When I first started my online wine business, I didn’t realize right away how much I would miss the comradely and frankly, the normal conversation that I had in a regular office. Instead I was left working by myself at home, with only occasional phone contact, or email contact with anyone working with me.
I found that being isolated like that can sometimes be good for productivity, as an example the long lunch break with friends was a thing of the past, but it wasn’t very good for creativity. In any case, if you need to break the mold of having a home office, here’s a few options that I have found over the past few years.
Flexible Office Suite Rentals
There’s a ton of companies which specialize in flexible office spaces, personally I started with a small space at HUB. I chose this shared office out of 7 others in my general neighborhood because of both the price, but also because the space is used for a ton of outside events. I liked the vibe more than the other choices to be sure. Secondly, it’s worth it to mention that UC Berkeley has a startup accelerator space which I am not eligible for (since I’ve never been a student) so please check your local universities to see what type of coworking spaces and support they offer.
I think we’ve all seen the guys firing away at their keyboard at Starbucks. On a recent trip to Lima Peru I saw the whole concept taken to the next level with the coffee shops in town having in essence private offices upstairs. If you have a local coffee shop or five, it doesn’t hurt to look around and even ask for something similar. Most small spaces upstairs are barely used and if the coffee shop can gain $20 in revenue from what amounts to a storage closet, they might jump at the idea of converting the space.
The Local Greasy Spoon Restaurant
Ok, so we’ve all thought about the coffee shop idea at times right, but it might be getting to be a cliché in some areas. For me, I have a greasy spoon restaurant about a block down from my house which has just about zero customers between their morning rush and lunch. In fact they were so happy that I’d be coming in consistently that they tend to serve me free coffee if I buy a little something to eat. It beats the coffee shop because I get a full booth to myself, free refills on coffee and the food, is actually food.
The Local Park
Maybe it’s on behalf of my 2 year old, but more and more I notice that many people start businesses when their kids are young. If you’ve got a nice, gated park close to the house, can you think of a better place to return a few phone calls on a sunny day? At first, I never wanted a customer to know that I had my son with me at times during the week, then I realized something, people want to support small local businesses. Give it a try and you might like what you find.
About the Author: Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, yes it is an online wine business. He’s based in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area.