Just over two years ago, I started coworking and it accelerated my freelance writing career big time. I became more productive, more connected to the community of movers and shakers around me, and more determined that working for myself was the best move I ever made.
There are a lot of benefits to coworking. Some of them I expected (focused work space, cool people), but others came as a great surprise (circle of professional support, lots of community events).
If you’re considering checking out coworking but you’re not sure if it will benefit your freelance career, have a look at the following 14 ways that coworking can make you a better freelance writer.
1. Grow Your Network
As a freelancer, your network is everything. Coworking is the best way I’ve found to experience supercharged networking without having to stand around making small talk with strangers. Coworking connections oftentimes happen organically and can lead to great things. Ask for help when you need it, offer help when you can, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly a network of authentic connections grows around you.
2. Coworking Provides a Wealth of Article Ideas and Leads
Keep your eyes and ears peeled because, I guarantee you, people are working on amazing things right under your nose. Maybe it’s a new tech toy someone’s working on, an upcoming conference or event fellow coworkers are putting together, or some juicy behind-the-scenes news. Ideas for articles abound in coworking spaces. And, bonus, once people know you’re a freelancer, they’ll start pitching ideas to you.
3. Community, Community, Community
Through coworking, you’ll be tapped into a community of people doing really exciting things. You’ll be within earshot of people working on projects that could potentially revolutionize of our lives. That may sound like an overstatement, but many an app, platform, or product has been developed in a coworking space.
4. The Collective Hustle
There’s something about being surrounded by smart people doing great work that will inspire you do dig into your own smarts, abilities, and productivity. There’s a quote I love: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” With coworking, there are smarts in abundance.
5. In-House Resources
Whatever tools or services you need to step up your own freelance career, whether a web developer, logo designer, CPA, attorney, photographer or marketing expert, chances are good you can find it at your coworking space. Put out some feelers, ask for recommendations, and proceed with confidence.
6. Get Out of the House
Pajama days can be fun, but too much time working at home slows me down and blurs the line between work time and home time too much. Coworking gets you out of the house and puts you where the action is. This is good for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that you don’t want to be that person who is always in jammies. Am I right?
7. Liberate Your Schedule
Coworking enables you to set work hours, then walk away when the day is over. It draws a line between time that you’re working and time that you’re doing whatever else it is you do. But it also allows you to have serious work time whenever your schedule permits. With freelancing you have scheduling freedom, and with coworking, you generally have a great work space for those times you need to work—whether 9:00 in the morning or 9:00 at night.
8. Coworking Provides a Professional Place to Meet Clients
Having a place to meet clients is a great perk of coworking. Oftentimes, you get access to conference rooms and meeting spaces with your membership. Or, if it’s appropriate, you can just meet with people in the space’s common area. This kind of thing happens all the time. As I type this, I can hear a meeting taking place behind me and one to my left. Having access to a room is great for interviews, video conferences and, of course, meetings. Some spaces charge and some (like mine), offer a set number of free room hours to members.
9. Good, Old-Fashioned Fun
Some coworking spaces are more businessy, some are more relaxed, and most fall somewhere in between. For me, I like a little fun in the space. It goes a long way toward keeping me inspired and connected to my fellow coworkers. Not too long ago, a robot came rolling through the space and everyone jumped up to check it out and say hi to the person on the other end. Naturally, a selfie was taken. Yesterday, Jeremy Neuner, the CEO of NextSpace, put on a juggling demonstration…while balancing on the top of a barrel. These unexpected moments of fun and laughter can keep you stoked and send you back to work refreshed.
10. Non-Traditional Networking Events
Coworking spaces are natural community gathering spaces. Pay attention to the events that your local space is hosting. They can be great for connecting with your community, getting work leads, learning more about what’s happening in your town, and just having a good time.
11. Create Your Own Groove
Being around people who are following their own path, creating their own careers, and making their own luck, will help you get clear about who you are, what you want, and how to go about it. The more you design your freelance career and life in a way that works for you, the happier and more confident you’ll be.
12. Where the Misfits Are
Coworking attracts people who are not satisfied being a cog in a work machine—people who want to work on their own terms. Is that you? Want to meet others like you? Coworking is a great way to meet like-minded, outside-the-cubicle thinkers.
13. Boost Your Marketing and Branding
In a coworking space, every time you meet a new person it’s a chance to introduce yourself as a freelancer. Doing this over and over, you’ll quickly realize that having a concise elevator speech that gets people interested in your work is essential. Focusing in on what it is you do is the first step to building a great brand for you and your business.
14. Go From Freelance Newbie to Freelance Pro
When you commit to being a freelance writer and invest in tools to strengthen your skillset and grow your business, you’ve moved out of the realm of casual writer into professional freelancer. Coworking is a big step toward legitimizing yourself and is one of the best business investments you can make.
Do you cowork? How has it contributed to your freelance career?
Photo by Mindaugas Danys (CC-BY-2.0)