Where’s your studio?

Since choosing self-employment in 2005, I’ve spent most of my time working from home. That home might’ve changed six times during those years, but my workspace has always been in the building where I’ve slept.

Workspace

There are plenty of positives (such as the time saved on a daily commute) and some negatives, too (like missing that daily interaction with other designers), but overall, I’ve been happy where I work, and although I sometimes wonder, it hasn’t seemed to hamper business.

What interests me more are your surroundings, and it’d be great to learn from the business owners among you.

Do you work from home or do you rent/own a studio elsewhere?
Has your workspace directly caused you any problems or led to any success?

P.s. Many thanks to Luke and Tom for replying to my tweet yesterday.

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62 comments

  1. I’m working from home in a small town on the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada. It’s a nice environment to be in. I get to see my daughter grow up, which is my biggest perk of working from home.

    Downside of small-town living is the lack of local business. If I want to do local business, I have to travel at least 30 minutes to get to a city and meet with potential clients. I wouldn’t mind being in a down town city area, so people can drop in when they need work done, which, I guess, can also be a good thing.

  2. My studio is also in my house. I hope to eventually have a designated room for my work but as of right now it is in the guest room along with an extra bed and such.

    It is definitely a different set of pros and cons working out of your house. I love that the business overhead is very low as I don’t have costs of renting a space. A con would be that because there is no physical separation of work and family life, it is easy to work and work at the cost of family time. When the “business” is two doors down from the “family” room, it takes a special kind of discipline to be able to manage and balance them both.

  3. One thing I would add…

    I’ve always needed the separation that an office provides. As business owners we think about our work constantly, that never seems to go away. Having an office helps me compartmentalize a little. Especially with little kids at home, when I’m home I want to be home.

    I rarely open my laptop anymore and I’ve started a new practice of leaving my iPhone in the other room when I get home. If I’m free of distractions and putting in a solid day at the office I want to come home and sit on the floor with the kids and play.

    I need that separation.

  4. We (Cog Design) have a studio in Greenwich, London, sarf of the river.
    We’re here, primarily, because I founded the company and found the space, and it’s the right side of London for me to travel from my home, in Kent, without getting caught in the horrible London commute.

    The positives include: –
    > we’ve bought a big building which we would never have been able to afford elsewhere.
    > we’ve converted it exactly as we want it – with different meeting/creative spaces, a big kitchen, and an indoor garden with fishpond (and a fish).
    > we’ve got loads of space, rather than the 10-in-a-cupboard-in-Hoxton set-ups.
    > we’re right next to the station and close enough to proper London to be able to hop on a train – 9 mins to London Bridge.

    The negatives include:-
    > it’s actually really difficult to get new staff to consider us. I was once turned down by an agency (yes, I know!) when I asked them to find us a senior designer, they said no one would work so far from the buzz of Shoreditch (twats).

    The positive/negatives include:-
    > we are out of the (incestuous) loop of London design. We probably do miss out, especially on networking opportunities, but do we really want to socialise with designers?
    > some clients make the mistake of hopping in a cab to get here. On a bad day the mile down Old Kent Road can take an hour alone.

    Overall, I think it’s the perfect compromise but there are times when I wish we didn’t need to compromise.

  5. When I went full-time with the business I decided I needed an office to show that I was “serious” about the business, unfortunately that was about the time the recession first hit. After a year and a half, with rent and electricity increases I moved into a “shared” work space, but my customers were not keen. So I moved back home, but I totally renovated the spare room, from plastering the walls to a new floor covering and furniture, so it was definitely “the office”. It works well, my overheads are lower but I know have a lower profile so I sometimes ponder whether having an office somewhere, perhaps in a larger building with other small businesses, might mean I pick up more work.
    I also have a simple rule, always dress for work and when I “finish” work I take off my shoes and put on my slippers (or flip flops!).

  6. I’ve set up shop in three different settings, trying to find the best atmosphere:

    1) I used to rent out a space from a local print shop, they wouldn’t take my money, so for payment I’d work for them a couple of days a week at a discounted rate, designing in-house and prepping files for print. While it was nice having my own space in a professional office, having me there proved too much of a temptation for the owner and it wasn’t uncommon for him to interrupt me during moments of intense concentration or research, to ask if I could squeeze in an extra job “since I was there anyway”. I was compensated for the “extras”, but by the time I left I felt more like a full time employee for the printshop and less like a freelancer.

