From coffee shop to co-working space

So your little business is growing. Your income is looking steady. You have a few reliable clients and more on the horizon. There is work to be done. If the noise of the milk frothing is starting to irritate you, and the friendly waitress is a less welcome interruption than she used to be, you may be outgrowing the coffee shop.

Perhaps it is time to graduate to a co-working space?

Like any business decision there will be costs and benefits and you need to weigh these up. Yes, a co-working space is going to cost you something. Most spaces have a range of packages to choose from. You can pay for a day, week or month, or longer. Shop around and find a package that suits you. To decide what the space is worth to your business, you need to think through the benefits you may get, what they are worth and whether they matter to you.

Here are some to consider:

  1. At a personal level working in a shared space can be less lonely, but you will be interacting with others. If that makes you self-conscious or uncomfortable, it may not work for you.
  2. If the space offers a community (and not just office space) you get to make new friends, chat over coffee, have a drink of an evening, and celebrate successes with a set of colleagues that are walking a similar path to you – like when you worked in corporate, but with a more diverse set of interests and knowledge.
  3. You get to meet other freelancers and small business owners so you can learn, share contacts, discuss challenges. The kind of network that the co-working space provides can lead you to new clients, new opportunities and new knowledge.
  4. A co-working space can improve your work habits. You won’t be around to hang the next load of washing, serve tea to your sister when she calls or accept that Takealot delivery. But that could be a good thing because you will be able to focus and your sister will finally learn that you do real work. As for Takealot, you could have your package delivered to your new co-work space instead.
  5. A space more conducive to work is likely to increase your productivity. Work faster and get home sooner, or up your rate of output and build your business. Either way the additional cost may be worth it.
  6. And don’t forget that the cost of a co-working space is tax deductible as a business expense (easier to do this with an invoice for the use of the space, than trying to claim all those coffees).

But after all the careful weighing, the acid test will be whether a co-working space makes you feel inspired, happy and heading towards your dreams.

Co-working spaces are very different, from sleek and professional to cottagey and homely. Most will offer desk space, Wi-Fi and refreshments. Some will offer tools and equipment, meeting rooms, quiet spaces and places to mingle. Some actively build a community with events for learning and socialising. Try more than one to find a space that matches your business and your own style.

It’s time to take your business to the next level. Get out of the coffee shop and try a co-working space.

How to get published, a conversation with Marion Scher

 

All Better writers and aspirant writers are invited for a conversation with Marion Scher about how to get published.

Marion Scher is a top freelance journalist and author with over 28 years of experience in radio, television and print media. Author of two books, Business Manners in South Africa (Francolin) and Surviving the SA Media (Knowledge Resources), with another, ‘Conquering Communications’ coming out, she also ghost writes other people’s stories.

She will be sharing her experience and knowledge in an informal conversation at Better. This is your chance to ask all your questions and get useful tips for finally getting your manuscript out there.

Tea and cake will be served.

  • Who: Writers who want to know more about getting published
  • When: Monday the 20th March, 10:00am to 12:00 noon
  • Cost: R150 (free for members of Better)

 

The “very easy facebook for small businesses” workshop

If you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, freelancer, crafter, artist or author struggling to work out how this whole Facebook for business thing works, Better are hosting an informal workshop that is perfect for you, run by Content Writer and Social Media Manager, Tracey Walker.

Learn how to set up and effectively manage a business Facebook Page that nurtures your business or product with content that builds a loyal community of clients and customers. With 1.86 billion active monthly Facebook users, the potential to find people who need just what you are offering is endless, just as long as you can get them to listen to you.

As marketing expert Seth Godin remarked “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell”. And Facebook is where everyone is talking and more importantly, listening.

So come along to Better for a morning on Thursday 21st September from 9:30 until 12:30. You’ll get coffee, tea and a workbook with all the information we discuss as well as a monthly content template to help you get started. (Free stuff, yes!) The workshop costs R550 and members of Better pay R450.

