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In or out? Working at and away from home | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

In or out? Working at and away from home

Date May 16, 2008


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The freelancing life fits me quite well. I’m an introvert by nature so I don’t miss the office noise, water cooler gossip, and the general “you stab my back, I stab yours” mentality.

But some days I get an uneasy feeling, like I need to be around other people to prove to myself that I can live and work among the rest of the world without freaking out.

The only problem is that I live in a small town that hasn’t upgraded their broadband infrastructure just yet. There’s a Starbucks on the main street thoroughfare but unlimited wireless access is steep $40 per month.

For those times when I do venture outside my home office comforts, I have to scout out the best places to get a little work done while being sociable.

How do you find such places? What’s the best place for you? The following are my criteria for evaluating a potential “home away from home” workplace.

Find the downtime periods

One major problem with the big coffee houses or bookstores is that everyone else wants to be there too. But, most every retail establishment has periods of downtime. Breakfast, lunch, and evenings are usually the busiest.

I like to scout out places right after the breakfast/coffee rush. The staff seems to be in the cleaning mode so everything is nice and fresh when I sit down.

Another good time is after lunch. But sometimes the staff is tired and uninterested after having dealt with two rounds of grouchy customers.

Find out of the way places

I try to stay out of main street locations. These places tend to attract not just the locals but anyone traveling through on business or vacation.

I’ve also found that many smaller, eclectic locations have to provide better service to compete with the chains. They are typically owned by people who are eager to gain repeat customers.

Look for semi-secluded seating

I like to hide out if I’m going to be hanging around for a few hours. In a booth against a back wall. At a two seat table next to a lightly traveled area.

One of the reasons I like to work outside the home is to change the atmosphere which can really ignite my creativity . But, there’s nothing worse than getting into a creative spurt only to realize someone at the table behind you is catching the occasional glimpse of your screen.

If no space is available when I’m ready to work, I may hang out for a few minutes until the crowds clear out. Sometimes I find another spot better than where I first intended to work.

Friendly owners are best

Even if a coffee shop, cafe, or bookstore has wireless access, it doesn’t necessarily mean the staff is open to having someone sit at a table for hours and work.

Most of the mom and pop stores don’t seem to mind as long as you don’t get in the way of rush hour consumers.

Of course, you may be different. You may need to the constant flow of conversation and kitchen noises. Or, maybe you don’t like to be out at all. Either way, you can mold your lifestyle to fit your needs and wants.

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2 Responses to “In or out? Working at and away from home”

  1. Ms RP said:

    I read a similar article about how working from home affects your mood/personality etc.

    Your suggestions of finding places to work away from home is good.

    I wish I can earn money as a freelancer…but not possible as I don’t have anything/skills/experience to sell.

  2. bloggista said:

    Truly, one of the premium of being into Freelancing is the flexibility to choose which part of the house, or town you want to work. I balance between working at home and some nice places outside home. Yup, I preferred coffee shops over other places.

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