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Establishing your workspace

From: Freelancing Fundamentals

Video: Establishing your workspace

The few hours that you invest to create your workspace will pay off big as your freelance career progresses, because setting up well will improve behaviors that you do everyday. We'll start by revisiting questions asked earlier, specifically, where will you work and what do you need when you work? To get the answers, try thinking through what you expect a typical day to be like. Let's say that you think you'll spend about two hours everyday on email, one hour on other housekeeping, and five hours on client work.

Establishing your workspace

The few hours that you invest to create your workspace will pay off big as your freelance career progresses, because setting up well will improve behaviors that you do everyday. We'll start by revisiting questions asked earlier, specifically, where will you work and what do you need when you work? To get the answers, try thinking through what you expect a typical day to be like. Let's say that you think you'll spend about two hours everyday on email, one hour on other housekeeping, and five hours on client work.

The email part can be done anywhere, so all you need is a laptop, an Internet connection, and a comfortable place to sit. Now that's the easy part. Next comes the hour when you do other housekeeping. For that, you might need to file paperwork so perhaps it can only be done where your filing cabinet is. That means you'll need a space there, with a desk, light, and electricity and so on. Finally, there's the client work. If you're a graphic designer for instance, you'll probably want a big monitor and perhaps a graphics tablet.

If you're a caterer, then you'll need an entire kitchen full of equipment. Such items limit your mobility so you'll have to prepare that space appropriately. Of course, all three of these spaces could be in the same location such as your home and that's fine. But if your freelancing dream is like mine and includes working while you travel, then you need to set up for multiple locations or create a mobile workspace. Wherever you end up working, here are some amenities you'll probably need. First are the utilities.

These might seem obvious, but it's easy to forget that an inviting looking garage loft might get too cold for work when autumn comes. Tangential to utilities are environmental items. I'm also sensitive to sound so I want a place that's quiet enough to concentrate, but loud enough, so I can make a phone call without bothering anyone. Next comes office equipment. Skipping the small stuff--like paper, pens, tape, and staplers--here are the things that I think are essential. First, a filing cabinet along with plenty of folders.

People have talked about the paperless office for years, but I think you'll always need a place to put signed contracts, past portfolio work and the like. Similarly, you'll need a printer and a scanner so you can create and scan such documents. Next, a paper shredder. Finally, we have the usual office furniture: shelves, lighting, and a comfortable place to work. You'll be spending a lot of time in your workspace. Make it a place that you want to go. The last category is the equipment that you need to do the work.

This is where there's the biggest variety among freelancers. What you'll need is up to you and the requirements of what you do. Keep in mind that your business equipment partly determines who your clients will be. If you're a photographer, for example, you'll need a certain kind and quality of equipment to attract high end clients. For such decisions, you should do a cost-benefit analysis that bounces the cost of the equipment against the benefits you expect to get from it. If you can't afford to buy such equipment, consider renting it as needed until you can.

The cost worksheet you did earlier will help you figure out what you can afford. Lastly, as you get to know other freelancers, take a look at how they have their offices set up. Visit as many as you can, steal their workplace ideas, and try out plenty of your own. It'll take awhile for you to settle in, but eventually, you'll find your own workplace style. Starting out with the items in this video will get you on the right track.

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This video is part of

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Freelancing Fundamentals

42 video lessons · 24802 viewers

Tom Geller
Author

 
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  1. 10m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 53s
    2. What is freelancing?
      2m 53s
    3. How freelancing and employment differ
      2m 33s
    4. Preparing your mindset
      3m 31s
  2. 9m 24s
    1. Defining career goals
      2m 48s
    2. Sharpening your market focus
      3m 18s
    3. Transitioning to freelancing
      3m 18s
  3. 16m 11s
    1. Preparing your portfolio
      3m 11s
    2. Estimating costs
      3m 10s
    3. Funding your startup
      2m 42s
    4. Establishing your workspace
      3m 35s
    5. Building your professional network
      3m 33s
  4. 8m 51s
    1. Getting licenses, permits, and insurance
      2m 15s
    2. Creating contracts
      4m 23s
    3. Finding professional service vendors
      2m 13s
  5. 12m 54s
    1. Setting prices
      3m 13s
    2. Establishing payment systems
      1m 36s
    3. Invoicing and getting paid
      3m 50s
    4. Keeping the books
      2m 32s
    5. Managing taxes
      1m 43s
  6. 14m 41s
    1. Announcing your availability
      3m 16s
    2. Finding work through agencies
      2m 2s
    3. Onboarding clients
      2m 59s
    4. Avoiding scams
      3m 25s
    5. Choosing assignments
      2m 59s
  7. 11m 27s
    1. Interacting with clients
      2m 11s
    2. Delivering quality work
      2m 28s
    3. Getting referrals and recommendations
      2m 34s
    4. Losing and firing clients
      4m 14s
  8. 10m 48s
    1. Deconstructing big jobs
      3m 34s
    2. Adopting time-management tools
      2m 35s
    3. Creating schedules
      2m 30s
    4. Turning off the clock for "me time"
      2m 9s
  9. 20m 6s
    1. Staying motivated
      3m 3s
    2. Increasing your rates
      2m 52s
    3. Marketing beyond your professional network
      2m 56s
    4. Growing through hires and partnerships
      3m 30s
    5. Building passive income
      3m 48s
    6. Changing focus
      3m 57s
  10. 4m 52s
    1. Case study: Publishing a book
      2m 47s
    2. Next steps
      2m 5s
  11. 12m 42s
    1. Freelancing Q&A
      12m 42s

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