Turning Your Side Hustle into a Freelance Business

Do you love your side gig? Have you been dreaming about doing it full-time? Many people are. A study by LinkedIn showed that freelancers will make up nearly half of the workforce by the year 2020.

Once your side hustle is established and plugging along, you might be among the growing population of remote workers who see an opportunity to become a full-time freelancer. The good news is, you’re not alone. We’ve been freelancers, too—graphic designers, web developers, writers, and other professions. We know what it’s like to teach ourselves the trade on nights and weekends, pick up odd jobs when you can find them, and work overtime to juggle it all.

Those who have been through it know that making this transition can seem like a big, daunting leap. Going full time means giving up the security of a steady paycheck. But reaching this plateau can also be very exciting, as you can finally see the possibilities—and the potential freedom.

It takes courage to make the leap, but we know you can do it. So if you’re on the cusp and want to move into full-time freelancing, use this guide as a jumping off point. Below, you’ll find concrete ideas you can use to prepare yourself for the transition.

side hustle to freelance business

Get into the entrepreneurial mindset

Let’s start with the most important preparation of all—getting yourself into an entrepreneurial mindset.

There’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with the freedom of being a freelancer. Rather than punching a clock, you have clients or customers to serve. The only money that comes in will be the money that you earn from selling your products or services.

If this sounds scary, you’re right—it can be. But for those who really love what they do, the trade-off is worth it. We’ve never met a freelancer who didn’t think so.

Consider even the very history of the word “freelancer”, which comes from “Free Lances”. According to Merriam-Webster’s word history blog:

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When freelance first came into English in the early 1800s, it was used to refer to a medieval mercenary who would fight for whichever nation or person paid them the most. Our earliest written evidence for this use (so far, that is) is in Sir Walter Scott's novel, Ivanhoe, where a feudal lord refers to the paid army he's assembled:

“I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.”

So that’s what you have to be as a freelancer. A man or a woman of action who will always find employment. Raise your glasses to the bustling times!

Dedicate a space to work

dedicated office space for freelancers

Once your mindset has been fortified, the next thing to consider is your workspace. If you have a dedicated place for your work, it will be easier to get into the right frame of mind.

If your mind immediately goes to a fancy office with floor-to-ceiling windows, let us shatter that illusion right now. Many an entrepreneurial adventure has started from the couch or the garage. Keep things simple.

You’ll need somewhere stable, but it doesn’t have to be fancy. Your work space can be a tiny corner of your apartment, or an entire room that’s transformed into a dedicated office. What’s important is that the time you spend in your dedicated space is time you spend working, and nothing else.  Establishing that relationship—and clear boundaries—will make it easier to do your job.

If you work better outside of the house, you might consider investing in a desk at a local coworking space in your city. These days, freelancers can often work from anywhere. Having a dedicated workspace will simply improve your efficiency and outlook.

Nine essential tools for freelancers

Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty. Like any creative enterprise, building your freelance business will require certain tools. Mindset and workspace lay the foundation—beyond that, it’s time to get your hands dirty.

Over time, you’ll develop your own preferred set of tools. But we know that when it comes to software for freelancers, it can feel like there are just too many tools on the market to even make an educated choice.

We’ve used a lot of them, so here’s a list of the essentials, with recommendations for each.

1. Build your website

One of the first things a potential customer or client will do when they hear about you is Google you. A professional-looking website establishes a clear brand and helps make sure your freelance business looks legitimate to customers. A website can also function as a way for potential customers or clients to get in touch with you—in other words, it’s a source of new business.

It’s no secret that our website is built on Squarespace. It’s beautiful, and we’ve found it very easy to use and update. To make it look professional, be sure to purchase a domain name (e.g. yourname.com). You might also use Wordpress or Wix. All three can help you get started with very little investment other than your time.

2. Create a social media presence

The next most important aspect of building an online brand is to have a presence on social media.

Social media allows you to tell your story and have a conversation with potential customers. It’s a tool that you can use to engage with your customers about what your business does, what values you stand for, and why they should use your product.

Each social media channel has its own personality, so don’t feel as if you must be present on all channels. For quickly changing businesses or those that deal mostly in customer service, Facebook and Twitter are both great options. For product businesses, YouTube and Instagram offer creative ways to showcase the visual aspects of your content. Each channel also attracts a specific audience, so make sure to tailor the content you post to each social media site.

Social media is a great way to build your brand personality as well as find a community or following that is interested in your business. Our suggestion here is to pick one or two channels, and go deep on them. Social media can become a time suck, so try not to spread yourself too thin.

3. Get a dedicated business phone number

One of the biggest mistakes that first-time freelancers make is that they forget to create a separate phone number for their business. When you’re just starting out and you only have one or two clients, this may seem like no big deal—especially if they’re congenial clients and easy to work with! As your business grows, however, you will become harder and harder to keep your personal and business life separate.

We recommend keeping your personal phone number separate from your business phone number from the get go. A second phone number subscription from Burner (*waves*) comes with unlimited calls, texts, and pics for only $4.99—about the price of a latte each month.

This barrier will provide privacy and solace for your personal life when you need it. You’ll always know when the phone call is about work, and you can answer with more than just “hello” if you want to present a certain professional appearance.

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4. Get a designated business email address

A second email address is another tool that helps to separate your personal and business life. In addition to creating separation, a second email address also offers legitimacy to your business.

You can choose to get a second email for free from Gmail or Yahoo Mail, or you can purchase a more business-customized email for a small fee. A customized email will have your businesses name or domain name after the @ symbol instead of Gmail or Yahoo.

5. Open a business bank account

This isn’t as much fun to talk about, but it needs to be said—separating your personal and business finances does as much, or more, for making things official and getting you into the entrepreneurial mindset as any other suggestion we’ve made so far.

A business bank account not only makes sorting out your finances easier when it comes to tax time, it just makes it simpler to track income and expenses, and receive payments.

6. Set up an invoicing and time tracking system (if you need it)

If you’re in the service business or bill at an hourly rate, you may also need to find a good invoicing and time tracking software to track and bill for your work. There are numerous great options out there that come in a wide range of affordability. Our top three choices are Harvest, AND CO, and 17Hats.

Make a list of what you need for your business, and do the research. Don’t be afraid to invest a few bucks a month into software that’s going to save you tons of manual entry time. If you make receiving payments easy for your clients/customers, collections will be way less of a headache.

8. Use accounting software

Freelance businesses are usually small, so it might not take a lot of time to manage your books.  As your business grows, it will become more time consuming and you may want some help. After a few years, you may want to make the transition out of spreadsheets and into QuickBooks, for example.

Again, it’s ok to spend money to make your business run more efficiently and save yourself from having to do the jobs you don’t enjoy or aren’t skilled at. Once you set up the system, you can focus on what you love (and on making money). Whether you’re doing it on your own or hiring a bookkeeper, when you’re ready you’ll need to purchase accounting software. Other options include FreshBooks and Xero.

Accounting software makes managing income, expenses, and invoices easier. When it comes to tax time, you can provide access to your accountant who will take care of the rest. It’s also a great tool if you want to get more insight into the health of your business. You can run a Profit & Loss (P&L) statement in QuickBooks with a few clicks of your mouse. Keeping clean books leaves you more time to worry about doing good work, especially around tax time.

9. Use project management software

All freelancers wear multiple hats. From paying bills to finding clients to doing the work — it’s all up to you. Project management tools makes sure that with all these moving parts, nothing falls through the cracks.

Again, do your research and write down what your business actually needs. But when it comes to PM software, it’s usually best to try a bunch and just use your favorite one. There’s no right or wrong answer. The best project management software is the one you actually use.

Trello, Asana, and Basecamp all have free trials, or free-tiered accounts. Start there, and branch out if they don’t work for you.

Don’t forget to stay sharp

business education for freelancers

As an entrepreneur and freelance business owner, your time is precious. It can be easy to think that you don’t have time for ongoing education. That’s a huge mistake. Staying fresh and relevant is what will help you win. Continuous education will keep you nimble—it will give you an edge over the competition.

Business education can come in many forms: reading blogs and books, attending webinars, and listening to podcasts can all count as education! What’s important is to tune into what other people within your industry are talking about and watch what the most successful ones are doing.

Here are a few of our favorite business education resources:

Another arm of business education is attending conferences. These can be a double whammy of not only education, but also networking. Attending a conference that’s directly or indirectly related to your business can help you gain knowledge, meet new contacts who can advise or partner with you, and possibly even meet customers.

Seek strength in numbers

Many freelancers feel like they’re alone within a bubble—especially when they’re starting out—but that’s simply not the case. Creating a community of your own, or tapping into an existing one, will help you along during your journey.

Whether you find a mentor or join a professional group, it’s important to have someone to talk to. These people act as a sounding board, helping you to recognize bad ideas and to brainstorm good solutions when you’re stuck on a problem.

If you’re not sure where to begin, look on Meetup.com for groups that meet in your area. When you’re just starting the transition from side hustle to full-time freelancer, it can be intimidating to join one of these groups, but in general they’re supportive and eager to help people.

Turning your side hustle into a full fledge freelance business takes time—a suite of tools, a support network, and a lot of guts. Good luck out there!

Don't Get Burned Playing with Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

Burner’s focus is on delivering the best smart virtual phone number we can, but we think a lot about other aspects of mobile identity and privacy—it is, after all, our mission to help users take control of it.

Widespread interest in Bitcoin, and along with it, a whole range of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related technologies, is one of the most interesting developments in the technology community over the past year or two.  The promise of a decentralized internet, where we trust a large network of computers operating on the same protocols as a source of truth more reliable than centralized actors and governments, is intellectually exciting and full of promise.

But as with other technologies, this innovation has also created new challenges.  Cryptocurrency and its nascent markets are experimental and volatile—which makes it risky for lay-people.  And amid the genuine believers, the crypto scene has attracted a lot of people who want to make quick bucks as speculators or scammers.  It’s also full of unknown outcomes in everything from regulation to stability.

