Alice Lamar is a successful composer for television. She is well known for her work on children’s programming, especially animated features. “I work closely with the creator of one show in particular, who also happens to be the executive producer. He has a clear vision for how every episode should turn out. He’s obsessive, but every aspect from the look, to the sound effects, to the music, all comes from his creative mind,” said Alice. “Many times, we’ll run through storyboards and Paul, the executive director, will act out the music he wants in particular scenes. Unfortunately,” Alice says with a laugh, “he isn’t a musician. He acts out the musical flow or describes the kind of sound he wants for each scene. Then I take over.” “I watch each animated scene and compose the background music, based on what Paul and I have run through together. Some days it comes easy. Other times, I struggle a bit and have to wait for inspiration.” Alice works alone in her studio, surrounded by the technology that enables her to turn out the award-winning work she is known for. One challenge was limiting distractions. “I used to turn off my phone’s ringer and let all calls go to voicemail while I was composing,” said Alice. “That was okay, but I missed some important calls. Since I am an independent contractor, I can’t ignore potential clients. In fact, I missed an opportunity to work on a big production because I didn’t answer my phone.” A business colleague suggested Alice use an answering service. “I did a lot of shopping,” she said. “I was surprised to learn just how many services were available. First I rolled over my voicemail, so I wouldn’t have to worry about maintenance, which had been a problem in the past. I also elected to have a person answer every call while I worked. They send me an email of my messages.” “I even gave them a short list of clients I want to work for. The results were amazing. Now, the answering service can schedule appointments for me to follow-up with for those on my short list. What a difference it has made.” Alice says the decision has been a profitable one. “I was surprised to learn how much more productive I’ve become using an answering service. I used to keep one eye focused on the flashing light on my desk phone. So even if I couldn’t hear the calls, I knew they were coming in. I told myself that by not answering, I was getting more done, but that wasn’t true. Now with the answering service I can really focus on my work. I’ve gained about five productive hours a week,” she said with a smile. “I only wish I’d known about this sooner.” Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry – and who helps businesses and organizations find the perfect answering service. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.