    2) After that I set up shop in my house. This lasted several years and was great at first. I could work and still watch my daughter grow. Everything went pretty smooth for a couple of years, but gradually the temptation to tend to things that needed to be done around the house became too great. On top of that my wife would have “little” things “for me to do on my lunch break” which grew steadily into a laundry list equivalent to my workload. And as great as it was being around my daughter, my Mother-In-Law, who watched her during the day, had ZERO control over her. As she got older it seemed I was constantly interrupted, breaking up fights and handling issues that I shouldn’t have had to deal with while “working”. Having the office at the house also led me to work constantly. I had set hours, but I was always bending the rules and making exceptions, pulling 12 – 16 days more than necessary. Once my son came along, the distractions were non-stop. It was at the point where I couldn’t make a phone call without certainty of being interrupted. I needed to get out.

    3) Then I found the spot I’m typing this from. A decent sized office, with a door, isolated from everyone and rented for a very modest monthly fee. I have set hours and am able to leave work at work and enjoy my family on nights and weekends. The only thing better would be having some in-office staff I could delegate to ;)

  7. Hey David, it has been a while. I hope you are very well.

    I have worked in an in-house studio since day one. I chose to, while in College, start my own business, and the rest they say is history.

    I agree with you, it can be isolated, but I like to think that with the nature of communication these days (social media, social sharing & digital meetings) it helps to make one feel perhaps just a bit more global.

    I often enjoy in the same day working with clients in Europe to the middle east, with the majority of my work here in the US.

    I am located very close to both NYC and Philly, so on a regular basis I travel for events, client meetings and workshops.

    Any little bit helps when trying to make the most of both worlds I think.

    Your Friend,

    Ron

  8. I’m broke and I don’t have a family so my one room apartment works quite well as a studio.
    So I spend most of my days in the one room and it gets crazy sometimes. I live in downtown Krakow, though, so the city center, the parks and the river are only a 10 minutes walk away.

    I could never concentrate when I was an employee because I was forced to share a room with other people, listen to their conversations and the unavoidable radio.
    I need to be alone when I work.

    One day I’d like to have a bigger apartment and a dedicated studio room. Dreaming is free.

  9. amyjenc1

    I love my cubicle. I know it’s not the most creative space, but I can nest.

    It’s great. I can hang whatever I want up, buts more so I can focus so much better than I ever could at home. At home I get too distracted, but in my cubbie I can focus and get stuff done. The biggest thing is that I have lights over my desk that have colored paper over them and it feels like I am under a nice ray of sun.

    Although some days a door would be nice to have, or a divider to the aisle. ;)

  10. Hey David, I love that you still work from home. I do to, in my nice new home studio I built last year (http://www.owenjonesdesign.com/blog/new-office) and it’s great to have the freedom. I work in house with some agencies from time to time so I still manage to get some human interaction (as opposed to two cats at home…).

    BUT – my wife’s having a baby next month so I’m unsure if being at home will be conducive to a great work atmosphere once there’s a screaming child in the house!! If anyone has had experience of this I’d be interested in their thoughts!

  11. I work from home – my wife and I have a room dedicated to being an office, though renting an apartment that always has an extra bedroom has become a bit costly, it’s still worth it.

    Fortunately, my wife is a designer, too, so I still get the interaction with at least one other designer. I’ve also tried to build up a network locally in Austin so I can go visit a photographer friend, or a copywriter friend, or (insert creative career title) friend whenever I feel the need to socialize with other creatives.

    The only bad thing I’ve noticed about working from home are the interruptions. It gets VERY irritating sometimes, but I’ve recently cleared out the garage to “escape” with my laptop when it gets to be too much. And I can always walk to a coffee shop for some ambient (non-interrupting) sound and social interaction when necessary. Fun times.

  12. I work from my home in Western New York and for the most part I love it, but I have noticed that unlike a normal 8-5 job I constantly have to work in different areas of my house. On any given day I may be in my office, dining room, or living room. I enjoy being alone when I want to, but more often than not I must be around people to focus. That is why I normally go to one of my offices outside of my house.

    Depending on the day or my mood I may go to my International*, national**, or regional*** office. Each location offers a slightly different atmosphere and cliental to interact with or ignore. I’m the type of person that can wander around my house for hours if I want, just thinking about an idea, but when I go to one of my offices I can focus and actually work!

