Freelancing is a tough line of work. It requires high levels of motivation unlike a company where a team performance can carry you in your weak moments. Working from home or outside places like cafes, libraries can be inefficient in terms of productivity and time. While as a freelancer you work on your own laptop, you need to invest in a fax machine, a printer, and sometimes even in footing the bills of client meets. This can prove expensive in the long run. Also, the impression and professionalism of a stylised office cannot be over-emphasized. For all these reasons, a co-working or shared space is a boon for freelancers.A few aspects a freelancer should consider while searching a co-working or shared space are:-
Rent - A freelancer would be paying for the rented space - whether an office or a desk for few hours, even conference rooms are available on rent. However, what matters is the number of hours/ days or fixed period options available. Freelancing as a profession is unsteady. It can have variable cash flow. Choosing the option that suits your business income is advisable. If you have achieved a level of steady income, going for a fixed cost will help. Otherwise the option to pay as you need will work wonders for your limited budget.
Hidden benefits and Costs - Do not forget to understand the number of benefits you can avail, the promotional prints, and various offers in your package. You might end up saving a lot of costs. Also, do explicitly enquire about the costs of using extra facilities and in case you overshoot your limits by mistake - using the conference room for extra hours with the client, more than budgeted beverages and snacks, and such are small yet significant hidden costs.
Accessibility and Flexibility - As a freelancer, you decide your own timings. The infrastructure of the co-working space should support you and allow you to work anytime, 24 by 7. Many large chains with spaces in multiples cities and countries, allow you to work from them if you present a valid ID.
Facilities - Apart from the obvious facilities of a personal, quiet, well-equipped office work space, there should be additional benefits of meeting rooms, washrooms, pantry, even a recreational area available. Many spaces also provide the option to crash on makeshift beds to allow flexibility of long work hours. Overall, your client should be impressed with the professionalism you provide, and the shared space will only assist you in this.
Networking Opportunities - While this might not be a deal-breaker, choosing a shared office space which conducts events to get various professionals together provides an exposure to different professionals and potential clients. Ample networking opportunities crop up in such a scenario.
A shared space serves way beyond being a real estate space for saving costs. It is a thriving community of like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs, who may inspire each other through their respective success stories.