One thing you may overlook when starting a business is the actual place — the location — where you will do the work. Whether you are committing to the business 100 percent of the time, or you are moonlighting after your day job, you will need to find a physical space to get things done. Here are some suggestions on where to work as well as the pros/cons of each of them.
You’re already paying rent or a mortgage, so you might as well finally put that extra room to use. This will be the fastest commute, guaranteed, so you should be able to get started first thing each morning. The problem is whether you will be disciplined enough to do so. Working from home can also be lonely, which will be a major adjustment for a people person. Finally, it can be difficult to separate work time from personal time. You might get the feeling of always being “on the job.”
The library has free Internet and a wealth of written resources to help you with your business. There is no cost to work out of the library, and some of them even have “quiet rooms,” so you can get away from all the kids jabbering about their Pokémon cards. One of the major drawbacks, however, is that if you need to make a phone call you will have to go outside so not to disturb others. Also, some libraries don’t allow you to bring food or drink in their facility.
Most coffee shops have Wi-Fi so you can access all your documents and files on the cloud, not to mention that good coffee and a tasty treat are not far away. If you are a people person, you will take comfort that there are folks to interact with. However, the nature of the coffee shop is that the people can be different from day-to-day, so it might be tough to forge a real relationship. Lastly, the cost of coffee and those treats can start to add up (pro tip: look for shops with free refills).
Throw on a pair of slacks and a button down shirt and head to the common area of your nearest hotel. If you walk in like you own the place, no one will ask questions. In fact, you can even partake in the breakfast buffet (I particularly love the Belgian waffles). Hotels typically have Wi-Fi and you can either access it with a loyalty card number (you can register for one online) or by asking the front desk. You should change hotels throughout the week to prevent suspicion from the front desk.
Many larger cities have the opportunity to work out of a collaborative workspace. In San Antonio, Geekdom is a place where entrepreneurs, technologists, developers and creative folks all can gather to work on their projects. The atmosphere is great because you are surrounded by and can build relationships with people with similar interests, passions and the desire to create something. This is by far the best environment to be working on your idea; however, there is typically a monthly fee. If you look to join one of these communities, try starting with the cheapest plan to get a feel for the space. Remember that it is probably cheaper than all that coffee you would have to buy to office out of a coffee shop.
Where do you like to work on your startup? Are there any places that I missed? Be sure to let me know in the comments!
Starting Up (Is Hard to Do) is a weekly series published every Friday on the Rackspace Blog from a guy who is in the trenches of starting up a business while working a day job. Check out Garrett’s previous post that talked about some cool tools for collaboration and communication.