3 Great Cities for Working from Home

Between freelancing and telecommuting, more and more Americans are working from home. While working from home sounds pretty dreamy (Working in your pajamas! A fridge full of snacks! Sitting on the couch with your dog!), any freelancer will tell you that staying productive with all of the comforts of home so close at hand is difficult.

While there are some drawbacks to working at home (freelance taxes, slowly losing your mind from lack of socialization, the endless distractions of your apartment), the biggest perk is flexibility. If you work remotely, you can live wherever you want! But with a literal world of possibilities, where should you go? Read on for our tips on choosing the right place to base your work.

Things to Look For

Freelancers tend to make less than payroll employees, and lose a lot of that income to taxes, so choosing a city with a low cost of living is paramount to successfully being self employed.

Keeping your living space and workspace separate is crucial to staying productive while working from home. If possible, turn a spare room in your apartment into a home office. Having a separate workspace allows you to create productive zones within your home in order to help you concentrate on the task at hand.

If a two or three bedroom apartment is out of your budget, join the hordes of other freelancers camped out at your local coffee shop. Or consider working out of a cool coworking space like the ones designed by WeWork and NextSpace. Shared workspace can provide a sense of community and helps create accountability in order to keep freelancers focused.

When compiling this list, we looked for cities that had affordable two and three bedroom apartments and a plethora of coffee shops, libraries, and food delivery options, aka everything a freelancer could possibly want.

Austin, TX

Austin is a dream come true for those who work from home. The city hosts FREECON, a national freelance conference every year, and workers in this hip Texas city have the second highest income of freelancers anywhere in the country. Rents are rising in this hipster hotspot, with the average rent increasing by 3% in the last year, but in comparison to coastal cities like Seattle and Los Angeles, Austin is still a bargain. On average, two bedroom apartments cost $1553 per month, and three bedrooms go for $1857 per month.

For those who prefer a more social atmosphere, Austin has a plethora of cool cafes perfect for powering through some work. At last count, Austin boasted more than 1,500 coffee shops!

Another thing drawing freelancers to Austin is its booming economy. In the past year, more than 32,700 jobs have been created in Austin, making it the tenth fastest growing metro area in the country.

freelancing in austin

Nashville, TN

This swinging city is great for both country music and telecommuters. Freelancers make up 7.4% of Nashville's work force. Nashville is rapidly attracting millennials with its funky vibe and vibrant local culture. After several years of rapidly increasing rents, rental prices in Nashville have finally begun to fall, decreasing 4.2% in the past year. Despite fluctuations in the housing market, rents in this cool Tennessee city remain relatively affordable. The average monthly cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Nashville is $1,489, and three bedrooms cost $1,674 per month on average.

With a few good clients, freelancers could earn enough to have their own home office for work. Another perk: Nashville has 149 restaurants available for delivery through Grubhub, so you will never have to leave your house again.

freelancing in nashville

Atlanta, GA

If setting up a home office or studio space is appealing to you, consider moving to Atlanta. For a major metropolitan area, rent is incredibly affordable, with the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment coming in at $1398. Even more amazing? A three-bedroom apartment is the same price. The average rent for a three-bedroom apartment in Atlanta is $1347 per month, so start shopping for a good office chair and get to work.

Freelancers make up 4.4% of Atlanta's workforce. With a low cost of living, cheap cell phone rates, and a massive international airport, Atlanta makes a great home base for remote workers.

freelancing in atlanta

Making the Most of Working from Home

Even if you can't afford a luxe home office setup, you can still carve out space for yourself to effectively work in your apartment. The key to staying focused while working from home is to create structure and routine in your life. Keep to a strict schedule, waking up at the same time each morning and ending your work at the same time in the afternoon.

Procrastinating all day will only make your work bleed into your evenings, which quickly leads to work taking over your life. Keep your work within work hours. Put a few 20 minute breaks into your daily calendar to refresh and re-energize yourself throughout the day. While working in your pajamas might seem appealing, changing into a work uniform will help you mentally get into the zone.

Though working at home can be challenging at times, it is also a great privilege. Thinking about taking the plunge? Check out the rental listings in one of our freelance friendly cities to get started.

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