When I started my business, I had no place to work. I failed to take the time to plan how and where I would work. This failure caused several setbacks and a few bad choices. Attempting to work from the kitchen table, couch or my bed only created a deep frustration that led me to believe I had to have an office outside of my home.
As a business owner, having a defined place where you can “go to work” is a must. Defining what this space should look like and where to locate it should be part of your business plan. Looking at home offices online, on Pinterest, or of peers can lead to office envy and cause you to invest more than you really need to.
The first question to ask yourself is what do you truly need to accomplish your work? What size desk do you need? Will you need specialty equipment? How many bookshelves do you need? How much privacy do you need? What about silence, if a television is on in the background, will that cause an issue? Once you have a list of what you need, you can start to ask yourself how much space you need. If you need a large L-shaped desk to accommodate your workstyle and equipment, trying to place your office in the space under the stairs will not work for you.
Once you can clearly state what you need and the space you need, not what you want, you can begin to look at your home. I have known professionals who have turned their walk-in closets into their work lairs, written a bestselling novel, and moved to a larger home. I know entrepreneurial mothers who run a business from their car as they juggle their children and work. Only you will know what you truly need.
As you think about your true needs, do not worry about a place to meet with clients. It has become the norm to meet with clients at coffee shops, local restaurants, or other public places. While joining your local chamber of commerce could be a huge expense for your business, many chambers have a free office, and a few conference rooms members are allowed to use as needed. Chamber fees could look much more affordable when seen as “rent” for meeting rooms or office space.
Look at what your community has to offer. Many communities now have shared working space, where for a small monthly fee, you can have a place to work. For those who truly struggle to work from home, this option can be both affordable and productive. No matter where you choose to build your office, remember to focus on what you truly need versus what you think you need. It will save you both money and time.