Calling all bootstrapping entrepreneurs and freelancers. Money doesn’t grow from trees, but that’s okay with a co-working app like WorkBuddy.
Let’s face it: co-working in Singapore can be pricey. In my first few years of self-employment and running this website without clients or funding, I couldn’t afford popular spaces like WeWork, Distrii, CSuites, The Work Project, etc.
This year, however, I was able to experience all of them – for less than $10 a day. Sharing is caring, so here’s how a financially-strapped entrepreneur did it.
If I had things my way, I would choose to work from home in a heartbeat. It eliminates commuting time completely, and I can save money by making my own lunch instead of spending a bomb on overpriced soups and sandwiches in the CBD.
But when I was commissioned by a theatre company to produce content and provide marketing support for their upcoming play, this commitment required me to interview actors and attend weeks of rehearsals during the day.
At the time, I was a national boxer who was preparing for an upcoming tournament, and that required me to attend training in the evening. Thus, I had this large pocket of free time in between client work and national training.
Options, options, options
I knew from the get-go that I had to find a co-working space to spend time productively in the middle of the day. Securing a good seat at a café with free Wi-Fi and powerpoint was not guaranteed, and there was no way I was travelling back home in the north.
There were plenty of beautiful and geographically convenient co-working spaces to choose from, but price was always an issue. A quick Google search showed prices at a glance:
- WeWork: $490/month
- The Work Project: $495/month
- Distrii: $550/month
After a closer look, I discovered that costs for co-working in Singapore quickly add up. If you’re prioritising cost savings right now, beware of:
- Extra costs: Always check if there’s anything the co-working space charges extra for like using the printer, booking a meeting room, accessing certain facilities, etc. If they don’t list it upfront on the website, call them up and ask.
- Pricing claims like “less than $5/hr”. Think about it. How much work will you realistically get done in an hour? It takes me an hour just to set up my laptop, get some coffee and settle in. Stats show that most people who use co-working spaces spend 6 to 8 hours a day there. So “$5 an hour” actually means $40 a day.
The solution: WorkBuddy
When a friend told me about WorkBuddy, every single predicament I had mentioned previously quickly dissipated. WorkBuddy is a co-working pass that gives you access to more than 50 spaces in Singapore, including WeWork, the Hive, Csuites, The Work Project and many more.
I looked into it and found the $299 monthly package gives you:
- Unlimited day passes
- Access to all 50+ partner co-working spaces
- Up to 12 visits per location per month
- First week is a free trial
Yes, yes, yes and yes please to all of the above. Plus, I liked the idea that I could work in different places according to where work and training would be that day. Without much hesitation, I signed up for WorkBuddy’s Unlimited plan.
And for the next 2 months, I was working like a mad man, servicing the client in the day and heading out for training at night, but thankfully, WorkBuddy made life that much more convenient. I had access to the best of co-working in Singapore for only $10 a day.
$10/day: The breakdown
Here’s a quick summary of my first 30 days:
3 days at CoCrea8 (Orchard Road)
I liked the large desks and floods of natural light in this space. There are plenty of reasonably-priced lunch options.
- Unlimited pass: $480/month
- What I saved with WorkBuddy: $181
- More info about CoCRE8 here
7 days at WeWork (each day a different branch)
I’ve always been curious to try WeWork and see the differences in each location. Visiting different spaces provided much needed variety to balance my monotonous workload.
- Membership fee: $490/month
- What I saved with WorkBuddy: $191
- More info about WeWork here
5 days at Distrii (Raffles Place; CBD)
The premium facilities here are great. I came here for the most challenging parts of my project that required a lot of sustained focus.
- Monthly hot desking fee: $400/month
- What I saved with WorkBuddy: $101
- More info about Distrii here
7 days at The Co. (Duxton Road)
I really liked the shophouse decor and the complimentary coffee and tea. Duxton was pretty near one of the gyms I trained at so that made travel so convenient.
- Unlimited pass: $350/month
- What I saved with WorkBuddy: $51
- More info about Co. here
8 days at Crane (Arab Street)
A beautifully furnished space in the ever so vibrant district of Arab Street. Most of the interviews and rehearsals for the play were at the National Library, which makes this location so convenient.
- Daily fee: $20/day
- What I saved with WorkBuddy: $10/day
- More info about Crane here
Two to three months later, I managed to complete the project and submit all deliverables to a satisfied client. I also earned a silver medal in the overseas boxing tournament.
And after everything that’s been said and done, I enjoyed working in luxury spaces around the city for such an affordable price. I found the WorkBuddy app pretty easy and straightforward to use.
I originally planned to cease my membership after my project was done, but decided it was cost-efficient and enjoyable enough to be worth continuing. And I highly recommend you use it too.
Review by Arman Shah, the Online Editor at The Everyday People