This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.
Flourishing in freelance or founding that start-up is a daunting prospect. Going it alone takes guts, and the main drawbacks of lone-working are hard to overcome: Distraction, lack of motivation, stunted networking opportunities and even loneliness can stop you achieving your goals.
Many freelancers and entrepreneurs have found a solution to these roadblocks in co-working. A co-working space is basically just an office where freelancers can find motivation or submit to procrastination together!
Co-working gives you the chance to be around other professionals and innovators while also offering a stable and productive work environment. And here are 5 steps to take to make it work for you.
Find Your Workspace
Entering an office environment may have previously made you want to slap yourself in the face with your company-appointed headset, but studies show that the office environment is the best way to encourage productivity. You just need to find the space that works for you! Here’s a clue… It isn’t your dining table.
Most co-working spaces offer an open-plan, open-arms office-space designed to bring together creatives and companies to work alongside each other. Check out a few in your area before selecting one that’s a good fit for you!
Co-working gives you the opportunity to meet fellow innovative professionals. Now you could drag yourself to after-work networking events or you could just meet dozens of fellow freelancers simply by working alongside them.
We’ve seen many a connection made just by people shaking hands at the coffee station, so maximise the value of the hours you spend working by doing it in a co-working office.
Remember, people love making introductions between their contacts that might be able to help each other. Don’t lock yourself in at home and miss opportunities.
Use Their Recourses
When we become freelancers, one of the most obvious resources we miss are the physical hardware. Convenient printers, fax machines, and even the space to meet with clients become fixtures of the 9-to-5 past.
In response to this problem, some co-working environments, like The Workstead in Hampshire, offer private rooms, equipped with everything you’ll need to hold any event from boardroom meetings with multiple clients to training sessions for up to 20 people. Try pulling that off in your kitchen!
Furthermore, co-working spaces create vibrant atmospheres to meet clients without having to elbow your way past the queue at Starbucks. An office setting is more likely reassure your potential client that you’re a functioning professional - not a caffeine junky.
Join the nation's largest group representing the new workforce (it's free!)
Set A Schedule
A lot of people going in to freelance count working from home among the top of the list for perks of the job. But it never lasts; ask any seasoned contractor and they’ll tell you how eye-achingly hard it is to make yourself focus at home.
So even if you have kids or other businesses, set up a schedule for co-working and stick to it. Even just one or two days a week at “the office” can greatly improve your organisational skills and productivity, a plus for any enterprise.
Attend & Host Events
Most co-working spaces host events and seminars that appeal to their members – the menu could include anything from cupcake classes to community fundraising efforts for charities. As a member, you can not only partake, but turn your own pastime to productivity: set up a networking event yourself, share your skills!
Looking for a virtual space to co-work? Join our Hives discussion groups to connect with freelancers across a variety of fields and topics.
Lucy Futter is a Co-Working blogger and owner of The Workstead, an exciting meeting, office and networking space in Winchester. She also likes gin.