When you start your own business you tend to take a zero expenditure approach. Working from home, seeing clients in your kitchen or a cafe (they'll understand) and thinking you won't be spending much. The reality is so, so different.
Beside the obvious distractions of home; the dishes, the washing. the fridge, friends popping in, you quickly realise not only do you not want clients in your home, you don't want work in your home. So when is the right time to move into an office as surely it's an expenditure you can't afford.
But can you afford not to?
How much time do you spend getting to and from appointments because clients can't come to you? How much do you spend on drinks when you're in some cafe? and how much does it cost you in professionalism when you're charging for consultation with babies screaming, WiFi failing and the general public milling around you?
But is an office like new shoes, just a nice to have?
My Nan said that you should never scrimp on shoes or mattresses: if you're not in one you're in the other, and she is right. She didn't work, but if you're not at home you're at work and the two really need to be separated mentally and physically so you're not at work 24/7 at home.
My desk in the kitchen constantly reminds me I could be working.
But do I just WANT rather than NEED an office?
Maybe, but if you WANT your business to grow can you stay at home? If you WANT to employ people, they can't work from your house forever. Talking to people about an office some valuable comments struck home.
If you want a business that has it's own office and you don't have one... then aren't you failing if you don't take one?
How do you want your clients imagine you when you're not with them, working from a kitchen?
But can you afford it?
On paper no, maybe. But if you don't have goals and challenges, you will never grow. Paying the rent has to be the most concrete of goals I ever heard of. Bill all billable hours, let clients know how much you want to work for them next month and sack the time wasting clients and freebies for a more profitable approach to business. It's not ruthless, it's not exploitative, it's business and will be respected or discussed respectfully, and for me that's all I ask.
It IS a new era, a new start and an opportunity to grow (and buy new cool stuff).
So do I have a new office?
I do, and am moving in on Tuesday. A new era, a new pride in my business and a new attitude to the growth of something bigger than my kitchen.
Wish me luck!! Thanks for reading.