Brighton is full of amazing services for freelancers. Support programs, MeetUp groups, wifi cafes, conferences, accountants specialising in small business, and much more to bring your self-employed journey to the next level.
One of those reasons is an array of fantastic coworking spaces. Coworking spaces have been popping up all over the country in recent years, tying in with the rise in the self-employed and freelance workforce. However, Brighton has been at the forefront of this trend, and freelancers in the city are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a workspace.
I’ve tried a few of the different coworking spaces out there, and Brighton’s ahead of the game.
What's so great about coworking spaces?
Brighton’s got so many wonderful wifi cafes that you can work from. However, a coworking space offers so much more.
Coworking spaces are one-stop shops for freelancers, flexible workers, and the self-employed. A space which provides a full service akin to being in an office for a day. Spacious desks, free teas and coffees, lightning fast internet, and sometimes other extras such as meeting rooms. They’re the ultimate place to be for the freelancer who wants to get stuff done.
Even more importantly, they are host to a community. They’re places where people bond, projects start, businesses scale, and empires grow. You are in a focused environment, full of ambitious and creative people. It’s contagious - it’ll draw the best out of your work. And if you need someone else’s support on a project - a graphic designer, a web developer, a digital marketer, a copywriter - whatever it is, rest-assured there’s probably one sitting a few feet from you who will be happy to support and collaborate.
Try a Coworking Space in Brighton
Fancy trying a coworking space? Well, the big question is which one should you try. Here are a few of my recommendations…
The Werks have nothing short of a coworking empire spread across Brighton & Hove. Whatever your business, there’s a space for you somewhere.
They have 10 locations, which are varied in their offerings. The original The Werks is based in Hove, hosting 80 semi-permanent residents and many more flexible workers coming and going everyday. The Print Werks based off of St James Street offers crafters and makers the perfect space to get working, be it sculpting, pottery, painting or anything else. Home Werks has plenty of offices, but also a sound studio and dark room for photography. Coach Werks near Fiveways is a wonderfully Brightonian space, full of creative and artistic people and a hippie vibe.
Where: The Werks has coworking spaces and locations all over Brighton & Hove. Some are specialised towards certain industries, others are more general. Depending on your needs, you could end up at one of several different locations! However, the original The Werks in Hove is based at 45 Church Road, Hove, BN1 1AL
Ahoy there! The Skiff is based in the very centre of Brighton, and prides itself first and foremost on community. Hosting over 150 people at any one time, The Skiff actively encourages its members to collaborate and work together on various projects in order to offer an unstoppable force of amazing freelancers who can take on just about anything.
Beyond desks and buckets of ambitious atmosphere, The Skiff supports its community by offering regular events, playing host to at least a couple of MeetUps a week, training opportunities, and drinks evenings every couple of weeks to get your networking game on.
Where: Ironworks, 30 Cheapside, Brighton, BN1 4GD
Platf9rm have two major coworking spaces in Brighton & Hove – one is at Tower Point in central Brighton, whilst the other is based in Hove Town Hall itself.
I can’t recommend these guys enough. The atmosphere is almost unparalleled, and there are legions upon legions of brilliant speakers that they have in every single week to give talks and inspire the community. I’ve seen local entrepreneurs through to local MPs like Peter Kyle speak here. They host regular social events too, along with breakfast mornings for networking (and tasty grub).
They have heaps of 5 star reviews on Google, demonstrating just how much the local small business community love them.
Where: Floor 6, Tower Point, 44 North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YR – Platf9rm Brighton
Hove Town Hall, Church Rd, Hove BN3 2AF – Platf9rm Hove
One Girl Band is a coworking space and community for female-identifying creatives. Emphasising the community aspect of One Girl Band, they focus on cooperation rather than competition - a new way of thinking about business, with collaboration and supporting each other as central tenets to the community.
This is emphasised by the additional services available to members of One Girl Band. Mentoring packages, branding support, and a whole host of events on anything from craft workshops to talks with experts and business leaders.
Where: 8 Vine Street, Brighton, BN1 4AG
Whilst the Brighton Game Collective are open to any digital creatives joining their space, the name should make it obvious that they specialise in game developers and designers. Alongside all the usual goodies such as free coffees, meeting rooms, and events for members, Brighton Game Collective hosts a huge library of books focused on video game development, support with PR for game-related announcements, and networking support to get in with the who-you-need-to-knows of the industry. I'm sure there're plenty of opportunities for fun play-testing sessions of other people's games too... This coworking space is a must for anyone working on indie games in the Brighton area.
With a library packed full of game development related books, the Brighton Game Collective has an excellent knowledge base available for use.
Where: Vantage Point, New England Rd, Brighton, BN1 4GW
Hosted by the wonderful Wired Sussex, who support the local digital and freelance economies through many means from directories to jobs boards to numerous events around Brighton. One of their many initiatives to support small and digital businesses in The FuseBox, a lovely coworking space playing host to numerous business in the digital and tech sector which are deemed 'disruptive'. This means it's packed with Brighton-based startups, as well freelancers in the creative and digital spaces. The FuseBox also aims to provide extra levels of support to businesses in those sectors. Training in digital technologies, support in crowdfunding, tackling archaic intellectual property laws and applying them to modern business and much more. The FuseBox is not for standard businesses in stable markets, and it makes that very clear from the get-go. But it provides an exceptional level of support to businesses in disruptive and newer sectors.
Where: Unit D-E Level 4 North, New England House, New England Street, Brighton, BN1 4GH
Entrepreneurial Spark is a little different, but worth us noting here. It's not a standard coworking facility. You can't simply book a desk and turn up. Rather, there's an application process through which individuals (freelancers, solopreneurs, consultants etc.) and businesses (from startups to early-growth) must apply. Upon being accepted, you'll gain access to a large coworking facility called The Nest. You'll also undertake a programme of mentorship and training, which can last anything between 3 months and several years depending on your business' size and ambitions. This setup is thus less based around a group of independent businesses coming together to form a network, and more around a top-down approach of training from expert business leaders, aiming to support businesses with growth and sustainability. It's not for everybody, but if you're ambitious about growth then Entrepreneurial Spark could be your answer.
Where: 149 Preston Rd Brighton, Brighton, BN1 6AF
Part of a growing brand of Sussex-based coworking spaces, The Freedom Works Creative Hub in Hove is a hop, skip, and jump from Hove Station making it super accessible. They have wonderful and spacious offices available for solo entrepreneurs and very small teams (2-3 people), with a great collaborative lounge space that you can use at anytime. They have online benefits which further your networking and community efforts, including a Members-only message board. Very affordable too.
Where: Hove Business Centre, Fonthill Rd, Hove, BN3 6HA
Join a coworking space, join a community
So, there are a few of Brighton & Hove’s favourites. Now it’s time to try them out - see how they fit with you. The practical benefits of getting out of the house and getting access to super fast wifi and a focused environment are great, but it's the communities that make coworking spaces such incredible places to be part of. Surrounded by like-minded people, coworking spaces can drive your business forward, from the ambition that you have, to the training you get, to the bottom line as you meet collaborators and partners who can bring you new projects to work on.
The coworking spaces I’ve listed are all happy to give people tours and show off their amazing facilities, so if you’re still on the fence, get in touch with them and book something in. If you’ve got other spaces to recommend, or stories about how coworking spaces have changed your business, then let me know in the comments below.