4 Office Alternatives for the Solopreneur

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.

4 Issues I Learned to Manage as a Solopreneur

A “solopreneur” is an entrepreneur who works alone, or solo. I’ve heard variations of this definition, but it’s really as simple as that. Having been a solopreneur myself, I would recommend to other entrepreneurs that you go solo at least once in your career. Being truly on your own can really teach you a lot not only about yourself, but also about the aspects of entrepreneurship you like and are good at. Plus, that solo experience may help you work better with partners in the future. If you’re thinking of starting a business by yourself, then consider these issues that I learned to look out for in my time as a solopreneur.

Focus vs. Burnout

As an entrepreneur, focus is important and self-regulation is tough, though it comes easier to some than others. As a solopreneur, focus is essential because the buck stops with you — so get really good at it If you’re not already. But too much focus can cause burnout, especially if it looks like things are not getting better. If that’s the case, concentrate on small wins and modest improvements, and find an accountability partner to help you gain that perspective.

Things you don’t like to do, but your business needs

To use a personal example, I hate bookkeeping, so I find creative ways to avoid it. But it’s an important, though not urgent task that can make or break my business, so I get it done. For me, scheduling works. When it comes up on the schedule, I’m as hard on myself as I need to be to avoid procrastination and complete the task at hand.

Things you don’t know how to do, but your business needs

Don’t set things aside just because you don’t know how to do them. This is especially important if you’re dealing with government forms. Delegate, outsource or take a crash course. I prefer delegation, which, in the case of a solopreneur, is most likely the same as outsourcing. But if you can’t afford to do that, try to barter with a subject matter expert in exchange for providing one of your skills, or just buckle down and develop that skill yourself.

Feedback and Accountability

I’ve found it’s useful to have a sounding board, but working alone, it’s hard to develop one. You don’t have a board of directors yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create one among friends and/or colleagues who have similar experiences and that you trust. Obviously don’t share your detailed intellectual property and trade secrets if you’re not comfortable doing so, but you can always discuss high level issues and strategies. Sometimes just a different perspective will jog your brain to help discover new creative solutions to any problems you face.

Soloprenuership comes with unique challenges, and this list is by no means complete. But don’t let that discourage you – sometimes the only person who needs to believe in you, is you. And with that belief, your venture may grow into a rewarding and fulfilling business. As you grow, remember that you’re not alone. We can help you fill out any roles you’d like to delegate.