This past week was International Coworking Day (August 9th) and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to spread the word about coworking, meet some new faces to share a bit about the benefits of coworking, and hopefully give people a little bit of a feel for coworking with some “cowork popups” in some surrounding communities. I hit up 3 towns just outside our city (within a 15-30 minute drive) and worked closely with each town’s economic development managers to coordinate and invite people to come. I had the incredible privilege of meeting people in Devon AB, Calmar AB, and Thorsby AB. Our local Chamber also organized a “lunch & learn” session for chamber members and I got to share about what I believe are the benefits of coworking.
COllaboration: Working alone secludes yourself from people who you could partner with to help you and your business. Coworking places you in an environment with others that might have vastly different skill sets or solutions to problems, allowing you to “pick their brains”. In the short 2 months, we have been open I have seen so many situations where talking through an idea among COworkers has been hugely beneficial.
Accessibility: A cowork space provides 24/7 access to a great workspace and meeting rooms. Accessibility also means pricing that is affordable for any budget, whether you are just starting and launching a business or you are looking to grow and scale up with additional team members. Somewhat along the lines of collaboration and connecting; a cowork space allows you to be accessible to other people. A cowork space can be an incredible network of people.
COnnecting: whether you are willing to admit it or not, working on your own is lonely (even introverts need people and meaningful relationships). How is your mental health, who is checking on you to say “how are you doing”, “how are your kids”, “are you getting sleep”, “tell me honestly how business is going”, “what are you stressed about”? At The Light House COwork (TLHCO) I do my best to check in on every member weekly. If I don’t see them in person it might be a text message or a private message through our online community platform. I want every person here to feel cared for because they are important.
Focus and Productivity – working from home can present many distractions (laundry, pets, dishes). Sometimes working from home I just simply lack motivation, being around other motivated individuals often encourages me to get more done. I love to encourage members each day by asking questions like “what is your big rock that you want to tackle today?”, or “what task are you avoiding that you need some accountability on?”. Personally, if I have something big or tricky that I don’t know where to start on it’s easy to let myself get distracted unless I am accountable to someone for getting that task done.
I feel so much more accomplished at work when I go through my day undistracted by home life. I also believe that keeping work and home separate gives structure and peace in both areas. Even following a loose routine or schedule can often provide focus and productivity. When I can really focus on work at work, then I can go home and tackle home chores.
Flexibility – A cowork space allows you to start slow, start small, and grow into the space that you and your future business need. If you’re just starting to consider office space you’ll need to think about some important aspects beyond month-month expenses, such as insurance, gas, power, water, internet, lease, cleaning, supplies … You’ll also need to consider if you are ready to sign a fixed-term lease and for how long. What tenant improvements will you need to do? A coworking space takes care of all of that and allows you to rent the space on much shorter, more flexible terms. Flexibility to me also means that a cowork space is flexible in terms of who members are, a cowork space to me is not an exclusive club, everyone is welcome and there is room for everyone.
ASK YOURSELF – What is the biggest hurdle in your business right now. What’s that problem you are staring at and not sure if you are going to be able to clear it?
ASK YOURSELF – What business supports would be valuable to me right now? Is there anyone in my circle that that can provide that support?
At The Light House CO we are committed to not just providing a space to COwork but a place to receive valuable COaching and COnnections that can help you see that those hurdles you face aren’t as high as you think. Others have jumped those same hurdles already and can walk you through the easiest way to move forward so you can clear those hurdles with grace. I am not saying it will always be easy, but when we surround ourselves with wise counsel it is definitely easier.