Is your home business growing? It might be time to move out of your home office.
One of the dreams that many people have is working out of a home office. You set your own hours. You (often) choose your own clients. Sometimes, you don't get dressed until lunch time. But what happens when your home business becomes too unwieldy for the home office?
I'm fortunate that a freelance business is unlikely to outgrow my home office. However, there are plenty of other home businesses that eventually reach the point where they can no longer be confined to a home. Here are 4 signs that it's time to move out of your home office:
1. You Hire Employees to Come In
It's one thing to hire remote workers, like virtual assistants and freelancers. It's quite another when you hire employees that need to come in to work. If you hire people that you need to manage, you don't want them coming to your home. Instead, it makes sense to get a “real” office somewhere else. That way, employees coming to work don't disrupt the flow of things at home.
2. You Need More/Bigger Equipment
This is something that crops up when you produce something out of your home. At first, you might be able to do it without too much trouble, but what happens as your business grows? You might need to order more equipment, or get a bigger workspace to accommodate larger equipment items. Once the equipment starts spilling out of the home office to take over more of the home, it's time to move out.
3. Client Meetings are Becoming Frequent
Let's be honest: Meeting a client at your home office isn't the most professional thing you can do. It's true that you can meet elsewhere, such as in a restaurant for a business lunch. At some point, though, if you have a lot of client meetings, you need dedicated space. It might be time to get an office somewhere else.
4. Distractions Pile Up
Working from home is a nice thought, but what happens if you are too distracted? Distractions can kill your productivity, and they can interfere with your work in a major way. If you can't get anything done in your home office, no matter how many boundaries you set up, it might be time to look for a space that has fewer distractions. Even if you don't move out of your home office permanently, it can make sense to get out a few times a week, just to ensure that you have uninterrupted work time.
Where Can You Go for a New Business Office?
One of the biggest challenges involved in turning your home business into a business with an office address is the cost. Can you afford to set up shop somewhere else? If your business is booming, you might be able to lease a space that makes sense for the size of your business. Something small to start might be perfectly adequate.
It's also possible to rent spaces. If you have a catering business based out of your home, or if you make food items to sell, you can make use of the fact that some restaurants rent out their kitchens. I have one friend who rents out a restaurant kitchen at a pizza place twice a week. As long as she's out of there by 10 a.m., it isn't a problem.
If you have more of an “office” setup, you can use coworking as a way to find office space. You can go to a coworking environment to minimize distractions, and even to hold meetings. Some of these spaces feature professional conference rooms. No need to lease your own space if you can occasionally set up meetings in a professional-looking conference room.
Think about the needs of your home business. If you have grown beyond the point where your home office is sufficient for your needs, consider the options. You might be better off leaving home.