If you and I are similar, you love the work you do, you want to feel incredible while you do it, and you’d love to KEEP as much money as possible from your business endeavor.
One key to succeeding with these goals is designing for a profitable and inspiring work space.
The Profitable Workspace
Because I work virtually as a money coach and personal finance blogger, and because the people I hire also work virtually, I can work from anywhere. Currently, my preferred working environment is in a dedicated room in my home – which I, specifically, shopped for during our home-buying process 2 years ago.
The fringe benefits of my home office are really sweet.I have secure, garage parking for my vehicle. I have nearby access to outdoor parks and beautiful walking spaces for lunchtime exercise.
When I need to take a quick “ninja power nap” to rejuvenate my creative thinking, I have instant access to a private sleeping space with lots of luxurious pillows.
I even have ‘office dogs’ who offer comfort in moments of stress.
And, when we occasionally have an overnight house guest, I have a comfortable, inflated bed and beautiful linens to convert my office into a guest room when my business is closed for the night.
The Money Savings
But, where the home office option gets really juicy is in the money it saves me!
I have instant access to delicious, at-cost coffee and fresh, healthy food whenever I’d like. I figure this saves me at least $15/week on take-out meals and drinks.
(Savings: $720 – assuming 48 working weeks)
Additionally, my dedicated home office generates for me a free $1000 tax write-off – usually netting an extra $250 annually.
(Net tax savings: $250)
I have no commute – which would have likely cost me about $58/mo
(Savings: $638/year — assuming 11 months of ‘5-miles/day drives’ at the current IRS mileage rate).
I pay zero rent for a quiet, private office – which would cost me an average of $400/month for a small, one-person office in my area.
TOTAL SAVINGS: $6408
Already I have generous fringe benefits AND a total savings of at least $6408 (which would require me to earn approx. $8500 in pre-tax income to cover).
These costs don’t even include the cost of my TIME required to shop for, negotiate, decorate, dress for, and drive to an office.
If I value my time at $50/hour, just ONE lost hour a day is $1000+ lost income potential/month (over $11,000/year). If I value my time at $100 or $200/hour, it’s double to quadruple that.
For many of you, the ‘lost income potential’ only INCREASES the more successful and valuable your time becomes. If you have succumbed to ‘fancy office syndrome’, it’s quite possible that your losses are in the tens of thousands of dollars per year.
For me, an office would be a zero-profit generator, it would severely waste my precious resources and it would keep me away from my genius work.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to work just to pay for WHERE I work. I prefer to be a bit scrappy and leverage all that I already have.
1,598 Pots of Tea and Alternatives to a Financial Freedom-Eating Office
It’s tempting to fantasize about a fancy office space and to have cool people working next to me. I do miss the social time. However, I always remind myself that there is a very hip and spacious, casual dining spot just a 5-minute drive away.A $4.01 pot of tea, an entrepreneurial friend, and 2 laptops plopped down in the hip dining spot ALWAYS calms my ‘fancy office’ desires. So, for the $6408 ‘off-site office’ base price, I figure I can afford 1,598 pots of tea and hang out with anyone I like.
If I want quiet while working in such a public space, I simply put on my $150 noise-cancelling headphones (which perform equally well at home when the kids are around). Instant quieting -it’s like a dream.
This is NOT to say that a ‘home office’ is the best fit for you, your business, or your bottom line.
Rather, I want you to critically evaluate every cost of your work space. Rent, utilities, servicing, equipment, décor, drive time, coffee and meals, and the efforts required to get out the door in the morning.
What are YOUR costs – Hard costs? Time costs? Energy costs? And, what alternatives are available to you?
Have things changed in your business that make your current working arrangement less profitable? Have new technologies emerged that could ease the costs to your bottom line?
Outside of the coffee shop laptop jockey option, video-conferencing services like Zoom and Skype have long been solutions to in-person work without actually having to be in-person.
If you need to see clients, consider paid, hourly coworking spaces, free library rooms, low-cost church spaces, or taking a walk in a park to discuss client matters.
If your ‘client space’ needs to be more formal than that, another cost-saving alternative could be to move closer to where you work to cut down on commuting and time costs.
Or, if capital is available, consider buying an office close to home and rent out desks, offices, or a portion of the building to other businesses. Let others fully or partially cover the physical and operational costs of your office.
If you like the home office idea, but don’t want clients walking through your private spaces, consider converting the front part of your home to a formal, closed-off space. Or, maybe build a tiny house with a bathroom on the back of your property.