The folks behind Altcoin Fantasy (who are long-time friends of Burner) want to help, and have built a fun and educational tool to help new users understand how cryptocurrency markets work.  It’s basically a fantasy trading market, similar to a fantasy sports league, in which you can “paper trade” different cryptocurrencies to test out different strategies and see how you do. The winner gets a cryptocurrency prize, but more importantly, everyone gets a risk-free education and a chance to look before they leap into the risky real world of crypto.

We’re fans of the mission and think it’s a great way for users to get up to speed—safely.  In fact Burner is sponsoring this week’s prize.

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If you’ve been bitten by the crypto bug, please consider checking this out.  For more information, visit  https://altcoinfantasy.com/p/burnerapp.

Use a Second Phone Number to Protect Yourself From Cyberstalkers

Nearly half (41%) of Americans have experienced harassment online—a 6% increase since 2014. An even higher proportion (66%) have been a witness to online harassment, according to a 2017 Pew study.

Whether you’re meeting people on dating apps, selling secondhand items on Craigslist, or Instagram famous, you may be putting yourself at risk of cyberstalking by sharing your personal information online.

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Though not everyone experiences cyberstalking personally, the problem is common, with 94% reporting they are aware of the issue. Only 5% of people consider online harassment to not be a problem, meaning there’s a large majority of people who would like this trend to change.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in 4 stalking victims also report some form of cyberstalking. That means that stalking in the real world transfers into cyberstalking 25% of the time.

On an individual level, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from becoming a target.

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Take action to protect your privacy online

The best course of action against cyberstalking is to be proactive. Protect your identity and information online to prevent a cyberstalker from getting ahold of your information in the first place.

There are some legal avenues to prosecute online harassment, but few cases actually make it to court. Over three years, 2.5 million cyberstalking cases were reported, but only 10 were prosecuted by the Justice Department. It’s important to protect your information from falling into the wrong hands, so you don’t end up with an online harasser.

Cyberstalking and online harassment appear to have become a part of our culture, and without significant change, are not going away. Proactive protection of your identity and personal information is the best way to avoid online harassment and cyberstalking. One of the best steps you can take is to limit the amount of personal information you share online, whether that’s on your social media channels or an online dating profile.

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When you do share personal information, try to use email addresses and phone numbers that are disposable or changeable, and not attached to vital personal or bank accounts. That way, if someone decides to abuse the privilege of having your personal information, you have the power to discard that information without disrupting your personal life.

With the majority of email systems, you can create a new email address within minutes for free. If you’re making a dating profile, selling something, or creating an online brand, using an email that’s separate from your personal account can give you flexibility and protection from online harassment.

You can also create a second phone number with Burner. Instead of giving out your personal phone number—which is difficult to change—give out a Burner number. A Burner phone number can be burned anytime it’s compromised, and setting up an account is simple and inexpensive.

It’s also important to manage and be aware of what privacy settings you use on social media channels. To protect the personal information you choose to share on social media from being used to target you, make sure that your privacy settings are closed to strangers and people you don’t know. This won’t entirely protect you, but it will make it more difficult for people you don’t know from accessing your information.

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If you choose to share your information publicly, be aware of what you’re exposing yourself to.

How Burner protects your privacy

As simple as it sounds, harassers can be deterred through methods such as a second phone number.

Burner can help protect your privacy in multiple ways. By giving out a Burner number instead of your personal digits, you have the power to get rid of a cyberstalker simply by deleting the number.

Burner is an app in your smartphone that’s simple to use. There’s no need to get a second device when you use Burner.

When someone calls or texts your Burner number, the call/text is rerouted to your phone without exposing your main phone number.

Take the Burner Challenge to see just how much of your personal info is already out there. Or do the research yourself by searching your name and phone number on Google and seeing how much you can pull up on your own.

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For those who haven’t experienced cyberstalking personally, it might seem like something that you can just brush off. It might even seem like online harassment isn’t as serious as harassment that happens in person. However, those who have experienced it know how upsetting and draining it can be, and their fear is very real.

As we spend more and more of our lives online, being able to protect your personal information and rid yourself of a cyberstalker easily is very important. For just $5 a month with Burner, you can protect your personal information.

New Power Features and Quick Access Tools to Use Burner like a Boss

Today we’re releasing iOS 3.7.5, which continues to advance our mission to help protect your privacy and make your app experience as convenient as possible. In particular, much of this release focuses on utilizing iOS features, such as Siri and Force Touch, to give you quicker access to commonly used Burner app actions.

Change your app icon

Burner is all about privacy, and one of the things our privacy-focused users have asked for is the ability to change the Burner app icon.

We've heard from many users that they use Burner as a way to manage their personal safety and security in different situations. Now, if someone is scanning your phone or shoulder-surfing while you use it, they don't have to know any more than you want them to.

Try a more discreet app icon or one of our other fun alternatively-styled Burner icons (Main Menu → Global Settings → Change App Icon):

 
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Force Touch for quick access to common actions

We are making use of iOS’s Force Touch feature to allow you to take a number of common actions without having to open the app.

When you receive an iOS notification that someone is texting your Burner, you can Force Touch (press down and hold) the notification to either (1) type and send a response or (2) mute that contact.

You can also now Force Touch the Burner app icon from your home screen to (1) quickly toggle Do Not Disturb mode on and off or (2) easily begin creating a brand new Burner number.

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Use Siri for hands-free texting

You can now use Siri voice commands to send text messages from Burner with your voice.

Enable Siri and say, “Send a message using Burner” or “Send a message to [contact name] using Burner.” Siri will ask you what you want to send and confirm that you want to shoot off the text.

If you have more than one Burner line, you’ll need to open Burner and go into Global Settings to enable a default line for Siri to use.

 
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Burner color options moved back to Settings

Finally, we’ve heard from a lot of folks since we moved the Burner color settings into the pull-down menu that it was hard to find in its new home.

We feel your pain, and today we’re taking your suggestion to move the Burner color switcher back into your Burner Settings. You can now find and change your Burner color/background image by tapping the Gear icon from the Inbox in Burner. The pull-down menu (Shortcuts) from the inbox still houses important actions, such as mark all as read and delete all messages.

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Thanks for all the great feedback. Our users constantly improve our app, and we love hearing from you. Send an email to support@burnerapp.com if you have any questions, concerns, or further suggestions for improvement.

4 Simple Steps to Realizing Your Business Dreams

Many people struggle with feeling like their small business or side hustle isn’t official enough. Having a separate phone number can give you and your customers the seal of legitimacy that you’re looking for, as well as a dedicated line for customer or client communication.

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The booming gig workforce

According to a study completed by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, more than half of all workers will be freelancers by 2027. Millennials, the youngest generation currently participating in the workforce, are almost there already, with an estimated 47% of millenials working as freelancers. Even the Boomers are facing-down retirement by participating in the gig economy.

The gig workforce is growing rapidly and the trend shows no signs of stopping. Whether you’re growing your side hustle into something bigger, or you’re just now considering taking the leap, there are a few things you can do to make it easier on yourself.

1. Create a dedicated space for work

Whether you work from home, a co-working space, or the local coffee shop, the first thing I recommend new freelancers and entrepreneurs do is set aside a dedicated space for work. This makes it easier to get “in the zone,” and maintain a better work life balance (whatever that means to you).

Your workspace can be a desk, a table in your kitchen, or a specific section of your couch—all you need to do is make the decision that this is your work space.

Once you’ve set up your work space, dedicate any time you spend there to the business. When you’re in your “office,” it’s not time to watch Netflix or scroll social media. Focus on work.

Simple to say, but not always easy to follow.

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2. Separate your personal life and business life

Once you have the workspace situated, the next thing to do is to create boundaries for your personal and business life that you can respect.

If you’re constantly on call and available to clients at all hours, your work is never really finished for the day. On the flip side, if you spend all day at home, you may find it’s hard to get work done. When your time is not managed correctly, this kind of behaviour will take a physical and mental toll.

So it’s imperative to start by setting boundaries. Start with the most ubiquitous communication system: your phone number.

By having a second phone number dedicated solely to your business, you’ll immediately find that it’s easier to focus. Using Burner, you can create a second line on the device you already have. Suddenly, you know which phone calls are work related, and which aren’t, simply by seeing which number is ringing.

Beyond that, you can create boundaries with other tactics, like a work email, dedicated work hours, email check-times, separate calendars, and more.

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3. Beat imposter syndrome

Have you set your boundaries, but find them tough to follow? Are you frequently plagued by self-doubt, or think that the grass would be better “if I could just… (finish the sentence).”

Many small business owners and solopreneurs—indeed, most creative people—suffer from imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, defined as people who struggle with internalizing their accomplishments, and have anxiety over being outed as a fraud.

I think that most small business owners and freelancers, as creative and independent people, have at some time felt like an imposter. There are many ways to combat imposter syndrome, but we believe that one of those is by establishing your business as legitimate.

A good first place to start is by creating a separate bank account. If you treat your money like a business, you’ll be on your way to feeling like a business. Since you already have a separate phone number (you do now, right?), you can take other steps such as registering with the state as an official business (i.e. “doing business as” or LLC), registering a domain name, and creating a business card.

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Beyond that, look around and try to find a community of like-minded freelancers or entrepreneurs, either locally or online. Facebook groups are a great place to hang out with people like you from around the world. Chances are good that those people battle imposter syndrome, too. Having a support system will go a long way to combatting imposter syndrome so that you can get on with your work.

4. Autoresponders and call/text forwarders

As your business grows, you will need to have the flexibility to maintain a fast response time with clients and customers, even when your personal time is not available.

Burner allows you to do this in a few ways. First, text auto-reply can send a single text message to let someone know you’re away or not able to reply at the moment. If you need more complex autoresponders, the Evernote Connection provides additional sophistication.

