The life of a freelancer is great. We get to work anywhere we want! We get to make our own schedules! We get to show up in pajamas if we want to! Isn’t life dreamy? I’m not even gonna go into the but… There are no costs that don’t outweigh the benefits. Everyone go do it.
(Just kidding, don’t; I’d like to remain a hot commodity).
If you’ve already taken the plunge and are freelancing on a full-time basis (or if you aren’t but still require external workspaces from time to time), this list is for you. You can thank me later.
Melbourne Central – La Trobe and Swanston
Melbourne Central is not my favourite place to work, but it did used to be my most frequented. I often times even half-jokingly referred to it as “my office”. My go-to spot was the first level food court, at the back, where the tall tables are. I used them as my standing desks. I later discovered that downstairs, near the Woolie’s next to the train station entrance gates, there was a little wall bench just perfect for standing with your laptop. This all came to a halt one day when I turned around while working, only to be surrounded by a menacing group of teens trying to rob me. (And who could blame them? Between my MacBook, extra keyboard, USB mouse, iPhone and multiple chargers, I was a human goldmine. Needless to say, I’ve been wary of working on MC ever since.
- Perks: Free WiFi, “standing desks” (i.e. tall tables)
- Cons: Noisy, once the sun goes down the mice come out, limited powerpoints
- Cost: Getting your laptop stolen
QV – Lonsdale and Swanston
QV is a lot nicer than MC. It has lots of natural lighting, a more chilled-out crowd, better food options (some of which offer reusable cutlery). For some reason, though, I just don’t go there much. But you should, it’s sublime.
- Perks: Free WiFi, great place to table dive, T2 in close proximity for free samples
- Cons: Can be hard to find a seat at lunchtime
- Cost: Free
Galleria – Bourke and Elizabeth
This one is a tucked away little secret, complete with free internet, powerpoints AND standing tables! What more could you want? If you ride to “work”, there’s even a bike repair shop downstairs. I can vouch; I’ve paid them to fix a flat I could have solicited my ex-housemates to fix for free.
- Perks: I already told you
- Cons: Kind of cold and bleak
- Cost: Free
State Library of Victoria – Swanston and La Trobe
I go to State Lib on the reg. I actually hate it as a resource, with one exception: Their children’s playroom. This is the only spot I can ever get a seat or a powerpoint. Its actually quieter than other areas, and it’s the safest spot to sneak food into. Wait actually, can you eat in the library?
- Perks: Free WiFi (even for non-members), public computers, nice toilets
- Cons: Can’t bring coffee past security, long wait to use public computers
- Cost: Free
Sun Moth Canteen – Niagara Lane
Sun Moth is the best cafe I’ve found to work out of. They have large tables with powerpoints at each (!) one (!) The staff are friendly, in my experience. (Online reviews say otherwise.) They serve coffee ’til late. And when your bored, you can watch the skate vids they project on the wall.
- Perks: Free WiFi, socially conscious, tons of charging options
- Cons: The owner might shout at you or try to kick you out
- Cost: The price of your coffee
The Village at NAB – Bourke Street (Accessible via Southern Cross)
The Village is the newest addition to my list. I actually joined NAB just to access it. (Does having a business account make me a “real” writer?) This spot is the most legit coworking hub I’ve been able to use without paying membership fees. I made a friend there today; She complimented my laptop stickers, took a photo of me and told me about her plans to buy a houseboat and dock it in Geelong. They have a NAB Village there too.
- Perks: Free WiFi, indoor plants, free coffee on Thursday mornings
- Cons: In Docklands, associated with big banking
- Cost: Your soul (and the price of your NAB Business account)
TwoSpace – Various Venues
TwoSpace is an initiative that takes over cafes /bars/restaurants and turns them into coworking spaces. Wait, isn’t that just a cafe? You bet! But the cool thing about TwoSpace is that many of these venues don’t operate during the day, and are therefore finding a new purpose with their help. For community and flexible workspaces at lower costs than Melbourne’s other coworking spots, TwoSpace is choice. They currently have partners in the CBD, Docklands, Fitzroy and Brunswick.
- Perks: Free access to networking and growth events, roundtable discussions and Slack/Facebook channels, choose your location, free trial available
- Cons: Costs cash money
- Cost: From $69 to $199 a month
Do you have any additional spots you’d like me to add to my list? I probably won’t, but you’re welcome to give them a shout-out in the comments anyway.