Why Freelancers Need Hobbies Too

How do you blow off steam at the end of a busy workday? When you make your money by the gig, time literally becomes money. That can lead freelancers to work as much as possible. But a 24/7 work life isn’t healthy. Freelancers need hobbies too.

Need Hobbies Too

Hobbies are more than just ways to pass the time. As psychologist Jamie L. Kurtz, Ph.D. explains, they are really necessary for our mental health. She says “Americans seem to have misplaced their free time.” No where is this more true than in the freelance world. But if you can find the time, Kurtz says a hobby can:

  • Help structure your time
  • Promote flow
  • Create social connections
  • Enrich your idea of self
  • Help you cope with stress
  • Improve time with family

These benefits are especially appealing to freelancers. Since we are constantly out their selling ourselves, and our services, we need some activity to help fill us back up.

Hobbies can also make you more appealing to future clients. A unique hobby makes you interesting — a compelling person that others will want to work with. If all you do is what you do for work, you may find it hard to connect with your client base.

Yes, You Do Have Time to Learn a New Hobby

Of course, we freelancers are also some of the busiest people we know. Because we’re always looking for the next gig, we can feel like there is never time for anything else. Kurtz knows the busyness of life all too well. But she doesn’t let the excuse “I’m too busy” keep her from her hobbies. 

“Various things contribute to [the loss of free time in America], but for many of us, being legitimately busy simply isn’t one of them. Instead, we habitually waste time, creating the illusion of busyness. Facebook, email, Netflix – pick your poison. If you’re like me, you don’t wake up in the morning with the goal of squandering so many precious moments on social media, but it often happens, and this is unaccounted for time that can be better spent elsewhere.”

Jaime L. Kurtz, Ph.D., Six Reasons to Get a Hobby, Psychology Today

In fact, having a hobby that you schedule can actually help you get more done. Kurtz explains that according to Parkinson’s law “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” The more time you have, the longer your work will take to do.

When you fill your calendar with events like “Write novel” or “Knitting Club” you trick yourself into being more productive in the time leading up to those events. That means adding hobbies to your calendar can actually seem to create more time to get your freelance work done.

Learn a New Hobby
at PatchWork Creativity

At the PatchWork Collective, we want our members to live full, healthy lives. That means we do more than give them a place to work. We’re interested in their hobbies too. We host monthly creativity groups, which allow our members and guests to schedule a date with their muse and connect with other creative types in a relaxed social environment.

If you don’t have a hobby — or are looking for a new one — PatchWork has you covered for that too. We also offer monthly Creativity Workshops that give members and guests the chance to learn something new. The next workshop is this Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. Founding Member Samm Wunderlich will be teaching members the meditative art of Zentangle. Come learn a strategy to set your mind at ease while making beautiful pictures.

Want to suggest a new hobby for our creativity workshop? Need a place to spread out and do your craft? Contact the PatchWork Collective to find new ways to balance work and creativity.

Coworking 101: Can You Talk in a Coworking Space?

Can You Talk in a Coworking Space?

It can sometimes be hard to know the rules of etiquette in a shared work space. You are working along side other people, but not necessarily with them. So, can you talk in a coworking space?

The Coworking 101 blog series answers some of your questions about what coworking is and how it works. Today we’ll discuss one of the toughest questions about working in a shared office environment: whether, and when, it is okay to talk to your coworkers.

Coworking is About Collaboration & Community

The heart of any coworking space is its community of core members. These are the people who make the coworking space their office, maybe a few days a week, or maybe as their 9-5 work space. At PatchWork Collective, we encourage our members to get to know each other at networking events and special members-only trainings. We refer potential business to our members and encourage them to pass referrals among themselves. We want to develop a business community that makes everyone’s businesses better through collaboration and cooperation.

Community Can’t Thrive Without Communication

Think about the bedroom neighborhoods in the suburbs outside of most large cities. These are the homes of commuters, people who spend most of their waking life in the city, and come home to sleep. Their attention and focus is elsewhere. And they probably don’t even know who lives in the house two doors down.

When you don’t communicate, neighbors become strangers.

The same can be true in a shared office space. Your focus is on your work, not on your work space. If you spend all your time with your headphones on and your head down, you might not even know that the person working at the next table could be the type of professional you need for your next job, or could be someone who could pass business your way.

So yes, you can talk in a coworking space. We want you to. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other people’s needs or priorities just to have a chat.

Coworking Conversation Etiquette

The blanket rule that it’s okay to talk in a coworking space doesn’t always apply well. Here are some etiquette tips about conversation in a shared work environment.

Phone Calls

One of the most pressing questions for many coworkers is what to do when they get a phone call. Can you take it in your seat? Should you walk away from the other workers? Is there someplace private you can take the call?

The mood and noise level of a coworking space can change based on the time of day, and the members who are there. Gauge the room. If there’s a lot of conversation, you can probably safely take a quick call at your seat. If everyone is working hard, you may want to step away.

At PatchWork Collective we have three private phone booths you can take if you’re a loud phone talker, will be on a conference call for a while, or just need some privacy. These are available to anyone who drops into the space as well as all our members. You can also schedule the ThinkTank if you want to participate in a video conference on a bigger screen.


Coworking spaces provide flexibility for freelancers and solo workers. But they are also great spaces for remote teams to come together and work on a project. When you are working with

Chit Chat

Chit chat, or idle banter is one of the things that makes coworking more fulfilling than working from home. Quick interpersonal connections remind our members they are not alone and give them the social contact they need to fight off isolation. So yes, go ahead and chat as you’re refilling your coffee or when you need a 5 minute break from your work. It’s a coworking space, not a library!

Talk in a coworking space. It's not a library!

