While there are certainly some misconceptions about the business of freelance writing, working from home also has a good number of advantages. I don’t have to suffer through gridiron traffic during a daily commute and I have a relative level of freedom when it comes to setting my work schedule. That said, a shortcoming to freelancing is the fact that you work in relative isolation. It can prove to be a pretty lonely experience.
When you work in an office environment, you are generally surrounded by like-minded individuals. Your working environment may not be quite as quirky as the one portrayed in The Office, Dilbert, or Office Space, but there is a certain level of co-worker camaraderie. You can gather around the water cooler and discuss politics. You can complain to one another about a malfunctioning photocopier. You can even participate in a great office war, if that’s your kind of thing. For freelancers and other work-at-home professionals, this simply does not exist.
Online Interactions Supplant Real Life Ones
I asked the Twitter community what they do to overcome the lack of co-worker camaraderie when they work from home, and the use of instant messengers came up as a suitable replacement for water cooler conversations. Whether it be through Twitter, Google Talk, Windows Live, AIM, or whatever, it’s not hard to “talk” to other freelancers in real time.
Using these tools, you can talk politics just like you would around the water cooler. Better still, you can instantly share useful tips, funny pictures, and other things that you find on the net. If you gather a good group of online friends, it’s almost like you are working in the same office, even if you are not working for the same company.
Replacing Co-Workers with Surrogates
The silence is deafening! Working by yourself in a home office every day can be enough to drive some people mad. Part of the reason why some people opt for a career in freelance writing in the first place is so that they can stay home with their families. Spending time with the kids is fun and all, but don’t forget that you still need to get work done!
Instead of actual co-workers, just having some companionship at home can go a long way. Zac Johnson has a dog, for example, and I used to have a rabbit. If you’re not so inclined to take care of an animal, then you may want to consider the Stephen Fung route and stare at Flip Flap all day. Alternatively, you can do like Israel Lagares and watch your money grow.
Real Life Networking
In the end, the absolute best way to overcome the lack of interaction with real life coworkers is to get out there and network with like-minded individuals in the real world. I look forward to Dot Com Pho every week, not so much because of the Vietnamese noodles that I consume, but more because of the interaction I get with other online entrepreneurs.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed from our videos, lunch with moguls can be pretty fun.