For those who have never tried it, the life of a freelancer might seem like a dream job. You work when you want and where you want, you don’t need to turn up at the office on time and you have no boss to answer to.
However, that’s not quite the reality, and many freelancers struggle to find the ideal setup that maximizes productivity. Here, we look at three of the most common solutions for freelance designers and their relative merits.
1. Working from home
Many, perhaps the majority, of those taking their first steps into the world of freelancing start off working from home – and for good reason. There are many clear advantages associated with this obvious option.
Inexpensive and flexible
First, there is the flexibility – it’s hard to imagine anywhere more flexible than your own home. You can work the hours that suit you best, at the times when you feel most creative, and you don’t have to follow anybody else’s timetable.
It’s cheap, too. There are no extra expenses (except perhaps installing a proper work desk in an office, but even this isn’t necessary), and most people will usually have a telephone line, an internet connection and everything else already available.
However, most people who try this soon realize that working from home is not the ideal situation they first imagined.
No routine, no social contact
One of the biggest problems freelancers who work from home report is the lack of a fixed routine. Without someone keeping an eye on whether they are at their desk on time in the morning, many find it difficult to stick to a strict schedule.
Then there is the problem of distractions. At home, it takes a strong will and exceptional self-discipline to avoid being side-tracked into doing a million things – other than work.
Another major issue is the problem of loneliness.
Of course, the simple fact of sitting at home all day working alone can certainly affect your mood, but the lack of day-to-day contact with co-workers can also have a big impact on creativity and productivity in the long term. Many freelancers notice their work output dropping as a result.
Finally, there is the issue of meeting clients. Even if designers spend the majority of their time working on projects, a certain amount of contact time with clients is also required. For most, inviting clients to their home for meetings lacks the required level of professionalism.