My Virtual Office

By Oliver Kuy as told to Excel V. Dyquiangco

In a corporate structure, time and effort is actually limited but when you are involved in a home technology set-up, just like I am, the rate of speed and flexibility is much better since I am working within the confines of a familiar zone. Besides, going virtual allows me not only to respond to the needs of the client much faster but with this type of work, I can also choose the life that I want.

When Kuydigital Design Consultancy first started to gain ground more than six years ago, it was actually both a very rewarding and convenient experience for me. It was rewarding in the sense that I had very low overhead expenses and convenient, because I can work anywhere and anytime I want.

I actually started my online business with a mission, and that is to provide companies and individuals through effective and innovative multimedia. One of my sterling goals is just to provide clients with the most innovative and pioneering way of expressing their ideas in print (advertising, editorial, or packaging) and interactive media (Web or e-learning).

And since I just spend most of my time working at home – the most, I leave the house at least three times a week for meetings with clients – I also need to get as much inspiration as possible. However, that is not likely to happen when you are just in the confines of your home. So what I do is that I also have to travel a lot – be it within the country or outside – and be exposed to several cultures and then come up with new ideas. That is why I need to be mobile and I need to be connected all the time.

The path to digital design
The road to digital design, especially when it’s your own company, hasn’t been fairly easy at first. I took up industrial design back in college but I never got to practice it in a corporate setting. So, I just decided to put up my own virtual business, so to speak, being the president and creative director for Kuydigital Design Consultancy. I started with just a few equipment – a high-end computer, a printer, and licensed software. My investment for the business was roughly around sixty thousand.

When I first started out, just like any other company or business, I also faced a few setbacks. One of them is that I need to get my company registered, which I did myself to overcome system struggles. I also had difficulty being mobile and being connected to the Internet so what I did was just to plan my travels and trips ahead of time and to anticipate the requirements of my clients.

Since a virtual office also needs to thrive in the cyber world each day, I also spent years in creating and restructuring my Website (www.kuydigital.com) so that the online functions would adhere to the needs of the client, and I also need my Web site to be listed in as many search engines as possible so that it would be accessible to potential clients. And the thing about my Web site is that it is not yet done even up to now; I am still reformatting and recreating some functions of the site, and updating it from time to time, and of course, uploading my current projects. But I am very much happy with the results as this Web site is able to reach possible clients, both local and foreign, every minute of every day, 24/7.

I just can’t believe how much people rely on the Internet for graphic designers. I sometimes get potential clients just through word of mouth – and the site has brought forth numerous dream jobs that I can add to my portfolio. What is more is that I can reach these clients without having to do some hard calling, and I can do everything just by the click of a keyboard and the mouse. All I needed to do is just to park my car at a Wi-Fi establishment, turn on my laptop and log on to the Internet, and do some wireless video conferencing or file transfer. Along with my laptop, my cellular phone also functions as an instant access to the Internet.

Aside from time savings and reduced effort, some of the benefits of going virtual is that it lessens the stress as working at the comfort of my own time and space gives me the creative juices and the inspiration for my designs. The only disadvantage of being virtual all the time is that I don’t get to meet a lot of people in person.

My home, my business
It’s such a humbling experience to see that Kuydigital Design Consultancy was able to reach out to clients through the power of the Internet. Our clients are big names from various industries – Total Philippines Corporation, Nike Philippines, Getz Pharma Philippines, Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and C2 Communications in New York, USA, among others.

Being able to work with such bigwig companies doesn’t mean that I can already sit back and relax. Oh no. This is just the stepping stone to a productive and fruitful endeavor. I still work hands-on even if I’m the president and even if I have several people under my direct supervision. I make sure that my clients get what they want. I do handle the conceptualization and creative direction but aside from that, I also do a lot of thinking and idea generation and I still do production work and project management.

The thing that needs to be remembered in working with such companies is that you really need to take care of them and to handle them in the right and proper manner. In fact, we just deal with our clients like our co-workers or teammates, and as part of the team. We are just one big and happy family.

Virtual learnings
As a businessman, I have learned a lot from doing online business – from treating my clients with the right perspective to submitting the projects just in time. In fact, what really sets us apart from other competitors is that our turnaround for every project is very fast and that we work round the clock. Kuydigital also offers a cost-effective retainer-based arrangement for our clients.

This business has also embedded in me three essential characteristics that would make any endeavor a success – the 3 Ps – you should be prudent, patient, and persistent for any effort that you plan to undertake. And to really have a rewarding lifestyle on the business, every time you make a thousand pesos, spend only a hundred and the rest, you get to save.

For those who would want to be involved with online business, or just putting up a business in these trying times, I would like to offer you several tips on what to consider and how to start-up: they should think of their overhead or monthly expenses and consider knowing how to maximize inexpensive resources that can generate good quality products or services, thus, resulting to profit. Make sure that you’re always connected – you can do this by planning ahead, ensuring that you have the right online tools and resources to run your business, and take your business online.

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