So you work from home. That means everybody thinks you don’t work. Little do people know about those agonising nights awake at 4am struggling to meet deadlines or feeling like a caveman deprived of human contact after a three straight days of nonstop work.
As luck would have it, numerous coworking spaces have popped up to serve a growing pool of online freelancers sick of sitting home alone.
But getting a regular spot at a coworking space costs money—to the tune of several hundred dollars a month if you’re going to be there full-time. This can make sense for start-ups who can’t spend a lot of money on permanent office space. But what about individuals?
Here are some things to consider if you’re seriously thinking of shelling out the cash.
Are you able to efficiently get stuff done at home or elsewhere?
Sure, working from home might sound like a dream to those who hate the daily blood bath on the MRT. But as a freelancer, efficiency is your top priority, and home isn’t always the best place for that—you don’t get paid for those hours you spend stalking people in Facebook. If you’re not able to find a quiet space where you’re able to get stuff done, each day is going to be a hard slog.
If you’re but one resident in a flat full of noisy family members and have trouble concentrating above the hum of voices at cafes, a coworking membership could be viable. But if the cost is an issue to you, first consider other options such as working at various branches of the National Library. There are also some free options like the Technopreneur Circle.
Do you need a space where you can conduct meetings?
Signing up at a coworking space isn’t just about getting a desk to work at and a wifi connection. Most coworking spaces offer facilities which might include meeting rooms, printers, scanners, an address to send your mail to and networking events.
If you need to meet with clients or business partners and prefer a more professional setting than Starbucks, a coworking membership is a cheaper alternative to renting office space.
For instance, independent or freelance headhunters can technically work from home if they wish so long as they maintain an office address, but the need to meet with clients and candidates makes meeting rooms a necessity.
You might also hire other freelancers or employees to work for you and have to meet with them from time to time. A meeting room would surely be a more conducive environment than the kopitiam below your block.
Are you unable to find an effective way to network?
Networking is a tricky thing. Some are good at it, and can get job offers in bars, while others are about as sociable as planks of wood.
It’s not easy to turn a one-off meeting into a valuable contact, as many people who’ve desperately handed out namecards at networking events would know.
One of the advantages of using a coworking space is that you become a regular somewhere, much like you’re forced to show up every day and talk with the same colleagues at any office job.
That can be a good thing because no matter how reserved you are, the repeated interactions with the same people on a regular basis are bound to produce at least a few friendships. Even if you’re too shy to bond the first time, you’ll have countless opportunities to see these people each time you clock in to work. With luck, you’ll be able to start building your professional network starting from there.
Would you consider signing up as a member of a coworking space? Tell us in the comments!
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