Office space can be very expensive. And if you’re running a side-gig then you may not have time to use it, to begin with. So what can you do if you don’t have (or want) your own office? Here are four alternatives.
1. Co-working spaces
This is the obvious first choice. Co-working spaces can be inexpensive and flexible, with no leases and the ability to drop in rather than have set office hours. You can also network with other like-minded people who may eventually become customers or partners. A potential downside is that they may still be out of reach of your low budget, and your choices may be limited depending on where you live.
2. Coffee shops
For many years I worked out of Starbucks. It actually wasn’t bad — the staff was awesome and super-friendly, and many coffee shops share these positive characteristics — and the only cost is the price of the food and beverages you purchase. If you choose a chain, you’ll always know what you’ll get regardless of which city you’re in (not to mention the delicious desserts). Downsides include the fact that you may have a hard time working with audio on your computer; after a while you may have to leave to be courteous to the other customers; and the chairs and tables may not be comfortable or ergonomic.
3. Home office
A home office is the most cost-efficient option, though it does require some setup. Not having to commute is a plus for many entrepreneurs, and you can control the environment to your liking. Personally, it’s too quiet for me. I like human interaction during the day, and when I’m working long hours, it can be hard to resist the temptation to take a break, or even a nap.
4. “Bum” a desk
This is a bit of a wildcard, but ask your friends if they can lend you a space in their areas. I much prefer this to the library or another very public shared space. It may take some searching, but I’ve found that there are many very supportive entrepreneurs willing to help each other out, especially if you ask very nicely, have great rapport, and/or offer to trade services.
An office isn’t in everyone’s budget, especially when first starting out. Feel free to be creative and use a mixture of these alternatives to get by until you can afford a little place you can call your own. And remember, solopreneurs don’t have to be solo. We can help you fill out the roles you’d like to delegate.