Can Freelancers Really Work from Anywhere?

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Every freelancer dreams about working on some sun-drenched tropical beach, free from the constraints of a typical office job, or maybe poolside with a drink in one hand and a laptop near the other. It’s the perfect scenario for those who work from home—but is it really a good idea?

It’s important to remember that “work” is the key word in “work from home.” If you try to set up shop in a distracting environment, and the part of your job that brings in money—the actual work—will suffer.

So where should a freelancer get down to business? Here’s a look at some common work-from-home environments, with pros and cons for each.

The beach

PROS: It’s the beach. A nice breeze, refreshing surf (hopefully, not where it can reach your laptop), and the joy of doing your job while you sit in the sunshine.

CONS: Unless you’re lucky enough to own a private beach, there are probably other people around. Chances are, it’s noisy and crowded. Oh, and that comfortable sand? Your laptop doesn’t like it—and it will get everywhere. Plus, there’s no place to recharge your batteries.

The coffee shop

PROS: When you leave your house to go to work, it feels more like an actual job. If there’s a friendly coffee shop nearby that doesn’t mind you camping out for hours, you’ll have a short commute. Plus, there’s coffee and snacks that you don’t have to fix yourself, and outlets to recharge your laptop.

CONS: Like the beach, it may be crowded and noisy—though most coffee shops have lulls. There could be distracting music playing. And working long-term at a coffee shop can get expensive when you keep buying all that java.

The library

PROS: A quiet atmosphere, power for your laptop, and all the research material you’ll ever need at your fingertips. Many libraries also offer free Wi-Fi, making email and online research easily accessible.

CONS: You have to be quiet. If you’re the type who can’t sit still for long periods of time and needs to get up and move around, or you have a tendency to talk to yourself when you’re really into the work, the library might not be for you. And with fewer libraries around these days, you could end up with a long commute.

At home

PROS: No commute. Work in your pajamas. Access to the comforts of home. Privacy and the freedom to do anything, even if you do your best work while performing jumping jacks and singing show tunes.

CONS: In a word: Distraction. If you have family, you’ll need a separate room with a door for your office, so everyone knows that when you’re in there, you’re working. You also have to fight the urge to abandon a tough project and tackle the laundry or the dishes—because you’re right there, and they need doing. It takes a colossal amount of discipline to successfully work from home.

So, where do you work—and how’s that working for you?



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