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One of the benefits of freelancing is, you get to work at home.
Or in a coffee shop. Or in a boat.
Virtually anywhere, as long as you have a computer and Internet connection, right? For some, an Internet connection may not even be necessary.
But some freelancers choose to work in a real office. You know, a room not-in-your-house with a desk, printer and other accoutrements of “work.”
Benefits of A “Real” Office
We’re having an interesting discussion at the Solo Masterminds forum about this. One member shared the many benefits she has experienced since moving outside the house and into an honest-to-goodness office. These include:
- increased focus and productivity (Imagine how much more you could accomplish without the distractions from the TV, refrigerator, family or your warm, cozy bed)
- more credibility to prospects and clients (They’ll take you more seriously when your business address is actually on the business side of town. In some offices, you can even access a board room for quiet and private meetings or presentations with prospects and clients.)
- opportunity to network with other business owners in the same building (Your biggest client just might be renting space beside you)
This Solo Masterminds member is already seeing an increase in the number of clients she’s getting, since moving her office from home to a “real” office.
Especially for freelancers who don’t have a dedicated office space at home, the lure of having a real office is strong. When my teenage daughter took over my home office, I had to move my work area to the upstairs hallway (ok until the roof started leaking), then into the 10-year-old’s bedroom (she kept using the computer to record wacky videos), then into the basement (too depressing), and finally into a corner of the living room beside the munchkin boy’s play area (too crowded with mega blocks). None of these places were ideal for working.
Now I have one end of the family as my home “office.” It’s still not perfect; I can’t close a door and shut out noises from the TV, my kids or my husband’s choir practicing.
Would I Move My Home Office Into A Real Office?
This got me thinking: if I had the chance, would I choose to work in a real office?
Right now, of course, this is not an option for me. I still have two young children, and I need to be at home when they get home. We’re also (still) a one-car family, so if I had to go to and from my office every day, it would complicate the already dizzying “car schedule.” Plus, with planned basement repairs, I need to cut and avoid every expense I possibly can.
But what if… all those situations vanished into thin air. Would I? Could I?
There are other things to consider, of course. The first of which is the fact that I’m lazy. If I could stay in pajamas all day and never shower, I would. It’s only my own vanity that drives me to change into my working uniform (a t-shirt and yoga pants) every morning. So the thought of having to put on going-out clothes, just to go to work, is not attractive to me at all. And this laziness isn’t going to vanish anytime soon.
Another issue for me is making sure I have all the documents I need. Mine isn’t entirely a paperless office, far from it. If I’m writing a sales page for an ebook, you bet I’m going to print that ebook. The point is, I’m constantly pulling documents from folders, referring to books or even digging up old magazines in the course of my work. What if, in the heat of writing, I discover I left a crucial document back home?
For all these reasons, I’m keeping my freelancing at home.
How about you? Where is your working work space located right now? How could you make it more conducive to freelancing?
Do you consider a real office, outside your home, to be the ideal work space for freelancers?
photo credit: Hannah Donovan