When I first started freelancing, I was convinced that I needed my own office.
You know... something in a high-traffic area, a storefront and a BIG sign.
A couple times, I even came pretty close to getting one.
My thought was, if everyone saw me working there, the business would just be pour in.
Fortunately, I never ended up finding the right place and I took a job working for someone else.
After 12 years, here’s what I’ve learned:
1. You don’t need an office (yet)
If you’re a freelance designer/designerpreneur you can absolutely work from home. Why take on the extra overhead for one person?
The catch is, you need to have a good setup. Get a decent desk, a comfortable chair and make sure you have privacy. If there are too many distractions or loud noises then it won’t work.
2. You don’t need a storefront or a BIG sign
It’s been my experience that this industry doesn't get walk-in clients. Even when you do, they’re usually not the kind of clients you want.
I’ve worked in every kind of office imaginable. The one thing that holds true is that you don’t find good clients (or jobs) based on where your office is.
Almost all my clients have come from networking, referral or online sources.
3. If you take on partners or hire employees, you still don't necessarily need an office
My current business has four partners. It was a full year before we even started talking about getting an office space.
We all worked from home and used Skype, Basecamp and Google Docs to stay organized.
It wasn't until we started to hire multiple employees that we went out and secured an office space.
4. Boardrooms are overrated
Let me start by saying, my business has a killer boardroom table.
But, yet less than 10% of my meetings happen at it. It's a luxury item, but definitely not a necessity.
These days, most of our client meetings are remote via join.me (online meeting software). It’s usually more convenient for both us and them.
Sometimes clients prefer in person meetings. If that’s the case, offer to meet at their location or the local coffee shop.
Don’t rush into something without weighing the options.
Think through the reasons you NEED an office. Don’t waste money on something if you can't come up with enough good ones.
When you reach a point where the the pros out weigh the cons, then it's time to start thinking about making the move.
Have your say...
Have a tip for others deciding on getting an office? Post your thoughts below.
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