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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  Planning and Managing Your Online Freelancing Business
      >  What You’ll Need for Successful Online Freelancing

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Time - The Most Important Resource
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Computer Hardware for Freelancers
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Your Freelancing Castle - A Comfortable Office or Workspace
(Page 1 of 3)

Near the end of my comparison of online freelancing and traditional employment, I discussed the important matter of work environment. And there I listed “Work from the Comfort of Home” as an advantage of online freelancing—and “Work from the Discomfort of Home” as a disadvantage. The lesson in this simple: the degree to which you will enjoy freelancing depends at least in part on how well you set up your “freelancing castle”: your home office.

Office or Workspace

Ideally, you should have a room in your home that is dedicated to your work. The advan­tages of a dedicated office are many:

  • It has a door. This goes first because the ability to close that door is, in my opinion, the most important advantage of having a “real” office. (Ask anyone who’s worked in a cubicle, and they’ll tell you.) The door allows you to make a clear distinction between your workspace and the rest of your home, and allows you to work more productively with fewer distractions. A dedicated office without a door gives up much of its benefit.

  • You can set it up the way that makes the most sense for your personal tastes, so you feel at home and at ease.

  • Those who work trades that require space, such as photographers, artists, designers and others, will have room to set up the equipment they need.

  • You can play music without disturbing others, if desired (see below).

  • You can potentially write off some of the cost of the home against your freelancing income, depending on the circumstances. Consult with a tax accountant about this.

Of course, it’s not always possible to have a dedicated home office. You may simply not have the room, and especially if you’re only working part-time, it might be very hard to justify the cost of setting aside part of the home just for this purpose.

A good “runner-up” solution is to choose an appropriate room in the house to “multitask” as an office. For example, your bedroom could be a good choice, since most of the time it will be empty during the day. Of course if you have a spouse or partner whose schedule is wildly different from yours, that may not work well. Another option is to make a combination of a home office and a guest room. Naturally, this means your ability to work is impeded when you do have guests; there are always trade-offs.

The least advantageous approach is to simply set aside part of a room to use for work. The problems here are obvious: little space, no ability to separate yourself from goings on in the home, and many distractions. However, it is doable if you put your mind to it, and in many cases there simply is no alternative. My family lived for several years in a log cabin that had only two small bedrooms, a family room and a large kitchen. My “office” consisted of a trian­gular modular desk unit in the corner of that kitchen. It wasn’t ideal, but I was able to make it work. That said, I did have one big advantage: I was home alone most of the working day. When my family was home, it was much more difficult to get anything done.


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Computer Hardware for Freelancers
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012

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