Space is limited to 10 people, so please book your place now. E-mail Tracey at walkertracey0@gmail.com or call her at 083 424 7749 for information. Contact Candy on create@better.joburg or 011 327 6098 to book.

Planning your freelance career

There is a lot to like about freelance work: being your own boss, control of your time, chosing your customers. But making the transition to freelance work is difficult and scary.

If you have been thinking about it, or have made some steps towards freelance work, but are not sure whether to commit fully, here is an opportunity for you to think it through.

The course is very hands-on, working through exercises. We work with small groups so that there is time to listen to each person’s story and discuss specific strategies and solutions for you.

 

The workshop runs over three evenings, discussing:

Session 1: Where are you now?

In this first session we assess where you are, your skills, opportunities and challenges and why you want to freelance. We also look at the kind of person you are and how suited you might be to a freelance life.

Session 2: Where you want to be?

In our second session we get creative, and you imagine your perfect freelance life. How much time will go into work? How much money do you want to make? What will your working day look like? We also take a sober look at what might be feasible in the next year or so.

Session 3: How will you get there?

In our final session we discuss strategies for making the transition. What needs to be in place before you can make the move? Whose buy-in do you need? We look at strategies that have worked for other freelancers and discuss what might work for you. Then you craft a plan and map out the steps you need to take.

 

Does it help?

Donna Chiang had this to say after attending:

“Please could you pass on my thanks to Judy and Andrew for hosting such a wonderful workshop? I really enjoyed it and felt that I could propel myself in a practical and inspired manner towards the things that I enjoy doing. And make an income doing so.

We spoke about things that were so relevant to me and they gave such practical tips to apply in my current situation and things to think about when I’m eventually where I am where I want to be. The 3 days spread over the 3 weeks, helped solidify my learnings.”

 

Judy has a background in business strategy as well as experience of freelance work and Andrew is a long-time freelancer. This workshop shares what they have learned and the resources they have collected in their freelance journeys.

  • Who: Those contemplating freelance work or in the process of making the transition
  • Cost: To attend all three evenings R400 (R300 for members of Better)
    or to attend one evening R150 (R120 for members of Better).
  • Time: 6.00pm to 7.30pm,
  • Dates: Tuesday 1st, 8th and 15th August

Maximum 6 places. Booking and prepayment essential. E-mail Candy at  patience@better.joburg or call 011 327 6098.

Find our EFT details here.

 

 

A Glint of Moonlight: A Better Writing Workshop, with Gus Silber

Don’t Tell Me the Moon Is Shining. Show Me the Glint of Light on Broken Glass.”
Anton Chekhov

All writing, in some way, is travel writing. All writing, in some way, is memoir. When we write, we invite the reader to join us on a journey; when we write, we cast a light on who we are, where we come from, and how we see the world.

On this Saturday writing workshop at Better, you’ll learn to do both, as you explore new ways of packaging memories and sharing stories that bring character, experience, and emotion to life.

Whether you’re new to writing or want to sharpen and invigorate your writing skills, this hands-on learning and writing session will show you how, by putting the focus on tools and techniques that shape your thoughts into stories and add flair and impact to your words.

You’ll learn how to make sense of writing, by using all your senses to write. You’ll learn what good songs and good movies can teach us about the art and craft of good writing. You’ll learn how to plan and structure your story, from the ground up, or the sky down. You’ll learn how to bring out the better writer in you, no matter who you are, where you come from, or how you see the world.

  • When: Saturday 20th May, from 10am to 3.30pm (please arrive at 9:30)
  • Where: 91 Oxford Road, Saxonwold, Johannesburg
  • What to bring: A pen or a pencil. A notebook. The stories in your head and your heart.
  • How much: R650 including tea, coffee, snacks, and a light working lunch. (R550 for Better members)
  • Who: Gus Silber is an award-winning journalist, author, scriptwriter, and media trainer.

Places are limited so booking is essential. To secure yours contact Patience at patience@better.joburg or 011 327 6098.

