a meeting that needs to take place, we just open a video conference. If we’re brainstorming, it might be audio only or in a group chat window. I’ve gone back and forth on renting a proper office, but frankly, none of my people would go for that and having a commute that’s measured in feet rather than miles is pretty swell.
What’s Up With That Name, Anyway?
From 2010 to mid-2018, I owned a small company named Waterworth Writes that produced the words that you see on websites, in blogs like this, in product descriptions and other marketing materials. We’d work closely with a client, sometimes also a graphic designer or web designer, to make sure the words we wrote would not only fit properly on their pages, but that they conveyed the right tone. Ultimately, the work was ok, but we could easily do what those bigger companies were doing, we had all the competencies. So I started kicking around the idea of going full scale.
Very recently, I learned that a friend of many years, an editor I knew from various projects, was very sick. She had been very encouraging of my awkward efforts of trying to open a full-service marketing company years ago, even though the attempt ultimately failed. Things got in the way, partners ran out of cash or ideas or momentum — it wasn’t pretty.
But when my friend told us about the tumors that were in most of her organs, I was determined to get up and running before we lost her. I wanted her to see that her belief was not misplaced. (I’m a bit soft like that. Don’t tell anyone, it’ll ruin my reputation.)
I said to myself, What’s the best name for a marketing company that isn’t real? We’re just like a cloud floating around on the Internet.
Ooooh… “In The Cloud.” Because The Cloud.
This was not a shower epiphany, but it should have been. It could have been.
So, now we’re here, today, and you’re still reading this blog produced by the owner of a company that isn’t real. I imagine it’s not the weirdest thing to happen to you today. But I’m not you.
Check back next week for another deep thought from the company’s founder, Kristi Waterworth of Waterworth Writes. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, “The Eye of the Storm Quarterly.” We won’t annoy you too much, on our honor.