(MoneyWatch) At first glance, renting an office space might seem like a luxury for a freelancer. After all, there are plenty of ways to create a functional home office, and since you're already renting or own the space, it's relatively cost-effective. But some freelancers say that renting a separate space is not only affordable, but also helps them do their job better -- and, in the process, make more money.
So should you try to fit an office space into your budget? According to freelancers, here are six reasons to consider it:
To experience natural networking opportunities. I rent office space at The Inc. at Purple Crayon in Hastings, N.Y. I come because I like the interaction/networking with other freelancers, and I like the programming they offer for freelancers. On Wednesdays I attend "lunch pad," where entrepreneurs share their experiences and trade advice and counsel over a communal salad. -- Suzanne Robitaille, writer
To maintain a professional appearance. I am a self-employed attorney. I rent office space in Manhattan, about an hour's train ride from my Long Island home [for many reasons, including] professionalism. There is no doubt that a more professional and businesslike impression is made when clients and prospective clients meet you in your office rather than in your home or at a Starbucks, particularly if you have your diplomas, laminated newspaper articles, awards, etc., hanging on the wall. -- Charles-Eric Gordon, Esq.
For the community. I rent office space because it gets me out of the house, it makes me more productive, and gives me a sense of a professional community. I found when I worked at home that I felt too isolated and not a part of the working world. I rent a cubicle at Brooklyn Writers Space. It's so easy to rent a flexible and affordable space these days, at least in New York City. This was one of the most affordable options -- I pay $360 a quarter. -- Samantha Hoover, marketing and communications consultant
To avoid raiding the fridge. I participate in a shared office space in Boston called Officio.
To increase your efficiency and earnings. I can make more money because when I am at the office, I am totally focused on getting work done. I currently pay about $600 per month for my space. Since having my own office, my income has just continued to grow. -- Valerie Chereskin, Southern California-based PR consultant
For the technological perks. I rent space for many reasons, depending on what I need to do for my business. In some office suites, they have video-teleconferencing capability, which is particularly advantageous if you have clients in multiple locations or internationally. Some peer-to-peer tools (e.g., Webex or Go-To-Meeting) can be used from your home, but the quality and number of locations you have video with are limited. -- Michael Hermens, Dallas, Texas-based finance services consultant
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons User Ragesoss