There are a whole load of amazing things about being a freelancer; I do almost every single school and nursery run, I get to take on the projects and work that I feel good about doing, I can work in my own ways (even if they are sometimes chaotic…!), I can change my working hours to suit life – even at the drop of a hat. It can also be a lonely and unpredictable life though, and Epson have come up with a brilliant way to help.

A couple of weeks ago I dropped the mini humans off at school and nursery, then hopped on a train to London. My friend Vicki from Honest Mum had invited me to her talk at the Epson Eco Tank Pop Up in Covent Garden and I couldn’t wait to find out what it was all about.

Epson have done some research and a big point has been the fact that freelance life can be incredibly isolating, with many of us barely speaking to another grown up for the majority of each and every day. It’s not like at work where you have lunch breaks and colleagues; if I eat lunch at all it’s generally alone at home with my laptop on one knee and my plate on the other. No rest for the wicked!

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Epson have opened their Eco Tank Pop Up as a free co-working space in one of London’s most wonderful areas (in my opinion!), until the end of October. Not only can you work there for exactly zero pennies, but the WiFi, drinks and even printing are free of charge too. There’s coffee, so you know, it’s a winner in my books! The unlimited printing is via several of their Eco Tank printers, which are amazing for people like freelancers and students, who all too often find themselves having to use library or uni printers. When you’re talking 10-20p per page, plus getting to the library, parking, and simply the time it takes out of your day, it’s neither cost or time effective at all! Our ‘local’ library is a 15 mile round journey, and while I am a huge supporter of the libraries, it drives me mad having to make that trip every single time I have work or courier labels to print off.

Cue the Eco Tank!

I’m going to do a full review on here and YouTube once I’ve got my own EcoTank set up and in use, but the statistics and research show that people who regularly need to print – small business owners, students etc – can save up to 90% on their printing costs.

EcoTank printers offer an ultra-low cost per page that could reduce your printing costs by up to 90%. That’s not surprising when you discover that they come with up to three years’ worth of ink included in the box. With specific EcoTank printers, you can print up to 14,000 pages in black and 11,200 in colour.

Sounds good to me!

The Loneliness of a Freelancer

Lovely Vicki spoke so openly about the isolation and loneliness that she has so often felt since embarking on her freelance career, and it’s something that every single one of us in the room could relate to. Epson even put Vicki in a perspex box office in the middle of Covent Garden for the day, to show the realities of their research.

I have absolutely felt isolated over the past few years, through a combination of motherhood, depression, and lone working. It’s a life that has a great many perks, but also down sides which can be pretty awful. It’s all very well to have your ‘tribe’, but for so many of us our tribe is online and we rarely have that crucial face-to-face interaction.

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If you’re a freelancer and are heading to London over the next few weeks then I would highly recommend a visit to the Epson EcoTank Pop Up. I returned there to get some work done before the SmallBiz100 Blue Tie Ball that I attended to celebrate Apples & Pips having been selected for this prestigious accolade, and it was so lovely to rock up, grab a coffee, and get some work done with other likeminded people around me.

Keep your eyes peeled for my review of the EcoTank printer, and let me know what your top tips are for combatting loneliness and isolation.

** I was invited by Vicki and Epson to attend this free event, all opinions are my own**