Freelancing: don’t be a hermit

Working from home can be great as long as you make the effort to go out and meet people, says Sean Freeman

Coffee and beer. Those two words seem to dominate my emails and texts; which one depends on who I’m talking to and what time of day it is. And it works a treat. There are good sides and bad sides to working from home – I was most afraid of cabin fever setting in: living and working within the same four walls was a scary prospect. However, for me, it works well. We have the studio set apart, and it’s quite a big place so people can come and work with me, and it feels like a whole new space. You avoid the commuting saga, which is a big plus, and I’m able to shoot, leave the set-up and come back to it the next day without being worried I’m making a mess or feeling the pressure to dismantle the set-up as soon as possible. That was what I really missed when I was in a shared studio.

In a shared space, however, you have people: it makes a huge difference and I miss the human contact. Having eight people around who you can always have a cup of tea and chat with is fantastic. Also, the separation between work and home-life when I was in a studio space was really good – being able to walk home and leave everything there until the morning was ace.

One of the most important parts of working from home is not to become a hermit. It’s too easy to get sucked in – there are always so many things to do and that scary list never seems to get shorter. It can be hard to think, ‘I’ll take a few hours off and have a coffee with X.’ But meeting people, talking about work and life – it’s important. I email people on a weekly basis and try to meet up. It can take a bit of planning, and cancellations do occur, but stick with it.

It sounds obvious, but getting out there and talking to people breeds good things. I love meeting people – with clients, especially, it makes working together a lot smoother and helps them remember you. If I hadn’t met some of the people I have, through regular, persistent emails regarding either a hot or cold beverage, I wouldn’t be at the stage I’m at – or as happy.