If that’s not hands-on enough for you, you have the option to forward texts and calls to another phone number, or pipe them into a Slack channel.

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No matter what delegation option you prefer, choosing the right phone number app with all the features you need is essential.

Whether you’re feeling the pressure as you’re starting up, or you just want to make things easier on yourself, implementing these tips can help you feel established and confident in your business.

If you create a dedicated office space, find your ideal work/life balance, face down imposter syndrome, and invest in a second phone number specifically for your business, you can begin to take steps toward your dreams and eventual success.

6 Ways a Business Phone Number From Burner Can Save You Money

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As every small business owner knows, monthly expenses for software, tools, and subscriptions needed to run your business can add up quickly.

If you’re tired of spending too much for a landline you don’t use, paying for an extra device on your carrier plan (i.e. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon), or if you’re just plain sick of the limitations imposed by Google Voice and other free phone number apps, Burner provides an affordable option for creating professional business phone numbers dedicated to work.

Instead of an extra $40 per month for a second line from T-Mobile, download the Burner app and get a fully-functional business phone number for a fraction of the cost.

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Share this infographic with your friends to help them save money on business phone numbers, too! Click here to share on Twitter or click here to share on Facebook.

1. No investment in extra devices

Save yourself the hassle of installing a landline or buying a second device. Traditional landline phones are disappearing from the workplaces of today, unless you’re running a large brick-and-mortar store or customer service center where you need dozens of phone lines.

Are you a freelancer? Is your business online? Do you work for someone else and simply don’t want to mix up personal and work-related calls or texts? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re a good candidate for a subscription Burner.

With a second phone number from Burner, you can choose your area code, set up a personalized voicemail or text auto-responder, and utilize Do Not Disturb mode for when you’re unavailable.

2. No need to hire a receptionist

With the custom voicemail and auto-responder, there’s no need to have a receptionist or assistant to answer your phone. Take calls when you’re available and the rest of the time, turn on Do Not Disturb mode and get back to callers at your convenience.

The voicemail and text auto-responder with Burner is ready to be personalized. You might choose to include your hours of operation, business address, event details, or alternate ways to contact you.

You can update and change your voicemail and auto-responder at any time, making it infinitely customizable.

3. Receive and respond to text messages

With a traditional landline, you’re missing out on one of today’s customers’ preferred ways to communicate: text messaging (SMS and MMS, which includes emojis, photos and animated GIFs). With Burner, you can receive and respond to your customers’ text messages from an app on your smartphone or even via Slack.

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For some customers and small business owners, this is simply a convenience. Who wants to spend time on a phone call when you can send a quick text message instead? On the other hand, it also opens up communication lines for customers who may prefer texting to calling.

4. Have multiple numbers for separate purposes

If you’re interested in Burner for your small business, it’s likely that you’ll need more than just one phone number. Maybe you have multiple departments or employees who need to have their own numbers. No problem!

With Burner, you can have multiple phone numbers for your business. Each device that downloads the free Burner app can have up to three unlimited subscription lines for just $14.99 per line per month. Each device can also manage up to 200 non-subscription lines paid with credits.

If your employees need dedicated work numbers, encourage them to download Burner and create a work phone number with the same area code your customers use. Reimbursing an employee five bucks a month and giving them the work/life separation of a dedicated line will make them more productive, professional, and autonomous.

5. Integrate an FAQ chatbot

For those who are a little more tech savvy, consider creating a simple chatbot to respond to customers’ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by text message.

This chatbot can be created with the Evernote Connection on Burner. Advanced users who don’t mind a little coding can check out FAQbot for a slightly more nuanced set of auto-responder options.

When a customer texts your phone number and asks for the company’s address, your chatbot can automatically respond on your behalf with a preprogrammed message. How great is that?

For Airbnb hosts, we even created a specialized chatbot to answer guest questions, called Hostbot. Connect your Burner number to Hostbot and it will automatically respond to your guests’ questions, freeing up your time for other tasks.

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6. Delegate and collaborate with your team

Finally, small business owners can be more productive with Burner by enabling the Slack or call/text forwarding options to delegate or collaborate with their teams.

Delegation is simple and works like the call and text forwarding functions that you’re used to. Simply set up forwarding in the settings of your Burner, and enter the number where you want your messages/calls to be temporarily forwarded.

As for collaboration, link your Burner phone number with the Slack Connection to allow your team to read and respond to text messages without leaving Slack or even needing to install Burner on their phones.


A second phone number with Burner costs just $4.99 a month. Create your number to get started today.

9 Ways to Protect Your Privacy When You’re Dating Online

Online dating has become the new normal. If you’re going to be looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right on Tinder, Bumble, or other dating apps, it’s important to take steps to protect your privacy.

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Between ride-sharing, secondary email accounts, and a second phone number from Burner, there are many tools at your disposal. The trick is to know how to use them. Following these tips will help keep you safe when you’re trying to meet new people.

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1. Limit the personal information you give out

Start by limiting what personal information you give out by default.

Beware when giving out your home address, work address, personal phone number, or other identifiers.

You should also be careful not to share this information on your social media sites or elsewhere online. You never know who might search for that information, looking for you. If you’re not sure how much information is already available about you online, take the Burner Challenge.

In the beginning of a new online relationship, stick to the chat function within the app. When you’re ready to move to the phone (or if you just prefer texting), give your new acquaintance a Burner number. That way your personal number—and all the attached info about you—stays safe while you get to know the other person.

Once you’ve vetted someone and are relatively sure that they’re trustworthy, you can  consider sharing your personal phone number or additional private information.

2. Trust your gut

Your instincts are there to protect you, so it’s important to listen to them. If your gut is telling you to run for the hills, you have a few options.

First off, you can distance yourself from that person. Burner makes this easy. You can always Burn a number and grab a new one. Problem solved (at least on the phone calls and text messages front).

Additional measures can be taken if you decide it’s necessary, such as blocking a number or using Ghostbot to handle unwanted texts. Ghostbot is an intelligent auto-responder that helps you carefully distance yourself from a person sending you unwanted messages.

2Ghostbot.png

If you’re new to the online dating scene and you’re still honing your instincts, here are a few red flags to look out for—if you detect the other person doing any of these, it may be time to cut off communication:

  • Asking for personal information too soon

  • Insisting on meeting for the first time in a non-public space

  • Refusing to talk on the phone or do a video call before meeting in person

  • Making inappropriate jokes or advances

  • Lying about who they are, or other aspects of their personality or life

3. Set up second numbers and bogus emails

If you’ve decided that the person you’re talking to is safe enough to move the conversation outside of the dating app chat function, you still might not want to share your personal email or phone number with them.

We’ve already mentioned Burner for second or alternative phone numbers but you may also want to consider maintaining a secondary email account to share with potential dates. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and several other providers will happily give you a brand new email account free of charge.

Even better, Google just made Gmail the most secure email provider on the planet.

As long as it’s not your personal email you’re giving out, you still have a layer of privacy between you and new people and you can always change the email address if it falls into the wrong hands.

4. Use your own transportation

As old-fashioned and adorable as it is to let your date pick you up at home, it adds risk. Not only do they know where you live, but if the first date goes badly, how will you get home?

Always have a plan B. In the day and age of ride-sharing and cell phones, there’s no excuse for getting in a car with a stranger. And always use a Burner number if Uber or Lyft (or other ridesharing app) drivers ask for a contact number outside of the app.

5. Use neutral party check-ins to stay safe

When you decide to meet your online date in person, set up a safety net, so someone knows where you are and when you’ll be back. Whether it’s your roommate, best friend, or mom, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll check in (by texting or calling).

There are also apps out there that can alert emergency services or your trusted contacts, if you turn it on. Think of it like a panic button. There are many of these on the market such as Kitestring or BSafe.

3NeutralCheckIns.png

As a last resort, if you’re in a public space, don’t hesitate to let someone know that you don’t feel safe. If your date is making you uncomfortable, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and notify the bartender, server, or other personnel that you don’t feel safe and need help to leave without making a scene.

Just knowing that someone else is watching out for you can make you feel more comfortable about making the leap to meeting people in person.

6. Do a background check

Catfishing and scamming are unfortunately becoming common issues in the online dating world. If something feels fishy, be sure to Google your new friend and look for some warning signs, as it’s possible they’re aren’t who they say they are. Ask yourself...

  • How many friends do they have on their social media account(s)?

  • Are those friends all men or all women?

  • Do they have multiple profiles on one social media platform?

  • Do they have profiles on multiple social media platforms?

  • Do they interact with friends online?

  • Use reverse image search to make sure their photos aren’t stolen from another profile

  • Look them up on Spokeo

  • Find out if they’re using a script to talk to you

  • Check to see if their profile images are altered

  • Confirm their IP address and email is connected to where they say they live

  • Look up public records such as marriages, criminal records, and property ownership

You can never be too careful. There are a lot of tools online for checking to see if someone is who they say they are.

7. Don’t just text

It’s okay to take your time early in a relationship to build trust.

Don’t just text, either. Why not try the old-fashioned approach and have a simple phone call with someone before meeting them in person? What about video calls? Surely someone who is being honest with you and likes you for who you are can’t refuse a simple request like that.

It can be a good screening mechanism -- if someone doesn’t want to show your their face over a video call or let you hear their voice over a phone call, they might be hiding something about their identity.

8. Don’t give out financial information

Just don’t. Anyone who asks for money should send up an immediate red flag for your finely honed gut instincts.

If you have good reasons to give someone money (for example, splitting a meal or movie tickets), use cash or a secure peer-to-peer payment app like Venmo.

9. Report or block them

Finally, if someone is trolling you or you don’t want them around, don’t be afraid to block them and report them if appropriate.

4Block.png

Most dating apps now have a function for reporting users who are scamming others or just being inappropriate. Reporting people isn’t only for you, it helps to protect everyone who is using the app.

