One of the joys of working for yourself is that you get to work from anywhere.
For most of us all we need is our laptop and a decent wi-fi connection. But some of us work better in certain environments, and if you’re just starting out on this solo journey working from home can be tough, not to mention lonely. There are pros and cons to every type of working environment and you need to find the one that works for you – which is why I’ve put together this short list of freelance workspace options for you to set up shop in.
WHERE SHOULD YOU SET UP YOUR FREELANCE WORKSPACE?
This is the most obvious choice since you’re already paying rent to live there, so the spot is basically free. Also, because sweatpants.
But the fact is, sometimes home isn’t the best place to work. Between that sink full of dishes and the constant taunt of your Netflix queue, there is always something to distract you from your work. Or maybe a construction crew is digging up the sidewalk in front of your building and it sounds like hell is trying to come through the front door of your apartment between the hours of 7am and 3pm. Just as an example of my entire summer.
The most important thing to do when working from home is to set up a designated workspace for yourself. Whether it’s an office or a desk in the corner, you need a spot in your home that is only for work – not for breakfast, not for sleeping, not for watching movies.
By setting up a separate space, you can put a mental label on it and go into work mode every time you sit down. Creating a distinction between work life and home life is a real challenge when you’re self-employed, and a separate space is the first step to drawing that line.
If you are the kind of person that likes to get out the house to work, hitting up a coffee shop a few times a week is a great option. The change of scenery can help inspire creativity and send you straight into work mode. It can also play a bit of a mental trick and make you focus instead of wandering off to check Facebook. Something about being in a room full of people makes you feel accountable to get your work done, if only because we feel guilty using free wi-fi to watch hilarious videos.
The drawbacks of working in a coffee shop are pretty obvious – busy and noisy, not the best wi-fi, and the cost of those $6 lattes adds up. I like to use cafe days when I just can’t seem to focus at home anymore and need some human interaction.
DAILY OFFICE RENTAL
If you’re looking for a workspace option outside of your home but coffee shops are too loud for you, you should consider part-time office rentals. Most cities will have a few options available for renting an office, meeting room, or small workspace by the day or hour.
This gives you a professional space to work out of, equipped with a desk, wi-fi, and a variety of other services depending on the office (some even have fancy espresso machines!). This is a really great option if you ever have a client you want to impress or need a nicer space than your living room for a sales pitch.
If you’re in Montreal, New York or San Francisco, check out Breather – an app that lets you find hourly office spaces on the go. LiquidSpace has spaces in cities in the US, Canada and Australia, and Regus is a giant company with offices all over the world. You can also just do a quick search for ‘hourly office rental’ in your city and see what pops up. You might actually be surprised at how affordable this option can be.
Co-working spaces are offices set up for multiple entrepreneurs, freelancers, and startups. In a co-working space, you share the office but work independently. These spaces provide a creative and collaborative environment you just can’t get when working from your home office.
In a co-working space, you’ll get a spot to work at, wi-fi, and loads of inspiration from other creatives. The office will likely have other services and amenities for you (kitchen, lounge, meeting rooms) and most are infinitely nicer/cooler than your apartment. A lot of co-working spaces offer different membership options so you can drop in once in a while, or have full 24-hour access to the building.
When I’m traveling, I typically choose to work in coworking spaces. The wi-fi is significantly better in coworking spaces than in hotels or most cafes, the facilities are usually amazing, and it’s a great way to meet other travelers. I recently worked at KoHub in Koh Lanta, Hubud in Bali, and CAMP in Chiang Mai and loved all of them.
Choosing the right freelance workspace for you really depends on your working style and your budget, and your preference might change throughout your freelance journey.
What type of freelance workspace do you work best in?