You know, I finally saw the movie “Office Space.” I’d heard good things about it, but the fact that Jennifer Aniston was in it turned me off. But I was unfair in holding that against the movie. It was quite enjoyable.
But I digress (and before I’ve even started!).
I have found multiple solutions to the office space dilemma. In fact, I suspect I’ve overcompensated. I know I’m going to need to tighten down on my costs — on the other hand, much of what I’ve been spending has been for things that I would have gotten later, and has use to me now, such membership in professional organizations, reference manuals, office equipment.
But I digress.
Anyway, the plan is still to work out my home, but clearly, I will not be meeting clients here. I’ve been struggling to figure out where I can find space to meet whose location is attractive to clients (in terms of accessibility), relatively convenient for me, and inexpensive.
I’ve found two really cheap locations where I can rent meeting space by the hour — they are spaces that are used primarily by counselors, therapists, and massage therapists. They both have on-line calendar reservation systems which means I can check for availability while talking to the potential client. They are available 24/7, which is very helpful, since I am offering evening and Saturday appointments. The minus is that the spaces have a therapeutic, holistic, touchy-feely air. But my potential clients might find it a little whoo-whoo. Fortunately, both the spaces I’ve found have rooms available that don’t have massage tables in them. Even I would find that too much.
Another more professional-looking option is the executive suite. There are at least three companies in the Portland area offering “virtual office” packages, which include access to a conference room or an office for a set number of hours per month, or a simple rent by the hour option.
There’s an executive suite about a 15 minutes drive from my home. With their virtual office option, I pay $99 for 8 hours of office access, whereas it’s $25 per hour otherwise. So as long as I’m using it for at least 5 hours a month, I’m saving money.The minuses of this option are, the spaces are only available 8 to 5, Monday to Friday and I have to call in to make a reservation. I’m starting to suspect that they have enough space that I don’t have to worry about availability.
A professional, free option is to use the conference rooms in the law library of the county next-door. The law library is about a 20-25 minute drive from me, so I’ve been using the virtual office option. The advantage of this space is that it expands my reach into the neighboring county.
Finally, I realized that I was spending at least one or two days a week downtown, where the state and federal courthouses are and where most attorneys seem to be located. So I found a very small office (80 square feet) for $150. I get access to a very nice conference room so I can still meet clients there. I’m finding it convenient to have a place downtown where I can work. I’m not a fan of commuting all the way there, but if I have to be there anyway, it’s nice to have place to work.
So, without a lot of monthly overhead or commitment (both the virtual office and the downtown one are on month-to-month leases), I’ve managed to find multiple office spaces.