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Beginning entrepreneur’s office rent choices, their pros and cons – and one optimal solution!

When I first started my business, it was a clear decision to work from home. First of all, one of the main reasons to work as a freelancer was to be able to have flexible hours and cut the commute time so I could spend as much time as possible with my family and not on the train. Secondly, being in the very beginning of my entrepreneurial career, I had the strong urge to cut costs as well.

Cost-efficiency is probably the reason number one why any beginning entrepreneur chooses to work in their guest bedroom (like I do,whenever we don’t have family members or friends visiting. But to be honest, I’m equally happy with our kitchen table, couch, balcony or the corner café).

But there is a con for every pro.  Let’s have a look at a few of them:

Efficiency

+++ Working from home often does save time and many office workers say that they are at their most efficient during occasional home-office days. No distractions that the office hustle brings to your days.

Working at home, you are tempted daily by laundry baskets calling your name. Dishwasher and kitchen cleaning offer endless procrastination opportunities. And while it is refreshing sometimes to start the working day in your pyjamas, there will be days when it might be hard to convey professionalism on the phone with a client wearing your spouses pyjama bottoms from 2005.

Cost

+++ Working from home saves money, if you have a spare bedroom anyway. Of course, it is a whole different story if you need to find a bigger place in order to have enough room for your desk, binders, laptop – whatever your business needs. Then it might actually be cheaper and more practical to rent a separate office.

When your business grows, it might be wise to separate your business entity from your private possessions. This decision goes hand in hand with the choice of your legal business form, but having a separate business address strengthens the separation and keeps you secure if things go legally or financially wrong at some point.

Concentration

+++ Working alone helps concentration, if you manage to close your ears from the calls of appliances.

But it can get lonely. No one to share your brightest ideas with, no one to have a coffee break with… Sometimes talking about your ideas with someone else, even informally around a cup of coffee can boost your business ideas, connect with a potential partner and so forth.

How about renting a shared space with colleagues?

+++ A shared office with colleagues working in the same field can have fruitful synergies for all parties involved.

But it can also come with complications. Who is responsible for finding a new member, if someone leaves? How do you share the fixed costs, like heating and water in an equitable way if everyone has different needs?

I fell into the perfect solution rather early on on my path, via a recommendation from a friend. She had heard about a co-working space, Impact Hub, and after a year and a half, I couldn’t be happier. The location is perfect (only a 15-minute train ride), the subscription model is flexible (I only work 1-2 days per week and the rest of the time from home), and the basic infrastructure has been taken care of. The membership includes coffee and internet and extras like printing are moderately priced (and somebody else takes care of all the techie stuff!). There are plenty of occasions to meet colleagues, find partners – and I have even found new clients.

What did you decide to do?  What led you to that decision and would you recommend it for others?