Where Is the Best Place for Freelancers to Work, Really?

work-locationOne of the perks of being a freelancer is that you can work from anywhere, but should you?

You may have visions of dragging your laptop or mobile device to the beach with you and happily working on your projects while enjoying the sea view. But the truth is that for many freelancers, the beach is a less than ideal work location.

As a freelancer, I’ve tried working from many different locations over the years. In this post, I’ll share some of the real pitfalls that you might face as you try to work from various locations. Whether you’re traveling, or just looking for a change of scenery, you’ll want to review this post before deciding where to take your work.

If you’re planning on traveling and working, you may also be interested in this post, 28+ Travel Tips: Giant Checklist for Freelancers.

7 Freelance Work Locations and Their Pitfalls

Whether you just need a change of scenery or are traveling, there are many places where you can get your freelancing work done. Here are seven of them:

  1. The Beach. We’ve all seen that picture of the guy on the beach, sitting happily right on the beach with his laptop. Did you ever wonder how much work that guy is actually getting done? The truth is that many beaches are noisy, crowded places. There’s no place to plug in your laptop, so you’ll need to rely on the battery. Oh, and did I mention the sand? If you get that sand in your keyboard, you’re in trouble. When I took my work to the beach, it was so windy I wound up sitting in the car the whole time.
  2. The Coffee Shop. Working at the coffee shop can be a good choice, or not, depending on the atmosphere at your local coffee shop. What I like about the coffee shop is that you can sit at your laptop for a few hours (while sipping your latte slowly) and no one will question it. However, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a seat. Some coffee shops fill up quickly, and if no seat is available at your shop when you need it, you may be out of luck.
  3. The Library. The library can be a good backup if you absolutely must be online and your Internet goes down or your local coffee shop is full. Many libraries do have a WiFi connection as well as public computers with Internet connections. However, you must remember to be very quiet. To access the Internet on one of the library’s computers, you will probably need to have a library card and your time may be limited. (At my local library, the limit on one of their computers is 15 minutes.)
  4. The Hotel. If you’re traveling, working from your hotel room is an option. Nearly all hotel chains offer a high-speed Internet connection to guests. Some also have a business center where you can go to access the Internet and print documents. In my experience, hotel Internet connections are slower than my home connection. And sometimes they are unreliable. Besides, you didn’t really travel all that distance just to sit in your hotel room behind your laptop, did you?
  5. The National Park. If you’re hiking or camping in a national park, don’t count on being able to access the Internet or even use your cell phone. I learned this the hard way a few years ago when we were visiting Yellowstone National Park and my cell phone wouldn’t work. This may be changing. According to a recent article from Charlie Brennan published in The Denver Post, The National Park Service will introduce cell and Internet coverage in several national parks during the summer of 2013.
  6. The Home of a Friend or Family Member. If you are visiting a friend or family member with a good computer and a good Internet connection, they may agree to let you use it during your stay. This option can be almost as good as working from home. But if your friend or family member doesn’t really understand what freelancing is all about, borrowing their computer to get some work done can lead to arguments and other problems. You know your friend and family members, so only you know whether this is a good idea.
  7. Your Home. I’m fortunate that I have a room in my home dedicated to my freelance business. What’s especially helpful is the fact that the room has a door. When it gets too noisy, I can shut it. I’m well aware that many freelancers aren’t able to set aside an entire room for a home office. If you plan carefully, it’s possible to make do with just a table and a computer in a corner. If noise bothers you and you know others will be at home, set some house rules for when you work.

Your Take Away

Working from anywhere sounds like a nice perk (and it can be), but you should know that some potential work locations have drawbacks that might affect your ability to get work done.

What Do You Think?

Where do you do most of your freelancing work? Can you think of any other locations where freelancers might like to work?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.