Social media Q&A for freelancers

  • Should I be using Facebook or LinkedIn?
  • Do I want my clients to friend me on Facebook?
  • Should I have a separate Facebook page for my freelance work?
  • How can I use social media to get more clients?

Social media presents wonderful opportunities for freelancers, but at the same time, vexing questions.

Join the freelance community at Better for an informal evening of Q&A about social media. Share your experiences and listen to how other freelancers use social media. Learn from each other’s mistakes and get ideas about what you could do differently.

Tracey Walker will be on hand to offer advice and guidance.

 

Time: 6pm to 7pm

Dates: Enquire for next dates

Cost: R50 for entrance, wine and snacks (free for members of Better).

Art @ Better

Every Wednesday morning artists and aspirant artists get together to draw, paint and explore at Better.

Bring what you are working on or make use of suggestions provided. Experiment with new tools and materials. Follow lesson plans or do your own thing. Get inspired by what others are working on.

Check out these reasons to Make Art at Better.

Every Wednesday 9:30 to 12:30 in the studio at Better

Free for members of Better or R100 for access, materials and refreshments (if you haven’t been before, your first visit to Better is free)

 

Dreamcrafting (strategic planning) for freelancers

Strategic planning is something that big businesses do, right? And you left all that behind you when you shifted to self-employment or freelancing, right? Maybe not.

If you have been freelancing or self-employed for some time and are struggling to make it work, or if you are doing OK but want to take your freelance career to the next level, take some time out to think strategically about what you are doing.

Close your eyes for a minute and think about what you want from your freelance business. Happiness? The joy of creating? Fame? To make enough money to stay unemployed? More time to spend with your kids?

Dreaming about the future is a great way to clarify what you really, really want. It can also help you to know what you don’t want. These dreams can help you to

  • identify what is and is not working for you,
  • move in the right direction towards a better situation,
  • choose what work to take on and what work to say no to,
  • clarify where to spend your time and what you shouldn’t be doing,
  • decide when you need help and
  • feel more relaxed and secure.

Dreamcrafting is the process of turning your dreams into reality.

In this workshop you will dream about your freelance business using fun, creative tools. You will learn to listen to your emotional responses to help you decide what really matters. Then we will take some of the lessons of strategic planning that businesses use and apply them to your freelance mini-business in order  to craft that future. You can pick from a basket of tools those that you think will work for you.

The course is very hands-on, working through exercises. We work with small groups so that there is time to listen to each person’s story and discuss specific strategies and solutions for you.

Take away a pack of creative dreamcrafting tools, your own personal vision for your future and practical steps for moving towards that future.

Judy Backhouse has taught strategic planning at business schools and universities and has adapted what she taught there to the context of freelance or self-employed businesses.

This workshop is for established freelancers who want to take thier careers to the next level. If you are just starting out as a freelancer you should consider our Planning your Freelance Career workshops instead.

Next workshop: Tuesday 24th October

  • 2.00pm – 3.30pm: Dreaming, feelings and introducing the toolset
  • 3.30pm – 4.00pm: Tea break
  • 4.00pm – 5.30pm: Working with selected tools to craft your dream

Cost: R400 (R300 for members of Better). Our EFT details

Maximum 6 places. To book your place, e-mail Candy on patience@better.joburg or call 011 327 6098.

Come and write at Better!

Writing is a very solitary pursuit. This makes it difficult to stay motivated and inspired.

A community of writers can help you. Peers help validate the value in the craft of writing, provide social pressure to make progress, and reinforce the habit of writing regularly. They are also valuable sources of information, sharing their tools and processes, tips on getting published, and practical, lived experience about making life as a writer work.

Better is a co-working space in Saxonwold. We’re creating a community of writers who provide this kind of support for each other. Better provides a warm and welcoming space with quiet rooms, fast Wi-Fi, reference books, curated information for writers, tea and coffee and good company. We run regular workshops and writing-related events too.

Read our story to get a feel for who we are.

Visit Better and see the place for yourself. Work here for a day, for free.

Join our community as a member. Membership gets you in on your terms.