You get up. You “go” to work. But where do you actually go? If you’re just starting a new business, you might be working on the couch at home. But if the work-from-home lifestyle doesn’t work for you, it’s time to get creative with some other cheap options.
10 of our favorite workplaces for freelancers and entrepreneurs
1. Coworking space
Share office space with little commitment
If you like going to the same desk everyday, think about renting a regular spot at a coworking space. Some coworking spaces are even “themed” so that you’ll work along people in a similar industry. Usually you pay a low monthly membership fee that includes a nice place to sit and office amenities like WiFi, printers, and meeting space. You don’t need to commit to a long-term lease, and you still get the benefits of office facilities and friends by the water cooler.
2. Flexible workplace
A flexible workplace with all the basics, sometimes even for free
The highly public demise of WeWork aside, flexible office spaces are actually a great choice for budding entrepreneurs. If you don’t mind a more nomadic office existence, you can use a service that matches you with available office spaces and meeting rooms near you on a flexible basis. The atmosphere is a little different, and you might feel like more of a stranger than you would at a regular coworking space. Flexible workplaces are also a good option to fill in a gap in your normal office space, like if you need a large meeting room for just one day.
3. Startup hub or incubator
Membership typically includes office space, networking, and coaching
Many incubators and hubs have sprung up in recent years. The services they offer vary, from simple coworking spaces to more hands-on “boot camps.” When you’re a member, you usually get access to resources in addition to office space, like business coaching, legal advice, and the opportunity to network and hang out with other like-minded entrepreneurs. In exchange, some incubators ask for equity in your startup.
4. Shared office
Share the costs and obligations with other entrepreneurs
When you’re ready to put down roots, you might consider renting an office space with others. Together you will bear the costs and take care of the maintenance. This can be a good way to have a real office and the feeling of colleagues at a lower cost. Of course there is also organization and leases involved, but with good agreements a shared office can work fine.
5. Your own office
Your own workplace without distractions
If you’ve already made some progress with your business, you’ll want to move into a more professional place. Having your own office can make it easier to separate your work and home life and actually “leave” the business at the end of the day. If you rent your own office space, you have to arrange everything yourself. Of course, this also means that you can furnish and use your office exactly as you wish. And there are no chatty officemates to keep you from your work.
6. Tax deductible home office
Work from home, but with tax savings
Your first exploratory steps as an entrepreneur are often taken at home. If you do it right, you can work from a home office and deduct many of the cost from your taxes. Be sure to check and follow your country’s tax rules carefully. Typically a home office needs to be for “exclusive use” for your business – so you can’t deduct your kitchen table or bedroom. In some countries, the workspace at your home needs a separate entrance or separate facilities.
7. Outside in the park
Why work indoors when you can sit in the sun?
The perfect workplace for summer: with your tablet or phone you can go wherever you want. Most people don’t get enough sunlight anyway, and working outdoors has been shown to increase energy and creativity. Want to review the statistics for your website or Instagram? Then you might as well do so in the park, on the beach or in the woods, or while traveling the world as a digital nomad. If you become an entrepreneur for the feeling of freedom, working outside is a great option. Until autumn comes…
8. On location with your customer
If you always work on location, you hardly need any space of your own
If you work as a consultant on location at the client’s, it is hardly worthwhile to put money in your own office. You’re never there! Your company address will only be used for the registration, the mail, your company listings and the Impressum on your website.
9. Public library
The library is a cheap alternative if you don’t want to work from home
More and more libraries have quiet work places available. If you can’t stay focused at home, working in the library is a cheap alternative, though the facilities will be pretty minimal. You can always invest in a more professional workplace later on.
Working in a café is a great option, if you regularly order something
In cities with a lot of entrepreneurs, owners of coffee shops sometimes get tired of it: entrepreneurs taking up a table all day and hardly ordering anything. If you find a place where you are welcome, make sure you pay your way by ordering coffee and lunch, and not monopolizing the same spot all day.
How to choose a workplace?
The workplace that suits you differs not only per type of company, but also per person. Which one is right for you?
If you can ignore the surrounding distractions, a shared office is no problem. If you need silence, then your own space is much better. You can, of course, experiment with noise-cancelling headphones or a combination of different workplaces for different tasks.
If you are always on the phone for your work, a coworking space might not work because you’d disturb the others. There are often extra possibilities for meeting rooms, but that also involves additional costs. You wouldn’t even have to think about that in your own office.
Network and social contact
As a starting entrepreneur you come across many new questions. Other entrepreneurs often already have the answers, but you won’t find them at your kitchen table. Business can be lonely like that. In a shared office or incubator you have others around who can take over the role of your old colleagues: a chat, a network full of knowledge, and of course sometimes a distraction at just the wrong moment.
If you often meet clients and customers face-to-face, the office vibe you give off is important. Depending on your industry and the impression you’d like to give, you might need to spring for a more professional office space instead of hosting clients at a cafe or in your home.
How often do you work in the office?
If you often work on location, it may not even be worthwhile to have your own office. As a coach who gives workshops at other companies, it can be much cheaper to combine working on location with a free flexible workplaces. If you write text for clients at your desk all day long, a place of your own is indispensable.
Time for work and for family
Can you concentrate at your desk in the living room when the kids are playing next to you? And when those kids are in bed, can you resist the urge to work for a few more hours? Doing business at the kitchen table or in a home office requires discipline and a very clear idea of how private life and work should go hand in hand. Here are more tips on staying productive when working from home.
This does not apply to every entrepreneur, but if you regularly work with privacy-sensitive information, you will need your own office. A random passer-by at a flexible workplace should not be able to see the personal details of your clients over your shoulder.
Your workplace grows with you
If you are just starting your business, you can go a long way with a cheap office option. There are pros and cons to each, but you can pick the one that fits your personality, your brand, and your budget. Then, as your business grows, you can always invest in a different option down the road. The important thing is to find a place where you’re comfortable so you can get to work!