Why Freelancers Need an Executive Suite

executive office suites in AtlantaAre you a freelancer or considering freelancing? The number of freelancer workers in the US workforce is expected to outgrow full-time workers by 2020, so the question shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Although part of what it means to be a freelancer is to not be confined by a cubicle, it might not be wise to throwaway the idea of an office space all together. Executives suites are an excellent compromise that doesn’t confine like a cubicle, but maintains the professionalism and productivity necessary in a successful workspace. Here’s why freelancers need an executive suite to succeed and standout in the increasingly competitive DIY economy:

They’re Great for Getting Started

The toughest part about being a freelancer is getting started. You need to find clients that are willing to take a chance on someone new to sites like Elance, even if you have a wealth of experience. You need to find clients on your own, perhaps without the help with referrals and testimonials because you don’t have any clients yet. To make that good first impressions, an executive suite helps because it shows that your serious about your work.

With an executive suite, you have a professional business address that you can add to your email signature or on your business card. An executive suite, with the address, shows that your writing or graphic design work isn’t something that you do on the side as supplementary income. That work is your bread-and-butter, and a potential client can see that they aren’t going to have to compete with a full-time job and will be able to reach you during normal business hours.

Privacy When You Need It

Executives suites have a door, and when you’re a freelancer on the phone with a client or with a source, privacy is incredibly important. Whether or not you’ve signed an NDA agreement, you don’t want to risk jeopardizing the client/source’s trust because they think someone can overhear the conversation. You don’t want to risk misunderstanding the conversation because you couldn’t hear over the background noise.

Being able to shut the door is a huge help, and a perk that isn’t always available in a coworking space or home office (shutting the door doesn’t necessarily drown out the kids in the next room or the street cleaner outside). Coffee shops don’t have this option either. You may not necessarily need the space to meet clients in person, but having the door is a benefit when you want to ensure that the client/source has your utmost attention.

Get Away from Time-Sucking Distractions

Although email and social media will still be at the executive suite, there are distractions at the home office or coffee shop that won’t follow you to the business address. These distractions include snacking, television, and even unproductive people (not everyone at the coffee shop is there to work or to study) can hinder your ability to be productive. With an executive suite, you don’t have food in the refrigerator or pantry tempting you, and you don’t have a television on in the background as you’re working.

Also consider the executive suite as a way to be part of the working world, but on your terms. No more forced schedules, costly commutes, and awkward meetings. You’re still professional because you have that office, but it no longer has to come at a price of being away from the family, or of working early mornings or late nights (unless you want to), or of mandatory meetings and events. Don’t think of an executive suite as anti-freelancing. Think of it as a way to freelance without coming across as someone without direction or without responsibility.

Have you used an executive suite or another virtual office solution for your freelancing career? What would it take for you to move out of the home office or coffee shop? Let us know in the comments!

Related Links:

Why Meeting in a Coffee Shop is a Bad Idea

How to Remain Legitimate in a Scottsdale Virtual Office

Why CEOs Need to be on Social Media, and 3 Ways to Do It

5 CEO Best Practices for Reducing Office Space Costs

virtual office services
Virtual office services can save a business money in many ways.

Unless you’re going to purchase a building, then it’s likely that you’re paying rent for a suite or floor in an office building. One of the biggest expenses for a CEO and a growing company is the office space costs, particularly since as a growing company you’ll have to move to bigger spaces and/or worry about rising rental fees. To keep these costs under control, or even reduce them, here are five best practices to employ when controlling and reducing your office space costs:

Virtual Offices as an Option

An increasingly popular office space option, and one that is significantly cheaper than traditional solutions, is the virtual office. This is an especially attractive option if you have employees who want to work from home, who are based in other parts of the country, or if you’re looking to expand your business into a new market on a dime. With a virtual office, you pay for the amenities and the address without having to worry about furnishing the space or covering the technology costs. Depending on the virtual office provider, you can also have more the one person use a virtual office if you plan to have this option for telecommuting employees. On top of that, if the virtual office thing really works out, you might be able to move to smaller space, increasing your savings.

