As you read this, there could be anywhere up to 4.2 million freelancers grafting away on kitchen tables, on rented desks, in coffee shops all over the nation. One in four of those freelancers was forced into self-employment after being made redundant, likely due to the economic crisis. There are 1.35 million full-time freelancers in the UK found in all industries, but most commonly in IT, Marketing, Journalism and Design.
Freelancing isn’t all peace, quiet and pyjamas though. Soon the endless whirr of the washing machine takes its toll. Superhuman multitasking eventually gives way to crying babies, restless pets and missed deadlines. Feeling unproductive and distracted, homeworkers cite their lack of coworkers as a problem too, with no chance to take a break, swap skills or catch up on industry gossip. Being a one-man-band also limits the range of clients you’re able to pitch. Not to mention the big chunk of hard-earned savings (and nerve) it took you to set up as a freelancer in the first place.
But Brits are a gutsy bunch. Over a million of us have plucked up the courage to go it alone. Competition is fierce in the freelance world; there are thousands of capable and available workers going after limited numbers of clients on sites like People per Hour and E-Lance. Even the most talented have to hustle, chasing testimonials and ratings to stay afloat in search rankings. Once you’ve attracted one great client? Don’t rest on your laurels. That’s a few months work and then you’re out on your own again, looking for the next. There’s little stability in freelancing, but that’s what you signed up for, isn’t it?
Freedom doesn’t mean free falling. Coworking spaces are all about freedom, with a twist - the safety net of a supportive community. Colonies of bright, ambitious freelancers and entrepreneurs have been springing up all over the country with that in mind. Last year alone saw an 89% rise in the number of shared workspaces globally. London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ is one of the UK’s startup hotbeds, where young, ambitious entrepreneurs get together to share business ideas, swap skills, and meet up after a hard day’s work for events like ‘Silicon Drinkabout’.
Though inclusive and attractive, in terms of price and location these kinds of coworking spaces can be impractical to your average freelancer. Local groups like Jelly have been picking up the slack. But what we’ve got in mind goes above and beyond. Not only is it affordable and local, with collaboration, creativity and inclusivity at its heart, but it offers unrivalled opportunities for growth.
Regus’ 220 UK locations and customer base of thousands of growing SMEs means that we’re uniquely placed to offer the mobility and flexibility that modern freelancers want, and most importantly, the new clients you need. No more fighting for work. No more paying through the nose for deskspace, or being holed up alone at home. At Regus Connect spaces you do your thing, and we’ll get you exclusive access to a pool of new clients on your doorstep.
In Autumn 2013, we’ll be launching ten Regus Connect spaces in pilot locations throughout the UK - Collaborative and professional workspaces, where you can find your inspiration among a diverse network of talent - freelancers, interns, entrepreneurs and businesses.