As of July 1, Starbucks began offering free, one-click, unlimited Wi-Fi to all of its company-owned stores in the United States. There are over 800 locations in the Los Angeles area. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has been providing a “totally free” Wi-Fi Program since 2008 at virtually all company-owned stores and has over 175 Los Angeles area stores. And many independent coffee houses offer patrons a place to meet in lieu of a traditional office as well. When considering a coffee shop setting as your workplace, keep the following in mind:
Debbie Echevarria, who runs her company, Your Business Support, from her Ventura County home, says “I don’t want everyone knowing where I live; so having a coffee shop where I can meet business clients, works great for me.” She lets the client pick the coffee shop so they are most comfortable with the atmosphere. Echevarria advises you “think ahead, plan your meeting, and make sure you have the client’s file and any materials you need to present.” She advises, “It’s better to be over prepared than to look unprofessional. The simplest things will make you look bad, like searching for a pen and paper or not having your business cards.”
“Prepare a list of the things you want to accomplish before you go,” suggests Orange County productivity specialist Lisa Guzzo of Working Space Unlimited.
“As an entrepreneur who works from home and hotel rooms around the world, I don’t underestimate the value of a ritual like coffee being the start of a workday,” explains Ojai’s Jodi Womack, founder of No More Nylons. “Don’t wear white!” she quips.
June Saruwatari, The Organizing Maniac, proposes occasionally working where there is no wifi. “Every weekend I bike to a local coffee shop in Santa Monica,” she says. “I love that they do not have internet access because when I’m there with my computer and nothing else, it forces me to write, rather than browse the internet!”
Denise Abdun-Nur of Ventura’s Amazing Grace Organizing, sums it all up: “A coffee shop is a casual place where most people feel comfortable. There is no great commitment or cost involved. If you are a disciplined person, you can escape to the shop, have someone make a fine beverage of your choice and be free of all the disruptions that were bothering you before!”
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