Is Your Personal Phone Number Being Used for Business Purposes? Why Shouldn't You Do It?
It may seem reasonable to use your personal phone number for your business when you're just starting out. After all, starting a business is a big part of your life, and it's difficult to tell the two apart.
There doesn't appear to be any reason to make things more complicated by getting a separate business phone number. It's acceptable to use your own phone number.
Your phone becomes a jumble as your company expands.
You used to receive a lot of spam calls, didn't you? It's grown a lot worse.
Because business and personal calls appear to be the same, utilizing your phone has become a guessing game.
Worse still, your cell phone number provides a great deal of sensitive information about you. It's no longer just a number. You're giving away the key to additional information like your home address, date of birth, and family members' names if you share it publicly. Doesn't it sound creepy? Yes, it is.
Here's why it's not a smart idea to use your personal phone number for business.
Spam calls that never stop
You'd be shocked at how many business owners include their personal phone number on their website. Even if done momentarily, it can lead to a slew of problems in the future. When you disclose your personal phone number online, data aggregators will scrape it, which means it will be listed elsewhere on the Internet.
There are many others you probably have not heard of that make your personal information way too easy to find.
Spam calls are irritating and distracting, but the risk of having your identity stolen is far worse.
Your phone number, as Brian X Chen pointed out in a recent essay for the New York Times, is a more powerful identification than your whole name. This brings us to the second reason why you should not use your personal phone number for commercial purposes.
Theft of one's identity
A phone number may expose a lot more personal information than you would realize, including your home location, previous homes, previous phone numbers, complete names of family members, and more.
Doesn't grow with your company
Another reason not to use your personal phone number for your business is that it will not expand with your business. When your company expands beyond just you, you'll want to provide your employees access to the phone number.
That will be nearly impossible if you use your own phone number. Let's face it: you're not going to forward all calls to your team from your personal mobile phone. That implies they'll be receiving your personal phone calls as well.
Why shouldn't your phone operate the same way? You may already have a team email inbox, so why shouldn't your phone?
There's no way to establish limits.
A call from your bank may appear to be the same as a call from a potential client browsing your website if you use a personal phone number for business. You're not sure what to say or whether you should say anything at all.
With a distinct phone number, you can tell if a call is professional or personal and respond accordingly. You can delegate access to the company phone to an assistant to relieve some of the burden.
You may also put limits on when you're accessible for consumer calls to better manage expectations. You don't want to build a precedent for taking calls at 2 a.m.? Set your working hours and turn off your computer while you're not working.
Your time is your most valuable asset, and you'd prefer not waste it on useless phone calls.