To Office Space or Not to Office Space?

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Handling where to work when you're a freelancer. Costs and benefits from group offices, to traditional offices, to coffee shops and parks.

As a freelance writer, I spend a lot of my working hours in my living room, by myself.  In many ways it’s what made this hustle possible.  I can work after my kids are in bed.  I can work from anywhere I need to, and pretty much whenever I need to as long as I’m hitting deadlines.

As things grow, only working after my kids are asleep has become a thing of the past.  And when they’re awake, you know there’s no way I’m camping out with a laptop without them trying to hop online with me.  I’ve been eyeing up alternative solutions to working places, lately, and have been talking with a few people who deal with the same issues.  Some of the solutions are innovative.  Some of them are traditional.  What I’m learning is that there’s no one-size-fits all, so I thought I’d share all of them so you can tailor these solutions to what meets your needs.

Group Office Space

Sharing an office space is a sure way to stave off feelings of isolation.  It’s also a great way to access tools you might not otherwise have at your disposal.  Take, for example, The Hardware Store in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  It’s a space where you can rent out a desk starting at $150/month, open 24 hours a day.  They also have group resources that you can schedule, like a PodCasting suite and Green Screen.  There’s networking events on a regular basis, but even just working next to someone day in and out brings relationships that you just don’t get sitting in your living room.

Rent Your Own Office Space

If your freelancing has turned into a network, or you’re starting to build a team that needs someplace to call home base, your own office space may be a legitimate need.  If you want to test the waters to see if it’s right for you, signing a short lease may be a transitional solution.  If it’s somewhere you’ll be meeting with clients, you can spruce the place up by renting things such as furniture and indoor plants, like the ones found at Gaddy’s indoor plants.  If you can find a cost-effective way to rent space and furnishings, it takes away a little bit of the fear of risk.  You can pull the plug at the end of your lease, going back to being remote, and if things go well it can give you a little time to save up and make everything more permanent.

Get Out of Your Living Room Without Office Space

If you’re trying to combat loneliness (a real issue for most digital freelancers,) there was a great article on this recently on Believe in a Budget.  Oftentimes, I’m not trying to combat feelings of isolation, though.  I’m trying to isolate myself so I can actually get work done!  One of the greatest things I’ve done when I hit a rut or a scheduling snafu where I can’t be the only one at home is just to change my scenery.

Working at the local coffee shop gives me cheap, free wi-fi.  I also feel a little bit more productive in those settings because there are less distractions than there are in my own home.  If I just need to write, going to a park has been a great solution, too.  The change of scenery helps, but the lack of access to the internet rids me of all those little distractions.  (I’m looking at you, Pinterest.)  If I really need to look something up, I can use my phone’s 3G, but I try to do all of my heavy research before going to work outdoors.

What’s been the best solution for you when dealing with work without a traditional office?

*This post is in collaboration with Gaddy’s Indoor Plant Hire.  All content is created by and the opinion of Femme Frugality.*


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4 thoughts on “To Office Space or Not to Office Space?

  1. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    If you have a ton of money coming in and your business is truly growing, then I can see the co-op office space. They are pretty cool, but I think right now just going to a coffee shop with wi-fi is good enough. I never get lonely working from home. I love it and the quiet. I have hard drives I’d have to lug around with me so going somewhere else is kind of a pain for me.

    1. femmefrugality

      So much of this is personalized for sure. Depending on funds, type of business, current access to equipment, and personality type, the answer’s going to fall somewhere different on the matrix. For right now, I’m right there with you at the coffee shops!

  2. Joyce @ My Stay At Home Adventures

    This is something that many freelance writers must think in the future. I started with wanting to work from home (to be with my kids) and now things are picking up and I am really thinking of sending our 2 year old to daycare part-time until he heads to head-start, I try working when he naps but his naps are getting shorter and shorter. I think when he starts going to day-care I will head to a local place and work there until it is time to pick him up.


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