Gone are the days where all wellness pros needed a brick and mortar office space to be taken seriously. With the rise of user-friendly technology that allows you to look and feel like a pro - things like online scheduling systems, do-it-yourself website platforms that look sharp, high-quality mobile phone service that sound great and more - you can set your professional practice up rather quickly and without digging yourself into a traditional debt load of starting a new business.
This is especially true if you're just starting out and you're not exactly sure what your return on your investment will be.
So here are a few pros and cons to consider when thinking about renting office space:
WHY YOU SHOULD GET OFFICE SPACE
- You're a local based practice
- Your work requires hands-on approach (like massage)
- You want to see people in-person
- You have an existing client base so you won't be paying rent for nothing
- You have a referral source that can quickly set you up with clients
- You have money to blow
The better solution: If this is you, then instead of renting your own office space, and creating overhead expenses, consider sub-letting one or two days (or half days) in someone else's office. (In my early days of practice I shared one small office space with a colleague and a therapist.) Once those days fill up, then inquire about another half day. This ensures you won't be weighed down by the stress of rent and works beautifully.
WHY YOU SHOULDN'T GET OFFICE SPACE (AT LEAST NOT YET)
- You have no clients
- You're just starting out and don't really feel like you know what you're doing
- You don't have a clear idea how to attract a steady flow of clients
- You're doing it to make yourself feel professional
- You're doing it because that's what your colleagues do (definitely not a good idea)
- You're on a tight budget
- Your local economy isn't one that invests in personal development / experts like you
- Office space = overhead. Overhead = financial pressure.
The better solution: If this sounds like you, consider setting yourself up with an online based business model. You can still work with local people, and even meet them in-person for the first session. Or if you really want to work with people in-person, then offer an in-person program at a higher rate and a "convenient telephone consulting program" for a slightly lower rate. (This works well for hands-off health and wellness work.) Then get a one half-day or full day office sublet for your in-person consulting. Only see in-person clients on that day. And when that day fills up, then inquire about adding another day. If your potential clients can't meet you during your in-person availability, no problem, offer them your telephone program. Either way, you have the best of both worlds without breaking the bank.
Another way this idea can work for hands-on healing work is to sublet office space in the same manner and instead of offering a telephone program, offer a "I come to you" program at a higher rate. You would tell your potential clients you can come to me on X day or I can come to you on A and B days. This will also be an opportunity to test what your client base prefers.
Times have changed and you don't need a pricey office space to look and feel professional. A little research and creativity will ensure that you get what you want and can comfortably grow your practice on your own terms.
Wishing you continued success,
About the Author and WellProNet.org: Karin Witzig Rozell has been teaching health and wellness professionals how to grow their business since 2003. She started as a nutrition counselor who knew a lot about nutrition, but not a whole lot about business and marketing. After learning some tough lessons she cracked the code and now her passion is transforming practitioners into profitable business owners using the power of authentic marketing strategies.
In 2009, she expanded her private practice and launched The Wellness Professional Network as the go-to place for practitioners to learn about making more money doing what they love. Karin lives in Upstate New York and works from home with her husband who also runs a successful coaching business