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May 14, 2002
Have You Outgrown Your Home Office?
By Sherril Steele-Carlin

Once, you dreamed of working at home. No commute, no boss breathing down your neck, no necktie, and no more boring staff meetings. Now, your business is so successful, you're feeling a bit cramped in your home office. Do you make the move to an office offsite, or continue working at home? Experts say this decision is becoming more and more common with freelancers everywhere.

There are several things for you to consider as you make your decision to move out of your home office. If you're thinking of selling your business, a home office may deter from the selling price. In an article in the Denver Business Journal, Kelly Robbins reports, "Having an established location in the business community gives the appearance your business can be successful without you at the helm." So, if you're thinking of selling, office space outside the home can add value and credibility to your business.

If you often have to meet with clients, you may find a home business doesn't project the professional image you're looking for. If your clients have to wade through your children's toys, or wander through your less-than-perfect kitchen on the way to your office, they may have second thoughts about your ability to get their job done.

You may also find that running around town to meet with clients wastes a lot of your valuable time. If you have your own office space, your clients can meet with you in a professional setting, and you can get more work done in between appointments.

It's often difficult to separate work and home life when you work out of your home. Are you always running out of your office to load the dishwasher, check on the kids, or start dinner? If so, an office away from home may keep your attention on work, and not on the family. You may also discover that with an office in your home, you can never really stop working. With an office away from home, you can leave the office behind, and enjoy some quality time with your family.

If you decide you need more space for your office, there are several options for you to consider. You may not want an entire office to yourself. If not you might look into an executive suite. According to Robbins, "Executive suites can offer everything from Internet access and voicemail service to audio and video conferencing. Many also have meeting rooms you can reserve." Often they offer secretarial support, too. Since you are renting a portion of an office, with services provided, they are usually more economical than renting an entire office on your own.

If you decide an office is what you need, there are several questions to ask before you sign that lease. Who are the tenants around you? Are they happy with the landlord, and the services available? Is the office space clean, well lighted, and ready for your computer and Internet access? Is there enough parking for your clients, and is it free? Are there any incentives for new tenants, like discounts on a year lease, etc.? Asking a few simple questions before you move into your office can save you many headaches down the road.

Ah, the sweet smell of success. You know you've made it as a successful freelancer when you simply cannot work out of your cramped home office any more. For more information on creating and maintaining your home office, visit R144.com's Home Business News.

Sherril Steele-Carlin is a full-time freelance writer from Reno, Nevada. She's published numerous articles in print and online publications. She's also the author of the e-book "How to get a Life by Living and Working in a National Park." http://www.dreamjobstogo.com/titles/dltg0002.html?10402 AND
"How to Break Into Casino Jobs." http://www.dreamjobstogo.com/titles/djtg0023.html?10402
Visit her web site at http://www.powernet.net/~carlin.

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