Office Space with Growth in Mind

If you’re confident that your company’s growth is sustainable and not a one-time spurt, then choose an office space with this growth in mind. For example, if you currently have 15 employees, but project that you’ll have 25 in two years, then choose and set up your office space to fit 25 instead of 15. You might have to spend more initially, but for at least two years you don’t have to worry about finding a bigger space (and making the move) and upgrading your technological capabilities. This forward thinking also ensures that your growth doesn’t end up hurting you by draining time and resources away from client work just to accommodate the growth.

Negotiate with Your Realtor

This is one of the simplest, but one of the most overlooked ways to reduce your office space costs. When it comes time to sign, or to renew, your lease, you can talk to your realtor about getting a deal. If your renewing your lease, you can ask a for a free month or two, or even for a reduced rent (which shouldn’t be hard if you’ve been a good tenant). If you’re signing for the first time, try to negotiate the rental price. If you’re serious about the office space at the original cost, then it doesn’t hurt to ask. The realtor isn’t going to throw away your business because you’re just asking a few questions.

Consider an Open Floor Plan

Instead of worrying about every employee having a desk or cubicle, opt for an open floor plan that can seat everyone, but that doesn’t assign seating or space. With an open floor plan, you don’t have to spend as much on furniture and your employees may enjoy not being chained or relegated somewhere. This also means that you can opt for something a little bit smaller for the company, since you now don’t have to ensure that everyone has 25 square feet to themselves, or even that everyone has a place to sit (think of this also as a way to allow employees to work from home or at a nearby coffee shop if they wish). However, this arrangement doesn’t work for everyone, as companies such as Spotify found out. It’s also recommended to provide some private spaces with an open floor plan, since one of the biggest complaints with open floor plan is the inability to have a private conversation.

Consolidate

If your offices are spread out across seven floors in four buildings, then that’s an awful lot of waste and disconnect. It’s not just the office space costs, but also think the time and productivity wasted when employees aren’t working together, or are spending time getting to and from those floors and buildings. You and your company can gain a lot when everyone’s together in one building instead, perhaps on two or three floors instead of seven.

How to Figure Out What You Need from a Virtual Office

virtual office space
It could be frustrating, but take the time to shop around when looking for a new virtual office space.

Virtual offices can come in many shapes and sizes, and in a variety of different packages, price ranges, and offerings. It turns out that many tenants sign a lease before taking the time to figure out what they need from a virtual office, or any office space. Signing on the first great space you come across may be smart if you’ve already done your homework and figured out what you need, but if you haven’t, then you could end up wasting the time and money of both your business and the landlord. Here’s how to figure out what you need from a virtual office before choosing a solution and signing the papers:

  1. Take a Look at Your Current Situation – Obviously, if you’re looking for a virtual office or a new office space, there’s something wrong with the current space you are in. Think about what exactly is working and what isn’t working, as this will help you to determine what you would like, and need, in the new office space.
  2. Determine Your Goal – Why are you looking for a virtual office or a new office space? Do you need to cut costs? Do you need something bigger or smaller? Do you need something in a different location? Do you need to move out of your home office? Whatever the case may be, having a goal in mind will help you to find a virtual office solution that meets your goal.
  3. Determine Your Budget – What would like to spend per month on your new office space? Having this number will help you figure out which parts of town are within your budget, what amenities you’ll be able to get within budget, and what’s a good deal. Having this number will also make it easier to pinpoint scams or ripoffs, as you’ll know what you should be getting for $12 a square foot, versus taking the first place at that price and presuming that’s what every space goes for and that’s what every space at that price comes with.
  4. How Much Time Do You Have? – If you’re a solopreneur or a startup, it might not take a long time to find the place you want and move right in. But, if you’re a bit larger, need something really specific, or want a particular building or office space, then it might take a lot longer before you’re able to move in. Figuring out how quickly you’d like to move, and considering how long it might take to make the move or to find an office space, will come in handy when working with virtual office companies and property owners.

Overall, finding the right virtual office doesn’t happen overnight. You need to take time to look at what’s available, think about what you want and need, and to find out how long it would take to make the move and to get settled in the new office space. Don’t make the mistake of trying to get it done too quickly or to take the first space you see without doing any homework! You not end up much better than from where you started.