How to get affordable office space in Chicago

Chicago skyline from Evanston. Needpix

Sponsored: It’s likely that start-up businesses in Evanston already have a plan to scoop up customers in Chicago. However, folks starting on their own in creative sectors like website design, copywriting or digital marketing will be happy to start locally before casting an envious eye over how competitors are doing in the big city.

For most entrepreneurs who are just setting out on the road of working for themselves, the reality is they will begin by working from home. It’s free for a start, plus there are no commuting woes, and you get to make lunch in your kitchen.

While homeworking is perfect for many – and some are happy to remain in a home office forever – it can have disadvantages. For one, it can be lonely working by yourself five days a week. Further, you don’t get the chance to bounce ideas off others or network with potential collaborators or new clients. Also, and this can be a deal-breaker, there are endless distractions. Perhaps you have kids running around, the mailman rings at the door, or you simply distract yourself, sitting in front of the TV for “five minutes”, which turns into an hour.

Homeworkers also have a business growth problem. If they want their business to grow, they’ll need to build a team around them, but they can hardly bring them all over to the apartment to work.

The solution, of course, is to get an office in which you can truly spread your wings. Coming to that decision puts you at a crossroads, however: do you find somewhere in Evanston and build a successful local business, or bite the bullet and settle on heading straight to Chicago, with all the potential clients working there?


Live in Evanston but work in Chicago.  Wikimedia image

Chicago will be the choice for many, but renting out your own office in the Windy City is prohibitive. According to squarefoot.com, the average rent for Class A office space in Chicago is around $50 a square foot. Consider each member of staff needs the equivalent of 150 square foot, that means you’re looking at $7,500 a year for each person. Should you hire two or three employees, that rental cost skyrockets.

However, there is an alternative, which is joining the coworking space phenomenon. Coworking space, where individual entrepreneurs or small start-ups share a large office space, is an ideal way to enjoy a premier office location at a reduced cost.

For residents of Evanston, with one eye on ease of commute, there is the MakeOffices coworking space in River North. A solo entrepreneur can secure a hot desk pass for just $375 a month. Not only is the cost cheap compared to renting an office, but there are also multiple benefits.


Coworking space in Chicago. Make Offices

Firstly, you get to work in a fully serviced, well-equipped office. There is a staffed reception, mail collection services, WiFi, printing, kitchen with refreshments, even unlimited craft beer on tap! And naturally, all electricity and other utility charges are taken care of by the service company.

Next is the benefit of networking. Coworking spaces are packed with like-minded business people, all friendly (otherwise they wouldn’t be there) and looking to connect with others. If you’re a web designer, for example, you’ll likely be sitting close to a copywriter, digital marketer and SEO expert, plus a photographer/videographer. Collaboration with other entrepreneurs is the name of the game, and before you know it, you might be picking up new clients through these new contacts.

As your business grows, you might want to set up meetings with clients in Chicago. You couldn’t do that while working from home – but at a space like River North, you’ll find meeting rooms that are the ideal environment to talk with clients.

Most coworking spaces offer monthly networking events, some doubling as seminars where you can hone your skills in some areas of marketing, for example, which will help you grow your business.

Should your business become successful, you can take on several members of staff and remain in a coworking space. You can rent a three-person office for around $1,700 a month – cheaper than renting your own office, and you get all the benefits mentioned above.

Armed with this knowledge, it’s easy to see why entrepreneurs from Evanston might be positive about getting office space in Chicago after all. Just imagine what you could do with the cash you’re saving? Reinvesting it in marketing or paying for some business coaching will bring extra rewards. Maybe get the cool website you’ve promised yourself? The choice is yours.

This content provided by MakeOffices.

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