As the digital world becomes an intrinsic part of our lives, it’s important that you take steps to protect yourselves. Using a Burner number is only one way, but it’s a good first step. Use these tips and trust your instincts to help protect your privacy when dating online.

Separate Your Personal and Business Lives With a Second Phone Number

In today’s world, automatic communication and immediate responses have become the status quo. With that expectation comes the feeling that we always need to have our phones at the ready to respond to any problem that presents itself, no matter how trivial.

Create Your First Number

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But do you really want to answer that call or text from your boss that comes in after hours on a Friday evening? Probably not at all.

And how about when your mom calls when you’re in the middle of a work meeting? Your boss would probably frown on you taking work time to talk to your mom about your weekend plans. So what’s a modern millennial to do?

1DadandDaughter.png

One of the ways you can create some balance in your life is by getting a second phone number from Burner. You can use it solely for your work or business, and keep it separated from your personal life.

Whether you’re self-employed, an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or just want to create some distance between yourself and your co-workers, a second phone number from Burner might be the answer to your problems.

Burner business phone number productivity features

Burner is an app that lets you create one or more new phone numbers. It works just like any other phone number app, with all the functionality you’ve come to expect from a robust messaging system. Plus, it has additional features that help you create separation between your business and personal life, as well as protect your privacy.

When someone calls your Burner phone number, you can see which number they’re calling and immediately categorize the call based on which of your numbers shows up. If it’s after hours and you don’t want to take a business call, you know not to answer anything that comes in on your work Burner line.

But that’s not all. Burner has a whole host of features that help you to create additional separation and take back control of your life.

DND mode

One of the best features that helps maintain the balance between business and your personal life is Burner’s DND (Do-Not-Disturb) mode. DND mode can switched on at any point, so that any texts or phone calls your business number receives will go straight to voicemail, without any notifications.

With DND mode, you choose when you receive notifications, calls, and texts regarding your work. When you’re not open to talking to contacts, clients, or your boss, just switch on DND mode and deal with your messages later.

Set work hours

With DND mode, you can also set your work hours. Choose when you want to be available to your clients, set your DND schedule around that, and don’t worry about the rest of the time. You can even automate this with a tool like Zapier or IFTTT. By setting these expectations ahead of time and using Burner to reinforce them, you’re letting your clients, boss, and co-workers know when they can expect responses from you and when you’re not available to answer questions.

Autoresponders

Another bonus that makes separating your work and personal life that much easier with a second phone number from Burner is the text auto-reply. You can create a message for your auto-responder letting people know when you’ll be able to get back to them, what your normal hours are, what your email address is, or anything else you think they might want to know.

Think of your autoresponder like an out of office response for your text messages.

3Autoresponder.png

Customizable voicemail

Not only can you create an autoresponder for your text messages, but you can also create a customized voicemail response.

Include any information you think your clients need to know and then you can relax, knowing that DND mode is taking care of your business calls and texts while you fully enjoy your personal life.

Choose your area code

For small business owners, it’s often very important to have a phone number that has a local area that matches where the business is located, so that your clients or customers know you’re local. With a second phone number from Burner, you get to choose your area code, and you can even have multiple numbers with different area codes. This is a great advantage for salespeople who may work in multiple districts.

Take back your agency with a second phone number from Burner. You choose when you want to be on the clock and are available to respond to business requests, and when you aren’t. You can even put your business number on your website and business card, and rest easy knowing that your personal number remains private.

Burner makes it easier for you to create separation between your business and personal lives.

Nomorobo for All! Stop Spam Calls and Telemarketers in Their Tracks

Robocalls and telemarketers continue to plague consumers. According to the Federal Communications Commission, Americans receive about 2.4 billion robocalls a month. In response to this trend, we partnered with Nomorobo and started providing complimentary robocall blocking to auto-renewing subscribers in January. Since then, we’ve filtered out over 200,000 robocalls this year.

Create Your First Number

Get unlimited calls, texts, and pictures on a private line!
Pick your number now.

But we know spam calls are only getting worse. To do our part in combating this increasingly common problem, Burner is now making Nomorobo available to all users on our platform—free trial numbers and credits-based temporary lines as well as auto-renewing subscription lines will now have access to Nomorobo at no extra cost.

No spam filter is better suited than Nomorobo to clear the lines of all Burner users of unwanted phone calls. Winner of the FTC Robocall Challenge, Nomorobo now has the most comprehensive blacklist of known spammers—560,000 and counting—and their system grows smarter each day.

We at Nomorobo are super excited that all Burner users are getting tools to fight back against the robocall epidemic.
— Aaron Foss, Founder of Nomorobo
 
 

HOW TO GET NOMOROBO WORKING ON YOUR BURNERS:

Nomorobo+Connection+-+Robocall+spam+and+telemarketer+filtering.png

1. Activate Nomorobo

To activate the Nomorobo Connection, navigate to the Settings of your Burner and activate it like you would any other toggle setting.

The Nomorobo Connection will get turned on by default for all new subscription Burner (auto-renewing lines with unlimited calls/texts/pics).

Nomorobo+Connection+-+Automatically+filtered+calls.gif

2. Robocalls and telemarketers are filtered out automatically

Robocalls and telemarketers are pre-scanned, and filtered out automatically. Those calls won’t ring to your phone.

Nomorobo works by cross-referencing the incoming number with “a MASSIVE database of known, illegal robocallers ... compiled with the help of the FTC, user reports, and [their] own honey traps.” Honey traps, also known as honeypots, are hidden security mechanisms designed to fool robots and other spammers (see Nomorobo’s FAQ).

NomoroboiOSInboxView.png

3. View Filtered calls

If a call finds a match in Nomorobo’s database, it gets placed into the “Filtered” section of your call history.

If there’s no match, the call rings to your phone.

Nomorobo+Connection+-+Whitelist+or+delete+spam+calls.gif

4. Whitelist non-spam numbers

If a call was Filtered incorrectly (or you believe the system made an error), tap the call and then select “Move to Inbox” to whitelist the number.

In the future, calls made to you from this number will ring to your phone.

If you have any feedback or questions about how Nomorobo works with Burner, feel free to email us at support@burnerapp.com.

The Nomorobo Connection is available FOR both Burner for iOS and Burner for Android.

 

8 Ways to Use a Second Phone Number Online to Protect Your Privacy

Every time you sign up for a new service or app, you’re asked to share your personal information. Sometimes that’s just an email, but often it’s so much more—phone number, mailing address, ZIP code, even social security number in some cases.

The more things you sign up for, the more likely it is that your personal information—and we mean all of it—will be up for grabs for whoever has the right tools to find it.

second phone number to protect your privacy

We want to open your eyes to just how often you share your phone number online, and how sharing such personal information can put you at risk. And that’s exactly why we put together this list of ways you can use a second phone number to protect your privacy online.

The first step to keeping your information private is being proactive, and making sure it doesn’t get out there in the first place.

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8 situations where you should use a second phone number instead of your personal number

second phone number - online shopping

1. Online shopping

Often, when you place an order with a company online you have to give them your phone number. Why? We’re not sure. ‘Cause honestly, when was the last time a company called you instead of emailing you?

Next time you’re ordering that fidget spinner, or the quadcopter drone you’ve been dying to buy, and they ask you for a number, use a Burner and protect your privacy.

second phone number for side hustle or small business

2. Promoting your side hustle or small business

We’re big supporters of taking that side hustle you’ve been dreaming about for years to the next level. What better way to do that than to give your side hustle or small business its own phone number?

Now you can sell your products or services online without worrying about scammers accessing your personal phone number.

Post your second phone number to Etsy, take sales calls, answer customer questions via text. You can do it all with Burner and know that your personal number is protected.

second phone number for activism

3. Activism!

Need to call your senator? If you want to protect your privacy, now you’ll have a second phone number from Burner which you can use to call them. Also check out LobbyPhone, which is integrated with our platform.

second phone number for social media

4. Social media profiles

Whether you’re using social media for personal or business use, do you really want everyone that you connect with to know your personal phone number? There are a lot of creeps and trolls online. Protect yourself from them with a second phone number that you can discard anytime.

second phone number dating

5. Dating apps

Online dating is a great way to meet the love of your life.

But you may also run into a few unsavory characters along the way.

Protect your privacy by using a second phone number to give to people you meet online. Then if things go sour, you don’t have to worry about your safety or going through the hassle of changing the phone number you’ve had for years.

And if Mr. Persistent won’t let up, we have a utility called GhostBot to help you distance yourself safely.

icon_craigslist.png

6. Selling on Craigslist or eBay

Next time you’re cleaning out your closet and starting a new life of minimalism while selling everything on Craigslist and eBay, protect your privacy by using your second phone number.

Create a temporary Burner, put that number in the listing, and burn it when you’re done.

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7. Sign up for (more) freebies

Want to sign up for the free trip or signed book they’re giving away? Do it! And now you don’t have to worry about giving away your personal phone number.

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8. SMS Bots

If you’re using an SMS bot to recommend new comic books, quit smoking, or whatever it is you’re doing to make yourself a better human, you can now protect your identity while doing so.

The tech savvy go-getter among you might also be interested in the Burner API, which can be used to make SMS bots of your own devising, as well as automate other necessary functions and has OAuth 2.0 built into it for authentication through Burner.

Using a second phone number helps you to protect you online by helping keep your personal information private. Don’t broadcast your personal phone number all over the web. Instead, use Burner to get a second phone number.

How do you use your second phone number to protect your privacy online? If you haven’t signed up yet, download the free iOS or Android app to get a 7-day free trial!

Second Phone Number For Your Wedding: How to Get One and All The Great Things It Can Do

second phone number for weddings

Create Your First Number

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From caterers to party planners to guests and the officiant, when you’re planning a wedding, everyone seems to need your phone number. A second phone number that’s dedicated specifically to planning your wedding can be a huge advantage.

