Advice for Working Freelance from Home, Office or Cafes & Bars

Advice for Working Freelance from Home, Office or Cafes & Bars
16/11/2013 darren mcchrystal
working freelance

After relocating to Moscow earlier this year, I am currently in the situation where I am mainly working from home (I know, poor me) due to the birth of ‘the hybrid’ (or more my son Patrick) I have been thoughtfully pondering whether to look into renting an office, get some shared desk or co-working space or just head on out to one of my favourite cafes/bars and take advantage of their wi-fi and overpriced coffee to mix things up a bit, but personally, I much prefer a mix of all 3. Plus I don’t have a favourite cafe in Moscow.


When you go freelance for the first time you will usually start by working from the comforts of your home, it has its positives for sure but is not without its negatives…

work from home

Working from home was once the seemingly unachievable dream, the thought of never having to get up at a specific time every damn day, getting showered, waxing my hair and braving the scum & villainy on the 86 bus to work was something I dared not dream.

For most people though, including myself, the cabin fever can kick in pretty damn quickly. Especially if your are living on your own, you can get a case of the Jack Nicholson’s. Trust me on that….

You lose that warm fuzzy feeling of finally getting home at night and being able to chill for the night watching Ugly Betty. Working from home it can get hard to switch out of ‘work mode’ and it can get pretty lonely if you live on your own and are not desirable enough to have a partner.

I would actually keep clients on the phone sometimes and make futile attempts at ‘banter’ much to their bemusement. I would end the working day by going to Tesco and perusing the ‘reduced to clear’ aisle just to get that nice feeling of getting home from work. They were dark days in hindsight. I’ve seen darker.

10 tips if you are working from home

  1. Take regular short walks, or go up and down the stairs
  2. 5 minutes stretching every hour
  3. Stay off porn sites, I know its tough
  4. Have a strict to do list
  5. Leave the TV off (them sky sports news girls can be distracting)
  6. Blast the tunes, or get some good podcasts to listen to
  7. Get dressed as normal, dressing gowns stifle creativity…. I’m actually writing this in my dressing gown
  8. Eat small & healthy throughout the day, go easy on the sugar, eat brain food like nuts
  9. Go for an afternoon run or do some weights
  10. Keep your house & desk tidy


work from home office setups

Useful Links for Working From Home

Why working at home is both awesome and horrible

30 Enviously Cool Home Office Setups

Home Offices- How to Set Up a Workable Home Office

5 Tips to Improve Your Home Office Setup

Tips For Setting Up Your Home Office Without Breaking The Bank

Top 30 Tips for Staying Productive and Sane While Working From Home

Tips for Effectively Working from Home


If working from home is driving you insane and you miss the office ‘banter’ and lifestyle then an office, shared desk or co-working space maybe the solution you have been looking for…

co-working space

If you have the money then you should consider renting some office space, I did this 4 years ago and enjoyed it immensely for a while, here are your main options.

Your own designated office
This can be pricey and won’t do much for any potential loneliness issues you may have. A lot of offices will be fairly strict if you want to customise the office by painting or decorating and designers love to customise.

You can also get tied into long term contract that can be a pain to get out of, plus you would usually have to hand in a 3 month notice so if anything suddenly goes wrong it could cause issues.

Working in a shared office / co-working

This is something I did 4 years ago and its something I would definitely recommend if you can get a good price. Obviously that can depend on your location, in Liverpool there a deals to be got, i’m pretty sure you can get them anywhere though.


  • Get to meet new people, you may not like them, but you will meet them
  • Price may include your own secretary, she may be fit, probably not, but they sound fit on the phone at least, its all about illusion
  • You can network and get business from your business neighbours not only in your office but in the building
  • You can barter over price, or get them to drop deposit like I did, though they may add things to your 1st invoice
  • These places usually have beautiful women
  • And beautiful women make the world go round


  • You never know who will be sharing the office or who can suddenly join the office and be sat opposite you, especially if it is a small office.
  • It can be a nuisance too if you need any privacy or are a bit funny about people hearing you talking money over the phone.
  • You also have to be aware that your fellow workers may be loud on the phone too. They could also smell.
  • Be wary of hidden fees such as set up fees, and some places have a 3 month notice. They can be little tricksters
  • You may also have to pay a fee for 3 months after you leave for post & phone calls like I did, like i say….. tricksters
  • Sometimes the corporate atmosphere can be creatively stifling
  • It can be distracting if you actually get on well with your roommates, try keeping the ‘banter’ to a minimum.

How about Hotdesking?

Hotdesking is a shared extra office or desk space that hire out desks on an as needed basis either daily, weekly or monthly

Companies may have more desks and space than they need and will happily rent out a desk to a freelancer.

I’m looking into this at the moment in Moscow, still waiting for a reply but thats Moscow for you.

co-working saint petersburg

Useful Links

ShareDesk: Find Shared Office Space and Coworking


If office life is not for you then why not join an increasing number of freelancers who are spending their days moving from cafes to bars taking advantage of free wifi…


As I write this humble blog I’m sitting in Ikea in Moscow eating meatballs with mash and chocolate cake, very nice.

This is probably my favourite way of working in all honesty, though there are distractions if you are in the vicinity of pretty girls, or boys.

Often it can be a tense battle to get a space near the plug socket which is vital if like me you have a MacBook Pro with 2 hours battery life. When the space by the plug socket is taken, when that individual is looking like he is about to leave you better get ready for war.

While it may seem free, paying for coffees and lager can add up. if I am working late and am feeling a bit stressed I will get a nice pint and probably make it last 2 hours. The staff will not take too kindly if you buy one coffee in 4 hours. Try and tip too so if you do take your time ordering coffee it will keep you on their good side.

You also have to be weary of going the toilet, if the person next to you looks trustworthy you can ask them to mind your stuff but its not something I like to do, I usually take my MacBook with me, which gets strange looks in the toilet. I get a lot of people asking me to keep an eye on their stuff. Even though I am a scouse skinhead I must have a trustworthy face. Let me check………… Yeah I look pretty trustworthy.

Recommended places to work in Liverpool include Leaf, Fact, Starbucks (I know, but it really ain’t a bad place to work) & Bold Street Coffee all on Bold Street. All feature pretty ladies too 😉


Arguably the best solution for me was to mix all 3 to keep your productivity & creative levels fresh

working mobile

This is my favourite way of working, and keeps your working life fresh and can improve your social life too

I would traditionally get up in the morning, go for a run, have a coffee, eat some porridge, check the news and then do a few hours work at home. I usually do my most important and creative work in the morning.

Then I will take an hours walk to my office through the park while appreciating the wonders of nature and do a fair bit of work there.

From there I will go to a hip bar or coffee shop and send my emails, do some amends, some social media & promotion work or work on some personal projects.

Then I will go home, and after being out pretty much all day it feels pretty good to be home… Depending on your home, I used to have a nice home…… ;(

Images courtesy of:

Josh Hallettковоркинг-пространство Зона действия

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