(The Coffee Shop Chronicles, Part 3)

Coffee time again! George has already arrived and he has news.

Gail: Hi, George, you look excited.

George: I have a project! The school district called me for an analysis of achievement scores. Their evaluator quit and they need these results urgently.

Maggie and Chris: (arrive laughing) Congratulations!

George: Just what I like, lots of statistics. But I can’t work at the University. I still share an office there but I need space to spread out and get organized. What are the pros and cons of a home office?

Gail: It’s an excellent place to start your consulting business. There are several advantages:

  • It’s economical. You save money on gas, parking and lunch.
  • You save time—no commuting.
  • It’s flexible. You set your own working hours.
  • You’re your own landlord. You make all the decisions about your office space.
  • Your pets can keep you company.
  • When you incorporate, you can use it as a tax write-off. Talk to your accountant.

Maggie: But there are some drawbacks too. There is a big impact on your family. When I started it was sort of temporary. I worked at the dining room table. There were project files everywhere. Then it was Thanksgiving. The whole family was coming for dinner and I had move my office to the basement overnight. There were babysitting issues. Eventually my mother helped me out and now that the twins are in school, it’s fine.

Gail: What does your wife think about this, George?

George: I don’t know. I’ve always worked outside the house. She has her own routines.

Gail: Well, talk to her about it. Make sure she supports the idea.

George: Yes, okay. Any other disadvantages?

Chris: My fiancée and I rent an old house and I had some electrical issues. With my computer, printer and various other plug-ins, I blew the circuit when I tried to make a cup of coffee. I had to hire an electrician. My fiancée wasn’t happy about that!

Maggie: Lighting can be a problem. There was only one dim bulb in the basement. I had to buy some good reading lights so I don’t get eye strain.

Gail: You need a mailing address that is separate from your personal one. Get a post box but remember, couriers don’t deliver to boxes. Sometimes you need to provide your physical address.

George: Well so far there’s nothing I can’t handle.

Maggie: When you need social support, just call on us.

Chris: Yeah, we love problem solving. (His phone chirps.) Got to run!

All: Bye. See you next time!


For more on the continuing adventures of new consultants Maggie, Chris and George, see:

Do I Have What It Takes to Be a Consultant? (The Coffee Shop Chronicles, Part 1)

The Business Plan: Information Interviews (The Coffee Shop Chronicles, Part 2)

The Essential Status Report (The Coffee Shop Chronicles, Part 4)

 Barrington, G. V. (2012). Consulting Start-up and Management: A Guide for Evaluators and Applied Researchers. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Next up: Hiring Time

Photo: Shutterstock

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