You decided to start a business, as a consultant, and you finally have some solid clients that are providing income. You schedule a call, and it gets interrupted by someone ringing the doorbell. You are embarrassed but continue on. After the call, you start to wonder, should I start looking at office space to avoid this from happening? Did I just lose credibility? You can have a home office, and still be a successful credible consultant, thanks to technological innovations, and adjustments to make to your workspace effective. Here are pros and cons to consider when debating which setting is right for you.
Pros of Having a Home Office
- You save money – The cost of an office can be unexpectedly expensive. If you are just starting out, it could damage your cash flow, that is crucial to your business. Having a home office is the more economical choice for your budding consultant business. If you are in debt, and just starting out, this could be the most critical factor for you. You will be able to save money, and build your business.
- Most office work can be done from home – Given technology today, there is almost nothing you can’t do virtually, meetings, presentations, collaboration on team projects, instant messaging, these are all possibilities from the comfort of your home office. There is virtual office software available that will assist you to ensure these types of things are set up, without hiccups.
- You set your own schedule – This can be perceived as both a pro and con. While you are able to work on things, on your time and whenever you choose, having a set schedule is still a priority to meet your clients needs. They need to know when you will be available to respond to their requests. At the same time, this allows you the freedom to work without the distractions of coworkers, and to take breaks whenever it is best for you. You can do your grocery shopping while you are free for a few hours, and work on projects when you have time early morning, or in the evening. Each one will need to determine their best and most effective working hours. You are able to work out from home
- You can choose your own office space – Choosing what your office space looks like, can make a huge difference in your moods each day, and generally make you happier. Choosing a desk that is close to a window, so the sunlight can come in, can make each day more productive and enjoyable. If you have ever been stuck in an office without windows, hunched over your desk, you know what I am talking about. You can also stay healthy by purchasing a fairly inexpensive Standing Desk Converter. FlexiSpot offers a Standing Desk Converter, that stays within the footprint of the desktop, so that you can work standing up, or sitting down, without taking up much added space. It is simple to adjust so it suits you perfectly, and has a quick-release, removeable keyboard tray. This can help you be more efficient in your work, and relieve any added pain from being hunched over an office desk all day.
Cons of Having a Home Office
- An official office space for your local clients is more professional than a home office or rented office space – This one could be up for debate in a few years, but most clients like being able to meet their consultants in an official office space. It can create better impressions than meeting at a shared work space, or coffee shop, and enhance the reputation you have with your client. It can also minimize background noises and distractions that occur at home or in a coffee shop. You are able to have more discreet and confidential conversations with your client, depending on the nature of your work.
- You may have to purchase additional equipment or software to get your consultant business up and running – If you are just starting out, chances are you are able to work off of a laptop and Wi-Fi, but if you are more specialized, you may need to purchase additional equipment to be most effective. This could be for security reasons, or because you require additional monitors and storage. You will likely need to purchase software for meetings, email, and documents. To set up your home office in an effective way, you may have to add additional lines for Wi-Fi, and designate specific rooms as your personal office space. If you have a family, this can hinder what they can/can’t do during the day and could affect their day to day. Considering your family and their needs is a factor to consider in having a home office.
- Communication problems due to unexpected noise or technology – As discussed in the opening paragraph, you could be on an important call with a client, and unexpectedly the doorbell rings, or the dog starts to bark. This could cause a break in your presentation and could hinder the attention your client had on your meeting. Or your Wi-Fi cuts out, and you now have to call the Internet company to get it back on track. This delay could cause a client to lose interest in your services.
After considering all the pros and cons, remember you are the one who can determine what will be the most effective and best suited for your business needs. For most consultants, starting out with a home office is the path to take. You can save up the cash that you need, and make the most impact on your home business.