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When to reveal that office and home are one and the same

Posted by Colleen Wainwright on

Karen Barranco is a graphic designer whose company, Special Modern Design, is based here in Los Angeles. Like many of us solopreneurs and small business types, Karen operates her business out of her home.

Her question? When—if ever—should you let your clients know this?

I have a home office and work by myself. I have been doing so successfully for 8 years. My question is, should I reveal that my office is based out of my home? I know it turns some clients off and they don’t call me back. They ask to come to my office and that’s when I tell them about the coffee shop where I meet clients. I don’t want to lie but it holds me back from getting the big budget jobs I want. Should I be upfront?

Like yourself, I’m not a fan of lying. For one, it’s complicating—just the thought of keeping multiple truths straight gives me a headache.

But you don’t have to lead with the information. There are plenty of times, as I’m sure you’ve noticed in your many years operating a business, it will never come up.

That said, if it does, there are clients for whom that may be a dealbreaker. If you really want to go after the kinds of old-school, biggity-big clients for whom dedicated office space is meaningful and you’re not up for renting an entire office of your own, you might want to look into shared space. One great resource here in Los Angeles is KERNSPIRACY, the creative professionals’ mailing list run by L.A.-based graphic designer, Spencer Cross. There’s a staggering amount of collective knowledge on that list, and people are very willing to share.

Speaking of sharing, if you’re reading this and have a helpful thought, could you share it with Karen and the class in the comments?

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