7 places freelancers can work for free or cheap outside their home

After a few weeks, the magic of working from home as a new freelancer tends to fade. In fact, up to 40% of self-employed people say they’ve felt lonely at some point, and the effect that feeling isolated can have on your health and wellbeing isn’t something to ignore.


While working from home is the cheapest way to start your business, long term, it’s much better to get out the apartment and work around other people. Even if you don’t spend much time talking to them, working in different environments with different people can provide inspiration and stimulate your creativity.

Let’s look at 7 free or cheap places freelancers can work outside the home.

1. Cafes

It’s the cliché image of a freelancer – from New York to London to Tel Aviv – working in a trendy café in a hip neighborhood sipping on a flat white and using the free Wi-Fi. True, you’ll feel obliged to buy more than one coffee if you’re working there all day, and bringing your own lunch is a big no-no. All the same, cafes are easy to find and so long as there are enough power sockets for your laptop, cafes remain a firm favorite for freelancers.

2. Hotel Lobbies

Hotel lobbies are quiet, spacious, the internet is usually free and the seats are comfy. Unlike cafes, you’re unlikely to be surrounded by noisy groups or have to listen to bad music. Hotel lobbies also make awesome locations to meet (and impress) new clients. Just make sure you introduce yourself to the receptionists – and maybe order a coffee or two.

3. University Campuses

If you live in a college town, campus provides an ideal spot for freelancers to work for free. Most college libraries will provide guest passes to visitors who just want to use the space, and there are also normally bars, cafes and other spaces designed for quiet working dotted around campus.

4. Your local public library

Often overlooked by freelancers, local libraries offer an awesome spot for quiet work. They’re always free and they’re usually in the city center – so you can easily nip out for lunch or to meet your customers at their offices.

5. Bookstores

Where better to write that article, design that brochure or build that website than in a local bookstore. More often than not there’s coffee on tap, people are usually quiet, and you can flick through the Dummies guide book section if you’re struggling at all…

6. Co-working space

OK, so this one isn’t free, but it’s a lot cheaper than hiring out a full office. There’s ever more co-working spaces popping up in larger cities around the world, and the competition is driving prices down.

7. Museums

Many museums have some form of learning or study center which are either free to use, or which can be hired at a low cost. The Wi-Fi’s normally good, and what better inspiration is there than being surrounded by the works of the great and the good?

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Len is a tech and business writer who covers small business and startup advice and has appeared in many print and digital publications. He lives in London, UK, where he's also a sub editor on a national newspaper. He loves to travel and has lived in France, Spain, Senegal and Rwanda.

5 simple exercises for home-based entrepreneurs

Running your business from home is a great way to save on expenses when you’re starting out. You avoid paying for office rent, eating out at lunch and money spent commuting. But, one area where you could end up paying is your health. If your home-office routine means you walk no more than a few meters from your bed to your desk each day, and then sit in front of a computer for 8 (or more) hours, you could be doing real damage to your health.
Fortunately, research suggests that you can get a lot of health benefits from doing as little as 15 minutes of exercise per day. So, let’s look at 5 simple exercises you can do in your own home which will get your heart racing, without interrupting the flow of your work too much.

Here are 5 simple exercises for home-based freelancers and entrepreneurs:

1. Burpees

Burpees offer a full-body workout which will burn calories fast and get you sweating. Aim for three sets of 10 burpees, with a 30 second break between each set.

  • Begin stood up straight before crouching down and placing your hands on the floor in front of your
  • ‘Hop’ your feet backwards so you’re in plank position
  • Then, jump your feet forward to crouch position again, before leaping into the air with arms extended
  • When you land, move immediately back to crouch and repeat

Burpee

2. Mountain climber

Another high-intensity quick home workout, mountain climbers are a powerful exercise for getting almost every muscle in your body firing.

  • Once again, begin in plank position
  • Next, rapidly bring one knee up to your chest before returning it to plank before switching to the other leg. Do this as fast as possible
  • Do three sets of mountain climbers lasting 45 seconds each, with a 30 second break between each set

Mountain climber exercise

3. Squats

Squats are a powerful exercise for your leg muscles. After a few rounds, you’ll really start to feel the burn.

  • Stand with your feet in line with your shoulders and your arms in front of you
  • • Gradually bend your knees while keeping your torso straight until it almost feels like you’re in sitting position

    • Then, drive up through your legs so you’re standing up straight

    • Do 3 sets of 10 squats with a 15 second break between sets

Squat exercise at home

4. Raised push-ups

By placing your feet at shoulder height – on your couch or a coffee table, for instance, you increase the benefits of standard push-ups.

  • Get into plank position, before placing your feet on a stable surface which is parallel in height to your shoulders
  • Then, with your hands placed in line with your shoulders, bend your elbows so your chin is almost touching the ground before pushing back up
  • Do 3 sets of 10 push-ups with a 30 second break between sets

Raised pushed up

5. Jumping jacks

A great way to get your heart rate up, jumping jacks also help tone your legs and arms in this quick home workout.

