Remote working is no longer a novelty, it’s a fact of everyday working life, especially for self-employed freelancers who often have more flexibility to move around.
In fact, research published by IPSE (The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) revealed that most (87%) of those self-employed have worked remotely in the past year.
Not only are more and more people working remotely, but they’re also working in an increasingly nomadic way. IPSE’s study also found that only a quarter (26%) of those self-employed always work in one place.
There are many positives about remote working but one of the main stumbling blocks can be the associated costs. Hot desks and internet cafes, for example, can be pretty expensive if you use them on a regular basis, cutting into your precious profits.
The benefits of changing your work setting regularly
You might now be wondering why so many people switch up where they work on a regular basis when they could simply set up and stay right where they are. Well, there are actually a number of benefits that come of having a change of scenery from time to time, including:
- Meeting new people and having conversations you might not otherwise have
- Making new connections, which potentially leads to new clients
- Stimulation for all of the senses
- Tapping into new sources of inspiration
- A healthy separation between where you work and where you relax, which can be difficult to strike when you work from home permanently
- Chance to see new places, whether they’re local to you or a journey away
Where can a freelancer work for free?
With all of the above in mind, here are a whole host of different places you can work free (or nearly free), so you can go about your freelance business without breaking the bank.
Your very own home office
Okay, so this location isn’t technically free because you have to pay to kit it out. Plus, it’s your name on the utility bills when it comes to things like gas, electricity, and internet connection.
However, setting up a home-based workspace is a great way to avoid the hefty costs of co-working space contracts and private office rentals. Rolling out of bed straight to your desk (via the kettle) also means you can snip commute costs completely.
As a self-employed taxpayer, you are also able to claim tax relief against some of your costs and allowable expenses, which helps reduce your outgoings too.
Your local cafe (or even a coffee shop further afield)
That’s the beauty of remote working, you really can be anywhere in the world. Whether you’re around the corner from where you live or somewhere much further away, cafes are great places freelancers can go and work for free.
You can sit down, plug in, and crack on. The only things you’ll need to spend any money on are the lattes and pastries you’ll inevitably find irresistible.
Top tip: Make sure to eat well around your sessions working at cafes so that you don’t end up spending more than you’re earning.
Co-working spaces (they don’t always have to cost a lot)
Freelancer life hack: do some research and find co-working spaces near you that offer free trial days or even free trial periods. This will allow you to reap all the rewards of co-working life without having to foot any of the cost.
Your client’s office
IPSE’s research revealed that 57% of those self-employed work from their client’s premises at least occasionally, with a third doing so for a majority of the time.
Working from a client’s office is a great way to save yourself some cash, as well as being a brilliant way to build strong client relationships.
Just be careful with this though. If you’re working full-time at your client’s office, are you basically an employee in all but name? There are strict rules around this, which have implications for paying tax.
A library near or far
Whether you’re near home or travelling further afield, libraries are the perfect place to rock up with your laptop and tackle your to-do list free of charge. The added bonus is that there are normally other facilities such as printers and photocopiers on-site, too.
Plus, the peace and quiet is often a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of life outside the library walls.
The airport lounge (or a less-glamorous train station)
Does your freelance work take you on your travels a lot? Use the time waiting around in places like airports and train stations wisely by finding a quiet spot with a plug socket and getting on with some work.
Almost a quarter (24%) of IPSE’s self-employed respondents say their remote work happens whilst travelling.
Get down to work after a workout at the gym
A lot of gyms will have seating areas or even on-site cafes where you can work comfortably for a few hours completely free of charge.
Not only does this help you spend less money, but it also encourages you to get more physical activity during the working day – something many super-busy self-employed people could certainly benefit from in terms of health and wellbeing.
Wherever you choose to pitch up, just make sure you’ve got access to everything you need, including a fast and reliable broadband connection – the most important tool for most people (78%), according to the same study.
Your favourite museum (or one you’ve never visited before)
Museums are one of the lesser-known remote working spots but a real hidden gem when it comes to finding somewhere to work for free as a thrifty freelancer.
Choose one you love or even venture to a museum you’ve never been to before to catch a new exhibition while you’re there—a fantastic way to break up the working day.
Top tip: Although you’re looking to save cash, it’s always a nice touch if you can spare some loose change to donate to any museum you work in. A little goes a long way in supporting the projects they run and the incredible buildings they upkeep.
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