Don't Do It Yourself

Should You Be Coworking?

One of the things I love about freelancing is that I can work from anywhere. I can take my laptop down to the coffee shop if I want a change of scene. I can do work from anywhere in the world.

When I travel, even though I could hole up in the hotel room to do work, sometimes I like to look for a local coworking location. It's kind of fun to meet new people and socialize. I don't have the coworking option in my own town, but it's fun to see coworking centers elsewhere.

What is Coworking?

With the rise of the Internet as a way to work, many solopreneurs find that they miss the social interaction that comes with a more traditional job. As a result, many freelancers are finding common workspaces that allow them to remain freelancers, but also enjoy some of the social interaction that comes with having an office.

Coworking can be done in meetup form, with like-minded freelancers coming together for a day of work in different locations (usually equipped with accessible Wi-Fi). However, there are also dedicated coworking spaces as well. In some cities, coworking offices are set up with everything you need in an office. You might need to pay a fee to use the space, though. Some centers charge a per-day fee, while others have tiers based on whether you use open tables, or whether you have a permanent desk. Some coworking centers even provide private office space.

You can use a search to find coworking opportunities near you, or you can start with a helpful list of coworking centers from Under 30 CEO.

Is Coworking Right for Your Freelancing Business?

While coworking can be a good experience for many freelancers, it's important to realize that not all freelancers are right for this arrangement. Coworking is ideal for writers, graphic designers, and computer programmers. These freelancers don't usually have to make a lot of noise, so others can work. If you spend a lot of time on the phone, coworking might not work as well for you. It might not also work as well if you need a large work area to spread your stuff out on.

There are some coworking arrangements that can accommodate you, though. Some coworking spaces offer “conference” rooms where you can handle your phone calls without disturbing other workers. However, you will need to be considerate; others might need the room. It's also possible, in some coworking centers, to get a large private area (although you might have to pay $200 to $400 a month for it), where you can spread out your work and make phone calls. If you want a more professional office, but don't want to lease the office space, some coworking centers can provide that environment at a reasonable rate.

Finally, you need to decide whether or not you can handle the distractions that come with coworking. Be realistic about how much work you are getting done when you go to the coworking center. Are you spending more time chatting with other workers than actually working? If you are too distracted, it might be best to limit your coworking to two or three times a month, and work from home the rest of the time.

What do you think? Would coworking be something you would enjoy?

Photo: mindaugasdanys