In the past year I have learned a lot about the business aspects of freelancing, through online training, and through my own personal experience. One of the main issues often talked about is the feast/famine cycle. Like many freelancers I sometimes have to deal with that as well. This past year was a progress in that I managed to get a “safety cushion” for the down times, so that when they came it was not such an issue.
Other ways to diminish the impact of those down times is to figure out ways to decrease your overhead. Preparing my taxes and looking at the pattern of the past two years I realized I needed to do so, down times or not. After all, as freelancers we are primarily a business, like it or not. So if we want not only to survive as a business, but also to make a profit, we need to find ways to reduce our overhead. For me, the big obvious one was rent. Some freelancers may choose to share an office space with another business, have a roommate to split rent and utility costs, but I already had my office set up at home, in a separate room, so I didn’t need to rent a dedicated office space in town. What else could be done?
Remember one thing, we can work from anywhere, provided we have a reliable internet connection. As far as I was concerned, though I was considering moving to a different geographic location eventually, I was not ready to do so yet and wanted to remain in the same town. Sometimes we need to be a bit creative.
So my significant other and I decided to move to our boat, which is sitting here in town at the marina. And off we went, getting rid of all unnecessary possessions and reducing our belongings to what we actually need and use. My main concern was to make sure I could get an optimal internet connection on board to be able to work. As liveaboards we did have a WiFi connection included in our rent but it could be sketchy at times, especially at low tide. There’s a solution to every problem, I got a range extender/booster, and I now have a perfect connection, as good, if not better, than the one I had from my apartment! My office area is facing the waterfront, great way to rest my eyes from the computer every now and then. No traffic noise, and I have a walking trail right out my door on shore, that leads to a gorgeous view of the bay from a bluff. No excuses now not to take those salutary breaks!
This is a great solution that works for me and will allow me to save a lot of money while working in a great environment.
The next step I’m considering now to reduce expenses and simplify my life, is to gradually go paperless, especially as my space is smaller now. The obvious direct benefit would be to save money on paper and ink for the printer, and de-clutter the office space. Where to save paperwork, in the Cloud, on disks, maybe both? I’m kind of old school and like to have physical access to important “must keep” paperwork.
What about you? Willing to share how you manage to reduce your overhead without sacrificing the quality of your workspace?