As a freelancer in today’s gig economy, you have the advantage of being able to work from anywhere. Sometimes it’s just you and your laptop in your favorite coffee shop, the next day it’s on your phone in the park, and sometimes even in the back seat of a car. However, nothing beats the comfort of your home. Having a dedicated workstation is a big step forward, especially when freelancing advances from being your part-time job to a career. Once you start earning serious money by writing, you need a dedicated workspace. Here are a few things to set you up for sweet success.
Get a Workstation
When freelancing from home, it’s not uncommon to start without a workspace. Even with an available desk, there are moments when the sofa seems more inviting. However, if you have a dedicated work desk with a laptop, printer, document drawers, pens, and other stationery, little can go missing without you noticing it. Even if you run a strictly digital business, your charger, headphones, or external HDD might go missing because you’ve ‘just left them here.’ Check nearby garage sales and personal selling apps and you’ll see that small desks don’t cost much.
Make Sure It’s Comfortable
While this might not seem like a priority in the first few months, your back will thank you later. Make sure that your chair is set so you’re looking straight at the screen without having to tilt the head up and down. If needed, put several books under your laptop or use a special stand made for these purposes. An external keyboard and a mouse or trackpad can make things much easier in some cases.
The chair should also be adjusted so both your feet stand firmly on the floor. When you type, your wrist should be straight, and when you sit, your hips and knees should be in line with each other.
Create a Space You Love
Your workspace should be inviting to you. If you prefer minimalist décor, choose a few items like a modern pen holder, a framed photo, and a cactus. Perhaps you like fresh flowers or have a reed diffuser with a scent you enjoy in the morning.
Unless you create a space you like, every day sitting down to work will be akin to going to an uninviting office downtown. You don’t have to break the bank with decorations, but making it pleasant to work at will make a big difference.
Get What You Need
If your job is mostly writing, you can get the job done with very little—often just a laptop and the internet connection. However, once you tread into the organization/analysis/management arena, you may need other items to help you with your work. A whiteboard, for example, will let you draw charts and organize your ideas, while clips can hold your paper docs together.
It pays to try to find office supplies deals as online vendors typically offer discounts when buying in bulk, as well as special weekly deals. With special business credit accounts, they will even let you pay 30 days after the purchase.
Know Your Work Hours
Working from home has two sides to it. It can greatly improve your efficiency, but only if you can resist the temptations of your bed, couch, or playing with your pet. When you get stuck into writer’s block, even vacuuming becomes more appealing than sitting in front of a laptop. Even if you have a great workspace, sometimes a change of environment is just the ticket. If the weather is nice, mix it up a bit by moving your business to a patio or deck. Leaving your home office can sometimes increase your productivity and focus.
Manage Your Office Necessities
When you work in a traditional office, you don’t have to worry about toilet paper, coffee, or whether the internet is working. At home, you need to make sure you have every necessity to do your job. Stock your fridge with drinks and snacks so you don’t have to waste time driving to the nearest stand or supermarket. Also—since you’re the office manager—if there’s a power outage or the internet goes down, it’s on you to look into the problem. Keep tech support numbers and apps handy to make these issues less of a burden when they inevitably occur.
Freelancing in the gig economy allows you to work independently, but having a workstation space that you’ve optimized for success can be a big motivation to pursue new opportunities and increase productivity on your turf.