Birmingham was once known as the “City of 1000 Trades”. The spark that ignited the Industrial Revolution, it was the home of industry—producing the majority of the world’s pen nibs, whistles, and metalwork. These days, Birmingham is shedding its reputation as an industrial city and morphing into a place of creativity and inspiration.
Freelancing in Birmingham
With a thriving freelance network, Birmingham is still the City of 1000 Trades, but in the digital age this means copywriters, graphic designers, digital marketers, translators, and more. As the UK’s second city, Birmingham offers abundant opportunities for freelancers to co-work, network, and develop new skills.
Co-working in Birmingham
There are a handful of dedicated co-working office spaces in the city that you can pay to use regularly or as a one-off. However, the most exciting co-working offering (in my opinion at least!) is Dispace, who offer co-working in three central Birmingham venues: 1000 Trades, Hotel du Vin, and Medicine Bakery. These venues are really different, so they offer a great mix of working environments. What’s more—they’re completely free, which is an absolute win for freelancers who want to get out of the home office.
Networking in Birmingham
For those who want to develop a network, there are countless groups on Meetup.com, and most of them are free to join. From social gatherings to specific interest groups to creative get-togethers, there’s something for everybody. I run the Birmingham Freelancers meetup, and we have a relaxed get-together on the 2nd Thursday of every month at (the aptly-named) 1000 Trades. If you’re a local freelancer, we’d love to see you there!
Developing skills in Birmingham
As a freelancer, it can be difficult to develop new skills without having an employer to send you on courses. Lucky for us, the NatWest Entrepreneur Hub in Birmingham runs regular free events, where you can learn about marketing, social media, and more. They also run free accelerator business programs to help freelancers, entrepreneurs, and business owners to grow their business.
The Birmingham freelance community
Over the past few years, I’ve been delighted to see the freelance community in Birmingham expanding. Our meetup group has almost 300 members, and companies like Dispace are helping us get together. In fact, Dispace kindly provided us with a permanent venue for our meetup, which was previously over-spilling coffee shops! With monthly co-working sessions run by Dispace in 1000 Trades, the freelance community has a place to meet, support each other, and collaborate.
The benefits of having a freelance community
As a freelancer, it might not be at the forefront of your mind to develop a network or community—it certainly wasn’t for me when I started out as a freelancer. However, building a freelance network has many benefits. You can:
- Get freelance tips and advice
- Get support when you’re struggling
- Have a sounding board for new ideas
- Get involved in co-working opportunities
- Discover useful freelance tools
- Find out about events
- Avoid becoming isolated
- Outsource work
- Find clients or get referrals
- Make freelance friends
So, if you haven’t got a freelance network or tried a co-working space yet, why not give it a go? We’d love to have you as part of our network, so sign up to a Dispace co-working event, come along to a meetup, and become part of the Birmingham freelance community.
Have you tried networking or co-working as a freelancer? If so, how did you find it? Comment below or get in touch…
ARTICLE ORIGINALLY POSTED ON DISPACE BLOG