And it’s easy to do.

To get your second phone number, just sign up for the Burner app, create a new phone number, and begin sharing it.

If you want to keep it simple, that’s all you have to do. But if you’re interested in using some of the many features available exclusively through Burner, you might be surprised to find that it will make planning your wedding a whole lot more fun.

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Know who’s calling and why

With a second phone number from Burner, you know that a call from an unknown number is about your wedding, not your work or personal stuff. In fact, you can have as many lines as you want. Knowing who is calling and why makes it easier to choose which phone calls to take and which to ignore.

Instead of finding yourself at work talking about wedding flowers and centerpieces, you can confidently let the call go to voicemail and get back to it later.

Each time you meet a vendor, give them your second phone number and rest assured that your personal number remains private.

Protect yourself from spam lists

Whether you’re signing up for mailing lists to look for a good deal on a wedding dress or just checking the availability of your local caterer, you’re likely going to have to give each person your email and phone number.

Creating an email address and phone number pair specifically for your wedding will help to protect your personal email and phone number against the inevitable spam vortex.

You can, of course, get new phone numbers through us. Free services like Gmail make it easy to sign up for extra email accounts, which you can forward or link to your main email account for convenience.

Your email and phone number are valuable assets—one that not everyone will treat with as much care as you do. It’s not uncommon for people to sell your personal information for their own gain. Taking extra precautions such as setting up secondary email addresses and phone numbers will make unplugging later, after the event, much easier.

second phone number with do not disturbn mode

Peace of mind with custom voicemail and “Do Not Disturb” mode

With a second phone number from Burner, you can create a custom voicemail greeting that has all the information your vendors might need, including time and date of the wedding, a good email to reach you at, and when you’re available for calls or planning to respond to texts.

You can also set the number to Do Not Disturb (DND) mode. When this setting is turned on, phone calls will go directly to voicemail and not ring through to your phone.

Instead of receiving phone calls throughout the day on your personal or business phone number about your wedding, you can let all of those calls go to voicemail. When you’re ready to answer questions or call people back, you can do so at your leisure.

Create an info hotline

As with a custom voicemail, a savvy auto-responder will save you time and energy by providing common info that you know your wedding guests will need.

As the date draws closer, create a second line or convert your vendor line into an “info hotline” by setting up a custom text auto-responder that tells people what to bring, where you’re registered for gifts, or the time and place of the wedding. If you have a wedding website, you can link to that in the auto-responder. That way, when guests text you a million questions, you don’t have to spend your time responding to the same queries over and over.

When you send your invitations or create your wedding website, include your second phone number from Burner and give your guests that ability to reach you and your information hotline (you can use the same number for both).

You can always add more information to the text auto-responder as you receive new questions, and change the voicemail to offer new information as it gets closer to the big day.

Finally, if you’re ready to be a Burner master, you can turn your second phone number into a chatbot using the Evernote Connection. With a little bit of setup, you can create an even more sophisticated smart auto-responder that’s programmed to answer guests’ most frequent questions.

Everything from “what time does the ceremony start?” to “how do I get to the venue?” can be answered contextually through text messages. You can always hop in to respond manually if a question is unusually phrased or completely unique.

Keep your big day stress free

You don’t want to have to worry about answering the phone or answering questions on one of the most important days of your life.

With a second phone number from Burner, you can keep your big day stress free a few different ways.

Your text auto-responder and voicemail can be set up to give out all of the information about the ceremony that guests might need.

You can also set up call forwarding. Instead of calls ringing through to your phone and stressing you out, they can be automatically forwarded to your wedding planner or maid of honor / best man, so they can take any vendor calls or questions that come through.

Either way, instead of answering call and texts, let your Burner delegate for you.

second phone number for wedding photos

Gather well-wishes and photos in one place

A second phone number from Burner is a great way to build a collaborative photo album and message thread of your big day, or even create an “audio guestbook.”

Instead of a hashtag on social media, have your guests send the photos they take and their well-wishes as text messages to your Burner line. You can archive photos and voicemails to the cloud with Dropbox, and save photos as well as text messages with Google Drive. By the end of the night, you’ll have a beautiful collection of images taken by all of your friends and family that you can treasure forever.

The “audio guestbook” idea can be setup easily with Burner’s SoundCloud Connection. Just activate it on your line, then have your loved ones at the wedding (or even those who couldn’t make it) call and leave voicemail messages for you that you can save and cherish forever. Savvy audio users could even create a highlight reel to share with family later!

However you want to use your second phone number from Burner to make planning your big day a little bit easier, we know one thing: it’s going to be a beautiful wedding.

We’re always so happy to hear our customer’s stories and just how they’re using Burner. Let us know in the comments or through an email just how Burner has made it easier to plan your wedding.

Congratulations!

Calling for Change: Meet John Emerson, the Creator of LobbyPhone

 

LobbyPhone is an SMS bot you can text to get a short list of your representatives and their phone numbers. It’s a great, fast way to get in touch with your national and state representatives. It takes just a couple minutes and doesn’t require an internet connection. Try LobbyPhone by texting (520) 200-2223 with your zip code or postal address.

John Emerson created this tool to provide Americans with quick access to the people they elected, so they could call and voice their concerns any time. He wrote about his inspiration and process for the project in more detail on his blog.

 

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Get unlimited calls, texts, and pictures on a private line!
Pick your number now.

LobbyPhone SMS tool for calling your reps

Text LobbyPhone your address and it will text you back your reps

Burner + LobbyPhone

Since LobbyPhone’s release last year, we’ve been working with John in two ways.

First, we moved the text message system over to Burner’s infrastructure to lower his costs to provide the service.

Secondly, we built a web app to allow you to use his tool to look up your reps, and then save them to your Burner contacts. If you don’t have Burner yet, you can create a free sample when you use LobbyPhone. You can try it at go.lobbyphone.com.

We sat down with John to reflect on the tool’s impact and what’s next for him.

On Getting the Word Out

Lex: How did you get the word to people when you first launched LobbyPhone?

John: The original inspiration for the bot was a post on an email discussion list of progressive techies. I put together the initial bot in a day and announced it to the list. The response was super enthusiastic and people asked if they could share it. They started sharing it on Facebook even before I did and it just kind of grew. People were sharing it within their networks, particularly around the time of the confirmation hearings last year. It was interesting to see it go through different social circles: there was a young adult novelist who tweeted it and then a couple of other novelists in that circle retweeted it. Then a couple celebrities tweeted it. I saw these two enormous spikes of activity. I was thrilled when I was getting 10-20 people texting the number a day. I thought wow, I built something that people are using. But at its height it got 22,000 texts in a single day, which was extraordinary. This is also when I was still paying for it all out of pocket so it was a bit of a panic.

Lex: Oh no! It’s too effective!

John: Right, right. The good news is people love your product — the bad news is people love your product! I sent out a crowdfunding appeal to friends and family and the response was amazing. I had never passed the hat like this before. Then I was able to secure an 800 text number from Plivo which allowed me to put the URL [of the GoFundMe] into the outbound texts. Suddenly people I did not know personally were contributing to defray my costs. Donations ranged from five dollars to two hundred dollars. Total strangers left comments on the GoFundMe page like, “This is great! I love this!" It was really an amazing outpouring.

LobbyPhone on the Web

LobbyPhone on the web - find your reps online

“It's just shy of half a million texts since I launched it which is amazing to me.”

 

On LobbyPhone’s Impact

John: Mostly, I think people have been using it for federal contacts but a couple state level campaigns have been using it as well. There was a Humane Society action in Alabama I saw on Facebook. They were using it for people to contact their state reps. At the national level there’s a Capitol Hill switchboard number you can call to reach your reps but the same thing doesn't really exist for every state.

Once I got an email from the wife of a state legislator. She said, "Can you please take our home office number off of your system? We're getting all these calls at all hours of the night." At that point, I switched the state API from Google Civic to OpenStates which had the correct number to use. But you know, I never knew if people were actually making the phone calls so this was actually a confirmation of that. It’s not how I wanted to do it, but it was good to know nonetheless.

I also heard from a state legislator in Texas whose ranch was at the edge of an unusually shaped district. He was getting the wrong info from the bot so I tweaked the code a little bit and got it working. He was thrilled and said he was going to send [the LobbyPhone number] to all his constituents.

Since then, it's been a nice steady hum. About 100 people a day are texting the number for the last month or two. Other tools have come up since I launched, like Resistbot which lets you send a fax via text number so you don't actually have to call anyone, and CallParty which works on Facebook Messenger. LobbyPhone is just shy of half a million texts since I launched it which is amazing to me.

Lex: Why do you think your SMS bot struck a chord so strongly with people?

John: I don't know. It’s not hard to find contact info other ways. There’s always that guy on Facebook who points out, "Actually, you can just Google it." But LobbyPhone removed a step and you get the numbers right on your phone. It’s personalized. It's free. It was novel.

LobbyPhone in your Burner contacts

When you use LobbyPhone with Burner, you can save them to your Contacts

 

“This kind of low tech service has had a resurgence. As smartphones are getting smarter and faster, texting has become more popular.”

 

On What’s Next for LobbyPhone

Lex: I know you're quite involved in the civic tech space. Have you thought about other ways to engage people with LobbyPhone?

John: Yes, I have. I think one of the reasons why it's particularly popular is there's no commitment. You're not signing up to get a daily action. It's not telling you what to do. It's more of a utility. The advantage of that is that it’s very flexible. Different people can use it for different campaigns. The downside is that I'm not sure where else to take it. I looked into building a Facebook Messenger version, but this already exists. I'm not keeping people's information so I'm not using this to build a movement. That's one possible direction, but I would set up a different system to do that.

When LobbyPhone was at its peak volume and running up my costs I was desperately looking for a non-profit to take it over. I talked to some folks but they wanted to keep people’s info to build their lists. It's a funny sort of dance and it never quite came together.