Respecting Focus and Flow

At the same time, there are probably some members in the coworking space who are in a crunch. Maybe they have a deadline coming up or are working on a difficult project. In these cases, you need to respect a person’s need to focus and get and stay in the flow.

There are lots of non-verbal ways you can communicate when you need to be left alone. Headphones, hoodies, and where you choose to sit can all show the need for alone time. If you need your privacy you can also take a phone booth, or move to a less populated part of the coworking area.

Members also have access to work spaces outside the shared coworking room. These spaces let you put your head down and get work done without the distractions of a shared work environment.

Coworking etiquette says work comes first. If you are looking to chit chat but your neighbor has signaled the need to concentrate, respect them. Find someone else to chat with, or take your conversation to one of our lounge areas, so you can get your social time while they get to work.

Finding the Balance of Social and Solitude

It can sometimes be hard to read the mood of a coworking space when you are new to it. As you are finding your own balance between social connections and solitary hard work, always respect the people around you. If they ask you to let them work or pull up their hoods, step away. They may well be willing to chat with you, but at some other time.

No two coworking spaces have the same balance between work and play. Some have games or alcohol available to encourage members to meet and mingle. Others fill a more traditional office role. Don’t be afraid to visit multiple coworking spaces (maybe at different times of the week) to find one that fits your need to talk and work.

At PatchWork Collective, we welcome everyone, from the introverted solo entrepreneur to the extroverted social butterfly. But putting different working styles in the same space means everyone needs to respect coworking etiquette and respect one another within the space. Come check us out or contact us to schedule a tour and see if we fit your need to talk in a coworking space.

Meet Our Members: Business Attorney Ben Long

PatchWork Founder and COO Ben Long, Business Attorney

One of the benefits of being a member of the PatchWork Collective coworking space is your chance to reach our network of businesses and professional contacts. One way we do that is through feature “Meet our Members” blog posts. In today’s post, we’ll meet the COO of PatchWork, Benjamin Long, a business, estate planning, and real estate attorney at Schmidt & Long, PLLC.

Meet COO and Founding Member Ben Long

Ben Long is a lawyer, and a local property manager. He is also the COO of the PatchWork Collective. He has been practicing law since 2011, and running his own practice since 2013. In 2016, he partnered up with PatchWork CEO Lisa Schmidt to create Schmidt & Long, PLLC. Ben helps clients with estate planning, business law, and real estate matters. 

Ben has a passion for business, and the education to back it up. He opened his first business, a car detailing shop, in 2005. On top of his law degree, Benjamin Long also has a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Masters of Law (LLM) in corporate and finance law. He has a history of litigation experience, but now prefers to help his clients stay out of the courtroom.

Ben also owns a number of residential properties in and around Ferndale. This keeps him connected to the local community in ways many others aren’t.

When it comes to business law, Ben especially loves helping small business owners and startups get their business off on the right foot. He serves as both a consultant and legal advisor, and even sits on a few clients’ advisory boards. His favorite work is to help business owners in new or developing industries, including online companies. 

Hear from Ben

We asked Ben Long to tell us what keeps him going. He says:

“I enjoy helping people start and grow a business. Considering what is the best entity and how to manage and protect the business– those are interesting and usually unique discussions and decisions.”

When we asked him why he and his partner chose to found the PatchWork Collective, he said:

“Patchwork is an expression of the Ferndale community, but also for the Detroit area in general. Since our legal clients are often nontraditional, I like having a unique place to interact with them. I also enjoy starting businesses, whether it be with my legal clients, through the Metro Detroit Freelancers Network, or my own businesses. The Patchwork Collective allows me to interact in many facets of business.”

The Person Behind the Business

Ben isn’t someone to be defined by his work. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Ben helped to found the Ferndale Cat Shelter, a no-kill cat shelter that houses feral and abandoned cats and kittens from the local neighborhoods, and has a trap-neuter-release program to help manage the feral cat population. He loves attending concerts and shows, and helps host a local happy hour group every Thursday. Ben also like cooking and spending time in northern Michigan.

Connecting with Ben Long at the PatchWork Collective

As COO, Ben Long is a regular presence at the PatchWork Collective. He is an afternoon facility manager and hosts twice-monthly networking meetups in the space with the Metro Detroit Freelancers Network. There he helps gig workers and entrepreneurs build their business connections and know-how with trainings and open networking events. Ben also hosts legal seminars at PatchWork collective.

Become a Member to Get Connected with Ben and the Rest of the PatchWork Collective Community

The PatchWork Collective wants to help our members develop their businesses by connecting them with referral partners in and around Ferndale. If you want to work with Ben and the other members of the PatchWork Collective, contact us today to schedule a tour.

Meet Our Members: Lisa Schmidt the Legal Linguist

Lisa Schmidt, CEO & Founding Member PatchWork Collective

One of the benefits of being a member of the PatchWork Collective coworking space is your chance to reach our network of businesses and professional contacts. One way we do that is through feature “Meet our Members” blog posts. In today’s post, we’ll meet the CEO of PatchWork, Lisa Schmidt, who is an attorney at Schmidt & Long and a writer for Legal Linguist. Continue reading “Meet Our Members: Lisa Schmidt the Legal Linguist”

PatchWork Collective to Present Pitch at Ferndale SOUP

PatchWork Collective to Present at Ferndale SOUP

Running a beautiful, functional, and community-oriented coworking space takes time, effort, and of course, money. We want the PatchWork Collective to connect with all different aspects of the local community — from the business owners to the artists. And now we will have our chance. Lisa Schmidt from the PatchWork Collective will be pitching our space at tomorrow night’s Ferndale SOUP event, and we couldn’t be more excited. Continue reading “PatchWork Collective to Present Pitch at Ferndale SOUP”