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Making it in Startup City Without Breaking the Bank: San Francisco

Relocating to a new city is a challenge, and it can be overwhelming if you’ve never set foot there before. San Francisco is no exception. The city might look small on a map, but it’s easy to get lost in those dense 47 square miles.

Yet even with its high cost of living and infamous fog, San Francisco has the resources to be the perfect place to launch your next venture.

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San Francisco’s Plentiful Resources

With universities like University of California-Berkeley or Stanford nearby (and Los Angeles just a short flight away), San Francisco offers unrivaled access to talent — and potential investors are just as plentiful.

Silicon Valley has been the venture capital powerhouse of the world since before today’s tech giants took their first steps, with Sand Hill Road as the mecca of innovation.

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So how can you take advantage of these resources and set yourself up for success in the city? Here are my three top tips:

  1. Quality Collaborative Environments

Co-working spaces are a lot cheaper than private offices, and they often have flexible leases, ensuring you don’t have to commit long-term to a single location. While the rent for a desk might be more than $300, that figure includes insurance, reception, security, Wi-Fi, coffee, and more. Some even offer access to lawyers and/or accountants and other service professionals. And with organized events, guest speakers, and plenty of other entrepreneurs around, these spaces are networking hotbeds.

If you’re considering one of these spaces, discuss accessibility before you sign your lease. The co-working company might own the floor, but the building landlord could have specific rules about who can come in, through which doors, and at what times. You don’t want to find yourself pressed against the window because your perfect office space is closed over the holidays.

  1. Smart Location Scouting

Design is superficial, so don’t be distracted by how beautiful your potential office looks. You want a place that’s easily reachable and in a good neighborhood.

Public transportation is limited, and the same goes for parking — if you choose the wrong location, your commute will be a nightmare. Lyft and Uber might have eased some of those woes, but they’re still subject to traffic, so be sure to maximize your commuting options.

Get a feel for the neighborhood as well. You and your employees will spend 40-plus hours a week in and around the new office, so you want to be comfortable. How diverse are the local food options? Is it easy to find a quick bite? Would you feel comfortable walking around the place at night?

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  1. Well-Considered Living Expenses

San Francisco’s popularity is driving up the cost of living, so you need to shop smart for a place to live. There are several options to consider while you get settled, so there’s no need to rush into a lease.

Find the place that best fits your personality. If you enjoy the college-style nightlife, the Marina District is the place to be. If you crave the eccentric and eclectic, try the Lower Haight or the Sunset District. Don’t limit yourself to San Francisco proper, either. The East Bay in Oakland or Marin County in the north could be perfect for your needs.

Big city dreams don’t come without big city woes and worries. Although San Francisco hails from the Golden State, not all that glitters is gold. But setting up shop in San Francisco is still a sound investment. From the constant flow of talent out of Silicon Valley to the swath of entrepreneurial mentors around every corner, a move to the city will set you up for long-term success.

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