The coworking movement has caught fire across America, especially for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and those just starting out in business. But what if you’ve taken the next step, and started your own small law firm? Or your growing law firm is beginning to outgrow your current setup? Should you be interested in this whole coworking concept?
Coworking spaces may be the perfect solution for your small business – or not. But the opportunity is well worth considering. Here are some factors that may help you determine if coworking is the right fit for your growing team.
An affordable, professional office space in a desirable location is a real estate unicorn.
Most small businesses must start out from less-than-optimal locations, whether it’s working out of someone’s home or garage, or leasing a low-rent space in a less-than-desirable neighborhood. These options can create a less-than-productive working environment. And the impression it makes on clients? Less than great.
Or, if you have the “go big or go home” attitude, you can go all in and lease a small space in a high-end neighborhood with an impressive address to feature on your letterhead. However, you’ll incur a lot of debt, and/or make up the deficit by trimming corners on things like office help, furniture, supplies, and coffee.
Either way, you’ll have some tough decisions to make. If you are required to sign a 12, 24, or 36 month lease agreement for your office location, you’ll be locked into that decision for a frighteningly long period of time. If you grow out of it, or find you can’t afford it — you’re stuck.
Most coworking spaces are in desirable, convenient locations and are much cheaper than leasing your own space. That’s because you pay for only the space you need for as long as you need it. And if you need to scale up or down from month to month, you can.
Of course, working in a communal space has its benefits (see the below section on networking), as well as its drawbacks, in terms of you give up in terms of quiet and seclusion, you make up in flexibility. If you want to work from home some days, you can do that too, because you don’t have to pay for those days.
Opening your own office means buying or leasing office furniture and equipment. It means investing in a stock of office and breakroom supplies. It means paying for utilities, phone and internet service, and a cleaning crew.
Then, you need to maintain the equipment, keep an inventory of your supplies, manage service outages, and interface with cleaners and other vendors. Or, you can hire an office manager, which is an additional expense.
In coworking office spaces, all of that comes included in the fee. And if the copier breaks down, it’s someone else’s responsibility.
Networking is important for any business, but in the legal field, networking and building relationships with other attorneys and legal professionals is a requirement for success. If you’re busy running your own office, you either sacrifice building the biggest network you can, or get used to 18-hour workdays.
Who needs more than six hours of sleep, or a personal life, anyway?
Possibly the best thing about coworking spaces is that the professional networking opportunities are built into the coworking community.
At spaces like LawWorks, which is exclusively for lawyers, when you come to the office, you’re entering a community of other lawyers and legal professionals with whom you can share ideas, advice, and referrals. You can also take advantage of our free networking events to make even more connections.
And that means you can spend more time with the most important connections: your own loved ones.
Having instant access to this type of network doesn’t just help you win clients and cases. It can also help you find the right people to hire when it comes time to grow your team.
LawWorks even offers its members MCLE-accredited classes so you can develop yourself and your staff, and can connect with others as you learn and grow in ways that help your business.
At LawWorks and other coworking spaces, you receive all the benefits of an office environment – connection, collaboration, and camaraderie. But because you’re not all working for the same company, you don’t deal with office politics. And because coworking spaces are so flexible, you maintain the freedom to work your way.
If you’re running a small law firm, and all this sounds like the right fit for your team, contact us at LawWorks – we’re opening soon, and together, we can build success!
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