Summary

Where you work each day is an important decision. It’s a matter of dollars invested, productivity, professionalism, perception and positioning. It’s a highly personal decision.

In this video, I break down pros and cons of each option: get an office space, or work from a home office. I’ll share the criteria to think about so you can decide what’s best for you.

Transcript

Hey, David Bradley here. And in this video, I want to talk to you about whether you should get office space or not. And in particular, I’m thinking of the perspective of the consultant, the marketing service provider, the marketing agency, someone in the early stages of starting out. Now, the first thing I would think about is, are you alone or not? Do you have a partner or a team that you’re working with? In any case, I think it’s always better to get in the same room with a team member. When possible that’s where real collaboration happens. That’s where real great ideas are spawned. And there is also a mutual bent beneficial type of motivation that will happen when you’re with each other. You can keep the energy moving forward. But for those of us who aren’t on our own, because we’re just not there yet to have a team, we are doing this solo or it’s our choice to continue solo for the foreseeable future.

Let’s set that aside and let’s look at the rest of the equation starting fresh. So you can look to rent or lease an office space. I won’t touch on buying because that’s a whole nother situation. But if you’re looking to rent a space, there’s a couple of things that you can consider first is it does get you out of the house into a professional setting. So that means you might be able to network. You might be able to meet new people. You’re not going to do that from your living room, from your kitchen counter, from wherever you might be. But when you get out into the city and you get out into a, even a coworking space, which I’ll touch on more into wherever, it might be in a professional setting, you’re meeting new people. You’re getting seen by people. You’re starting conversations, you’re connecting.

So there’s a big opportunity there. The other thing is, like I said, if you have team members around the collaboration is much better, it’s easier to communicate, to go back and forth, to just run through an idea. And it is energizing to be around other people when they’re working on the same thing as you, when they’re working towards the same mission, it helps to keep things flowing, keep things moving forward. So it’s wonderful if you have the team, if not, you’re not going to have clients in this business. So you can always have clients visit. I think it’s always better when possible to go visit the client because you get more of a depth of understanding of how their business works. And typically the client seems to appreciate that. But if you want clients to visit you, there’s always the benefit of that. You’re not going to have a client coming to your house.

It is helpful to have a professional address as well. So when you have the office space that you’re renting, you’re not saying people, having them send a check to your house, they’re being sent to a business suite. And that is a helpful image. And people do judge books by cover. It’s part of the business. You hire the people that you believe that you can trust, and you can trust them when they look professional, when they look successful and that plays a role, and it feels good, honestly, to go to an office, to have your space, to have the company name on the wall, to whatever it might be just to be in that environment and typically feels good. I find it helps me just get more motivated than staying home. Now, some of the cons to renting a space. Well, first obviously it costs money.

Assuming you have a home and you’re not homeless right now. You can get started without putting any money down. It might pay for some equipment. You might outfit your room in some way, and we’ll touch on that, but you don’t have to pay anything additional. As far as rent goes, when you’re renting a space, then there’s a significant cost. There, there might also be parking. There might also be utilities, wifi, et cetera, depending on the space that we’re looking at. Many of them have those things included, many others don’t. So that’s another thing to consider. There’s also the travel time that goes into it. So if it takes you 20, 30 minutes to get into the office, then that’s basically an hour a day that you would have otherwise to spend, however you might need to. And that is just on the commute. There’s the long term commitment as well.

Many office spaces require at least 12 months, but really three, three to five years for you to rent a space. The trend is changing as the world changes, as coworking becomes more popular, that the barrier in that sense comes down a bit. And coworker spaces typically are month to month for example, but that is something that you still need to consider in the big picture. What kind of commitment do I need to make? And is this something I want to and can commit to for that long? What happens if I need to expand to get a new space? If I grow, if I move, whatever it might be. So all something to consider. And ultimately when you have an office space, that’s another space that you have to maintain. Whether that’s fixing the printer, or if it’s cleaning up a, whatever it might be, there is another space to maintain some places you go might have cleaning service.

They might have a shared space that you’re renting that is handled for you. But it’s another factor that you need to look at when you’re looking at options. Now, let’s say you just want to stay home, work from home, have your office space in your home, which can be great. Especially if you get, if you need a one bedroom, you get a two bedroom. If you need a two bedroom, get a three bedroom, have a dedicated office space. That’s always very helpful. It is a little bit more in terms of rent from the place that you would be renting. If you don’t own a home, it would mean having less space for other purposes. If you own a home, if you’re able to convert a room, but for your business, that is a reasonable expense. Typically. if you have the available space, if you have the option as compared to renting an office space, if you still want to stay home, but either way, that is always an option working from a home office.

One of the pros to that is that it’s actually possible in certain jurisdictions, you have to check your local tax code, but you can write off part of that home office as office space. So that can be a helpful advantage to consider. It’s easy. You’re ready to go. As long as you’re living somewhere, you can get going. You can work anytime that you want to essentially, you don’t need to worry about the commute. If you need to go and do something, handle something on the weekend after hours, you’re already there. The office is a room away or downstairs or upstairs or wherever it might be. And there’s a lot more flexibility in how you spend your day. You can more freely, you know, go to go to the gym or go work out in the garage. You can be a little bit more flexible with your time and how you use it because you’re removing that main commute essentially.