  • Stand up straight with your arms by your side
  • Next, jump up, and simultaneously swing your arms up into the air (watch out for lights!) and your legs out to the side into a star shape
  • When you land, return your arms to your sides before repeating in quick succession
  • Do three 30 second sets of jumping jacks with 15 second breaks

Jumping jack exercise at home

10 ways to use LinkedIn to find work for your business

When it comes to finding work for your small business, LinkedIn is one of the best hunting grounds out there. And, employers are increasingly turning to LinkedIn too – since 2015 there’s been a 40% increase in recruiters using InMail to contact potential candidates. The platform is hugely popular among contractors, freelancers and small business owners as a way of finding work. So, if you just think of your LinkedIn profile as an online CV, you’re probably missing out on some huge opportunities to grow your business. Let’s look at 10 methods to use LinkedIn to find work for your business.

10 ways to find freelance and contracting work on LinkedIn

There are two ways of winning freelance or contracting work through LinkedIn:

  • Active: this is where you put yourself out there, make connections and hunt for job listings
  • Passive: this is where you optimize your profile to make it more likely that recruiters or other job posters find you10 ways to find freelance and contracting work on LinkedIn

In effect there’s a lot of crossover between active and passive freelance work hunting; by being active in the right LinkedIn groups, it makes it more likely that a recruiter comes across your profile later on while you’re not actually doing anything to find work.

So, here are 10 ways freelancers and contractors can use LinkedIn to find work:

1. Make a good first impression

Your LinkedIn profile can say a lot about you to potential recruiters. Make sure the first things they see appear professional and smart. Your profile photo should be up to date and smart, you should have a relevant background image and you should use your real name (as opposed to a nickname or your company name). If you haven’t already, you should also aim to complete your entire profile – LinkedIn makes this easy for you by giving you pointers as to where you need to add more detail as you’re editing your page.

2. Headline and summary

Just like any search engine, LinkedIn uses keywords. So, whenever someone searches for, say, a freelance web designer on LinkedIn, those profiles that contain that keyword will come top of the search. Make sure your headline and LinkedIn summary include keywords related to what you do. This makes it way more likely that recruiters will find your profile and get in touch about jobs.

3. Ask for endorsements

Request that existing contacts provide endorsements for your skills and expertise, especially if these come from previous freelance or contracting employers. If you can get a positive review of your work on a project, this will give any potential recruiters that extra bit of confidence that you’re worth taking a chance on.

4. Use your profile as a portfolio

There are a number of ways you can use your profile as a portfolio. Most obviously, you should bunch small jobs and projects together in your experience section, detailing the kinds of work you do and the clients you work with. For larger projects you’ve completed, list these separately, perhaps with a link to information about the final piece. Finally, you should include links to your website and online portfolio in your LinkedIn summary section.

5. Post updates and articles

Put your name out there by posting updates, sharing articles and other links. LinkedIn allows you to publish your own thoughts on LinkedIn Pulse too, so a well written article about a subject you know a lot about can be read and shared by hundreds of people. And, LinkedIn Pulse posts appear in Google search results too. One of your readers may well be impressed by your knowledge and offer you some work.

6. Join groups

LinkedIn has countless groups related to different professions. Whether you’re an independent accountant, a freelance journalist or a management consultant, there’s almost certainly groups aimed at your niche. By joining these groups and asking and answering questions, you boost your profile in the community. And, if you’re active in LinkedIn groups, you boost your chance of winning work. Recruiters who join the group will see you as an expert and may get in touch. At the same time, friendships you make with other group members could lead to referral work in future.
Read more about the power of networking in this article.

7. Connect with potential employers

LinkedIn is a website designed specifically for facilitating business connections. So, don’t be shy about connecting with potential employers! If you’re a freelance web developer, and you’ve mainly worked with IT managers at public sector organizations in the past, there is no reason not to simply search LinkedIn for people with this kind of profile and requesting to follow them. Sure, not everyone will accept, but those that do might just pay off.

8. Send personalized InMails

To be able to send an InMail, you need to have a premium profile. However, for a few dollars per month, this could be a worthwhile investment if you do it right. Personalized InMails allow you to connect to anyone on LinkedIn and send them a message. However, for any success here, you need to make sure your message is personally directed at the person you’re trying to speak to – don’t just send a spammy message you’ve sent to a hundred other people, or your connections will just ignore you.
Read our guide on striking deals over email.

9. Connect with old employers

Old employers, managers and even colleagues who’ve changed jobs and risen in seniority are often a great source of work for freelancers and contractors. Add these people to your network and send them a message to let them know what you’re doing nowadays. They just might have some work you can help out with.

10. View ads!

One of the easiest ways to find freelance and contracting work on LinkedIn is to set up notifications for job ads which contain your keywords – be that freelance writer, graphic designer or IT consultant. LinkedIn can email you daily, weekly or monthly summaries of jobs in your sector – let LinkedIn do the hard work for you!