Career

Why Freelancers Need A Coworking Space

Coworking spaces are one of the best tools that a freelancer can invest in. Here we find out some of the reasons why.

Coworking spaces are becoming a prevalent trend for freelancers, startups, developers and other people who are working outside the traditional 9 to 5 office. But are they merely a flexible working space? Or are they a smart investment that can help a freelancer grow their business?

We talk to Cass Mao, the Executive Director of coworking space Vibewire in Sydney.

#1 To get motivated

Say what you will about having a boss, at least they’re (usually) a good form of motivation. One of the largest hurdles for a freelancer is having to rely solely on yourself for all your motivation – which can be made even harder when you’re trying to write from your comfortable bed, which just so happens to be surrounded by all your procrastinatory temptations like books, small dogs and an X-Box.

Cass agrees: “Whats the best thing about coworking spaces? The motivation injection from being around other people. When you’re deep in writer’s block or a procrastination hole or don’t know how to fix the goddamn .css style sheet on your hackjob website, it’s such a lifesaver to have other people around who feel your pain and can help, and remind you that it’s worth doing.”

#2 To get out of your house

“Having a separation of home and work is critical for productivity and sanity long term,” cautions Cass. When your home becomes your workplace, it becomes difficult to actually switch off and relax – which can swiftly lead to burnout.

Having a coworking space as your designated place to do work can help save your energy, define your motivation and get you out of a rut. Besides, it’s nice to look forward to actually going home, and being able to rest there. For her own work, Cass says: “It’s awesome for not spending the day slowly eating my way through my kitchen – I keep regular hours, and it makes it easier to try and have killer days, and then leave at 5pm with a clear head.”

dorothy

Fun fact: Oz wasn’t a dream, it was just Dorothy’s own coworking space.

#3 To get networked

While there are undoubtedly a lot of serene and blissful benefits to freelancing all on your lonesome, sometimes it’s nice to be with other people. Having access to a coworking space means that you can remain independent in your projects, but have some other people around to gossip with at the water cooler.

It’s also useful to meet people professionally. Cass advises: “It’s also great to build your networks in a non-terrible way, and find collaborators, mentors, advisers, mortal foes, etc. Plus there’s always cool opportunities to work together on projects, share contacts, go to events together, skill share and the like.”

This can be a fairly unique advantage for freelancers, and can even take your projects in unexpected directions via collaboration and inspiration from the people around you.

#4 To get learning

A lot of coworking spaces have access to workshops, tutorials, and other information-sharing practices, meaning you can grow as a professional and have access to new ideas.

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Full house at the common room, with General Assembly talking Instagram marketing with the good people from Tiger Pistol and Webprofits. Image: Vibewire Facebook.

Vibewire has regular events like their ‘Mini Memoirs’ evening, where they hold an ‘in discussion’ with freelancers and entrepreneurs who use the space, finding out about their lives and practices. They also have entirely skill-based sessions, with accountants and tax experts, which can guide you through tricky freelancer activities, help you start up your business, maximise your profits, and help you survive your tax return.

#5 To give you all the toys but keep costs down

Coworking spaces are generally cheap ways to have access to a fully stocked office space. Some will have printers, scanners and other equipment that you might not have at home, while others even offer computers and subsided programs to use, like Photoshop. They’re also great places to meet clients, as generally coffee shops can be too loud, libraries too quiet.

Starting up your own office can have prohibitive costs – not only do you need to consider rent, you also have to factor in office furniture, insurance and other costs that come along with starting a business from scratch. Considering how cash strapped most new businesses and pretty much all freelancers are, the modest cost of joining a coworking space is probably much more preferable. While shelling out money each month can seem a difficult proposition compared to staying in your home for free, it is a regular amount that can be easily budgeted for.

#6 To fit in no matter your difference

The best thing about a coworking space is that it suits whatever freelancing project you’re working on, no matter how niche or undefined it is. Cass says that the people who are currently using the Vibewire common space are “Freelancers of every ilk, digital producers, developers, designers, writers, media moguls, comedians, authors, educators, entrepreneurs, [and] dogs.”

diversity

If you’re freelancing, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how a coworking space can suit your projects as well, and is something you should seriously consider investing in if you’re really giving freelancing a go.


Patrick Lenton is a writer and digital marketer. He runs Town Crier, a social media and marketing consultancy for authors.

Lead image: Cohoots Coworking