On What’s Next in Civic Tech

Lex: What’s next for you in the civic tech space?

John: Independent of this project, I have some other ideas for text services. Text is a great way to interact with people that are not always on the internet. Service workers or caregivers, for instance. I worked with a NGO that works with the Nepali community in New York City. Their members are not in front of a computer all day and may not own a desktop computer. But they have their smartphones and there's a lot of word of mouth. I’d love to build tools for communities like these, either for specific campaigns or kind of a crisis text line. I'd love to do more help lines, more mass mobilization, or more utilities. It's funny that this kind of low tech service has had such a resurgence. As smartphones are getting smarter and faster, texting has become more popular.


You can find John on Twitter @backspace and on his website at backspace.com. You can find LobbyPhone at lobbyphone.com or by texting your address to (520) 200-2223. If you’d like to donate to the project, you can still do so at gofundme.com/smsbot.

If you’d like to use LobbyPhone with your Burner number, you can go to go.lobbyphone.com. You can also create a Burner number from there after you find your reps.


 

Your Feedback in Action with iOS 3.6.2

Here at Burner we’re always looking for your thoughts on the app. Today’s iOS update, which introduces three small but important changes, is a direct result of that feedback.

Burner 3.6.2 has improved phone number visibility in the Inbox, a redesigned Settings view, new number expiration warning banners, and a few other performance enhancements.

Phone Number Visibility

Your Burner numbers are now shown in the header of the Inbox, or main screen within Burner's apps.

Tap it to copy the number to your clipboard for easy sharing via text, email, messenger apps, or social media.

Copy number in Burner 3.6.2

Number Expiration Warning Banners

Burner expiration warning

Secondly, you now have more visibility into upcoming Burner expirations with warning banners in the Inbox that let you know when a line is low on minutes, texts or about to expire.

Burner Shortcuts

Pull Down Actions

We’ve also expanded our shortcuts. Pull down on the Inbox (drag your finger toward the bottom of the screen) to change your Burner color or add a background image. You can also "Copy number," "Mark all as read," or "Delete all messages" from here.

Redesigned Settings View

Finally, we’ve given Settings a fresh coat of paint and consolidated it to a single screen. More customization, fewer taps.

Core Settings
Under this subheader, you’ll find important functionality like rings, notifications, voicemail greeting, and caller ID.

Burner Settings on iOS

Connections
Try a new Connection and get more out of Burner! Archive texts and contacts, save pics and voicemail, block spam calls, create an auto-responder bot, and other useful tools.

Advanced Settings
Use these Settings for call forwarding or to set up an auto-reply to texts.

Thanks to everyone who has submitted feedback about Burner on iOS. We hope these improvements make your experience more enjoyable.

Let us know what you think about the updates by leaving a review on the App Store or by texting feedback to (310) 919-5060.

Streamlining Messaging and Upgrading the Inbox with Android 3.6.2

Old Inbox (Left) and New Inbox (Right)

Old Inbox (Left) and New Inbox (Right)

We’re excited to share our latest Android release with you, Burner 3.6.2. We’ve made a lot of improvements to streamline the most commonly used parts of the Burner app.

This update makes the Inbox cleaner, offering you a view of all your messages at a glance. Messaging is much more fun and legible. And the new Settings screen makes it easier to customize your Burner with fewer taps.

Upgraded Inbox

The new Inbox view features:

  • More visibility into Burner expirations with banners that let you know when a line is low on minutes, texts or about to expire

  • A condensed message view so you can see more of your incoming texts and calls at a glance

  • The ability to change your Burner color by dragging down on the Inbox (we call them "pull down" actions). You can also mark all messages as read or delete them all here too.
Burner messaging in action

Streamlined Messaging

We’ve punched up the contrast of the message bubbles for easier reading. Your contact photos are also included so you can tell who’s talking.

Redesigned Settings

The Settings screen has been redesigned to make it more clear how you can set up your lines. We’ve also renamed some of the options you see here:

Core Settings
- Important functionality including rings, notifications, voicemail greeting, and caller ID

Burner settings on Android 3.6.2

Connections
- Try a new Connection and get more out of your Burners. Archive messages and voicemails to Google, respond to texts on Slack or crowdsource voicemails for your podcast.

Advanced Settings
- Richer control over how you receive calls (with in-app calling and forwarding)

Thanks to everyone who has beta tested, answered our questions, and submitted feedback about your experience with Burner. We hope these improvements make Burner more useful.

Let us know what you think about the updates by leaving a review on the Google Play Store or by texting feedback to (310) 919-5060.

Burner Gets Contact Muting, Photos, and Notes

Released today for iOS and Android, Burner 3.6.1 introduces fine-grained controls for muting, as well as adding photos and notes to Contacts.

Now it’s easier than ever to keep track of and manage conversations with friends, business colleagues, and casual acquaintances.

We hope you enjoy these improvements!

Mute a Contact

This update introduces the ability to Mute contacts one by one. Muting prevents notifications from firing when a specific person messages you. Incoming calls from a muted contact don’t ring through to your phone. You’ll still be able to access messages and missed calls and voicemails from a muted number as normal.

Mute serves a different purpose than the ability to Block a contact, which we’ve had for a while. Blocking mutes and hides all calls and messages sent from a specific number—use Block when you no longer want contact with a person, but don’t want to burn the Burner. Use Mute when you want to filter out their notifications without turning off all notifications for the line.

Muting a contact

Contact Photos and Notes

You’ll find two new fields on the Contact details screen:

Photo: Upload an image from your library for anyone in your Contact list.

Notes: You can take free-form notes in this field, such as where or how you met a person or other details like email and address.

Keep in mind that if you delete a contact, notes and photos will be deleted as well.

Add notes and images to a contact

Improved Notifications

For those of you using prepaid lines, the time frame in which the Burner app notifies you of lines that are close to expiration has been improved.

Users will now be notified as early as 5 days out that a Burner line is about to expire. That way you will have more notice if you need to extend your line, and less chance that the prepaid number will expire before you have a chance to do so.

Push notification from Burner

Copy Your Burner Number from the Inbox

For Android users, we’ve made it easier to find your Burner numbers right in the inbox. You can see and copy your number in one tap just by opening the app. This is coming soon on iOS.

Copy your Burner number from the inbox

Other Accessibility Alignments

Finally, in addition to some small performance updates and bug fixes, we improved some of our labeling in the inbox and throughout the app to improve accessibility for our customers using screen readers with Burner.

Need phone lines for the long term, for a side project or business? Consider upgrading to a Burner subscription (tap this link on your phone, and it will open to the offers screen in the app). You can have up to three auto-renewing lines, unlimited calls/texts/pics, robocall blocking on all lines, and more.

Most of the improvements to Burner are built in response to your feedback and requests, so we look forward to hearing your thoughts. If you have feedback or questions about Burner or today’s updates, feel free to email us at support@burnerapp.com.

Grow Your Art, Brand, or Business with Burner Connections

One of the most underutilized—yet highly effective—ways to use Burner is as a platform to engage directly with your fans. On top of giving you a dedicated number for your audience, Burner has a number of features and tools that can help you drive engagement.

Used and loved by podcasters, musicians, artists, and businesses, Burner’s smart phone numbers allow you to speak to your fans, take listener feedback, and crowdsource content—without exposing your personal phone line.

Burner’s Connections are integrations with well-known apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, and SoundCloud that help you automate aspects of this process. Collect and save photos or voicemails from users, collaborate with teammates, and more.

The people you engage with and the content you create with Burner could be a valuable path to growth. Our team put together a short tutorial to show you how it all works.

Let us know on Twitter when you get set up, so we can give you a little boost. We love to see the innovative ways our customers are using Burner to make genuine connections with people.

How an Interior Designer Uses Burner for Business

Meet Katie Smith, an interior designer based in California. She runs a freelance interior design consultancy called The Design Smith, works remotely, and strives to maintain a healthy work life balance.


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Katie relies on Burner’s phone numbers for her business, using them to communicate with her clients, store important photos and information, and protect her personal information. If you’d like to watch the interview in full, audio and video versions are embedded below.

Tools for Designers

As an interior designer, Katie is pretty comfortable with technology. Her suite of tools for her design work revolve around visual design tools like CAD, and several means of effective communication.

“I use my CAD programs for design,” Katie told me in our short interview. “I use Pinterest a lot to convey ideas back and forth. Obviously we use email and video chatting. And then I love my Burner app, I use that every day.”

Katie Smith of The DesignSmith

Communication is Key

Effective design work relies almost as much on good communication as it does on visual design skills. Katie has both in spades, and it was interesting to hear how she communicates visual concepts to her clients.

Katie uses the Burner app to send photos to, and receive photos from, her clients when they’re trying to decide on a certain style or decoration for the room she’s designing. And while she does speak to them on the phone or over video calls, Katie’s communication happens primarily over text and picture messages once a project gets under way.

Photos of Katie's work. Bathroom remodel

Using Burner Connections for Peace of Mind

Katie also uses the Dropbox and Google Drive Connections in Burner to sync and store an archive of communications for her clients. Dropbox syncs all the photos her clients send to organized folders in the cloud, where she can easily access them if needed, and where they’re safely backed up.

She uses the Google Sheets option for the Google Drive Connection to log text messages. Katie called it a “security blanket,” a metaphor we appreciate.

“It is invaluable to be able to go back and have something in writing,” Katie says, “that says this is what we decided on.” In a long, expensive design process like remodeling a house, a lot of decisions get made, and these decisions can have a huge impact on the end result.

Professionals Draw Clear Boundaries for Their Work

Katie is very passionate about her work, but she knows it’s not only passion that makes her successful. Discipline also plays a role.

One decision that enabled her success—and a piece of advice that all freelancers and remote workers can apply in their own job—is to set clear boundaries and use methods and tools like Burner to achieve a healthy work life balance.

