Brighton is already home to a huge freelance community, and is one of the biggest digital and technology hubs outside of London. Having lived and worked here for over six months now, what exactly is it that makes it so appealing?
Access to London
Sure, those of us who have had to put up with Southern Rail on a regular basis might debate how much fun travelling to London from Brighton on a regular basis is. However, the fact remains that on a good day you have direct access to the City of London, the West End, and several major transport hubs in only around an hour, with regular trains all day and infrequent trains running through the night for those of us who often find ourselves detained in ‘important business meetings’ until 2am.
Cost of living
The biggest downside of being a freelance copywriter is the unpredictability of work. It therefore makes a lot of sense to keep fixed costs as low as possible, and Brighton is a much better place than London to do that. Sure, it’s not cheap cheap, compared to some other parts of the UK, but after ten years in London, it certainly feels cheap.
Brighton has a relatively small and extremely friendly business community, especially for freelancers in the tech, marketing and new media world. The Wired Sussex organisation exists to connect us and help freelancers network, and there are several co-working spaces here. If nothing else, the fact that Soho House is soon to open a Brighton location should tell you a lot about the kind of people based here.
I love my little home office, but sometimes it’s nice to get out and see another living human being once or twice a week. Living in Kemptown, I have half a dozen coffee shops within a couple of hundred metres, all of which are wifi-equipped and friendly to people popping in to do a spot of work. And if I’m still working later on into the evening, I’ve been known to set up my office in one of the several brilliant local pubs and carry on working over a pint of IPA.
As a creative freelancer it’s a real benefit to be based somewhere that inspires me. It doesn’t matter what I’m working on, and much of what I write isn’t exactly great art in itself, but it’s always harder to wrangle words into the right order when you spend your days on the district line and in a dismal open plan office. It’s hard to beat a city where I can walk along the beach when I need to blow the cobwebs away, go for a cycle in the South Downs when things are getting really tough, or pick up my laptop and go and work in a park when I want to feel the sun on my face as I work.