    I noticed that if I am feeling lazy and at home I will most likely stop for the day and start playing a game… this is my greatest problem, especially if a new one comes out. It’s never a good thing to start your day at 9:30am and then quit at 11:45am to play, but sometimes its an itch I must scratch or I can’t work at all… or that’s at least what I tell myself. Other than that I am pretty productive and really can’t see myself working in a normal office again.

    *International Offices – a local Starbucks
    ** National Offices – Panera
    *** Regional Offices – Spot Coffee
    (I did not make this up, unfortunately. I couple of marketing friends did.)

  13. Jannette Whippy

    I love working from my home office. I am an inhouse designer for a team scattered across the globe. I keep to a very rigid schedule, and so far so good (it’s been three years). Once the work day is over, I shut the door to the office and do not let myself be tempted into any extra work. The only distraction at home is my greyhound Brian… who seems to know exactly when my work day should be over, uncanny how accurate he is. The only bad thing about having my office in my home is always wanting to redecorate/get new more awesome furniture.

  14. I’ve had offices with over 20 employees, but since the early ’90’s when my company lost several major accounts, I moved into a home office. Now that our kids are out of the house during business hours, we don’t have that distraction.

    I LOVE working from home! I had two of our bedrooms designed by an interior designer, so they are very comfortable work environments, and since my company is a corporation, I charge the corporation monthly rent of $1,500.00 per month. I still have to pay income taxes on the rent income, but I don’t have to pay employment (social security) taxes on that money. It makes for quite a saving when tax time rolls around.

    Besides, it’s very rare that a client comes to my office, and the ones that DO are pleased because they perceive that they are saving money by not paying for my office overhead.

    The bad part? I sometimes find myself checking email and finishing up projects at 2:00 am.

  15. Meredith

    I have an office and am the only graphic designer in a building with 125 office spaces. All the other tenants are small businesses and I have done work for at least 60% of them, from business cards to booklets and product packaging. The office with utilities included is just $500 a month but I found my income increased substantially when I switched to a more professional environment. . Like many others I tried working from home but was often distracted by things going on at home and find that “going to the office” makes a big difference in how I concentrate and stay focused on the jobs at hand. The office is only 4 blocks from my house so the commute is a healthy little walk in the fresh air. I am very happy with the current arrangement.

  16. I made to jump to self employment just this month. The main thing I am missing at the moment, (apart from regular work) is the lack of social interaction that I used to get from the studio. I spend a lot of time talking to the dog!

  17. I work from home but I’m looking to rent one or two spaces for a few reasons, including the fact that I want to open a school and I also want to set up a workshop for making products.

    Working from home is great in that I no longer have to endure the hour plus commute into central Tokyo, plus I get to spend a lot more time with my family.

    The downside, as others have already mentioned, is the difficulty in separating work and home, especially with my son around. I quit my last job so that I could spend more time with him, so I can hardly begrudge him coming into my ‘office’ and asking to play with me.

    Having said that, an increasing number of my clients like me to meet me in person for consulting and other work, so I can get a lot of the work I need to do on the computer either before my wife and son wake up or while on the train. This means I can go out and run around with my son without having half my brain elsewhere.

  18. I’ve worked from home since I became a commercial photographer 3-and-a-bit years back. Overall, it’s great—but when things get busy I do need to force myself to get out more (or I start suffering from cabin fever).

    Since moving to Shanghai (last week) I’ve been forced to spend more time working from a cafe that boasts better internet speeds than my hotel. By chance I discovered a cafe that is surrounded by creative businesses—so while my working here began out of necessity, it’s turned out to be a great way to build relationships in my industry. I think that once I’ve set up my home office I’ll still spend a significant amount of time in cafes like this.

  19. Mark, that’s definitely an upside — seeing your daughter grow up — but also a downside, as others mention, if it causes too much of a distraction for too much of the time. As long as we have enough self-discipline, and enough peace from crying babies (not yet one of my considerations).

    Robert, like you, I used to work from a guest room. There was a kind of progression from my own bedroom, to the living room, to a second bedroom, to a dedicated “office” room. It makes a psychological difference — one that might be amplified if you rent/own a studio space away from your home.

