Getting into coworking spaces as a freelancer can be daunting. Working from the couch or home office is comfortable and familiar, but after a while it can be just as monotonous and stifling as your usual 9-5. If you’ve tried the local coffee shops, the library, or your fellow freelancer’s place, you know how much of a road block those environments can be.
Sometimes you need perfect silence, other days you can do all of your work from the car with your phone. The freedom and flexibility of freelancing is half the reason you got into this, but sometimes a lack of routine can disrupt productivity. Coworking is a simple solution for all of these freelancing woes, and it has a lot more to offer, too.
Coworking offers a perfect balance between the absolute freedom of working from home and the control of working in a traditional office. Having a place to separate work from home increases productivity by signaling your brain that you’re ready for a working environment. Some kind of structure in your workday is important no matter where you are, and coworking provides just the right amount.
Most coworking spaces also offer a variety of areas to work. From open spaces to private rooms, you’re sure to find a spot that fits your needs every day. The balance of professional spaces available can help you adapt to all the dynamic tasks of freelancing.
A combination of your home office and local coffee shop may cover the list of the amenities you need to be successful with freelancing. Coworking spaces allow you to save time and money, two fairly valuable commodities when running your own business, by having all the amenities you need in one place.
Standard office machines like copiers, printers, and fax machines are usually available for use in a coworking space and friendly staff are usually available to help with things like inconvenient paper jams and other technical difficulties.
Versatile spaces like conference rooms or private booths are available to accommodate your business needs and of course fast, reliable wifi is accessible in every corner of the building, something that is rarely a guarantee at a coffee shop or even your own home.
Many freelancers don’t consider what they will use as a business address when first starting out. You may not want to use your personal address for legal and security reasons and having a business address helps your professionalism. Coworking spaces create a landing space for your professional mail and packages and a business address to give your clients.
Arguably one of the best amenities of many coworking spaces is the food and drink. If you need a break, you don’t have to waste any extra time by getting in your car or ordering take out. You can just walk over to the bar or cafeteria and stop by for a quick refresher or unwind at the end of your workday by enjoying the company of other professionals paired with delicious tastes.
Connecting with other like-minded individuals can be hard when you’re a freelancer but it’s important for the growth of your business. Coworking spaces lend themselves to ideal networking opportunities because of the variety of professionals working out of one space. Touching base with other entrepreneurs can open doors to new clients, help solve a problem, or inspire your next project.
How to start
Search for spaces in your area by typing the city you’d like to work out of and “coworking”. When narrowing down your options consider location, parking, and commute time. A downtown space may seem nice but having to pay hefty parking fees might not make up for it. Also, having to drive an hour into the city might be less ideal than finding a space closer to home. Be sure to weigh all your options based on how you run your business with your clients.
Once you’ve found a few that you like, call them to get more information. Many places will happily answer all your questions. Ask if you can schedule a tour and see if there’s an option to try out the space for a week with flexible pricing before you commit to a membership.
Trying new things can only help your business. Even if coworking spaces don’t end up being for you, you’ve gained valuable insight into the most efficient work environment for your freelancing needs. Finding the right balance when you work for yourself can seem like a never-ending task but coworking spaces are looking to take that off your hands.
Live in the Houston area and interested in checking out a thriving coworking space? Contact the Ranch for a tour of our coworking space.