There’s a lot to love about working for yourself: keeping your own hours, making your own rules, and of course making more of your own money.

But then there are the stresses, and if you’re experiencing the familiar struggle of finding a work-life balance, it can be easy to isolate yourself. You may sometimes need a reminder that there’s more to life than email, admin and invoicing.

You may also need reassurance that you’re doing a good job, to ask questions and get answers from others who’ve been where you are right now, and the chance to gain skills that’ll help your business and career grow while you keep calm and in control. 

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Of course, many first-time freelancers, entrepreneurs and small business owners are in a cash-strapped state when they need guidance most, so splashing out on lavish entertainment or costly education isn’t an option.

The solution? Combining the two in the form of events that are useful for learning, networking, and just taking a few hours away from the “while they sleep, I grind” mindset to enjoy free snacks and the company of others who are at a life stage similar to your own. 

To make it all a little easier, we’ve rounded up a few events that do just that. 

Creative Mornings 

Monthly at Friends of Design, Cape Town + various Joburg venues

Free coffee, pastries and fruit juice make for a good start to your morning before the speakers have even begun – and give you the fuel for thought that you’ll need to make the most of the short but thought-provoking talks from the events’ guest speakers.

Each month a guest is invited to speak on a specific topic, which they link to their own career and creative journey, providing you with the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, successes and insights.

If you don’t think of yourself as ‘a creative’, challenge yourself to see if the stories shared at one of these doesn’t help you to think more creatively about your own role. After all, this one is always absolutely free – just register before the event and you’re set. 

For more information follow this link

First Thursday at American Corner

Monthly at Cape Town Central Library 

As well as the tasty snacks and wine on offer, you’ll learn from experts in their field speaking on selected topics – for Women’s Month, their most recent event focused on the various forms that activism can take, and how social change extends to women empowering women in the workplace. While you’re there, find out about the free courses and workshops that American Corner has on offer. 

For more information follow this link

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Startup Grind 

Monthly at Workshop 17 in Cape Town and Open Sandton in Johannesburg

With a member network whose size is impressive, Startup Grind hosts the leaders from businesses of all sizes to share their best advice on building a successful enterprise. If you’re all about being a boss and serious business, this is an event series for you – just check out their site and subscribe to updates on the events in your city.

For more information follow this link

Women in Tech ZA

Cape Town + Joburg

Whether this is your industry and you’re looking to sharpen your skills or you’re just interested in how tech knowledge could help to build your business, follow @WomeninTechZA on Twitter to find out about their events happening near you.

Some are panel discussions, others are workshops, and with important topics like accessibility in tech and social-driven innovation up for discussion, you’re sure to find something that grabs your interest. Note that not all are free: you’ll find out when you click through to reserve your ticket whether your chosen event has a small cost involved. 

For more information follow this link

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A few more events you’ll find pretty affordable…

Future Females

Cape Town and Durban at around R100

Their well-updated social media content provides enough resources and topics of discussion to make it reason alone to follow the Future Females organisation, but you’ll also want to stay updated on when they’ll next be hosting a panel discussion. 

For more information follow this link

Ladies, Wine and Design

Cape Town and Joburg at around R120

The local chapters of this international event series are run by inspired and inspiring women dedicated to championing creativity and discussing topics from inclusivity, innovation, the wage gap and other ups and downs of being a woman who loves her work.

For more information on the Joburg event follow this link and for the Cape Town event follow this link

Heavy Chef

Around R145

Thanks to focused discussions with experts in their fields, Heavy Chef events are as a practical as they are thought-provoking, and well worth keeping an eye on for worthwhile events relevant to your interests. 

For more information follow ths link

... and a useful resource to find events near you.

Download the MeetUp app to find events happening near you – filtered by your fields of interest so that you’re always able to find the most relevant results. 

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