    Luke, I’m fairly sure I’d be out of the house if it was filled with kids. Unless I had a separate floor (been looking at a few three-story homes on the market recently). Thanks again for sending that email.

    Michael, your staircase is particularly smart. I sometimes feel like I miss out on the design scene buzz of London (because many of the folk I follow on Twitter are based there) but it’s about compromise, as you say, and we do our best work when we’re happy.

    Jane, your footwear rule is similar to the importance of dressing the part, even from home. I’ve tried working in track trousers and a dressing gown. Wasn’t happening. A “work” mindset is a must for beating distractions.

    Lots of great responses to this post. Thank you, everyone. I need to split my reply and come back a little later. More to follow.

  20. Chris, you’re not the only one I know who rented space from a commercial printer. It gives you the option to trade services if money is tight. But alas, it sounds like the printer’s needs overtook your own. Seems like you’ve found what’s almost your ideal scenario. Good on you, and good luck with the expansion.

    Ron, I am indeed, thanks. Somewhat similar paths after going it alone, you and I. Keeping in digital contact with other designers is helpful, I agree, but there’s no substitute for a bit of face-to-face banter. I’m curious about your disability activism. What does that involve?

    Andrea, we all need those goals if we’re going to score. I’m sure your surroundings help with the creativity. Some beautiful sights.

    Jennifer, did you create the Chema element for your business? I like it.

    Owen, a belated congratulations! I hope everything goes smoothly in the run-up to next month (and beyond). How is it having your computer backing onto that view? Do you get distracted? Much sun in your eyes? Nice setup, by the way.

    Josh, I’ve tried to persuade my wife to become self-employed. There are a couple of ideas I’d help her with but she’s not so keen. Great that you two work together, and “under promise, over deliver” — always liked that one.

    Thomas, one of the things with self-employment is that we need to treat ourselves every now and again, because we don’t have anyone giving us those Christmas bonuses or the rest of the day off. So embrace it, I say.

    Jannette, three years? Nice going. Does your greyhound ever race, or is that just a dog stereotype I’m naive about?

    Will, it’d be great to see what your interior designer came up with. I like this quote of yours, “I help companies double and triple their profits.” The video’s a nice touch.

    Meredith, I love that you’ve done business with so many others in your building. Was that a factor when you were choosing where to work? Or just a result of your intuition after the move?

    Wayne, an exciting time for you. Wishing you every success.

    Richard, was that an hour each way? When you find yourself new premises will it be back in the centre?

    Ami, how has the move gone so far? I’ve visited Shanghai. Such a huge city.

    Thanks again, everyone.

  21. I currently work at a desk on my second floor, but it is open to the stairs and the noise that goes on with the family below. So, it is filled with distractions as many of the other commentators pointed out. I am really excited for the building I am working on though, as it is separate from the house but still on my property. It probably won’t be finished for a couple years though, things tend to move slowly when you aren’t actually in them yet. You can see it here http://www.chrislanephoto.com/blog/2010/09/21/studio-remodel-update/

  22. That could make an excellent space, Chris. You’ll need some serious insulation for when the snow arrives, but you’ve got some good help in Tristan!

  23. Hey David,

    I totally agree.

    My disability activism actually started as a experiment with BuddyPress and WordPress about 3 years ago.

    I Co-Founded http://ilwad.com, have been a speaker at WordCamp Philly in regard. The community is a work is progress, and has since grown into several endeavors, on the net and here locally in PA.

    http://ronbercume.com/disability-social-media-network/

    It is something very close to my heart.

    Ron

  24. I’ve worked from home on and off since 1997. My most current self-employment/work from home gig started in 2003 and I’ve been in four locations over that time. For the first eight years I lived in New Haven, CT and now in a suburb on the shore, Stratford, CT. In all but one location I used a spare room with a door as an office. I also occasionally have client meetings in my living room or at my dining room table.

    I am a single Mom so this arrangement has allowed me to be there for my son in the all the ways I want. I am an hour from NYC and at one time, when my son was five, I was offered a really fantastic job there. I passed because back at that time my goals were centered on quality of life for my son.

    I also ran a business from home when my son was ages infant – age three. That age range makes it very difficult for work from home so I had my son in part-time child care.

