DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently started a business and work out of my home. I need to have client meetings to get things going, but I don’t have a place to go. I have been inviting people to meet me for coffee or drinks at various locations, but that is getting expensive. I don’t have much disposable income right now. If I invite someone to meet with me, I feel like I have to offer them something. I don’t know what to do. I get that you have to pay to play, but I can’t keep paying at these prices. -- On the Path, Philadelphia
DEAR ON THE PATH: Do a little research on your spending patterns. How much do you typically spend per month to entertain clients? Count every cup of coffee, doughnut, lunch, drink or dinner. Be specific so you can assess what you have allowed yourself to afford thus far.
Next, consider some of the popular temporary workspaces popping up in your area. Often you can rent a desk with access to a conference room for a relatively low monthly fee. Then, voila, you have an office and can invite people to meet you there. You can also look for free public spaces to meet, including the library -- if there is a room where you are allowed to meet. Look for enclosed public spaces that are opulent and that attract a professional population. This could include open space that’s attached to a business. You have to get creative to identify an opulent space you can afford, which is why the rented desk and conference room could be the answer. Don’t give up!