As many of you know I work from home. We moved house back in October partly because my previous office had been nabbed by a beautiful boy back in 2010. What I now have is space. Wonderful space to work in and to store my files, folders and everything else that I need.
After a couple of years of working with my laptop on my knee or at a cluttered kitchen table this is indeed a thing of beauty. Having to walk past the pushchair downstairs, the wash basket at the top of the landing, the chest of drawers littered with library books, odd socks, a night light and then onwards to find this beautiful desk is probably not something I want to invite a client or prospective client to try.
Meeting new clients, discussing their needs, working out budgets and making plans are all part of my weekly work. Fortunately I manage to usually convince people that Skype is the best way forward for these meetings however what do you do as a self-employed person with a less than glamorous home office when the client wants to meet in person? Other than panic I mean.
I can tell you from experience that coffee shops or similar venues, while they may serve delicious coffee and all too tempting cakes are really not fantastic locations for such meetings. Confidentiality in a crowded cafe is hard to maintain and holding onto your concentration over the noise of chatter and the hiss of the coffee machine is not ideal either.
It really isn’t appropriate for me to rent out an office away from the home. 95% of the time it is a perfectly adequate for my needs and I don’t see the need to pay a lease for an office that I would hardly use. I suspect that this issue comes up quite often with many self-employed business owners and freelancers struggling to find appropriate and affordable places to hold meetings.
One alternative to this problem is to perhaps find a serviced office nearby. Whoever thought up the idea of having offices ready at the drop of a hat for those face-to-face meetings that you simply can’t do at home is nothing short of a genius. Having a serviced office at your disposal means that you only pay for the time that you need it for, that you have a clean, tidy and modern office space to use as and when without having to clean and tidy it yourself (this appeals to me!), you have a choice of room sizes so that you are able to choose to an appropriate setting for your needs i.e. a small room for a 1-1 meeting or a larger space for a conference or similar. Added to this there are all the mod cons and the usual refreshments and what not available so that you may wow your client and not have to worry about a huge bill.
I haven’t personally used a service such as this however am able to see the huge benefits that it offers and it is something that I am likely to use in the future, especially as if I was to have more than one client in to visit my office at the same time that the extra person would probably have to sit on a bed.
A question for all of you self-employed people who are reading, when you can’t get away with using Skype for meetings what do you do about meeting up with clients?
*Written in collaboration with the mentioned business yet true to my thoughts, feelings and experiences