The members who are “managed” by cool coworking software are mainly freelancers and independent contractors. These workers rent their workplace, and bring their own tools. So what is in their tool box?
Michael Katz has some suggestions for what you should have  .
Actually, his list are pretty simple, and mostly about being organized, getting “more efficient we can get managing repeatable, often mundane aspects of our work”.
- Directions to my office
- Standardized cards (e.g., “Thank you for the referral”)
- Service descriptions (i.e., what you do)
- New client questionnaire
- Newsletter sign-up form
I note that all of these things are non-digital though all of them can be implemented in digital forms. In fact, every one of these ideas predate the ubiquitous internet. They are about good business practices and relationships, not about technology.
Jeriann Ireland offers another take on this question, suggesting “The essential toolkit for minimalist (or broke) freelancers” .
- A Ready-to-Go Resume Template (and use LinkedIn to get it out there
- A Decent Phone Plan (with call waiting)
- A Dedicated Work Space (and separate computers and accounts)
This is a good list, and definitely a sound foundation.
His discussion of the “dedicated” workspace captures the essential psychology “Whether it’s a home office, a shared office space, or even a corner in your home, have a place where you only store work-related paperwork and items” Naturally, “a dedicated workspace” might be membership in a local coworking space.
(I did raise an eyebrow at the comment that this is “the same concept as not spending non-sleeping time in your bed.” Hmm. I should never do anything in bed except sleep?)
Anyway, together these articles make clear that much of the challenge of freelancing is to be well organized, and to have a clear understanding of your own work processes.
“Templates” seem to be an important thing. Basically, a template represents your understanding of how you work, and, as Katz puts it, the mundane and repeatable aspects.
I think this is a good point. Furthermore, the templates these guys mention most prominently are the “scripts” used for finding gigs and making contracts. There are other repeatable processes, such as billing, but connecting with new clients needs to be personal—so you need customized conversations.
All this sounds like work!
Worse, it sounds exactly like “looking for a job”—which it is. Gig workers have to really, really good at job hunting because they have to do it all the time.
(Yet another reason I’ll never be a good Freelancer: I absolutely hate, hate, hate job hunting.)
1. Jeriann Ireland, The essential toolkit for minimalist (or broke) freelancers, in Freelancers Union Blog. 2017. https://blog.freelancersunion.org/2017/07/07/are-you-a-freelancer-or-entrepreneur-2/
2. Michael Katz,, What’s in your tool chest?, in Freelancers Union Blog. 2017. https://blog.freelancersunion.org/2017/07/13/whats-in-your-tool-chest-2/