For entrepreneur Amy McIlwain, Skype means freedom to pursue her passions, both for business and for travel.
“My goal is to be able to live and work anywhere in the world,” McIlwain says. “With tools like Skype I’m able to do that.”
Coming from an advertising background in the B2B space, McIlwain parlayed her contacts into a rapidly growing business serving the financial industry. Since founding Financial Social Media a little over two years ago, she’s now opened an office in downtown Denver and has grown the company to 10 employees. Financial Social Media provides social media consulting, education and training to financial services firms across the country, along with a few international clients.
McIlwain, who admits to having far more business connections on Skype than personal, relies on her subscription for unlimited Skype calls to U.S. landlines, and keeps credit available for calling internationally.
“That’s a key feature people don’t necessarily know about: the ability to call landlines and cell phones from Skype,” she says, adding that it’s a huge cost-saver for business owners.
The company also uses Skype to send large files, share screens, hold face-to-face calls with contacts in other locations, and interview and hire new people. Before bringing candidates into the office for an interview, they plan an initial meeting via a Skype video call.
“We’re in a whole new era of businesses that are virtual,” says McIlwain. During her first year in business she traveled and worked remotely, growing the company while spending a few months each in various spots.
“When I got back to Denver I had six employees and hadn’t met half of them in person!” she laughs.
Last year McIlwain worked remotely from Argentina for six weeks, and plans to head to Canada for a month soon.
“Whenever I’m out of the country I always use Skype,” she says.
Whether she’s abroad or at her Denver office, McIlwain remains on the lookout for ways to add value for her clients. She recently started counseling some on how to use Skype in their businesses. When one financial advisor explained that older clients hesitate to make financial decisions without speaking to their children, McIlwain helped his firm get set up with Skype, to allow clients to quickly consult with loved ones from a television screen in their advisor’s office.
Have you found new and interesting ways to use Skype in your business? Please share in the comments!