    My son grew up with me teaching him the “rules.” No answering the phone, knock on closed doors (my office door), no interrupting, etc. These are all good rules for kids anyhow, but my son learned the basics of polite professional behavior early on. He is 15 now and sometimes acts as my assistant out on client sites. When he was small, I used to bring him with me to “breakfast” networking events and he would hand out my cards (people LOVED this and always remembered me because of it).

    I thoroughly enjoy working from home. It allowed me to make a decent living while also allowing me to be there for almost all the important things in my son’s life. That said, this kind of arrangement requires a specific kind of discipline.

    I “mostly” keep office hours and do dress in business clothes each morning but sometimes, usually after a huge project, I will take a few days to goof off.

    I also am an avid cyclist so when the weather is nice I will take 1-2 hours in the middle of the day to go cycling. I also try to plan out my week by the weather. I may work 14 hours on a rainy day so I can go cycling on the nice days.

    I also “summer” at the ocean in Rhode Island for a couple of weeks and sometimes for the whole summer. I just work from there. All my clients know to call my cell or email me.

    I often tell people that I live “the renaissance lifestyle.” I’m probably a little more free-form than most people but I am also so extremely disciplined about my projects and and my clients that it all works out very well.

  25. Timely subject! I recently moved from a large suburban Boston home (with a home office) to a very small house on Cape Cod. Its very chopped up and the only workspace is the kitchen table and the living room sofa. I am going fairly nuts with this set up. I work from home, coffee shops, libraries but I miss the social aspect of working with others.

    I do travel back to my home town outside of Boston once a week to a wonderful open co-working space called the Zen Bungalow http://mainstreetventures.com/shared-office-community/ – I love it because I can always mull ideas over with other people there, one is a small business entrepreneur/consultant and the other regular is a branding guru. This is what I miss from working alone out of my house. Now almost every time I go up to my “office” I come back with great inspiration and usually a solid lead for a new web design project.

    No such co-working space exists here on the Cape as far as I can tell, so I am trying to convince my husband to build a shed outside that I can call my girl-cave for my web design business and all my creative and artistic hobbies. ;0) Wish me luck!

    Anne

  26. I also have a home office which has worked well for the past few years. It’s a decent space with a good view and large windows, no real distractions which can be both a good and bad thing.

    I find I rarely keep to office hours though always starting work quite alot earlier than I would if working for a company and working til around 6-7 most evenings, with a few breaks inbetween.

    All this said I’ve recently I’ve joined up to a hot desk/co-working space which I’m easing myself into. It’s a good environment, especially for networking with like minded others, with a few designers, artists, marketing and other creative people working from there. I hope to work more often from this space mainly to learn more from those their and to create a more social working atmosphere.

  27. Jannette Whippy

    Hi David,
    Thanks for the reply :) In the U.S. most greyhounds are retired racers (I have yet to meet a greyhound that was not adopted from a track). Brian was a racer but we never saw him race. Apparently he was not very good (which was a bonus for us because we adopted him young).

  28. I’m a graphic design student. I run my one year old business out of my home office. The best part about working from home is definitely that I get to wear sweatpants all day long, and if I’m having a bad day, I can move my work to the couch. My friends always ask me what I do all day if I don’t have a “real” job. They think I just sit around and watch TV all day, when in reality, I’m sitting at my desk in complete silence working for 10-14 hours per day. Working for yourself is not for everyone; it takes a very motivated personality to get up early in the morning without the thought of your boss getting angry with you if you’re late.

  29. At present I live in one of the outer boroughs of NYC (about 30-40 mins by train) and work from a desk in my living room. I definitely plan to move closer to Manhattan and maybe into an apartment with an extra room that can be set aside as a designated office. In addition, I’ve been thinking about organizing/hosting workshops and networking events. Depending on how things work out I might look into either renting a small office or co-working spaces with conference rooms that can be rented for a few hours or days.

    This is a great question, its interesting to hear about everyone’s situation/setup.

  30. I work from home and besides going out to teach, I have done so for the past 3 1/2 years. This is where I worked twenty-one years ago when my son was a baby. I feel live I’ve gone full circle and I’m back where I began, except now I have my 3 cats for my daytime companions. Although I sometimes get to babysit my 4 month old grandson for a few hours during the day which is a wonderful treat and total dejá vu experience. Although there are days when the quiet and solitude can get to me, overall I much prefer it to working in an office.

  31. Cheers David. It’s not too distracting actually but I do need to shut the blinds at particular times of day to avoid sun in the eyes syndrome!

