Freelancing: don’t be a hermit

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.