Thanks to a good friend of mine I recently found out about Google Voice. And am I ever so glad I did!
Google Voice is a freelancer’s dream.
Here’s how it works. You choose a phone number you like. I chose one that’s local to my current home.
Say you don’t have long distance at home, like I don’t. But your cellphone reception is poor in your home, like mine is. If you’re online with your computer, type in the phone number you want to call. Like magic, your landline home phone rings! You pick it up, and your call is connected (for free) to the number you typed in.
Not in front of your computer? No problem. Pick up your landline and dial your Google Voice number. You’ll get an option to place a call. Anywhere in the U.S. and it’s free!
Even better, give your new Google Voice number to anyone, like clients. When they call you, you can set it up so that both your home and cellphone ring. So you’ll never miss an important client call, unless you want to. And they’ll have a professional, local number to call, and you can answer it wherever you are. If you’re staying out of town for a week, you can set it to ring the phone wherever you happen to be residing.
I also like that you can block certain numbers, and you can even set it to make the caller give their name first. If you want, you can send them to voicemail (and even listen to their voice message as they’re leaving it).
Anyway, I think it’s cool, and I like not having to give out my real number to people. Their caller ID shows my Google Voice number as well. And if I ever need to make a change then poof! No one has my real numbers anymore. But call blocking should take care of any annoyances too.
The only drawback is that you have to request an invitation from Google Voice, and then you have to wait patiently (I waited about a month) for your invitation. I have no idea how many they’re giving out, or if it’ll always be free. But for now it is, so head on over and put in your request. But choose your number wisely. It costs $10 to change it later. You can enter a word you’d like your number to correspond to, or search through for certain numbers in a sequence.
One more perk…If you have an Android cellphone (like I do), you can automatically make all of your outgoing cellphone calls using Google Voice. So your cellphone number is still protected from folks, and if you’re calling local clients they still get that local number.
Do you have Google Voice? Let us know if you do, or if you plan to get it soon.