An entrepreneur's first year in business is usually spent scrimping to save money.
You likely don’t have funds for a fancy office or state-of-the-art office equipment; but what you do have is passion and ambition. These two ingredients are what will take your business to the next level.
For example, the first edition of my LIVE RICHER Challenge was created with limited resources and now it’s come full circle. I used an ironing board as a stand while I filmed the weekly videos with my laptop. Now, I hire a team to shoot and edit videos for me. How’s that for an upgrade?
Many of you are aspiring business owners and I want you to start off on the right foot, so let me give you a little advice:
Start simple with what you have. Then use the following tips to help you decide when it’s time to invest in office upgrades.
Home Workspace vs. Home Office Space
You may not be able to invest in your own home office right away, and that’s okay. I still work out of a home office. I’ve created a space dedicated to work and you can, too. It could be a walk-in closet or even a corner of your bedroom until you start gaining traction. Not sure where to start? Office Depot has a lot of cute office furniture within a wide range of prices from which to choose, including bookcases, desks, chairs and more.For the long-term, working from home in common areas such as the living or dining room has its disadvantages. There may be distractions, and some areas of the house make it particularly difficult to create boundaries between work and free time.
For the long-term, working from home in common areas such as the living or dining room has its disadvantages. There may be distractions, and some areas of the house make it particularly difficult to create boundaries between work and free time.
Although an official office might be your goal, you shouldn’t spend money on renting space until you’re making a profit. Jazz up your home office in the meantime and focus on getting organized.
Using a Printing Service vs. Buying Your Own Printer
If a piece of equipment doesn’t directly help you generate sales, it’s not something you need to buy in the beginning “scrimping” stage of your business.
If you do have print needs, go to an office supply store to use the self-service business center. You can print for just $0.59 per color page at Office Depot, for instance.
On the other hand, printing 200 pages at $0.59 plus tax costs the same as an affordable laser printer. If you’re printing this much within a month, it makes sense to take the leap and buy a home printer.
Supply Store Scanning vs. Buying Your Own Scanner
The same logic of printing applies to scanning. If your scanning needs are infrequent, you can get away with using a supply store. However, buy a scanner if you need it enough to substantiate the expense. Down the road, aside from cost, you'll want to take convenience into consideration.
Time becomes your greatest asset when your business grows. Driving to and from a store to scan your latest signed contract each week is an ineffective use of your time when you could be focusing on other, more productive aspects of your business.
If you decide to invest in one, look for an all-in-one unit with a printer, scanner and fax. It will address more needs for less money.
Paying for a Shredding Service vs. Buying a Shredder
Office stores have you covered on the shredding front as well. Go with a shredding service if you need to get rid of numerous documents at once. For example, at Office Depot and OfficeMax retail locations, you can use a coupon for five pounds of free bulk bin shredding now through April 23. Check out Office Depot’s 2015 taxes guide for your free coupon.
Otherwise, this is one occasion where it’s actually more cost-effective to buy your own shredder for occasional use. You can get a quality shredder for under $100.
Some new entrepreneurs don’t fully take advantage of office supply stores. Instead, they move faster than their business income because it makes them feel more legitimate. Don't go into business debt trying to look or act the part. Start small and then level up as you grow.
Any other office space tips for aspiring business owners? Share below!
My Lisa Rule: I have 4 sisters and Lisa is the baby (well she’s not a baby anymore). Of all of my sisters I’m the most protective over her. Before I share any product or service with you, it must pass my Lisa Rule.
What’s the Lisa Rule? If I would not advise Lisa to use a product or service, I won’t advise you to. YOU are my Lisas. I feel protective over you and your financial journey.
Office Depot’s business products and services pass my Lisa Rule. Yes, Office Depot sponsored this post, but I would not recommend a product or service that I didn’t believe was helpful and useful. If fact, I've used their printing and scanning services and bought my own copy/scanner/printer from Office Depot when I was ready to take my business to the next level.