Guest post by Bethany Wright, Community Manager at Subkit based in Manchester.
Whether you’re a music teacher, a chef or a yoga instructor, solopreneurship starts locally. If you’re looking to capture the hearts and minds of your customers through a new podcast, a value-led newsletter or you’d like to grow a community of dedicated subscribers, it’s never bad to start with your local audience. Your audience right here, in (sunny, not so sunny) Manchester, UK.
Manchester. The friendliest city in the UK (if not the world). The birthplace of innovation (aka the industrial revolution and Alan Turing!) And the home of chips & gravy, Oasis, and the longest-running soap opera in the world. Whether you are just getting started or your service has been buzzing 🐝 for a while - where better to enhance your side hustle dreams and solopreneur journey?
Become a solo entrepreneur in Manchester
Starting a business can feel daunting - be it the financial investment, the ever imposing imposter syndrome or just taking that first step and acknowledging the fact that you have a brilliant idea. Here at Subkit, we have a community of entrepreneurs and start-up addicts ready to support you every step of the way.
With the help of our Mancunian-based solopreneurs, we’ve pulled together a list of Manc-solo-spiration (<--like what we did there). If you’re looking for cool co-working spaces, useful tools & tips or inspiring solopreneur stories. We’ve got you covered. So don’t look back in anger... please not today!
Location, location, location
With a variety of settings, comes newfound creativity and individuality. Don’t settle for the same old, same old. Manchester boasts hundreds of thought-provoking spaces for you to enjoy. Here are our best bets...
Coffee shops with free wifi to work from and network in:
Foundation Coffee: built from ‘the grounds up’, this independent coffee shop now boasts three homes within Manchester. They have focused on creating environments where people can come together to eat (yummy food), drink, work & shop. Their ultra-cool backdrops are perfect for an office away from home and we have to say, we massively believe in their slogan... ‘Coffee is everything’ - are they right?!
Koffee Pot: calling all the Gen-z’s, and your cooler millennials. This is your spot. Wifi is easily accessible here on Oldham Street and you will be surrounded by young, hungry (literally and figuratively) creatives. Grab a full english, fill up your cuppa and get ready to get some shi*t done!
Home Sweet Home: if you’re looking for a generous helping of cake on the side of your coffee and wifi then this ‘World famous’ American dining coffee shop is for you. Settle into your seat and choose from their variety of breakfast, cakes, and pancakes (you have to try the pancakes)! If your creative (and sugar in juiced) juices don’t start flowing in here, we’ll eat our Subkit logo.
Cool co-working spaces at reasonable prices:
The Assembly: this city-centre spot houses a variety of solopreneurs from tech enthusiasts to freelancers. The Assembly has a stylish work environment, is fully furnished, and has a kitchen for all to use with free tea and coffee. You can either hot desk for £10 a day or pay a reasonable £180 per month for a dedicated desk.
Old Granada Studios: as it says in the name, this Manchester landmark and former TV hub, welcome startups and creatives to make their solopreneur dreams come true! Based in Spinningfields, this coworking space has it all. Music rooms, meeting rooms AND pizza Friday’s (we’re in!). Their monthly packages vary from £95 to £195. We definitely recommend dropping by for a nosey.
Beehive Lofts: ok, this place is a little higher in budget but we couldn’t not. Set across seven lofts, Beehive Mill is located in the centre of Ancoats. It is a ‘wonderful’ co-working space that screams professionalism and collaboration. At £275 a month, this is an investment BUT it does have everything you need (including lounges, meeting rooms & pool tables) and is effortless contemporary and cool, for an enjoyable coworking space.
Bars with excellent wifi to work from and network in:
We couldn’t finish this section without offering a few places for work and beverage, now could we?
Brew Dog’s Desk Dog: as if these guys weren’t already great! Brew Dog offers a ‘bored of working from home’ experience for just £7 a day. Free wifi, unlimited coffee, and a pint of Punk IPA at the end of the day. Need we say more?!
PLY: we’re heading back to the Northern Quarter for this slice of delight. You guessed it. Ply offers sourdough pizzas alongside a hand-selected range of craft beers and an area where you can doodle on the wall. It’s the perfect place to host a business meeting or close out a busy day.
Whitworth Locke: ok, bare with us. Yes, this is a place to stay but it’s also a place to experience. Their communal spaces, coworking lounge and conservatory bar is definitely a place to behold. This is Manchester quirkiness at its finest and we are 100% here for it!
Set yourself up for success!
Thinking about your business brand can quickly become a minefield. Subkit provides you with the tools but what about the imagery, audio, and content? Let’s get you some help! Whether you’re looking for brand-spiration, you need to rent audio equipment to launch your podcast, or you’d like some cool spots for your headshot (obviously essential), here is all you seek:
Professional images & sound for your service and/or products:
Unsplash: need some free, high-quality imagery and fast? There are plenty of stock image sites that allow you to search for and download images for free. We recommend Unsplash as it has a wide variety of industry-relevant photos.
Upwork.com: tap into a pool of locally talented freelancers. Make your vision come to life by collaborating with professionals covering virtually any field.
Decoy Media: based in Manchester, this experienced team pride themselves on creating highly creative visual content. Tailored to your business needs, Decoy media can provide the multi-media support you need.
#GoSolo and create your own rules with these slick brand & website creation tools:
Canva: create your own graphics with this easy to use, design-novice friendly tool. Filled with all types of media & commercial use templates, you’ll easily use an hour (or 10) building your visual branding with Canva.
Webflow: got a little bit of design experience? Enhance it with Webflow. Webflow allows you to easily curate custom websites without the code. WordPress, eat your heart out!
And, let’s not forget the boring stuff
That’s right, setting up a business even if it’s a side hustle comes with some adulting too. Here’s our recommendation for local incubators, accounting, legal & admin support:
Manchester Science Park (MSP) offers incubation, lab space and bespoke business support for startups and scale-ups, specifically targeted at life science, MedTech, digital tech, cybersecurity, AR/VR, blockchain and more.
Innospace aims to support founders in starting and scaling their businesses by offering specialist growth and innovation support. From masterclasses through to advice on funding & incentives, Innospace focuses on delivering tailor-made solutions.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority - Business investment fund - having already made £100 million of investments this open to all sectors fund offers loans at commercial rates for businesses looking to create jobs in the region.
GC Business Growth Hub is #HereForBusiness in Greater Manchester. They support businesses of all types throughout all stages of growth, with focused attention of one-to-one and peer-to-peer support.
Manchester is FILLED with a diverse range of innovative and inspiring solopreneurs turning their side hustles into their full-time job. Here are a few of their solo stories…
- Hannah Cox - the inspirational serial solopreneur behind B-corp consultancy betternotstop
- Monica Haldar - entrepreneur and founder of ShikShak & The Spice Spice Club - two of the UK’s most innovative Indian food brands.
- Mike Stenhouse - entrepreneur, digital nomad and founder of Insider Property Investment.
*This article is meant to inspire your solo entrepreneur journey over time. Please follow current Covid-19 health and safety regulations in Manchester Stay safe.