Where To Work When You are Self Employed

where to work when self-employedLeaving the corporate office is a great feeling, but when you start your new business you will be challenged with finding a new place to work yourself. Coffee shops and pajamas at home are the most prominent places for the self-employed to get things done, there are many options and it is best to find the place you will be the most productive.

You may also figure out that you don’t have to work in just one place.  In fact, many self-employed individuals use a combination of these areas for their workweek to mix it up!

 

Coffee Shop

My friend Chaviva, commonly known as the Kvetching Editor, is a Jerusalem based freelancer. When she’s busy getting things done, she likes to head to Cafe Aroma, Cafe Hillel, or other local coffee shops.

When it comes to work, I need just enough noise to feel like I’m not alone, that maybe I’m in a working environment, but not too much noise, sort of a hum or lull. I’ve found that coffee shops offer this perfect balance, and with the number of other people working around me on their laptops and iPads, it’s sort of like we’re in a cooperative working space that just happens to serve up baked goods and heavily caffeinated beverages.

There’s something about the ambiance of a coffee shop — the smells, the aura, the energy — that make it conducive to getting things done. The amount of work I accomplish sitting at home versus working in my favorite coffee house is astonishing, and I credit this to years in college and graduate school of spending upwards of eight hours straight sitting in a coffee shop hammering away at homework. Coffee shops say “WORK!” and home says “BE DISTRACTED!”

Now if these coffee shops would install more outlets …

Home Office

My fellow finance blogger Jeff, based in Wyoming, works on a handful of projects, but is best known for the Sustainable Life Blog. We also created Elk Hunting HQ together to see what we could do with a niche website and the Reusable Bag Store to try our hand at a drop-ship business. When he is not at his day job, Jeff prefers to work in his home office.

I typically work from my home office, which is just a fancy name for a table and a chair in the spare room in my house. This is a nice place to go away and get some quiet time and not be distracted from the things that need doing around the house such as laundry and dishes. It’s also easy to create a barrier so that when I’m finished, I can shut the door to the room, and to me that means that I’m no longer going to be working for the day.

Since it’s so easy to remove distractions when I’m in my home office, I can easily get quite a bit done in a short amount of time. I can focus easily and keep things quiet, priming me to get a lot done. I keep a to-do list near where my laptop sits, so I always know what needs to be done. Always seeing this list, and having an accepting environment allows for me to at my most productive.

 

Co-working Space

My friend Helene Kwong grew up on the East Coast, and now lives in Denver. She is big in the local startup and tech scene, and shes likes to get out of of her apartment several days every week to work at a co-working space. She runs a consulting firm called TAOpivot.

I primarily work either from my apartment or from Shift Workspaces, a hybrid coworking space/private office space. I like having my office at Shift because it allows for me to have a physical and mental boundary between home and work. Even though I still do some work at home (depending on my schedule), I like having the separation. I keep all my work collateral at my office at Shift so I have more room at home to pursue my other interests (painting, writing, working out, etc.)

Working at Shift is also good for fostering community; I get to get out of my apartment and my head and chat with other remote workers/entrepreneurs. We have monthly socials at Shift where we can meet other members and learn about what we’re all working on. It’s more comforting to have this set community than working from any random coffee shop. Plus, the complimentary coffee and occasional sweet treats don’t hurt.

 

On a Plane

I’m sick and tired of these mother… Wait. This isn’t snakes on a plane, it is work on a plane. I have found that as long as I can avoid screaming children, I can get more done per hour on a plane than anywhere else.

Why? No distractions. No internet. No Facebook. No texting. No email. Nothing other than a quick break for the flight attendant to drop off my tasty beverage. If I get a window, even better because I won’t be tempted to get up and stretch and never have to move for a neighbor.

Just make sure you bring your laptop or netbook fully charged so you can work the entire time you are in the air. I hate it when I have to give up on a sexy blog post halfway done because of a dead battery.

 

In Your Own Office Space

Denver freelancer Jason Steele makes a full-time living writing travel and finance articles for popular blogs and news sites around the web. To avoid the distractions of home, Jason rents an office at a building a few miles from home.

When I left my job as a computer systems administrator, I knew that I would have to work even harder to make it as a full time freelance journalist. Therefore, it was essential that I find a quiet space to work with all of the office tools and amenities that I had grown accustom to. But with a wife and two young children, working from home would have been challenging at best. There, I would almost always be distracted from my work, ignoring my family, or both. I needed an office.

Yet with modest requirements and a limited budget, I knew that my terms wouldn’t make a commercial real estate broker swoon. So I turned to Craigslist and found an amazing office that I sub-lease from a small business. For only $200 a month, I enjoy telephone and Internet service, access to an office grade printer/fax/copy/scan machine, and a well equipped break room. I feel less isolated being surrounded by the members of a small family business, yet I can always shut my door if I need to buckle down in order to meet a deadline. I have been working here for a year and a half, and I know that the meager rent I have paid has been dwarfed by the amount that my productivity would have suffered at home. And when I consider the utilities costs that I have saved, and the great view from my office window of the Rocky Mountains, it difficult for me to image working anywhere else.

 

Find Your Best Productive Place

Some people only work well in one environment, while others like a mix. I am obviously not always on a plane, so I sometimes visit coffee shops and other times write at my desk in my home office. The key is to find what works best for you and how to get the most value out of your time.

Where do you work best? Please share in the comments.

About Eric Rosenberg

Eric is a finance blogger at Narrow Bridge Finance and a serial entrepreneur. He runs a media company, flash mob company, and DJ business from his hometown in Denver, Colorado. You can read more about his finance background and connect with him around the web.

Comments

  1. I am really interested in the reusable bag drop ship business you have set up. DO you have a post with more details on how that is going, and how it was to set it up?

    Great tips on a work from home space. I currently rent a small office space, but have considered building a separate space at my home for the job. Great tips here though.

    • Hi Adam, we actually bought the business from another entrepreneur who had set it up. We are currently in the process of re-building the website and moving it to a self-hosted solution from BigCommerce.

  2. I work best in an area where it is silent and there’s no other people around taking a peek at what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, I love to share what I do but not until they’re finished. Having a home office works really nice.

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