If you are tired of working from coffee shops and running around town, well, me too. Coffee shops are laud, running to the bathroom means that you are risking your stuff being stolen, and the waiters give you that look when you stay for too long.
As a nomadic entrepreneur, I don’t have access to an office, so I need to be creative just to do work.
Yes, coworking spots can be decent, but they are not always located where you need them to be and the logistics of checking in take time.
But most importantly, the people! If you want to hang out with nomadic freelancers, go to a coworking space. If you want to be around ballers while traveling, you gotta think differently.
How different? Here is a picture of me working on Richard Branson’s Necker island.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to work from some of the most epic places at zero cost.
When a room costs $800 a night, it’s not the price for 30sq. m. for the space itself, but for the comfort and the lavish amenities that come alongside.
So if you don’t pay for the room, what’s life? Yes, everything else!
My favorite hotels to work from are the W, Ritz Carlton, 4 Seasons, and Hyatt. I kid you not, I go to Google Maps Pretty, sort by price in reverse, and voila.
Now that’s the list of coworking spaces, I am talking about.
You may feel slightly uneasy to roll into a $1k/night hotel and start working from there. Trust me, I know how that feels especially when I am just off an airplane.
Instead of b-lining to the lobby trying to avoid the concierge, go to the bar in the hotel. If someone asks (they only do 5% of the time), that’s your alibi, you are just grabbing a bite.
But where should you actually work from in those hotels? Great question!
Business centers at hotels are exactly like a good coworking space: they have meeting rooms, printers, and good internet. The main difference is that they are not as busy as most traditional co-working spaces.
Launges are there to hang out and be comfortable. They are perfect to meet people and do creative work. Once you pass the reception, you are in. Go to Google Maps again and check out the pictures. That’s your lounge!
You can grab a very overpriced drink and enjoy live music, work, and successful people around you.
Here is one of my favorite languages in St. Regis at Mexico City.
And another one of me with the staff that has not ideas what’s going on :)
Lobbies are one of my favorites. They often have high tables that I use as a standing task.
One of my all time bests is the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
Yeah, you just walk in. No questions asked.
Make sure that you look presentable enough.
Oh, and the best thing is that I never have to worry about leaving my stuff to hit the restroom. Unlikely, folks dishing out a 1k per night need my laptop.
If you are traveling to an exotic location and want to somehow rationalize why you flew thousands of miles from home to be in front of your computer, I got you covered.
Walk in like you own the place and head straight to the beach. Don’t look like a lost puppy. If you feel uncomfortable, stop. Nobody really cares.
Grab a towel with the hotel logo. According to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (my nerdy reference), it’s the most useful item that an interstellar hitchhiker can have. And also, it’s your token that tells everyone “I am staying here. Chill!”
I call items that make you feel like a guest an “identifier.” Anything with the logo will do like towels, bags, hats, card key, blankets, or bracelets (at cheaper 5-star hotels).
Here is how one of my workation spots looked like:
Notice the guy with a laptop? That’s my friend Jon joining for the ride.
Here comes the riskier of them all. But no risk, no reward, right?
Many 5-star hotel chains have loyalty programs with cool perks like free food and drinks.
A few months back, I spent almost a week enjoying one of the most expensive skylines in the world, lightning-fast wifi, and incredible food. All for free, obviously! Thank you, Grand Hyatt San Francisco.
In order to get into member’s clubs, you need to have a membership card. But if you walk in with a group of people headed there, you are in! Never been easier. I’ve even knocked on the door once to ask someone to let me in too. No questions asked.
Upscale apartment complexes are amazing coworking spots! 99% of them have great work areas, 20-person meeting rooms, private dining areas, movie theaters, and gyms.
Here is how my favorite one is SF looks like:
It’s considerably harder to get into apartment buildings, because you need a key card or chat with the concierge.
That’s why I only go to places, where my friends live. They already pay $7k/m rent for a two-bedroom in SF and do not mind me using the common area. Just ask!
I’m talking about good (and expensive) ones. Meetups won’t work well here.
You want to co-work from event venues mainly to bump into cool people and get industry-specific networking opportunities.
New professional contacts, prospective business, food, and of course free co-working.
First, find good events. You can google them or go to Eventbrite.com and search by price. Facebook is not a good option for quality events.
Make sure that you choose events that you are actually interested in for a better experience. Good events are usually held at either upscale hotels or conference halls. You already know how to work from those.
You can usually get into conferences pretty easily. Arrive around lunch time, when attendees are going in and out, and walk straight in. Done!
You can also ask someone who looks like he/she is leaving for the badge. You may need to approach 3-5 people, before you actually get it. It just takes 3-5 min, so don’t sweat it. Or grab some identifiers that we talked about earlier.
I go to almost all $1k+ events for free. A little hustle has never killed nobody.
Here is me at TechCrunch Disturp:
Those areas are designed for quick meetings. They are great for quick 1-3h work sesh.
Bonus hack: want a job at LinkedIn, make friends in the lobby. There are thousands of employees walking in and out every day.
Speaking of LinkedIn. Here is their LinkedIn HQ in San Fran that happens to have a great coffee shop in the lobby - Equators Coffee.
If you have entrepreneur friends (especially those who raised venture), ask if you can work from their offices!
Wow! Those are coworkings, but on steroids, and you get to work alongside your friends. The energy is just another level.
A few years back, I rented out a villa for five months in Tulum, Mexico and turned it into a coworking spot for friends to fly in and enjoy.
The place was crazy. My bathroom was the size of a studio in San Francisco. It had a 5-person jacuzzi in the middle of the room. A chef’s kitchen. Gym. Pool. You name it.
My friends started to fly in from the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Early in his career, Richard Branson turned his first Virgin records store into a hangout spot for everyone just to pop in, listen to music and have conversations. He turned hundreds of people into brand ambassadors. This fun and human-centric approach has helped create one of the most powerful brands in history. Richard, then 21, did the same thing with the Manor Studio, where the Virgin Record’s biggest hits was born. Artists could stay over as long as they wanted and jam. Give give give.
Location: Manor Studio, UK
Lastly, many of my friends have private club memberships such as the Battery or Soho House that they use as an office. Definitely get invites to those! They are a lot of fun.
Public libraries are great co-working locations, yet least known. Who goes to libraries to check out books these days? Everything is online.
Which makes libraries a fantastic spot to work from. They are FREE by design. And yes, many of them have good open wifi.
Note: you can’t make phone calls.
Send me pictures from the most epic places that you worked from!