Is your office in your bedroom? Are you embarrassed to tell your clients that you work from home? Conventional wisdom holds that it’s more professional to have an office. So freelancers often talk about being “out of office” for the day or mention an “in-house graphic designer” to give the impression that they are operating out of a traditional office. Is all this subterfuge really necessary?
Smart clients understand that you working from home doesn’t just benefit you; in fact, there are a number of advantages to them as well. Take flexibility: of course you love your flexible schedule, but it also makes you more available to your clients during off-hours. If you know a client will need your help in the evening, you can stop work early to be with your family, and go back to work later without resentment. Even a surprise late night can be made up for the next morning with a late start. When you control your own schedule, it doesn’t bother you to answer emails at night or be available for phone calls when they can’t wait till the next day.
Projects can be as flexible as schedules. Since you are not paying salaried employees, it’s easier to change the scope of a project mid-flow. If a client wants to focus on a different aspect of marketing than originally decided, it’s easy to switch from one freelancer to another or change your own work to accommodate the change in direction.
Running an office can be exhausting. First, you probably have to commute to get to it. You have to manage staff, pay bills and worry about things like broken computers and peeling paint. But when you don’t have all of those distractions, work time is really all about getting the job done. This means that you have more distraction-free time to devote to giving your clients the awesome service they deserve.
Offices cost money. When you have to pay rent and other overheads, you need to charge higher rates to make that cost back. But your bedroom is already there, freelancers you hire pay for their own electricity and equipment, management time is at a minimum and you don’t have to take anyone out for lunch. When your expenses are lowered, you can charge your clients less. They’ll be getting the same top notch work at a fraction of the price.
If you are happier as a freelancer than you were in an office, your clients will see this. Clients can easily pick up on whether you are doing your job by rote, because it pays the bills, or whether you are fulfilled and satisfied. They would much rather partner with someone who is whistling while they work.
So, the next time a client asks where you are located, proudly tell them that you are based in your own home office. You don’t have to mention the bedroom, slippers or pajamas, but it’s OK to let clients know you aren’t running an expensive office in the city.