Freelance life is pretty sweet, if done right — you get to choose your own hours, work in your favourite cafes, and are rarely required to take part in the sort of ‘organised fun’ that goes hand in hand with office life. But, as with any emerging lifestyle trend or change to ‘the norm’, there can be hurdles to scale when it comes to learning the etiquette and life-hacks that make it work for you.
One of the best parts of running a cafe or restaurant is getting to know the many laptop-wielding entrepreneurs who frequent your establishment, so we thought we’d ask a handful of our professionally liberated friends to share the advice and experiences that help them to work successfully on the go.
Becky Morrison is a freelance fashion + social media writer and creator of the #TittyTee:
Twitter - @becky_bees Instagram - @becky_bees
“Sustenance! Working on your own in a bar or cafe can be a lonely old slog, and a selection of sweet treats never fails to lift the mood (and acts as a nifty reward when you've just smashed that tricky bit of copy). Get a little cake, get a little tea, go wild and get a little sandwich — I promise you, your day will be instantly improved. Plus point — you won't piss off the people who own the place that wish you'd stop cradling the flat white you bought three hours ago and just get the F out of there.”
“Limit distractions. As someone whose literal job is to constantly check my phone, it can be hard to concentrate on the task at hand. A constant stream of notifications from various accounts can leave you feel f*****g crazy so stick that little bugger on airplane mode for bursts so you can reclaim your brain and, more importantly, #getshitdone.”
Charlotte Morgan is a freelance content marketer and blogger:
Twitter - @CharFoxSocks Instagram - @charfoxsocks
“If there's no table service, position yourself so you can easily see (or ideally reach) all of your belongings when you go up to order. Saves the trouble of having to pack up and pick up everything you own when you want to order a refill. In a similar vein, try to strike up a friendly relationship with the people working there. That way they'll be happy to keep an eye on your stuff (assuming it's not too busy) should you need to use the bathroom.”
Charlotte Duckworth is a novelist and blogger:
Twitter - @charduck Instagram - @gtyrkids
“Aside from the obvious stuff like don't sit at a sofa (back ache), make sure you've got a firm table to rest your computer on, and a corner spot always best so people can't spy on your screen. Remember to take your charger and make an effort to get to know the staff. They’re often very kind and have even been know to gift the occasional drink.”
Russell James Alford and Patrick Hanlon (aka GastroGays) are a blogging duo:
Twitter - @GastroGays Instagram - @gastrogays
“Forge relationships with your favourite local space to spend a few hours. Get to know the staff or owners, build a rapport, ask them how their days are going, chat about the quietest times to get some work done. Buying more than one thing if you're staying all afternoon is a healthy practice, but why not lend your skills to the manager too? Bartering is such a basic business tool and works for both parties — are you a social media freelancer? A virtual assistant/PA? A PR consultant? A remote designer or an expert copywriter? Why not see if you can give back to your local space with some free tips, consulting or a bit of a light work and they'll love you forever – you might be just the thing they need!
Got a favourite space but it's got a dodgy WiFi? You can't really ask or expect them to switch up their box or provider on account of the work you need to do! As a self-employed freelancer you have operational costs as a small business or sole trader that you can offset against your profits. It's a smart business move. Offset the cost of a dongle or mini WiFi router you can use on the go – therefore you're guaranteed fast, reliable internet whilst not draining a cafe's limited line and you can also support and work from your favourite little local space. A little bit of win-win, no?”
“Pay it forward, be nice and bow to karma. Buy a coffee for the next person in line, clean up your table and drop your plates/cups back to the servers when you're done, heck even grab one of the mops and help the team if you've stayed 'til closing time. It seriously does pay to be kind (and always rewarding the patience and understanding of the staff of your cafe). Become a friend, not a nuisance!”
Got a a piece of advice everyone should know? Tell us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.