In this heyday of hustle and DIY, coworking spaces are blossoming into incubators for freelancers and even some side hustlers. One of the most attractive aspects of freelancing today is the freedom to choose where you work – offering an escape from the typical dull office space. While working from home or a coffee shop may be intriguing (and a cheaper option) as a freelancer, those locations present their share of challenges as well. These places come with many distractions and often a lack of boundaries, which can hinder focus and productivity. Finding the right space for these elements is critical to building success as a freelancer. Coworking spaces offer a middle ground between a typical office space and the coffee shop around the corner. They allow you to work in a professional environment while maintaining the sense of freedom you love as a freelancer. While all coworking spaces deliver these general benefits, each one typically offers something a little different in terms of community, style, and amenities. Finding the right one for you will make or break your coworking experience. Here are the aspects of coworking spaces you should pay close attention to along your own search.
An Inviting Environment
Nothing hinders productivity more than loathing the place you work in daily. If you wake up in the morning and dread going to the office, there is no way you’ll sit tight long enough to get some serious work done. The coworking space you choose should bring excitement – or at least comfort – to your day. Make sure you invest in a space where you’re able to access different areas. Look for quiet spaces where you can focus or produce content (with webinars and podcasts becoming more popular), outdoor nooks to get a breath of fresh air between meetings, your own desk space comfortable enough to sit at for a few hours at a time, lunch or coffee spots nearby, and tables to meet and work with clients in-person!
When you choose a coworking space you are not only investing in a business space, but a community to engage with on a regular basis. A majority of the other members in coworking spaces are usually freelancers like yourself or other businesses who may become clients. While everyone is in that space to work, almost everyone is also looking to expand their network. If your coworking space has a healthy community, it’ll show in terms of people saying hello to each other as they come in and out of the space, lunches will be saved in a communal fridge – or brought in every-so-often, and there’ll be flyers up for events happening over the next couple weeks. Ask the community manager which event you can attend over the next week to get a sense of the membership.
You want to find the right community for you, as these are people you’ll likely bounce ideas off of, commiserate with, gain clients from, and collaborate with in the future. Moreover, freelancing can be lonely and full of uncertainties, so it’s helpful to have other people to befriend and socialize with to pull you through those tough moments.
Many coworking spaces offer events that serve to benefit their members. These events typically include talks performed by successful entrepreneurs, workshops on developing a profitable practice, yoga and meditation lessons, and happy hour events to network with others. Events such as these serve as supplementary ways to grow your business by learning new skills and continuing to connect with your peers. Within a coworking space that has a really healthy community, great events further heighten the impact and growth of you and your business.
The Right Amenities
Like Airbnbs, the best coworking spaces have great amenities too. Most now have coffee and a bunch of other complimentary beverages on site for you to refuel and get back to taking on the day, without having to halt your work to go out and search for the basics outside. Not only should you look for food and beverages at your coworking space, but you should pay attention to the hardware amenities that are offered and how they fit your own needs. You may want to make sure your coworking space has a couple of printers, copiers, and scanners. These may not be necessary but can save you a trip to FedEx or Kinkos last-minute. Do the community managers take care of mail for you. What’s the check-in process for clients who may visit you?
Furthermore, there should be comfortable breakout rooms with whiteboards and TVs that can connect to laptops and can be booked in advance. Make sure your coworking space has at least a few of these rooms, depending on the membership size. These rooms are crucial when you need to speak on the phone, run through a presentation or meet with a client. Finally, once you leave, take a look around the neighborhood. Are any amenities missing from the coworking space within walking distance? If you’re going to spend at least a few days per week in the area, make sure it’s accessible for you and most of your daily needs.
Now, Go Find Your Hustle Home
There are many aspects to a coworking space that will impact your happiness in the space and the work you do there. Each coworking space has its own unique culture – from the community to the amenities – that will compliment or accelerate your productivity and network growth. If you are new to freelancing or looking to switch up your scene, check out coworking spaces. They can make a significant contribution to your success as a freelancer. And don’t forget – they’re tax-deductible too! Happy hunting for your new hustling home!