  32. Presently my studio is a very nice room overlooking the Fall River (a tidal estuary) in Essex Ct (USA). Before settling here my design office was a 36-ft sailboat cruising the US east coast from Maine to the Bahamas. We communicated with clients via a cellphone while sailing in the US. Offshore we switched to a satphone which occasionally required sitting on deck with laptop on knees in order to maintain connection to the signal. It was challenging and fun. I spent one winter anchored in the Exumas, designing trademarks on a mac laptop while all my friends were snorkeling for shells. Not a bad way to make a living.

  33. Meredith

    David, Actually “it” (having lots of potential clients around me) was a consideration when I was looking at offices to rent. I saw some great spaces that were bigger and had other potential benefits, but being in a building with 125 potential customers was more than I could resist. Not only that but with so many offices there is about 20% annual turn over as the small businesses grow into larger businesses so not only do I have the original clients after they leave, but I have the opportunity to keep growing my clientele in a very convenient location. Additionally I see my clients on a regular basis, and so many have become friends as well as clients. Also, understanding their marketing needs and their company character and “feel” is much easier having that close contact.

  34. My “office” is tucked into the corner near my dining room. From this spot, I can watch my kids while I work. I love being able to work in my gym shorts and socks, but with two little ones it can be difficult to get things done uninterrupted, so I often end up working into the late hours of the night to beat deadlines.

  35. Ron, I watched the video. Your project has a great goal, so all the very best with it.

    Susan, I can’t imagine how difficult it is running a business as a single parent. Your cycle breaks sound ideal — I’ll go for afternoon runs now and again, just to get outdoors and (try to) clear my thoughts.

    Anne, those co-working spaces are cropping up a lot, probably as a result of our abilities to work from anywhere (not just designers) but the want to have more human interaction than our increasingly digital lives offer. Good luck with the girl-cave!

    Gareth, I’m curious how much you and Anne pay for access to co-working. Do you need to “book in” so you’re sure of a desk?

    Jannette, always nice to learn about the advantages of not being very good. :)

    Natasha, let me know if you do go on to organise some sort of “creative meetup.” Perhaps if I give it a mention on Twitter, etc., it might help spread the word.

    Eileen, funny how we all end up repeating what’s come before, in so many more ways than with work. It’s good to know you prefer your current workspace. Off topic, I’m going to be writing about ethics in my book, and your field guide will definitely get a mention.

    Steve, The Exumas? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to sample work from just off those coasts. Very nicely done.

    Meredith, I’ve sent you a quick email.

    Chris, that’s probably a fairly common trade-off when working from home with kids about (continuing into the early hours). I hope the family’s all in good health.

  36. David, Great of you to respond to each comment. Door to door my commute was just under 90 minutes each way. It hit me just how far it was when I had to walk home after the earthquake.

    I’m looking for premises in my local community (outside Tokyo), mainly to be close to home but also because it’s cheaper and it’s easier to source materials I want to use for my products.

  37. I’ve been working from home as a freelancer for ten years now and have loved it.

    There are some negatives, but I have found them very minor (and resolvable) and for me are far outweighed by the positives to the extent that I’d feel quite distressed now if I thought I were not able to work from home for some reason!

  38. The move has been great so far—it’s definitely a sprawling city. It has been less of a culture shock than I expected, though I am looking forward to learning the language.

    BTW I’m really enjoying your posts (only found your blog recently). Nice work responding to each comment!!

  39. I work mainly from home, unless I am onsite with a client. As David mentioned himself, it does work quite well with regards of not having to commute however I do tend to work into the early hours because I have the ability too. I suppose being a freelance designer it comes part and parcel.

    I do find it can hamper work slightly due to a short attention span but overall I find working from home works quite well. Another business I am involved with has since let the work premises go as it was costing a small fortune and with technology work could be done from anywhere so there really was no need for an office. It can get lonely and as David also mentioned I do miss the daily interaction with other creatives.

  40. I am part of a small partnership and we managed to convince a local theatre (these old buildings always have lots of hidden rooms!) to let us on their associate artist scheme. Now we have a small office there in exchange for some work we agreed to do with them.

    It’s fantastic for your creative side as you’re mixed in with a bunch of artists from many different disciplines, which means we have been collaborating on many projects. It has its drawbacks as its quite busy and you can find it hard to ‘get in the zone’ sometimes but the opportunities and knowledge you get by being around other artists is wonderful.

