In order to launch our new freelancer marketplace (http://3desk.com/), we scoured the country to find the best spot to be a freelancer – looking for features like culture, number of freelancers, price, support services. After an extensive search, we chose Bristol – the place that many of those freelancers we spoke to felt was the UK’s best place to work (and the UK’s ‘City of the Future‘).
Freelancing and consulting is an increasingly attractive option, whilst economic woes and high unemployment batter the headlines. Bristol continues to be a fantastic place for people who’ve chosen an alternative path to full-time work.
Here are some of the reasons why Bristol continues to be the city of choice
There are a number of fantastic collectives for independents, including, but not exclusively:
- Coexist (Hamilton House), a creative, somewhat ramshackle yet charming Montpellier-based hub, comprising office spaces, workshops, it’s lively ‘Canteen’ - http://coexistcic.squarespace.com/ - @coexistcic @inthecanteen
- Pervasive Media Studio, a collaboration between the Watershed and local Univesities http://www.pmstudio.co.uk/
- Spike Island, incorporating artists studios, workspaces and cool names - http://www.spikeisland.org.uk/ @_spikeisland.
- The Tobacco Factory - http://www.tobaccofactory.com/
- The Mild Bunch - http://mildbunch.org/ - @mildbunch
There are great workspaces, including the above collectives:
- Check out http://www.funkyspaces.co.uk/, which covers a number of the above as well as other lovely places to work
Local support services:
- Connect Bristol - http://www.connectingbristol.org/home/, @ConnectBristol,
- Business Navigator - http://www.businessnavigator.org.uk/
- Low Carbon South West - http://www.lowcarbonsouthwest.co.uk/
- Bristol Media - http://www.bristolmedia.co.uk/
Bristol and Bath is home to a number of successful businesses
- SW Top 100 – there’s a rich media and creative scene, for example - http://www.swtop100.co.uk/
More and more freelancers are able to work remotely, with better online marketplaces:
- Sites like http://www.peopleperhour.com/, https://www.elance.com/, https://www.odesk.com, http://www.guru.com/ - are all enabling freelancers to win work remotely and, where price is an issue, the living costs in Bristol mean that freelancers can be more competitive than in London, or other parts of the UK. Yet a mere hour and forty minutes on the train from London and an hour twenty from Birmingham, Bristol is still within (albeit a tiring) commuting reach of our biggest cities.
Finally, freelancers like to be free. With Cornwall, Devon and Wales close by, freelancers enjoy the freedom on Bristol’s doorstep.
We’d love to know other reasons why you think Bristol is, or isn’t the spot for freelancers as the spring springs.