“And for me, being able to have a separate phone number and not carry two phones with me was an amazing way to do that. So that's been fantastic.”

Thanks for sharing your habits and tools with us, Katie! We’re happy to hear that Burner has played a small but significant role on your journey to building a successful design business.

Interview with Katie Smith, Interior Designer

Audio interview on SoundCloud:

YouTube video of the same interview:

Burner Interviews

Transcript of Katie’s Interview

Matt: Hi everyone! I'm here talking to Katie Smith, a residential designer who runs her own business, The Design Smith. She also does interior design work and creates blueprints and plans for new homes. Welcome Katie, how are you doing today?

Katie: I'm good, how are you?

Matt: Great! So before we get started, I'd love to hear a bit about your background. How did you become an interior designer?

Katie: I stumbled upon it when I was going through school, taking basic classes for General Ed. And I ended up taking a design class that was really a lot of fun, and I had never considered it as a career choice. The more classes that I took, the more that I realized I really loved doing design and was surprised I could do something that fun as a career choice!

So I majored in it in college. I did some independent study work on eco-friendly design and more green interiors, so I have a little background in that. From that point on, every place that I worked, I gained a little more knowledge in this or that...so I also became a certified kitchen designer and a certified bath designer. And it snowballed and turned into what it is.

Matt: So what's it like working for yourself as opposed to a larger firm? Do you work with clients every day and do you work with other teams and architects?

Katie: I've done both. When I first started out, I worked at firms or with other designers. That's interesting because with their experience you gain so much insight and knowledge into how things are done. That experience is invaluable. But a lot of times when you put several creative people together there are definitely creative differences. So I enjoy working for myself now that I have the background and knowledge to move forward with larger design projects on my own.

So I do like working for myself. And now that I'm a mother, it's great to be able to work from home and take care of my kids, and do work. So I don't see clients every day, but that's by choice. It works really well.

Matt: So since you're working remotely, working from home, apart from using CAD what other technology do you rely on to communicate with people?

Katie: I use my CAD programs for design. I use Pinterest a lot to convey ideas back and forth. Obviously we use email and video chatting. And then I love my Burner app, I use that every day with them.

Matt: Some people might say that in a world powered by email and chat apps, like Messenger and Slack, that phone-to-phone communication isn't as important anymore. Based on your experience, how would you respond to that?

Katie: I do use text more frequently than I actually use voice calls. Emails are nice when I have more information to convey or attachments. But for the most part I use texts and text photos back and forth. That seems to be my primary method of communication.

Matt: What advanced features do you use in Burner, if any?

Katie: I use the Dropbox feature to save voicemails and to save photos that are texted by my clients. And then I also use the Google function that you can save the texts.

Matt: Yeah

Katie: I'm sorry! I don't know what it's called off the top of my head. But that's super useful. In the past, when I was just using my regular phone number, I really wished I could have saved texts or had some sort of way to archive them for business purposes—and there is no way. And so when I found that you could do that with the Burner app it was fantastic.

Matt: We just call it the Google Drive Connection that allows you to save contacts and text messages to Sheets. So what does that look like, your workflow with the Dropbox Connection and the Google Drive Connection. Once you get the voicemails and the photos or the text messages, what do you do with them afterwards?

Katie: For the most part, I don't necessarily have to go back to them to reference them all the time. But in a business like mine where people are making decisions...there's a lot of money involved and there are a lot of decisions being made. So if somebody makes a decision and forgets about, it is invaluable to be able to go back and have something in writing that says, this is what we decided on.

Or sometimes they just forget. I haven't remodeled my house—hopefully some day!—but when you're doing an entire house sometimes they just forget. And it is great to be able to have that to go back and reference. But on a daily basis I wouldn't say that I access it all the time. It's more like a security blanket.

Matt: Yeah, peace of mind, absolutely. So you use Burner to keep your personal and your work life separate. Do you ever use Burner for personal stuff?

Katie: Right now it's just my second line for work. Before I got married I tried running my own business, and having my clients call my cell phone at all hours and not necessarily being able to tell who was calling really was disruptive. So when I decided to do my own business I promised my family that I would take every step to keep it to Monday to Friday, 8 to 5, and keep it separate from our personal lives. So it has been perfect for that.

And now that my kids are getting older and making phone calls, I can see how it would be really helpful. We don't have a land line, and they're not quite old enough to have their own phone, so I can see how it would be an inexpensive for them to have their own phone number that they can use to keep it separate from my information.

Matt: And to protect them.

Katie: Yeah, definitely.

Matt: As a freelancer, do you have any recommendations for other creative professionals who are doing what you're doing—to start their own business, to work with clients in that way?

Katie: I think that the most important thing—and I also learned it from other individuals in my field that work on their own—was to set clear, divisive boundaries between your work and your personal life. Including setting your own schedule and abiding by it.

I let my clients know that if there is an emergency, if there's something that's super important, I'm not going to ignore you call. Just let me know. But outside of that, those are my family hours. So I would recommend, to be successful, that you also preserve that time for yourself and your family.

And for me, being able to have a separate phone number and not carry two phones with me was an amazing way to do that. So that's been fantastic.

I also do the same thing in my house—I have a separate area where I work and that's all that happens there. Working from home, it can kind of get a little tricky sometimes. You'll want to work on your bed, or out in the living room. It sort of works well to compartmentalize it and to have those boundaries and say, this is what this is for and at this time it's over.

My first time around I didn't do very well with that, the second time around I was much more successful.

Matt: Well thank you Katie, it was great to hear about your experiences, that was great.

Why a Licensed PI Uses Disposable Phone Numbers at Work

Many professionals and small business owners rely on Burner to run their business, so we thought it would be interesting to showcase some of our most compelling customers, people who rely on Burner and our commitment to personal privacy to help run their day-to-day operations.


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The first person we thought of was Marc Bourne, a cyber intelligence expert and licensed private investigator from the Know It All Intelligence Group. His expertise has been featured on ABC News, Fox Business, and Marc Cuban’s Cyber Dust app.

Marc Bourne - Burner User and Cyber Intelligence Expert

More importantly, the company he co-founded is a “premier corporate and legal investigative services firm,” and he, his clients, and his licensed private investigators rely on Burner in their work to protect themselves and their clients.

“I love Burner,” Marc told me in a short interview (audio and video embedded below). “I think that Burner app is one of the greatest inventions. We use it on a daily basis in almost every aspect of our investigations.”

Using Burner to Stay Organized

When I inquired about Marc’s ideal setup, he told me that not only does it help protect his personal information, but it also keeps him organized. “Usually, we will create a separate Burner number for every investigation that we're doing. This helps keep our investigators organized with who they are speaking to in regards to a specific investigation and who is calling them back.”

More Flexible Business Phone Lines

How Carrier Numbers Expose Your Personal Information

I was also very interested in the chance to dig into how carrier phone numbers can expose people’s personal information. At Burner, we often encounter people who have no idea that their personal information has probably already been exposed through nonchalant usage of their carrier phone number online.

Marc’s background in cyber intelligence gives him unique insights into this danger.

Burner for Business Phone Numbers - Interviews
Matt: As a cyber intelligence expert, can you tell us a little bit about how carrier phone numbers—which are the numbers that the carrier assigns to someone when they give them a phone plan—are associated with public and private records of people's personal information?

Marc: It's very interesting, and it's more publicized than most people know. If you have a regular phone number from any one of the top cell carriers, I can usually find subscriber information in just a matter of minutes. Prepaid phones, it's a little bit harder. Apps like Burner, it's virtually impossible to find subscriber information because of it being such a private app and using disposable phone numbers.

But you also have to look at marketing. Every time you go to a supermarket and apply for these reward cards, the first thing they ask you for is your phone number. The next thing you're doing is getting all kinds of bulk commercial mail, advertisements, they're getting your email address—which, that's another story is they can grab that kind of information from your cell phone number.

When you use Burner, you're completely cutting that off. You're completely limiting the marketing, you're completely limiting the advertising people will do because they don't know who that number belongs to so they can't sell that information to third parties who then prey on people to try to sell them things.

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us, Marc. We’re proud to be your number one provider of temporary and disposable phone numbers to protect you and your clients.

Visit Marc’s website to see more of his excellent interviews at PrimeTimePI.com.

Interview with Marc Bourne, Cyber Intelligence Expert

Audio on SoundCloud:

YouTube video of the same interview:

Transcript of Marc’s Interview

Matt: Marc is a licensed private investigator and cyber intelligence expert, and he's the vice president and co-founder of the Know It All Intelligence Group, a national investigative services company based in Philadelphia, PA. Before we get started, can you just tell us a little bit about your background? How did you get into private investigation and cyber intelligence?

Marc: I've always been curious about investigation, security, law enforcement. Growing up, I wanted to get into law enforcement. Then as I started working in the security and investigative end, I saw that there was a complete industry in the private sector that pretty much dealt with the same thing that police and law enforcement agencies deal with on a daily basis. So it was at that time that I decided to take that road down the private sector.

Know It All Intelligence Group is entering its eighteenth year this year for all types of investigations. Business to business investigations, as well as private, personal investigations such as missing persons, cheating spouses, insurance fraud, stolen items—you name it, we do it.

Matt: So we're here today to talk about Burner. How do you use Burner, specifically, in your job?

Marc: First of all, Matt, I've got to tell you—I love Burner. I think that Burner app is one of the greatest inventions. We use it on a daily basis in almost every aspect of our investigations.

Usually, we will create a separate Burner number for every investigation that we're doing. This helps keep our investigators organized with who they are speaking to in regards to a specific investigation and who is calling them back in regards to a specific investigation.

We utilize some of the virtual phone numbers for what we call pre-texting, which is an investigative industry term that basically means that we hide our identity when we call places to obtain information. For instance, if I knew you were in Maryland for a conference, and I started calling around to hotels to try and find you, I would use a Burner number so that my number couldn't be traced back to our investigative firm. We utilize that when we're making certain deals on Craigslist, when we're searching human trafficking, things like that. So Burner really plays an important part in our everyday investigations.