And you have access to everything you have in your home. So if you want to go grab your gym clothes, that’s already ready to go. You just go in your closet, you grab it and you go there’s cons. Of course. So one of the big things I would say is that there no disconnect between work and home, and there is a difference that you only really feel once you have the office space to go to, and then your return home at the end, the disconnect is helpful so that you can have some time to rejuvenate so that you’re not always on. And the ultimate goal beyond all the hustle, hustle, hustle, claims that are out there. You want to have flexibility. You want to have control of your time. You want to enjoy your life. And part of that is disconnecting from work. Even if you love it, you need other hobbies and other things to do and some downtime.

And so having a home office, doesn’t always grant that at least not as easily, there’s also plenty of distractions that are possible. If you have children, if you have pets, if you just have an active neighborhood of some sort, it’s easy enough to be distracted and to not stay as focused. If you ever refrigerator, if you have video games, if you have any hobby that you’re interested in, if you have the option to just go in the garage and workout, all of these things become distractions and it becomes easy to justify. You know, I need that little break. I can, it would be nice to go and do that. So-And-So needs some attention, whatever it is. And you know, you have responsibilities to handle there, but you also have the responsibility of handling your business in the right way. You need to consider how much that is going to affect me?

So the next question is where do I go for office space? And I think most people get the idea of, well, I’ll go to LoopNet and see what’s available for leases. I’ll look around my local area. I’ll look at coworking spaces. The thing I want to talk about is the alternatives, the places that might not be out there advertising have space available, but if you go and reach out, then you might find out, Hey, they do have a space. That is something I’d be interested in. And the added benefit here is, as you do this outreach, you’re also forming connections with people that might be valuable to you and your business going forward. And the two categories that I think are most common here are CPAs are accountants and lawyers, and both of them tend to have relatively nice office space if they have a good sizable space and they might have space available.

Sometimes they sub out space to other lawyers, other accountants, et cetera. And likewise, they’d be happy to have you typically, as long as you’re also fitting in with their professional image. So you will always want to consider that type of a cultural fit and the environment, but that’s a wonderful way to get a very nice space at a reasonable cost, potentially with a nice connection to someone who might be helpful to you in some capacity. And it bypasses the typical structure. And sometimes they will operate a little bit more like a coworking space than a long term lease, which is helpful. There’ll be a little bit more flexible. And they typically also have the amenities of, they might have a secretary that may also handle intake for you. They might have a shared conference room and so on and so forth. So that is a little hidden gem.

I’m sorry for any lawyers and accountants that are contacted about office space that they’re not offering, but I think this is a great way to get some great office space as an alternative to the option of long term rentals that are three to five years or coworking spaces. The issue I have with coworking spaces is that it’s so easy to get distracted. It did. And I have found that in many of the coworking spaces that I visited, it’s part of the culture to distract everyone. And it kind of assumes that even if you’re in a meeting, it’s okay to interrupt, to drop in some banter, to just chat all day and hang out. And I think that it is challenging to get work done in those spaces, particularly for me, because I am easily distracted. I can’t have movement around me. Otherwise my eyes are darting around.

I’m not staying focused. I know that about myself. So I don’t allow that to be an environment that I’m going to work in. But even beyond that, I think the culture kind of works against being productive, getting work done and much rather have four to six highly productive hours a day than spending eight or 10 hours in a coworking space where I’m barely getting enough done. And I think that’s likely the case, but everyone has their own fit. So test it out for yourself. And before you commit to a coworking space, get a day, pass a week, pass, feel it out for yourself, see if it’s a good fit wherever you end up. I do think it’s important to invest in your space and that is either the environment or the technology that you’re using. One of the best changes I made was an investment in a new computer that I actually got an all in one because I thought it looks sleek.

It was an upgrade from my laptop. It performed a little better. It was a little bit newer. But the screen was, you know, double the size and that little investment got me a faster computer that allowed me to work faster with a better, bigger screen than just typing away on my laptop. I can have both if I needed to, but investment in technology is certainly helpful. If you want to stick to laptops, get one that isn’t slow, get one that doesn’t slow you down. You don’t need top of the line. You don’t need to spend $3,000 on a laptop, but you need something that is going to keep you moving forward quickly enough. And the second thing is you want to have decorations in your office that inspire you, that you enjoy being in that, you know, keep you motivated. And I’m not just saying motivational quotes, but whatever kind of artwork that you like.

I have some artwork behind me here that I like. So it’s up in my home office. I have a chair that I find comfortable that fits with my computer chair as well. And it’s all something that I have built up. I’ve continued to build up and continue to work on. As I find new artwork that I enjoy new things that make me more productive, that keep me focused, that I like the visual perspective of and those things. Aren’t all vital. You shouldn’t spend a ton of time. You shouldn’t spend the next month decorating your office, but I do think it’s important that you think about it. Well, maybe I should spend 20 bucks and add a plant. I like having plants in my office. And I think that would be a nice addition, whatever it might be, make those decisions quickly, but work on the environment.

As you find things to inspire you, as you find things that make you enjoy going into your office to getting to work, to getting productive, that all plays a role as well. So that’s a quick summary. Think about the office space of, do I want an office to go to the pros and cons to that? Do I want to work from home and the pros and cons to that? What are real office space options that I might consider looking at your budget. Look at the different alternatives I gave you as ideas. And then also think about whether I’m going to stay home or I’m going to go into my office. What do I need to invest to make it at least good enough to get into and be productive? I need a laptop, a computer, a desk, a chair. And then what would I like this to look like? What would be my, my full investment. If I want to really create a space that I love going to, that I enjoy working in that keeps me productive and focused.

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