Is a Coworking Space Right For You?

Have you heard about coworking spaces for freelancers? If you haven’t, be prepared to be amazed (hopefully I’m not hyping …

Have you heard about coworking spaces for freelancers?

If you haven’t, be prepared to be amazed (hopefully I’m not hyping this up too much- I was so excited and impressed when I first learned about them).

Before you keep reading, Google “coworking spaces” and see what comes up. Cities likely have more options, and a variety of amenities offered, but even a small, local coworking space can be the remote work option you didn’t know you needed.

When I stumbled onto coworking spaces, my eyes were opened to a whole new idea that’s somewhere in between working from home and working away from home in a traditional office.

Coworking is the work-from-home employee’s solution for office space.

Here’s what freelance writers need to know about coworking spaces:

  • Essentially, a coworking space is a place where self-employed or remote individuals can have access to a workspace, within a diverse community of other professionals.
  • The company that runs the space will include things like furniture, internet, and more; you rent space from the company.
  • Most will have options for the type of workspace available to you, for example, you can have a dedicated desk or entire office (that’s yours any time of day or night!). Or, you’ll pay to have a use of a desk only when you’re there.
  • Conference and meeting rooms typically are available for rent at coworking spaces as well.
  • Many places will rent month-to-month so if you’re needing to cut expenses one month (or feel the need to get out of your house to up your productivity), you don’t have to be scared off by long-term leases. You’ll even find places that rent short periods of time, like one hour.

What are some benefits of a coworking space?

  • You have a place where you can “go” to work; if you’re transitioning away from a traditional job, this can be appealing and help you get into the groove of being a remote worker. Working from home can create challenges to productivity, especially if it’s new for you.
  • Professionalism; if you need a quiet place to make calls or host a meeting, then a coworking space is often one of the few options that freelancers and remote workers have, especially if you have kids at home.
  • Coworking spaces may have extra perks like coffee all the time, office supplies, printers, and even be willing to accept packages for you. I’m thinking that your coworking space would also be the address you can use for your email marketing so that you’re complying with the CAN-SPAM Act, but check your coworking space’s rules.
  • You’ll be in a space with other people! Having some sort of social interaction and stimulation can do wonders for your creativity and happiness.
  • Some spaces will let you rent for an hour, for a day, or more. Whatever your needs, a coworking space likely has an option for you.
  • You may be able to use the coworking space as a tax write-off, depending on where you live.
  • Having a place that you go to for work may allow you to increase your productivity.
  • If you tend to travel, or if you have an extended trip coming up, you can research coworking spaces on your itinerary to help ensure that you have a space to get your work done while you’re away or on vacation. No worries about lousy hotel Internet connections! You’ll find coworking spaces across the US, and also in many countries, you might visit. Check out this company for an international network of coworking spaces.
  • A space to thrive. Harvard Business Review took a look at why coworking spaces allow people to do well in their work. Check it out.
  • Networking opportunities. Because of the communal nature (and the often open floor plan), not only will you meet people, but you may actually create strong business contacts. Many of the people in a coworking space may be entrepreneurs or work for companies that could benefit from a freelance writer. The contacts you make at a coworking space could help you grow your business.

Are there drawbacks to a coworking space?

  • You have to pay. Though the cost may be worth the benefits, you may not be able to justify the expense especially if you’re just starting off as a freelancer.
  • Travel time. While it’s nice to have an office space to go to, you might find that the increased time spent on travel isn’t worth it to you.
  • You should probably get dressed. The attire for working from home and working from a coworking space may not be exactly the same (please put on real pants if you leave the house).
  • There are other people at coworking spaces. Though this is a pro for some, for others, being around people can create a distraction, especially if you choose a location that has desks in open spaces. Even an environment with cubicles may be too distracting for you if you’re overhearing other conversations.
  • If you don’t opt for a dedicated workspace, you may be changing desks or workstations each time you go there. For some people, this can be a challenge.

Is a coworking space right for you?

A coworking space will certainly have pros and cons and there will be a wide variety of the types of spaces you find, the specific price structures, and features offered.

Take some time to research coworking spaces near you. I was surprised to learn that my town has two coworking spaces (but sadly, they’re not nearly as exciting as ones you’ll find in major cities).

So, even if you don’t think there will be coworking spaces near you, Google “Coworking spaces near [your city and state, or country]” and see what you come up with.

Even if your local coworking space isn’t as cool as the options that cities and urban areas might have, you might also find that the spaces in your local area are more cost-effective.

The bottom line is that coworking spaces present another option for where you can work as a freelancer, and it doesn’t hurt to be aware of where they are and the options they provide for space- you never know when you’ll need or want to take that step.

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