There is no question about it; starting a business, as an entrepreneur, is expensive. There are all kinds of costs to consider, but one of the biggest expenditures that any business has to deal with is in securing a workplace. Some entrepreneurs find themselves simply working from home (if this is something that is possible). But everyone who has ever worked from home will tell you that it is usually MUCH easier to get things done if you have an actual workplace to utilize.
If you are trying to start a business, but have realized that the costs of doing so could definitely cause you problems, then you might want to start out by utilizing some of these free workspace alternatives that are offered in most communities. These locations are rent-free, and can usually get you on your way while helping you to avoid the excessive costs of renting a building starting out. These free work-spaces are not usually available for long periods of time, but they can get you off of the couch and into your journey, and can help you to get by until you find something more permanent.
Community Sponsored Work-Space
Some communities work together with the local government to offer free workspace to individuals or companies who are just starting out. In order to secure one of these facilities, you might have to submit a copy of your business plan, as well as a growth potential calculation, in order to get approved. These programs are usually very competitive, so make sure that your business plan really sells your business idea! The officials in charge of the program are only interested in housing businesses that are sure to be a success.
To find out whether or not your local community has a program like this, you should consider checking in with the local chamber of commerce or city hall. Finding local free office space like this could be just the thing that your business needs to get off of the ground. If a workspace like this were to ever expire, you could always look for something more permanent.
Shared Working Space
Another free alternative to renting your own office space could be shared work space. These office-type work-spaces are generally intended for solo entrepreneurs, and are offered in many large cities around the world. These work spaces are usually given on a first come, first serve basis, though you will most likely need to go through an application/screening process to get into one.
These types of spaces are generally funded by companies that are interested in getting the first look at potential businesses to invest in, which is why they offer this free service to new companies who are just starting out. In the United States, the most popular locations for offices like this are in larger cities, such as New York, Phoenix, and San Francisco. To find them, simply do an internet search on ‘free co working spaces’.
Some downsides to places like these include limited space and the lack of a particularly quiet environment. Since they are shared by many people, it can be hard to make phone calls or to hire employees; so some creative scheduling might be in order if you need some ‘quiet time’ to converse with clients or customers over the phone. Still, for a rent-free workspace, you really can’t beat it!
Free University Workspace
Some universities, such as the University of California at Berkely, offer free office space to encourage entrepreneurship among students. In order to get one of these spaces, you generally need to present a full and complete business plan. It is also generally a rule that at least one member of your start-up be a student who is currently enrolled at the college. But other than that, you are given quite a bit of creative and professional freedom.
There are many universities across the United States that offer such services, so make sure that you contact your school office to see if such possibilities exist for your start-up idea. Getting free office space can generally be enough help to get your business off of the ground, and can enable you to use funds that you would normally have spent on housing to get other pieces of equipment or help that your business idea needs.