Freelancers and startup entrepreneurs often start their operations directly from home. They may begin part-time, on nights and weekends, while working a day job. It’s the perfect solution, since they can save money while they’re building a business. However, over time the work-from-home option can become less desirable, especially if there are so many distractions. Getting out of the house can not only help you remove yourself from those distractions, but it can also help you set a structure for your day. You’ll commute to a place each day as though you were going to an office, forcing you to spend those hours focusing on your work.
Whether you’re interested in combining your work from home with an outside space or you plan to work 40 hours a week in that space, there are several options. Your choice will likely depend on how many hours each day you want to work in the space. These options will help you stay on budget while also improving your productivity.
Many coffeehouses now offer free Wi-Fi as a convenience to customers. While most workers gravitate toward the chain coffee shops, independently-owned cafés often provide an ambiance that is more conducive to creativity. As a bonus, you’ll also be supporting a fellow small business. This option isn’t entirely free, however, since most coffeehouses expect customers to buy something every hour or so to avoid being seen as a laptop squatter.
A coffee shop is the best option if you’re still at the phase where you haven’t begun hiring employees yet. You can grab your laptop and head over there each day whenever you need a couple of hours away from the distractions of home. Some people thrive on the activity, as well as the culture of a coffeehouse. Try working from a coffee shop a couple of times to see if you’re one of those people. You may find that you spend more time people watching than working, making it a non-option.
Public libraries now offer free Wi-Fi, as well as a quiet environment in which to work. If you’re the type of person who needs a distraction-free work atmosphere, this may be a great choice. If you choose a larger library in town, you’ll likely find many corners that go largely unnoticed by library patrons. You can slide into one of those corners and work for hours with only the occasional person passing by in search of a book.
The one downside to this option is comfort. Many libraries still use the uncomfortable chairs often found in school classrooms. These chairs aren’t cushioned, making it difficult to sit for hours at a time. You’ll also encounter difficulty making and receiving phone calls and doing so will eventually result in a stern warning from an unhappy librarian. If your local library has comfortable seating and your job requires no conversation, this may be a workable option for you.
Realizing the growing popularity of working from home, innovative entrepreneurs have opened co-working centers in cities around the world. You can rent a desk for a day or by the month. Best of all, desks often include access to conference rooms and break areas, providing all the conveniences of an office without the high rent.
While co-working centers will take money out of your monthly budget, the benefits it brings may make it worth it. These locations are generally filled with other small businesses and freelancers. When a small marketing firm is in need of a graphic designer, that firm is likely to turn to the designer seated at the desk next to them. Co-working centers often host networking events to introduce members to each other and encourage everyone to work together.
Artists have long worked out of studios to get the space they need to create masterpieces. But studio rentals aren’t limited to visual artists. Writers, designers, and other creatives can benefit from this type of space, as well. The good news is that multiple artists can share the same studio without disrupting each other. Even if they’re working at the same time, many creative professionals work quietly, making this a great space option.
To find artists interested in sharing their studios, network with other artists in your community. Check with your local arts agencies to see if you can post a request for studio space through its website or social media sites. There may be an artist currently struggling to meet monthly rent and your offer to share the space and the costs will be a huge relief.
Shared Office Space
When you’re trying to get to the next stage of your business, it’s likely you’ll be ready for a space you can call your own. This will give you the mailing address you need to establish relationships with clients, as well as the permanency you need to attract investors or land bank loans.
Also known as an executive suite or shared suite, shared office space gives you an office you can call your own at least part of the time. It also provides a conference room for meeting with clients, as well as either an in-person or virtual receptionist to take your calls and provide basic information to callers.
If budget is an issue, there are options besides traditional office suites. You could purchase old warehouse space and turn it into an eclectic office. You could set up your own garage as an office. You could also rent a room in an old house and set it up as your office.
Sites like Craiglist are great for finding local rental opportunities. As you complete your search, remember that a little paint can go a long way toward making an attractive office. Make sure a rental option is zoned for commercial use, especially if you’ll be inviting clients and conducting meetings in the space.
When it’s time to get out of the house and work in a remote location, consider the many options available. You can conserve your monthly budget while also getting the separate location you need to be taken seriously as a professional.