Freelancer Friendly Working Environments

Nicki CawoodI’ve been self-employed for over eleven years now and a full-time freelancer for over eight years. I can’t imagine ever being employed in the traditional sense again. Working for yourself is something that you’re either going to love or hate. It’s the working version of Marmite. There are pros and cons of course however for me there’s nothing better.

If you’re going to get the most out of freelancing or being self-employed and working from home in any capacity, there are certain things you need to get right. First of all, you need to be self-motivated or find an accountability partner to chivvy you along (more on this another time) and you need to find freelancer friendly working environments.

Working from home initially is perfect. It’s free, you don’t need to leave the house and who will know if you’re working with giant fluffy slipper boots on? There comes a time for many a freelancer however when working outside the home office, even if for short periods helps with focus, motivation and tackles the very real problem that many freelancers face, and that’s being isolated. When you’re logging into social media at lunchtime to get your fix of people contact you need to consider how best your needs in this area might be met in the real world.

Join a Jelly

This isn’t anything to do with food, I promise!  UK Jelly is a movement where individuals set up no hassle,

Logo credit: Anil Amrit

free monthly co-working events in the local area. These events are free and are perfect for taking along your work to if you’re avoiding procrastination, to collaborate with other freelancers, to have face to face contact with real life people (the people you see in the supermarket don’t count) and to work companionly alongside others with the same mindset as yourself. I’ve very recently set up a local UK Jelly, the first session being this week (16/11/17). If you want to see if there’s a Jelly local to you just search UK Jelly and see.

Freelancer Office Space

Sometimes you just need to be working in an office. If you regularly meet clients at work or need the structure of going out to work daily, then looking for a space via somewhere like Pall Mall Estates could be the answer. You may choose the perfect working environment for yourself and your business, either by yourself or with colleagues or others in the same boat as yourself. If done properly, i.e. speak to a solicitor if thinking about a shared office space, you could find yourself with a perfect freelancer working environment.

Home Freelancer Working

mindfulness, Nicki Cawood

There’s a lot to be said for working from home, I do much of the time. It’s the cheaper option (although you have to feature in the extra costs of having the heating on and electricity use during the day). I think that the most important thing is to create somewhere in the house that you feel good about working. I have several places. We moved recently and realising that I rarely used my home office set-up in the old house, I haven’t actually got one here. I use the dining room table, with music on and a candle lit. I have fabulous hidden storage in here (I’m writing this in our dining room now) so that I have everything to hand, all my files, folders and everything else however it looks like a normal un-cluttered dining room to the uneducated eye. It works for me. Sometimes sitting under a blanket on the sofa with the laptop works for me too.
If working from home as a freelancer find somewhere that works for you (and avoid too many sofa working sessions, they’re terrible for your posture).

I do sometimes hit the working space and take advantage of the free WIFI at the local library too so that I can escape the house!

In Summary

I think the perfect freelancer working environment depends on the freelancer and the area they work in. Some need a more structured office environment, some would feel stifled by that (me included). Some like to mix and match, working from home, attending co-working events and so on. Sometimes my perfect working environment depends solely on whether it’s term time or whether I am working with my boys at home. What would you say your perfect working environment is? I’d love to hear more about what ticks the boxes for you.

 

 

This Freelancer’s Summer of Self-Love

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I love this time of year as I have both boys boys at home (when they haven’t abandoned me in favour of the local holiday playscheme and all that they offer!). We have breakfasts in bed (mine usually), run down hills screaming, walk, paint, play and simply enjoy quality time together.

The flipside of this glorious coin is the fact that I am a full-time freelance copywriter with a number of regular clients as well as ad-hoc projects ongoing and needing my attention. With only twenty-four hours in a day shoe-horning everything in (otherwise known as the school holiday juggle) may be tough however I’ve always relished the challenge and haven’t dropped a child, a client or anything else yet.

This post isn’t so much about the juggle though, it’s about adding something else to my already busy week and making sure it gets done. This is my self-love time. Working for myself I don’t have sick days, don’t have properly defined (and never company paid) holidays and have a tendancy during the busiest periods to go a bit mad and over-work myself. As I refuse to give any less that 100% all aross the board real burn-out is a real thing and I’ve got very close to the flame a few times.

My self-love focus works two ways, firstly I make sure that there is time in the week just for me, to read, to take an extra long shower, to blast music for ten minutes and dance, to go for a walk (on my own); whatever I want or need to do which enables me to kick back and enjoy myself. The second part of my self-love summer pledge is to take better care of myself. I’m organising my time better and taking proper breaks.

I’m taking half an hour to eat lunch in the garden or at the dining table rather than throwing something down my neck at the desk, I’m getting up at 4am to take advantage of the quiet work time but I’m making sure I have a decent bedtime with fresh bedding and comfy pjs. I’ve made a hydration pledge (this makes me feel better and is important for my health) and overall I’m simply ensuring that I take more care of myself.

I’m important, I matter and I can’t afford to get lost underneath paperwork, deadlines and the sometime downright nuts schedules that parents try to squeeze themselves into.

And you know what? I’m feeling fantastic. I’m much more relaxed, more productive, unrushed and am thoroughly enjoying my summer. Self love summer looks set to become less seasonal and more of a conscious and ongoing intention to ensure that I look after myself.

What’s even better is that me taking more me time is something that my family completely support and have been pushing for (for some time!).

Do you make sure you take time out to look after you? You should!

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