So you want to learn to code?

Programming is a skill much in demand and lucrative. Do you want to add it to your freelance toolkit?

There are many sites out there that will teach you to code, but which do you pick? Exactly which languages and tools do you need to know? How do you get started? And what is the work really like? Will programming work for you?

Freelance software developer, Andrew Backhouse, unveils the mysteries and guides you towards your bright new future in this morning workshop.

  • Who: Those with no or limited programming experience who want to explore this as a new line of work
  • Cost: R500 (R400 for members of Better)
  • Time: 9:30am – 1:00pm
  • Dates: Thursday 10th August

Booking and prepayment essential. Call 011 327 6098 or email

Find our EFT details here.

Membership options at Better

Make Better your regular work and play space by becoming a member of Better.  We’d love to have you join our community. Here we explain our membership options.

The free stuff

All members of Better get, for free

  • fast WiFi,
  • coffee, tea and snacks,
  • access to books and curated information, and
  • the use of a range of creating equipment and materials.

Members can attend many of our events free and get discounts on workshops and training.

The membership options

There are three tiers of membership:

As a starving artist (tier one) you want access to Better more than four times a month, but your budget is tight. For R550 per month, you get:

  • access Better up to ten days in the month
  • 5 pages of printing free each day, and
  • a discount on one guest per day.

If you are at the point of creating every day, and want a place to work regularly, leaving your stuff overnight, then the regular maker (tier two) option is for you. You pay R1200 per month for

  • access to Better as often as you want
  • 10 pages of printing free each day,
  • a discount on two guests per day,
  • off-street parking, and
  • your own locker.

If you run a successful freelance business and want, not only a place to work, but the kind of services that will free up your time for more important things, then we consider you a creative agent (tier three). At this  level, for R2600 per month you enjoy

  • access to Better as often as you want
  • 20 pages of printing free each day,
  • a discount on four guests per day,
  • off-street parking,
  • your own locker,
  • 8 hours exclusive use of a meeting room in the month
  • 12 free secretarial services in the month
  • 2 hours of tech support in the month

There are no contracts. Our memberships run from whatever day you sign up to that same day in the next month. We’d like you to renew each month, but only if you love being here.

You can pay for 3 or 6 months at a time, and we’ll give you a discount of 5% or 10% respectively.

Sign up here.

The pay as you go option

You can also pay R150 per day to come and use the space. Once you are inside, you will have access to the free stuff for members. You can also pay for other services as follows:

  • Printing R1 per page
  • Locker RR30 per week
  • Meeting room R200 per hour
  • Secretarial services R110 per task
  • Tech support R400 per hour

The discounted rate for guests of members is R100 per day.

Or sign up here.

Self-care for freelancers

Freelance work is better than full-time employment in many ways, but as a freelancer you depend heavily on your self – your health, your state of mind and your own skills and abilities. So you have to look after yourself.

This workshop forces you to focus on yourself for a change and think about how well you are doing and how you can take better care of yourself. We discuss your physical and mental health, how to be a good boss to yourself, managing money and time and how to cultivate networks that work for you. We share ideas, hacks and hints for a saner freelance life. Take away a portfolio of resources and your own self-care plan.

The workshop 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.

This workshop is for freelancers at all stages who want to lead a saner, more balanced life.

Weekday afternoon, 2:30pm to 6pm, Tuesday 10th October.

Cost: R400 (R300 for members of Better), click here for our EFT details

Six places only, booking essential! Contact Candy on 011 327 6098 or

Nurturing creativity

I have felt the call to create for as long as I can remember.

It’s hard to describe where it comes from or what it feels like, but I think that anyone who calls themselves creative will understand what I mean. The process of creation challenges and develops a person in ways that nothing else really can. You give of yourself, and an idea or artefact is born from nothing, which indelibly bears the signature of your mind and hand. The sense of utter self-realization granted by creating something subtly expressive, or which demonstrates some insightful perspective, or which acts as a monument to decades of honing a craft until through your tools, a small window to your soul is opened and the light is allowed to spill out… to me, this is the pinnacle of human endeavour.

I must confess that I have done a great deal less creating than I suspect is good for me. Creative initiative is an incredibly fragile beast, and I seem to be extremely good at putting off the creative urge in favour of busywork, or social dues, or gainful employment, and so on. I will even find myself with large pockets of free time doing nothing in particular or consuming low-effort media because it is what I am used to, and it is easy, and creation is, after all, difficult and lonely. Aspirations to long nights spent in creative labour are fairly frequent, but they mostly get filed away as pleasant daydreams.

The deck is, in many ways, stacked against the aspirant creative. Real life often asks that we put creation on hold to do things which pay the bills. Creative endeavour as leisure remains a niche pastime, and you are far more likely to find that your social circle is keen on seeing a movie or visiting a bar than writing a song or storyboarding an animation together. We are often forced to battle ourselves when dealing with the narcotic of low-effort entertainment. The reward of creation, while qualitatively immense, is generally less immediate than other options, and so choosing it is often a challenge.

Better seeks to change these parameters by creating the ideal environment for creative initiative to thrive in. A seat in a house full of like-minded people who are all actively creating. A wide range of expressive tools at your fingertips. Solace of the mind, and a relaxation of the frenetic demands of daily life. Ideas and engagement if that’s what fuels you, or a quiet corner if that’s your thing. Above all, a community which continuously validates your passion.

It’s not going to change the world overnight, but we think Better has the potential to make creative work in Jo’burg a lot more awesome.