  41. I work from a rented studio, though it’s only 150 strides from my home. I have spent the odd day working from home in the past, but happy to leave it to the occasion.

    Love my studio. Share with a couple of colleagues from related businesses. Though I don’t have more than 5 or so visitors per week, I do have a small meeting room for more formal meetings which make me feel I’m conducting business in a pro manner.

    The best bit about having a studio is having the space to be able to dedicate an ever increasing portion of it to my artistic tendencies-semi abstract paintings and photography (whenever I can make the time)

  42. First of all, a great post David. I currently work out of my flat in Windsor. My ‘studio’ consists of a deck in lounge with a good few graphic & web design books to the side, as I find that I work better with a certain level of background noise.

    A few years ago, I came to realise that most of my ideas (whether it be designing or writing) annoying came when I was at my 9-5 job as opposed to at my desk. That’s why I feel that a certain level of background noise is good for me – hence being in the lounge.

    I strongly believe that having the right surroundings, desk space and self-discipline is a must though. We’ll be moving soon and with that I’ll be purchasing a new desk (which will probably be the IKEA one you recommended to me awhile back) ;) I haven’t found a better one that I prefer.

  43. Thanks for the offer David! Its still just a “baby thought” in my head but I’ll let you know if it develops any further.

    For people who meet with clients at their home office, have you ever had a client pop up without notice? Or are meetings at your home office only offered for clients that you’ve known/worked with for a long time? I imagine that it could be a bit weird if you ran into a client with boundary issues.

  44. Richard, I’m sure that’s a walk you’ll never forget. All the best with the search for premises.

    Amanda, yours was one of the first blogs I visited some years ago. I’m glad you’re still making a success of self-employment.

    Ami, good to know you’re enjoying the posts, and I hope the language learning isn’t too stressful (at least a little less so than those taxi rides you’ve been having).

    Eóin, thankfully, my wife tends to help when I contemplate working into the early hours. I had much more of a tendency to work late when single, and a good night’s sleep really helps with concentration levels the next day.

    Matt, I like the sound of that associate artist scheme. Trading services for premises seems to be a recurring action.

    Paul, I dropped by your .co.uk. Some of those abstract pieces for Roche are particularly great. Well done.

    Jamie, it’s still serving me well, that desk. How about a snapshot of you at yours for the ‘about’ page? It’d help fill that white space between the sidebars. Regardless, here’s to a smooth move for you.

    Natasha, get in touch anytime. About clients stopping by at home, I can’t actually remember the last client I had in this country. It’s strange, that, but a sign of how we really can work from wherever there’s a net connection.

  45. I like mixing up working from home so I have control of when I do things, and working in various offices on contract for the social aspect. I also hope to develop a lifestyle where I can do my work from anywhere in the world – not that I want to move often or all the time, as I love my home, the beach and my cat, but it’s good to rent out my room and have the option to fly free so I can recreate myself, which is the soul of being creative (R&R). Staying fresh and not feeling trapped, experiencing different people, landscapes and cultures.

  46. Sunay Shah

    I have been working from home (a brand new build my wife and I decided to go for) for almost 3 years now. It is definitely a challenge especially in a brand new area as there is construction, so somedays I resort to Starbucks or a library to continue my work.

    Besides it being bright and airy, I think it is important to make your workspace yours in order for you to want to work there and be there and I have done that but it will keep evolving.

    Besides that we have a 10 month old boy and it is a pleasure seeing him smile every day so that is definitely a plus for me.

    Love your posts David!

    Cheers!

  47. David, I should have posted our interview link in one of my previous comments – it just struck me as being pretty relevant to this conversation.

    http://ronbercume.com/david-airey-logo-design-love/

    *Specifically either being a “clock watcher,” or an entrepreneur.

    Good stuff, I am very proud of this article and grateful that you took the time to talk to me – it speak loads of your character.

    A big fan.

    Ron

  48. I have an office at home, I also have an office in the city near me, but it’s more of a getaway for times of solitude.

  49. Zack McClean

    It’s both where I work and where ever I have my Laptop with me. The only downside to having two places from which I can work is the constant having to move files back and forth, when I take work home with me. Other than that, I’ve got no qualms.

