A few tips for freelancing in coffeeshops

could be anywhere

could be anywhere by j.o.h.n. walker

Ever since I quit my corporate job two months ago to start my own business, I’ve discovered that working from home is much more difficult than I anticipated! Distractions seem endless. The list of DIY home improvement & decor projects calls to me, there’s always a load of laundry that needs to be done, and Kyla loves to save up all her barks for the exact moment I have a Skype call scheduled.

Thus, I’ve been working in coffeeshops a couple days per week. I wanted to offer up a few things I’ve learned over the past few weeks, as well as some finer points of coffeeshop coworking etiquette (I’ve seen some rude behavior that was more than worthy of a Tim Gunn spanking).

5 tips for coffeeshop coworking

1. Bring a sweater. Coffee shops – and big chain bookstores especially – are always freezing! It’s hard to concentrate, much less type, if you’re shivering, so pack a cardigan or knitted scarf or shawl. Bonus if you knit it yourself!

2. Always have business cards on you. I can’t be sure, but probably because of my dazzling good looks (or is it my stunning personality?), people strike up conversations with me all the time. I met a huge Bake It Pretty fan while blogging one day. That was pretty cool. But most of the time, people see me working and want to know what I do for a living. When I mention that I build websites and do social media marketing, they always mention someone they know that needs my services. Not having business cards on you is dumb! I love my Moo MiniCards. Get some, and always have them in your bag.

3. Be a good customer. You are frequenting a business. So you need to buy something once every hour or two. Don’t be rude: don’t leave a mess, tip the barista well, and for God’s sake, don’t bring your own food to a coffeeshop. Oh, and hang up your phone while you’re at the counter. Otherwise, a bottled frappucino in the 7-Eleven cooler beckons. If you get good service, it would be in order to Tweet, Facebook, or Yelp about the business to let your friends know where to get caffeinated.

4. Be a good coworker. Be considerate and come to the cafe with your laptop battery fully charged. If you need some juice, don’t hog the only outlet the entire time you’re there. Don’t bogart a whole couch or big table, and get your laptop bag out of the chair and put it on the floor so others can sit. Please!

5. Change it up every now and then. Is there a you-shaped dent in the corner chair at Starbucks, worn in from daily use? Maybe it’s time you move along. Try a new spot. Visit a bookstore. Google “WiFi spot [insert city here]” and see if there are free WiFi spots in unexpected places around your city. Maybe you can spend your morning on a park bench, or sitting on the beach. Have you visited all the branches of your local library? I stopped by a newly renovated branch in Norfolk’s Ocean View neighborhood, and was pleasantly shocked at how nice it was. Modern decor, awesome seating, partitioned desks with outlets at each seat, and free WiFi! Score!

Got your own coffeeshop wisdom?

Do you have tips or pointers on being a good cafe coworker? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to add them to the post!


    • says

      They’ve got my whisk logo thingybob on the back, and the my aim is true cupid with my name, twitter and email on the front! :)

  1. says

    Ryan and I have been hired by the Ocean View Library several times since it re-opened… Did you see the children’s section upstairs?? It’s amazing!

    • says

      I haven’t been upstairs yet but I did see the map of it – it looked really cool! I’ll check it out next time for sure.

  2. says

    i sometimes spend 10-12 hours a day in a coffee shop studying, and my #1 word of advice is BRING HEADPHONES. drowning out the voices strangers is essential when you’re trying to get work done in a public place!