By Tilly Kidman
Whether you’ve taken a jump away from the corporate world, decided to go freelance or you’re fresh out of university, setting up your own business is no easy feat. There are decisions upon decisions to be made and at times you might feel swamped by just how many aspects of setting up your own business there are to consider.
There’s 101 (and more!) amazing reasons to become your own boss from flexibility to a better quality of working life, but this does come at a price. Your stress will probably reach new levels but you’re most likely to be more than aware of this already. Luckily there are tonnes of amazing tips and blog posts out there like the one you’re reading now from experienced freelancers and entrepreneurs that have had to make all the tricky decisions that are endlessly filling up your brain.
One major obstacle I personally found difficult to overcome, and choose the decision that would lead me in the right path was where my freelancing job would be based. Ironically, one of my clients are a commercial property agent, so I had a wealth of property knowledge and advice at my grasp which was lucky but not everyone is so fortunate in this position!
So here’s what I learnt.
The Home Office Route
- It’s a cheaper alternative and in some cases there simply isn’t an alternative if you’re going it alone and can’t afford to put down a deposit for your own office. In some cases your ‘home office’ might actually look like more of a sofa, but that’s ok! We all have to start somewhere.
- It’s comfortable! You’re surrounded by your home comforts, you can wear sweatpants, and you can raid the fridge and whatever time of the day without being judged by any fellow office workers.
- There’s no commute. Say goodbye to buses, trains and filling up on fuel all.the.time as your new commute is from bedroom to downstairs.
Whilst working from home I found the main benefits to me were financial saving and comfort. If I’m honest though it was all a little too comfy. I found my motivation levels took a hit and I was actually unable to concentrate as thoroughly. I enjoyed the loss of my commute but sometimes I craved getting out of the house and back into the big wide world.
- It’s more expensive but it does offer a lot of benefits. For example in my early freelancing days I found I held a lot of meetings in nearby coffee shops as I didn’t have a premise to meet up with potential clients. Although most expect this, I did have some questions asked from time to time regarding the location of my business.
- It can give your business a more esteemed, professional image. Potential clients might even put more trust into you if you’re working from a commercial office as opposed to from home. This is very dependent on your industry and work type though it must be noted.
When first taking the plunge into renting office space it can be daunting due to the heavy financial restraints and risk. It can however enable to your grow your business and flourish, even if it means cutting down on personal lifestyle expenses whilst you get your affairs in order. Here are a few top tips to get you started:
- Consult a local commercial property agent, they really do know best! Most offer free consultations and they might just open up your eyes to property you didn’t know was on offer or alternative ways of renting such as office sharing. Use their knowledge to your advantage.
- Always have a contingency plan! Moving into your first commercial property with enough funds to cover a month’s rent just isn’t going to cut it. You’re likely to be held into a contract so I would always suggest having at least three months’ rent put aside for when you make your first move, just in case.
- Look into your competitors and what they’re doing, where are they based? Is location important to the success of your business?
- Have a solid plan, note down your expectations in terms of business growth and how you plan on reaching your goals. Perhaps an office rental won’t be feasible until a couple of years down the line but it’s important to always have something to work towards.
- Know your options! Seek out all opportunities, from renting your own serviced office space to perhaps even sharing space with another start-up company. This way your bills and the cost of maintaining the space will be halved and the financial pressures eased.
Do you have any experience of making the move from home office to your first rented business property? Is it something you’re considering? I would love to hear your stories in the comments!
Tilly is a BA (hons) marketing graduate from the UK, she currently works on a freelance basis for commercial property agent Barker Storey Matthews.