Networking is an important part of freelancing I always advise it. Another important part is your workspace. What is your home office like? Is it a secluded part of the house? Is it amongst a distracting part of your home? Have you often wondered about renting an office space? Doesn’t sound that inspiring for a creative type either does it? Can you justify paying for an office space when you have space at home? If it increases productivity, then how can you not? You can go around in circles weighing up the pro’s and con’s. So here is how to have a creative office space that also includes networking. Attend co-working spaces!
Co-working spaces, are informal open joint working spaces for freelancers, often known as a Jelly. Usually they have a specific day of the week, and your obligation is pretty casual just turn up with your laptop, sometimes with a donation to internet and tea and coffee, however some jelly’s use a café anyway. I mix up my week with different spaces and jelly’s and am constantly widening my network in the process.
Every Friday at Mad Labs in Manchester’s northern quarter, expect a varied mix of freelancers in the digital lab’s familiar space for five pounds. Informal, quiet but friendly. #MadCow
Every Wednesday at Salford Innovation Park. This is free, but requires online booking.
Fortnightly on a Thursday. This is also free but requires booking to reserve your space and they also appear to change their venue regularly, for me variety is welcome!
Flux is a studio space based in Altrincham aimed at artists, light airy, spacious without a stale office feel. I happily take my laptop down there on Tuesday’s with a pre-arranged agreement and monthly prepayment. This co-working has a completely different feel and is useful if I have an unusual project that goes beyond the realms of a laptop. If needed I can meet with clients there; much more appropriate than a home office. Flux also host events and exhibitions as well as the unique projects and clients the managing director serves to get the creativity going.
The campus has various membership opportunities based in the old Sharp electronics warehouses that have been converted into studios and office spaces. The building already hosts spaces to various mixed indy companies involved in production and digital media, so a freelancer campus member has the chance to mix with a variety of companies who typically use freelancers. Basic membership also allows attendance at the campus on any day of the week and the full membership means you can attend every weekday if that suits. To me, the sharp project is more like what I mistakenly expected from Media City.
Is traditionally a networking group, based outside of Manchester in Warrington. Now also offers a co-working office space. It is casual as long as you pre-arrange and pay as you go for £5 any day of the week.
Some of my friends think I’m so lucky to work from home, but I’m not sure I agree, but co-working definitely is great!