Matt: So it protects you and it protects your clients.

Marc: Yes, absolutely.

Matt: Are there cases where you have your clients set up a Burner number, too?

Marc: Yeah. In cases where people are looking for privacy, we have had a couple instances where some of our clients are adult webcam actresses and actors, and they want to keep their private life completely separate from their webcam life. They have come to us for consultation when their personal life has gotten exposed. So the first thing we tell them is get a Burner app, make sure that anything you use for your professional life is on the Burner app. Any phone numbers that you're giving our for your private life, that can be your personal phone number. Along with any other security tips that we give them. Yes, we definitely recommend Burner to all of our clients that are seeking privacy.

Matt: So as a way to separate your personal life and your work life, and as a way to protect your personal information.

Marc: Yeah, absolutely.

Matt: As a cyber intelligence expert, can you tell us a little bit about how carrier phone numbers—which are the numbers that the carrier assigns to someone when they give them a phone plan—are associated with public and private records of people's personal information?

Marc: It's very interesting, and it's more publicized than most people know. If you have a regular phone number from any one of the top cell carriers, I can usually find subscriber information in just a matter of minutes. Prepaid phones, it's a little bit harder. Apps like Burner, it's virtually impossible to find subscriber information because of it being such a private app and using disposable phone numbers.

But you also have to look at marketing. Every time you go to a supermarket and apply for these reward cards, the first thing they ask you for is your phone number. The next thing you're doing is getting all kinds of bulk commercial mail, advertisements, they're getting your email address—which, that's another story is they can grab that kind of information from your cell phone number.

When you use Burner, you're completely cutting that off. You're completely limiting the marketing, you're completely limiting the advertising people will do because they don't know who that number belongs to so they can't sell that information to third parties who then prey on people to try to sell them things.

Matt: Do you have any other recommendations or tips for people about how to use your number safely online or in person?

Marc: The one thing I try to stress to college students is get a Burner number. With a lot of this online dating, meeting people in the bar scene, college girls have no clue about privacy and safety. They're not thinking of that. They go to bars, they have that false sense of security, and unfortunately sexual assaults in colleges are happening on a regular basis. And what we've seen is that people are getting information just by a phone number. You meet somebody at a bar and you give them your phone number...you can go online and pay $10 to these online companies and they can get a ton of information off of your phone number.

When you're meeting somebody for the first time and there may be a potential romantic interest, give them your Burner number. That way, if you're not feeling it you can delete or Burn the number and be done with it. Eventually, if things kick off you can give them your personal number. But I always stress that in the online dating scenes, Burner app is essential for safety when meeting new people as well.

Matt: Awesome, that's really great information. Thanks, Marc. I don't really have any more questions. Is there anything else you want to add?

Marc: Like I said, I just love the Burner app. I can't wait to seeing the upgrades that you guys keep coming up with it. It's a great app.

Hustle Harder with More Flexible Burner Subscriptions

We’ve had many productive conversations with customers who rely on Burner to make their living. These incredible people are entrepreneurs, freelancers, innovators, and networkers.

What all of our power users have in common is a need for more than one phone number to help them manage multiple side projects, or run a business, or manage complex social lives.

Their hustle is beyond question, but they also value their privacy.

So for these customers, due to popular demand, we’re pleased to announce that we’re expanding Burner’s subscription options. You can now get a 1 Line or 3 Line Burner subscription with flexible billing options.

Burner for business phone numbers

All subscription plans include:

  • Unlimited calls, texts, and picture messages
  • Auto-renewing Lines
  • Line swaps—change your number once a month per line
  • Spam blocking on ALL lines with Nomorobo
  • Priority support with faster response times

1 Line and 3 Line Subscription Plans

Formerly, we called our only monthly subscription plan Burner Premium. This term is now being deprecated in favor of the 1 Line Subscription.

So if you had a Burner Premium plan already, not much has changed except that now your plan is called a 1 Line Subscription. The price remains the same at $4.99 per month for unlimited calling, texting, and picture messaging.

Burner Subscription Phone Numbers

What is new is the option to switch over to yearly billing, and save 20% ($3.99/month). Once you upgrade your app to Burner 3.6 for iOS or Android, look for the new 🔥 UPGRADE action in the menu.

In addition, we’ve also added a 3 Line Subscription for $14.99/month. This is where the power users mentioned above, those who need multiple lines to manage their side projects or business, to separate their work and personal lives in the Burner app, will really want to go. It means more auto-renewing Burner lines with less hassle, plus all the features you’ve come to expect from our subscription.

If you sign up for the 3 Line Subscription on a yearly basis, you’ll save about 22% ($11.67/month).

Zapier Enhances Functionality for Professionals and Idea People

Since the announcement of our Zapier integration beta last month, we've also added many more ways to enhance Burner's functionality for professionals.

If you’re looking for enhanced productivity in your communications, or a way to automate tasks or receive text-based notifications for important events, check out our list of recommendations.

New Zap templates include using Burner for managing event RSVPs, automating text messages to new clients, sending completed Asana tasks as a text message from Burner, or getting text messages when Calendly invitees cancel a meeting.

Burner Zapier Productivity Templates

Here are some of our favorite Zap templates.

You can see the full list of templates and read more about our Zapier integration for enhancing productivity at our Zapier + Burner page.

If you already have the Burner app, you can upgrade to a 1 Line or 3 Line subscription by clicking here.

New users get a free phone number with a 7-day free trial. Download Burner for iOS or Android.

Turbocharge Your Fundraisers with Burner Smart Phone Numbers

Whether it’s a walk-a-thon, Girl Scout cookies, gala tickets, silent auctions, or sub sandwiches, it always seems to be “that time of year” for the important causes in our lives and families.  

If you’re collecting donations, pledges, RSVP’s or volunteer commitments, however, there’s no question that SMS is the modern way to do it. But it’s unwieldy—and noisy—to do on your personal phone line.

Here’s one way to automate fundraising and sales efforts—use a smart phone number app like Burner to build an automated order line. Not only can a 5-minute setup help make fundraising fun again, but you’ll be able reach a whole new audience online, automate some repetitive tasks…and maybe even have some techno-fun in the process.

Burner lines (school, work, fundraising, volunteering, airbnb)

Automate Sales with Burner’s Smart Phone Number Platform

When we say an automated order line, we mean a smart phone number with autoresponders and direct integrations to popular apps like Google Sheets.

This simple setup with help you move beyond a simply “autoresponder” into something more intelligent and useful. With a few tweaks, this can quickly become a new direct sales channel that works even when you’re not.

Burner’s smart phone number platform has been designed to make it easy to create your own order line. Using the Burner app, you can:

  1. Create a new disposable phone number that conceals your personal number

  2. Set up simple autoresponder text messages

  3. Customize your voicemail greeting, notifications, and other settings (so you can unplug or be very involved, depending on your preference)

  4. Integrate with apps like Google Sheets, Slack, Dropbox, etc.

  5. Manage everything right from your smartphone
Burner's Google Sheets integration

The Girl Scout Cookie Line

To illustrate this example, we’re going to show you how one of our founders used Burner to help his daughter succeed in one of the most popular fundraising movements in the country: Girl Scout Cookie sales.

Selling the nearly irresistible Girl Scout Cookies is one of the primary methods that local Girl Scout Troops use to raise funds for their activities, while also providing a great opportunity to teach girls about business, goal setting, ethics, and more. Traditionally, cookie season means Scouts go door to door, relying on Thin Mint-vs.-Samoa rivalries and the hankerings of their parents, friends, and neighbors, or set up tables in front of the local grocery store. The visit to Mom or Dad’s office with a well-rehearsed spiel and an order form in hand is also a time-tested tactic.

Girl Scout cookies being no more immune to change than anything else, the digital realm is now part of the playing field for modern young entrepreneurs, too. And what better way to reach friends, aunts, and uncles—while teaching tomorrow’s CEOs about marketing and technology—than by SMS?

Of course you could use your parental cell phone, but Burner enables girls make their own custom phone lines that will maintain their privacy (an important concern for any kid) and help them gather and organize incoming orders using tools like text auto-replies and integrations with Google Sheets.

More tools and more methods mean more sales, and that will lead to more funds for the Troop.

Here’s how it works.

How to Create a Simple Automated Ordering Line

With a few easy steps, you too can have your very own automated Girl Scout Cookie Line to take requests or reservations for cookie sales. Note that with a few tweaks this can also be used for school fundraisers (kids selling coupon books or wrapping paper), or direct sales of any kind.

When it’s set up, you simply post the number online to reach a larger audience, take requests from a phone or computer, and delete the number when you’re done—all the while protecting your privacy and personal phone number.

Here’s the process:

  1. Create a Burner line

  2. Name it “Cookie Line 🍪” or something else that you’ll remember

  3. Set up an auto-reply for texts that shows what inventory you currently have on hand

  4. Connect Google Sheets to collect all the requests and keep them in one place

  5. (Optional) Connect Slack so you can reply from the desktop computer.

  6. Post the number to Facebook, Twitter, or directly message it to your friends
The cookie line UI step by step

Once the reservations/requests start rolling in, simply show up with cookies and make the sale. This is a great time-saver because you can schedule the sales, and find people with real intent to buy rather than knocking on doors and crossing your fingers, or waiting outside department stores in the hot sun all day long.

As a parent, you’ll be happy because it’s more efficient. As a Girl Scout, you’ll be happy because it will lead to more sales.

With Burner, you can create as many automated order lines as you need, for any venture. Whether you’re selling clients, dictionaries, or girl scout cookies, this method could help expand your sales efforts into new territories.

Don’t be afraid to get creative. Put the technology to work for you, and you’ll leapfrog ahead of the competition.

Good luck with the fundraiser!