Sure, you will incur up front costs and will need to add-on business and increased liability coverage to your homeowner’s policy. But, if the savings will recoup your costs in 5 years, or less, it’s probably worth it. And, your home might even go up in value as a result.
The end goal is to have a working space that supports your business’ profitability. If you can’t demonstrate to yourself, specifically, how your working space is the best option for your bottom line, then it’s time to rethink it.
Don’t work to PAY for WHERE you work.
The Inspiring Work Space
As I shared earlier, we bought a new home 2 years ago when we moved from south Texas to the mountainous, New Mexican desert.
I’ve long chosen to work from home. My first home office was in a dark basement. My second was a bright, cheery room with a view of the neighbor’s home siding. My third was filled with natural light and the gorgeous, green leaves of a tree.
This last time (when we made our move to NM), I decided to be much more intentional about my office space.
A Room with a View
This time, I wanted a view. I wanted something to stretch my vision, make me think bigger thoughts and stay more connected to the outdoor environment.As I sit here writing this article for you now, I am gazing upon a 10,679-foot mountain, a huge, arching rainbow and a bush full of blossoms that tiny hummingbirds feed on daily. My heart is inspired and fulfilled with these sights.
If you are visual like me and don’t currently have a space with a view, it’s not hard or even expensive to create it for yourself.
Outside of the usual ambiance that paint, lighting, and area rugs can add, a digital photo frame next to your desk with images that motivate you and bring you joy can be a simple solution.
Gorgeous screensavers (beautiful landscapes and natural images) on your computer can also bring immediate beauty into your office.
Affordable wall decals are another inexpensive option to quickly add ambiance and uplifting qualities to your space. Almost any image you’d enjoy can now be found in a wall decal.
The Energy of a Dream Board
Another element that I believe helps your work environment quickly become more profitable, inspiring and productive is the dream board. A dream board, if you’re not familiar with the concept, is a visual collection of images representing your biggest hopes and dreams for your business, lifestyle, finances, housing, health, relationships, and more.
Dream Board Options
- Digital wallpaper: Your dream board can be created digitally and turned into digital wallpaper for your computer.
- Standard printer paper: Compile your digital images on standard size printer paper. Print it up and slide the sheet into an acrylic display stand you can keep on your desk.
- Posterboard: Cut out magazine or internet images and fill a large, colorful posterboard with your vision for your future. Add in any other decorative element you wish – glitter, paint, fabrics, etc.
- Large framed space on a wall: Use simple craft tape to create the frame directly on the wall. Inside, you can mount the images of your inspired goals and aspirations.
- Digital photo frame: A digital photo frame is great for continuously displaying your sequence of dream images – embedding them into your every thought.
I may be biased, but I believe every entrepreneur who seeks whole-life success should have some kind of dream board in their office.
The dream board is like a flashing beacon that keeps you off the dangerous rocks and moves you toward what matters most.
If you’ve never before created a dream board, just start asking yourself what you REALLY, REALLY want. You can do a Google search for images and see what grabs you.
For those who want a physical version, poster board is always available at the local dollar store. And, your dentist’s and doctor’s offices always have expiring magazines (jam-packed with images and words that are sure to inspire you) to offload monthly to anyone who wants them.
I cannot say that feng shui has brought direct success to my business’ bottom line. But, I can say that it changes the entire energy of my working space. It makes the organization of things more intentional, clutter-free and beautiful.
In my experience, that counts for a lot.
When I have applied even just a handful of feng shui principles to my working space, my thinking clears, my creativity increases, and my energy is uplifted. This, I do believe, has an indirect impact on the bottom line of a business.
Sound of Music
Every business owner can benefit from the uplifting energy of a favorite music playlist. Music has that magical ability to reset your whole attitude and focus your mind in mere minutes.
You can surely rattle off at least 3 to 5 songs that almost instantly empower and energize you.
My playlist happens on a small stereo/CD player with nice speakers. I know it’s a bit old school, but I’m not a big fan of earbuds and I like to dance unencumbered.
I also, regularly, play a nature soundtrack when I’m writing. It begins with birds actively chirping in the forest, and then shifts into quiet crickets as darkness descends. My writing goes deeper and deeper as the CD plays on. My mind is now trained to write whenever I hear it.
What Can You Do TODAY?
What steps are you willing to take today to increase your personal joy and your financial freedom?
Finding ways to cut business costs will quickly add to your bottom line – money that could be immediately diverted to your financial freedom fund.
Implementing just one or two of the “inspired” ideas above will instantly change the vibe in your work space and help fuel the direction you wish to head.
Comment below and let me know what actions you are taking!