Freelance work. Love it or hate it, it’s inevitable that it will sometimes require you to go all JK Rowling and set up shop in a local cafe. Don’t get the wrong idea though, this situation isn’t always magic.
Freelancing means that you can work from home, which has its obvious benefits (hello, naked bedroom dancing). But it has its downsides, too- the constant distractions at home mean you can end up getting very little work done indeed and also, sometimes it's nice to have some humans around. But bear in mind, using a cafe as your personal office is not all falafel and flat whites. There are things that you need to consider, and prepare for. Below are three key factors to bear in mind when setting out on a day of undefined creative freelance work/life admin.
Working from a cafe day in, day out, can turn rather costly if you’re not careful, and god knows freelancers are not drippin’ in the gold stuff. The reality is that some days the coffee you buy at the start of the day might be all you can afford for the next 3-20 hours. Whilst minimal, this purchase should legally enable you to sit in peace for as long as your heart desires. Pace yourself accordingly.
Location, location, location
Where you choose to sit is important. Proximity to a plug is key, as is being near the toilet. Should nature call, you will most likely be presented with three alternative realities:
- There is no one around and, instead of lugging your laptop and valuables into the bathroom, you make a run for it and hope everything is still there when you return.*
- Every time you have to go, you pack up all your stuff and haul it to the bathroom. Not ideal.
- You ask the most trustworthy-looking person nearby to mind your stuff for a few minutes, and speed walk to the bathroom. At worst, the safe-keeper is now scrolling through your Google history and at best (and in a twist of serendipitous fate), they turn out to be your soulmate and two years down the road you are the co-owners of a dog called Brendan.
*Note: if you’re in Dublin, then your belongings will probably not be there when you come back.
Wifi (very necessary)
Unfortunately, no wi-fi is an all too frequent reality on the cafe scene, as an increasing number of premises attempt to make a stand against the rapid deterioration of RWC (Real World Conversation) while also trying to ensure there is some turnover amongst their clientele. If you want to make a morning (or day) of it, you will need to steer clear of places that advertise “Free Wifi!”, but require a code to access a single, meagre hour of internet joy. It’s as infuriating as Donald Trump’s lips, stubbing your toe and Crocs, all blended up in a Nutribullet by a girl called Tiffy who never stops talking about being a vegan. Cafes have to protect their own financial interests, sure, but there is a balance to be struck here. Do your research before committing.