  50. The family is in good health, David. Thank you! I hope your loved ones and yourself are wonderful, also.

  51. David, just getting back to your comment..

    “Gareth, I’m curious how much you and Anne pay for access to co-working. Do you need to “book in” so you’re sure of a desk?”

    It’s currently £50 a month, for 2 days a week of use, with a desk, wifi, and access to a private meeting room. To be honest it’s extremely good value. That said I do need to make better use of it. Me and my better half have a baby on the way, so I think I’ll be using it alot more very soon :)

  52. Thanks for the advice David, I’ll keep it in mind for when I setup in the new place ;)

  53. Hi David, We at GD/hta always enjoy reading your blog and thought it was time to make a comment.

    We are based in London’s Camden Town, full of tourists, always busy and lots going on. Plenty of inspiration on our doorstep!

    Cheers

    GD Team

  54. Arturo

    I live in a small town in Mexico and have worked from home since 5 years ago. I used to have my own space. It took me like a year to renew the room in my house while I was working at an agency. By the time the agency closed abruptly I had a comfortable office, and days later a couple of clients from the agency called me and started to give me projects, so the transition was smooth.

    Then 2 years ago a member of my family got sick and was advised not to use stairs, so I had to leave my office and change it to a bedroom instead.

    Since then, I have a desk in my living room, and although I always meet with clients at their offices or in coffee shops, I miss my privacy. Now I get distracted with the everyday activities of the house. I think a rented office just for me is too much, so maybe I will add an extra room by the end of the year. Also, I’m waiting for “that big client” to get a real space in a building and get staff, or maybe I need the space and staff to get the big client?

  55. Rachael, I totally agree about getting away every once in a while. The fact that we can make it a longer break by taking our earning potential with us can only broaden our horizons.

    Sunay, I’ve been eyeing up a new build, too, but the thought of a few years nearby construction is a bit off-putting. It’s about compromise I guess. I hope your son’s in great health.

    Ron, I was happy to chat. No worries at all.

    Zack, curious if you’ve tried a service like Dropbox for those file transfer issues. I don’t work remotely too often, so it’s no big deal, but I’ve thought about it.

    Gareth, congrats on the impending parenthood!

    Theo, thanks for reading. Pass on my regards to Lucy and Rachel.

    Arturo, a classic catch-22, and I’m sure many big clients want that visual security of a dedicated office space, but there’s no accounting for talent, and you can work with the best wherever your studio. No doubt.

  56. I work from home, but I have been considering using a shared office nearby, which is only for people in the creative industries. Seems like it could be a great chance to network/gain extra inspiration.

  57. I’ve been self employed for 6 years. For the first 4 years I worked in home, pretty far from the center, 42 s.qm, staying all nights and days almost in the same room. It became really hard psychically… when I finished my job at 6-7pm I was so tired I didn’t want to go out anywhere, downtown, meet some people etc. I closed myself in one space. And most of all I started to hate my place! My home became my office or should I say my prison? You really can go crazy working this way… but it seems it’s just a very personal feeling.

    I had more and more clients so not to kill myself and handle all my clients I started to rent an office in the downtown. I hired some people too. I’m in the center everyday, meeting people, beautiful old town and coffee shops downstair, lovely place. And although I pay an awful rent I’m really happy now. And I love my home again.

  58. I’ve been a freelance designer since 2010. I work from home and have done so since I joined the big wide world of self-employment. Ive also just become a father and my little girl is by far the best inspiration I have, as well as my finest piece of design ;-) But sometimes home life can cross over into work. I personally think working at home has more pros than cons as long as you have enough discipline and focus.

  59. At the moment I’m freelancing from home but I’m opening a new business soon so I’ll hopefully afford to move my office out of my home and into office space.

  60. Meredith

    This is response to Chris who would like office staff to help out. Chris have you thought of going to a community college or university and giving students internships that give: the student professional work experience, you… free or near free labor for a few hours a week, and the student a letter of recomnmendation (provided they do a good job) for the future. You can also ask Professors to recommend students (this helps in the screening and hiring process) and by telling the professor exactly what you need from the student they will pick applicants who are best suited for your type of work. Good luck! I have had several interns helping me and it was a God send!

  61. Just moved into my first studio in south wimbledon with two friends with the hope of starting our own practice. Only been there a month but working away from home is fantastic!

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