By Princess Jones

When you first imagined your business, perhaps your visions included a bustling office with your name on the door and your logo on all of the coffee cups. You wouldn’t be alone. But an office isn’t a must for every small business. Plenty of them run just fine from a kitchen table, a coffee shop, or a coworking space.

I know several entrepreneurs without an office, including myself. Some are permanently officeless, while others are just in the startup stage of their business or between offices at the moment. There are pros and cons to being a workspace nomad.

Is Going Officeless Right For You?

You might try going officeless if you’re into:

  • No rent. This is probably the best known reason to become an officeless entrepreneur. This especially applies to freelancers. Many solopreneurs can run lucrative businesses on a shoestring budget and eliminating office overhead.
  • Variety, if you want it. Right now I work in a variety of places: Panera Bread, Starbucks, the public library, etc. One week, I visited a different Panera Bread every day. Where I sit, how I set up, and the way I work can change depending on my mood. The flip side of this is that if you’re the type who likes familiarity over variety, you can choose your favorite place and stick to that. Right now, I have a favorite Panera Bread location that has just the right amount of outlets, and a friendly yet unobtrusive staff. Most days, you can find me there.
  • More coworking opportunities. About a year or two ago, I realized that working solo all the time wasn’t good for me. I work better when I have people to bounce ideas off of, to commiserate with, and to remind me to take breaks just by being there. When I had a dedicated office, I found I locked myself in it and didn’t interact with other people. Taking the office away has forced me to interact with the world, increasing my productivity and happiness overall.

Or Do You Need an Office?

On the other hand, you might want to rethink going officeless if any of the following things are true:

  • Other people freak you out. Or at least make it hard for you to get stuff done. If your boyfriend watching TV or a chick talking on her cell next to you would make it impossible for you to be productive, you probably need your own dedicated office.
  • You make a lot of business calls. If your business relies heavily on phone calls, you need a quiet place to do it. Nobody sounds professional with a blender going, someone yelling orders, and/or a baby crying in the background. Unless, of course your brand is based the fact that you make babies cry. In that case, you might want to rethink your brand before you explore your officeless entrepreneur options.
  • You need your own space. This is one that affects many people. Some of us just need our own desk, our own phone, etc. Working in someone else’s space can be tricky. This is also true if you need specialized equipment to run your business. For example, if the stuff you need to get your work done won’t fit on at a single table, you probably need an office. If you have customers that need to come to you, the nomad life might not be for you. And if you need retail space, you might find it hard to work without dedicated office space.

Do you run your business without an office? What advice can you offer to others?