Alex is a digital strategist from the Netherlands. She is working on an online travel magazine startup written by travelers from all over the world. She is also currently working for M&C Saatchi in Melbourne.
When I left the Netherlands to become a digital nomad, I had no idea that it would be so hard to get start again in a different city. The city was new to me, and the biggest struggle in the beginning was finding a network.
I continued working for my Dutch clients from different campsites, coffee bars and libraries. After a while, it was time to make the step “Down Under” and be based in the one city I liked best to work and live for the time being. I ended up choosing Melbourne to be my base. Here are some tips and tricks on how to find your footing as a digital nomad in Melbourne.
Networking is probably the most important thing to get you started in a new city. You might meet people who can help you out with whatever you’re looking for.
Randomly starting conversations in public transport has worked a few times for me, but joining different networking groups and events on Facebook is more effective. Since I work in advertising and have my own travel start-up, I looked for advertising groups and groups that were associated with travel. These are the groups that I am a part of:
If you’re looking for a (freelance) role in advertising somewhere in Australia, the group community can help you out. Leave an introduction about who you are and what you’re looking for, and someone might contact you with a job. Almost everyone in this group is working for or with advertising agencies across the country, so it’s very likely that some agency might be looking for help!
This is a hub for visual artists and creatives based in Melbourne to interact and build a wider network. They also run events from time to time, but mostly it’s just helping each other out with questions and assignments.
The name of this group is very self explanatory, however if you have a business and want to connect with other business owners, this group is for you! Thanks to this group, I’ve teamed up with a travel agent who was interested in a collaboration with our travel blogging platform.
What I really like about this page is that they run quarterly events.
Lastly, it has been very easy finding other people from the Netherlands who are also working and living in Melbourne. It might be worthwhile to check if there are any groups specially set up for your nationality. For example if you’re from the Netherlands, you can join the groups Dutchies in Melbourne and Dutchies in Australia. Dutchies in Australia also runs different events and I’ve met quite a few people that helped me out a lot! Of course, I don’t only want to meet Dutch people but I realised it creates a connection if you’re both far away from home trying to achieve something. People are really willing to help others that are experiencing the same struggles as they did when they arrived in the city.
Just like in every big city, Melbourne has a lot of co-working spaces where you can find a desk among other small business owners. This is a great way to meet people, get new business and build a more social life versus being isolated at home trying to find people over the internet and getting work done.
However not everyone has the money to spend on a workspace – after paying your monthly rent, public transport pass and the necessary coffee dates, it’s expensive enough! I wanted to save money, so I went on a hunt for free and cozy spots where I could work. In doing so, I’ve found a lot of new places and neighborhoods. I am not going to give you a HUGE list because its way more fun to find nice coffee places yourself, but here are my favorite working spots:
- My favorite on the weekend is Stovetop. This is the place where all the students from the uni come to work during the week, but it’s actually very nice and quiet during the weekend. They have a separate hallway where you are just a few steps away from good food and coffee, but it feels like you’re just working in the relaxed quietness of your own home.
- During the times that I don’t need the Internet, for example when I am writing a blog post, doing my financials or when I am designing, I go to St. Ali’s. There is no Internet, but they do have a great workspace and the best coffee in town! It is close to the South Melbourne Markets, so after work I spoil myself with a quick lunch. If I still don’t need the internet in the afternoon, I’ll return to St. Ali’s.
- Here’s one I can’t leave off the list: the State Library of Victoria. From the outside the building looks quite impressive, but the dome inside really got me. There is enough space to spread your notes on the communal tables and enough inspiration around you if you need it. If you are easily distracted than maybe this is not your best option, but it’s worth the while to try this spot out at least once!
If you want to discover good places to work near you, check out Work Hard Anywhere to find more great free locations to get some work done!
Hope this helps and if you’re coming to Melbourne send me a message. Maybe we can help each other!
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