What I Wish I'd Done Sooner As a Freelancer

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This is a sponsored post in partnership with Spacious. All words and opinions are my own.

As I approach my one year anniversary of being a full-time freelancer in New York City, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the past 365 days. I remember when I got laid off from Interview (my second layoff in less than a year) I wasn’t frantically searching for another full-time job at a magazine, because let’s face it, that didn’t seem like the best idea with my track record. What I did start doing was freelancing as I searched for new jobs, and little did I know that by taking on a few writing assignments, brand collaborations, and even some creative consulting, I was laying the groundwork for the next chapter of my career without even realizing it. And now here I am, one year later, not just scraping by with one-off assignments—but with established repeat clients, my own digital product, and a sense of not just how to survive, but how to scale.

A lot of people have been asking me to share what I wish I’d known when I first started off or what I would have done differently and without a doubt I can say I would have looked into a physical space for me to work out of sooner. I was committed to living the full-on freelance lifestyle where I was nomadic in a sense—as long as I had my laptop and a WiFi connection, I could do my work! I enjoy working from coffee shops but too often I’d show up and there’d be no seats, no WiFi, no outlets, and on rare occasion, no bathrooms! (Seriously, NYC what is up with that??) I felt like a waste of time and energy to show up at a location and *hope* that it would be sufficient to work out of for the day.

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I was so happy when I discovered Spacious and since I signed up for my account on April 2, I can honestly say that I feel like a different person knowing that there’s somewhere in the city (other than my apartment) where I can drop in and get some work done with fast WiFi, plenty of seats, and an awesome community of other freelancers surrounding me too.

Spacious is a drop-in workspace, with locations in NYC and San Francisco. A few of the workspaces are permanent locations, but many of them are set up in restaurants or bars that open later in the day but become drop-in workspaces before they open. I love how Spacious converted restaurants and retail spaces into fully functional coworking spaces. Each space has fast internet, free coffee and tea, and a host who can answer any questions upon your check-in. My membership also has 15 guest hours per month so if I want to have a meeting, I can do so in a setting that feels much more polished than a meeting at a crowded coffee shop.

Plus, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that since signing up for Spacious at the beginning of April, April and May have been my most profitable months to date. I honestly feel like by having a physical space to go to without the cost of an off-site office has made me take my business more seriously and made it feel much more real and professional.

Get 15% off your first month of membership by using the code: AUSTEN19 at Spacious.com

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Photographs by Jessie Alcheh

Are you a freelancer or thinking about going freelance? What questions do you have about the process?

yours,

Austen