Depending on where you live, the cost of renting an office space for your business can be astronomical. In San Francisco, for example, the current average cost of rent in the main business district is $81.25 per square foot. While larger tech companies based in the Bay Area may be able to afford that rent, as a small business owner trying to get your company off the ground, it might be just a little outside of your price range.
You may also find yourself thinking that you don’t want to be cooped up in an office all day, regardless of renting costs. One of the biggest benefits of opening a small business is the flexibility to make your own decisions about where and how you do your work. And if you can’t stand the thought of working in an office from 8 to 5 each day, why bother renting out an expensive space at all?
For some small businesses, you may be able to ditch the office entirely, or just use one when you need to. Whether you choose to run your business out of your home or rent a storage unit to act as an office, here are five of the most interesting businesses that you can run easily without a traditional office space:
It’s actually quite simple to start a law firm without an office. After all, much of your time working is spent either in court or meeting with clients, attorneys, and other legal professionals. You may even choose to work on cases from the comfort of your home, eliminating the need to go over documents at an office.
You may wonder where you’re supposed to meet your clients or store documents if you don’t have an office. Keep in mind that you can always try using a storage unit, where you can set up a small office space to use only when you need it. Here, you can keep important files that you don’t need often but have to keep, meet with your current and prospective clients, and store other materials you need until you appear in court.
Becoming a personal trainer is a great way to meet your fitness goals while maintaining a professional life that is focused on freedom and flexibility. If you work for a gym or other fitness institution, you may still have to report to a manager, work according to company policy, or be required to follow a certain schedule. However, if you work as an independent contractor, you won’t be tied to one gym or fitness center and will have to meet with clients elsewhere.
Try creating your own gym where you can. A local park may have an area where you can lead a group class or even a small, outdoor bodyweight gym that you can use to guide your workouts. If you already own or want to invest in gym equipment, create your own mini-gym in a storage unit. You won’t have any room for unnecessary equipment and can swap out what you need to suit each client’s needs by storing the excess, along with other important business materials, in a different unit.
Despite the meteoric rise of other online retailers — such as Amazon and Craigslist — the e-commerce platform, eBay, has still remained popular. In the third quarter of 2018, eBay reported revenue of $2.6 billion and 117 million buyers. Some users of the site are actually able to make a living off of re-selling used goods, making this a great option for starting a new business without working at an office.
Because it’s all online, you can spend most of your time working from home or your favorite coffee shop. Instead of storing your entire inventory at home, keep it in a storage unit. You can organize it more effectively in a unit while also keeping your house free and clear of any clutter. When you make a sale, simply stop by the unit before going to the post office.
If you’re set on the idea of working outside the office, consider becoming a medical sales representative. In this position, you often have more flexibility to set your own hours, have travel options, and have a substantial amount of autonomy and independence. You also typically can meet your customers outside of an office and can take care of necessary paperwork at home or another location.
The only thing left to take care of as a medical sales rep is the storage of your samples. While an office may seem like the natural solution to this issue, a storage unit may be a better option. Many units are climate-controlled, so your products can be kept at the necessary temperature without risk of spoilage. When heading out for the day, simply pick up what you need and leave the rest behind without worry.
Becoming an interior decorator is another business where having an office simply doesn’t make the most sense. You can easily take care of the logistical aspects of your business from your home and meet with clients at other locations, such as restaurants or cafes.
The only issue, then, is how to display your skills. Photos and recommendations of your talents can go a long way, but nothing beats seeing it in person. To showcase your style and skill as a designer, rent out a storage unit and create a mock-up room or two. Bring potential clients to the unit when they ask for examples of your work.
There are many things to consider when starting a small business, and many of them are often accepted as fact or regarded as the only way of doing things. A traditional office simply isn’t a necessity for many small businesses today, regardless of industry or niche. Between online options and “off-site” offices, you can construct a business that suits your needs, reduces your startup costs, and helps you find success as an entrepreneur.