If you’re wondering where you should work as a freelancer, consider a co-working space. It’s a collaborative working environment that you can use as you wish; structure your space as a private office, or work more closely with the other people who rent spaces there.
Following are a few benefits you’ll glean from choosing a co-working space over other work environments.
Access to Resources
Many co-working spaces come with printers, fax lines, phones, conferences spaces, and other resources that you might have to otherwise buy for your home or dedicated office space. Instead of shelling out cash for all new equipment, join a co-working environment where you can share those resources with other professionals like yourself.
Get out of the House
Many freelancers work from home, and there are undeniable advantages to using a space in your house as your office. However, working from home comes with a few disadvantages, as well, and you might get a chronic case of cabin fever. Getting out of the house and commuting to a co-working space gives your job a more professional vibe.
Plus, you can always stay home on certain days and visit your co-working office space on others. For instance, if you know you have a long day of work ahead of you, go to the co-working office so you can concentrate better. On days when you want to watch your kid’s soccer game or catch a catnap in the middle of the afternoon, stick around the house and work when necessary.
Meet With Clients in Person
You probably don’t want to invite strangers to your home to discuss freelancing work. When a client wants to meet for a brainstorming session or to discuss a detailed project, you can invite him or her to a professional office. Plus, you don’t have to worry about going to the client — there’s something to be said for a home field advantage.
Take Breaks to Mingle and Network
When you work at home or a private office, freelancing can become extremely monotonous. At a co-working space, however, you can take breaks to get to know other people in your building. Not only will you develop social relationships with them, but you can also add them to your network of potential partners, clients, and business associates.
You’ll get a chance to practice your social skills. It’s also a fresh environment that might stimulate your imagination and inspire you to create better work for your clients.
Enjoy an Affordable but Professional Work Space
Private offices can get expensive fast, but co-working spaces are surprisingly affordable because you share the work environment with others. The costs are distributed among all participants, so you don’t bear the full burden of the expenses.
If you need help setting up your office space financially, you can always rely on a small business loan from Kabbage to get you started. Use the money to establish yourself at the office and to get your freelancing business off the ground. A loan can also help with web hosting, advertising, and other costs you might incur to line up your first stable clients.
Avoid Distractions at Home
At home, it’s easy to binge on Netflix when you’re supposed to write code, design a brochure, or create copy for a client. Freelancers must become diligent workers, and freeing yourself from potential distractions can increase your productivity. You won’t have distractions from family, either. To increase your productivity even further, you can use apps to minimize distractions and keep you on track.
Many freelancers spend days staring at their computers, walking their dogs, or listening to podcasts on iTunes. Don’t turn into that freelancer. Instead, focus your energy on finding and pleasing your clients. The more you get done, the faster your business will grow, but you need a distraction-free — or, at least, a distraction-light — environment.
Take Inspiration From Those Around You
Inspiration often feeds off connections with other people. You might find yourself in a co-working space with other freelancers or creatives, which means that you’ll surround yourself with inspiring people who have similar goals to your own. While you might discount the benefits of this arrangement, remember that the creativity well can run dry. When you need help coming up with a fresh idea, turn to your fellow co-working space renters, then return the favor when they need a little inspiration.
Scale up or Down Depending on Your Needs
Most co-working spaces offer several different types of office sizes and layouts. Some create a bullpen-like environment, which means that everyone works in the same room and has a personalized workstation. However, as your freelance business grows, you might decide that you want a private office in the same building. You can also opt for a hot desk, a conference space for the team you’ve assembled, or some other arrangement.
These spaces provide endless customization options, and you can change your work environment as necessary. Freelancers often discover that their businesses take off, and they need more space to get things done.
Prevent Loneliness and Depression
Loneliness and depression are two of the freelancer’s worst enemies. As mentioned above, working from home can instill in you an uncomfortable case of cabin fever, and depriving yourself of human connection can make you feel lonely and out of place. A co-working space forces you to interact with other people, which can lift your spirits even on days when you don’t feel like working.
Additionally, you might have more willpower when you work in a shared space. You see everyone else working around you, so you feel compelled to follow suit. Productivity and efficiency can combat depression because of the sense of accomplishment they create.
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The freelance economy continues to boom, but you don’t have to work from home or rent a fancy, expensive private office space. Consider a co-working environment to take advantage of the benefits listed above and to create your own professional haven.