The first rule of a soloprenuer: do not rent an office space. Second rule: ‘lean’ lifestyle.
Soloprenuers are nimble and mobile, so keep your overhead to minimum. This will also allow you to go on workactions – a term I learned from a fellow solopreneur, Mike Fishbein. Love the idea, tried it, and enjoyed it.
You should never need an office, but if you feel like you do, look into co-working spaces, like WeWork. While it’s a significant cost for a bootstrapper, the networking value of working in a vibrant startup community is significant.photo credit: snaps via photopin cc
I recently moved to Astoria Park in New York, and built my new office from scratch on around $300 budget.
The 6 Principles of Building a Smart Office on a Budget
- Window view
- Something that makes you feel grateful
- Something that inspires you
- Something to work on
- Something to sit on (optional – standing desks are cool)
- A whiteboard to write ideas on
Below I documented how I recently put my own home-office together, including prices and links to get the items I purchased.
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Pick a spot for your office where you can get access to an outside view. It’s crucial. I am fortunate to have a nice terrace with a Hudson River and Manhattan in the backdrop. Hard to beat in NYC, where the cost of living is high, so I chose a vibrant and up-and-coming neighborhood, Astoria Park, where I can afford bigger space with a nice view.
Now that you can cross off the “office rent” item from your P&L, invest more in your living situation. Get a bigger place with an extra space for your office. Talk to your accountant, you may be able to make a tax deduction.
Something that makes you feel grateful
If you get to work from home and are able to support yourself, you should feel grateful. You made it!
Feeling grateful is essential to your success, because otherwise your mind will wander into dangerous territories, such as anxiety and stress, which are detrimental emotions to your productivity and creativity.
I keep my Gratitude in a Recyclable Steel Can on my desk at all time. I bought it for around $20 from the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. There is something inside, but I’ve never opened it to see. Maybe one day…
Something that inspires you
Penn Jillette, an illusionist and actor famous for his Penn & Teller show, in a keynote at NMX (New Media Conference) in Las Vegas described success as being able to do what you love while supporting yourself. He delivered this powerful message to thousands of content creators, bloggers and podcasters, who chose to follow their bliss and came to Las Vegas to learn how to turn their passion into a business… while being able to support themselves.
A friend of mine who opened a world-famous Jewish restaurant, Anatewka, in my hometown, Lodz, inspired by its Jewish heritage, gave me a painting a while back to bring me prosperity in business. So far it’s helped me accomplish financial freedom to work from home and enjoy my life, exactly what I needed, so it took up a prominent space on the wall, over my desk. I also evokes great memories. I always hang out at Anatewka with friends and family when I travel back home.
Display prominently the art of items that inspire you to reach your goals, and connect you with positive thoughts and emotions. Empty walls in closed, small spaces are not conducive to launching a successful startup. They are conducive to going mad. Make your home office inspirational by surrounding it with positive, inspirational items.
Something to work on
When it comes to office furniture, you want to strike the right balance between usability and cost. Never sacrifice comfort for a discount, but hunt for deals if you are a bootstrapper.
After browsing a while on Amazon, I trusted over a thousand positive reviews, and picked Walker Edison Soreno 3-Piece Corner Desk, Black with Black Glass for $99.
Something to sit on
Obviously you need a chair. I picked Flash Furniture Mid-Back Black Mesh Computer Chair for $57.
A whiteboard you can write ideas on
Do not skip this step. You need a whiteboard to jot down ideas and create to-do lists daily. It’s key to stay organized, focused, and motivated. Set goals and timelines to achieve them.
I recommend the Reversible White Blackboard from Luxor, but if you don’t have much space, you may need to mount it on the wall.
Hope you got some value out of this post!