1. You want to work for yourself, but not by yourself
So, you’re tired of your day job and want to do something you feel is more meaningful to you. You have a passion, a talent, expertise, or all three, and an idea to turn it into money. You want to work under your own terms, setting the salary you deserve to make, doing the things that you love. You dream of working for yourself, but don’t exactly want to work by yourself. Here’s some good news: you are about to join over 15 million Americans who are currently self-employed as of 2015. That’s 10% of the entire U.S. labor force (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). So where are these 15 million people? Almost everywhere. Many of them work from their homes in the comfort of their couch or home office. Others work out of coffee shops and bookstores, places that they find to be beneficial to their productivity and focus. Some are independent contractors who have no permanent “headquarters”, preferring to travel wherever their work takes them instead. But a good chunk of these self-employed professionals are now choosing to grow their businesses out of co-working spaces.
A co-working space provides a shared, community work space for independents and startup teams to be productive and finish what needs to get done, whatever that may be. There’s the usual amenities that come with being in an office space, such as printers, coffee, meeting rooms, etc, but the real value comes from being a part of a community of like-minded starters. Co-working spaces put on events and mixers to get people involved. Sharing is a key component in co-working, and the most important thing the space can share is ideas. Workshops and seminars on business advice, marketing, web design, personal branding and much more can bring tremendous value to co-work spaces and are how many of them get discovered. Co-working allows you to work on your dreams and build your own career while keeping you connected to a close-knit tribe of like-minded motivators. When you’re in a community of constant sharing (of ideas, services, the coffee pot), you’ll be surprised to see how much you have to offer yourself.
2. It’s hard to get work done at home
Sure, working out of your home in your pajamas seems like a dream job, but it may not be the best if you’re planning on getting serious with your business. Let’s start with distractions. You’re in your own house, so nobody knows it better than you. This also means nobody can more comfortable in it than you. It’s easy to think: Oh, I can just binge-watch that Netflix series I’ve been wanting to see. I can still get the work done. So you flip on the television, or worse, bring up a new browser tab and start streaming. A few minutes later, you figure it’s time for a snack and grab something to bring to your workstation. Since you’re eating anyway, you might as well call it a break and you decide to read some articles online, bringing up another tab. Maybe you should do some shopping too, I mean, you’ve been wanting that desk lamp for ages—plus, it’ll definitely boost your productivity, right? You look at the clock and wonder how it’s been three hours since your “break” started and you haven’t even checked your emails. It’s a story we’ve all been through, and it’s the death of business. Sure, a few distractions here and there can help break the monotony, but when you add them all up and compare them to how much you’re actually producing, can you honestly look yourself in the eye and call yourself “productive”?
Besides distractions, working from home can get lonely. You might have a kid, spouse, or pet to keep you company, but when it comes to business, can you really have a meaningful conversation with them about it? Are they helping you generate leads? If that’s the case, then good on you. But for the thousands of independents working from home in isolation, there comes a point when you just need to get out and meet people. And not just any people, you need to meet the right people if you expect your business to go anywhere.
That’s where co-working spaces come in. Collaborative workspaces offer a space and a place where people of all different backgrounds can come together and create something they otherwise couldn’t have created on their own. A good co-working space will have a welcoming staff and a warm atmosphere to make it seem like you never left home in the first place.
3. Coffee shops are too noisy
We all have that favorite coffee shop or café that serves your perfect morning cup. Coffee shops and similar places are great if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or a way to perk up your mornings. But at their core, they run a business just like you do; and they’re in the business of making coffee for people, not helping you grow your startup. What happens when the usual rush comes in and you have an important meeting underway? Coffee shops can get crowded and noisy on a dime, and privacy isn’t necessarily the priority. This means that your Arabica-scented sanctuary may not be the best if you want to pull off a truly professional appearance, especially with new clients.
Many co-working spaces are centrally located, so you can easily find one close to your favorite dives and cafes, or are at least walking distance from somewhere new that you can discover. Fusion@Midtown Premier Co-working in Reno’s artistic Midtown district is the neighborhood’s first local co-working space. Fusion@Midtown members get the most out of Midtown’s growing local foodie scene with places like Dreamer’s Coffeehouse, Blue Whale Coffee, and Coffee Bar all within a mile of the co-working space. Fusion@Midtown is just an example, but most co-working spaces will strategize with local roasters to make the most out of peoples’ need to re-energize and their desire to be productive in a quiet, professional setting, and many, like Fusion@Midtown, offer free coffee to members.
4. You can make the connections that matter
Networking in the traditional sense is dead. Everyone in the business world knows this. It’s one thing to go to a “networking event” and trade a few business cards with strangers, but to actually make a valuable connection, to really feel like the person in front of you is a true opportunity for not only your business, but theirs as well is a different animal. True networking isn’t how full your Rolodex is or how many LinkedIn connections you can rack up; true networking is about relationships. Does this person bring value to what I do? Can I offer them something they need? How can we make this work for both of us? Networking is less about what you say and more about what you can do. It’s about filling a gap that someone desperately needs filled, leveraging strengths, and being genuine.
It only works out that co-working spaces were built for this exact purpose. In an open work space, every interaction with someone else is a mini-networking experience. Everyone has something to offer, and everyone else needs one thing or another eventually. Co-working spaces simply allow similarly-motivated starters to be in the same room together. You don’t have to search for a good web designer, artist, accountant, or whatever it is you need through a networking mixer, because chances are, a professional with that exact skill set is sitting right across from you. And if not, he or she knows somebody who can fulfill your need. Imagine having an immediate network of skilled independent contractors ready to give feedback, do research, offer services, and collaborate right at your fingertips. That’s the power of co-working.
5. It’s fun
Co-working is the future of work, not because you can be more productive, but because it doesn’t even feel like work. When you’re in an environment where getting stuff done is the culture, rather than the mandate, then the stuff you do just feels that much more personal, and as a result, that much more fulfilling. One of the biggest things that co-working has done for me is teaching me to love what I do. I get motivated when I hear that someone else’s life has improved because of something I enjoy doing. Every day, my work becomes less of a job and more of a passion, a burning desire to reach some lofty, seemingly-unattainable goal—an adventure, if you will. We’re all building something here, and it’s fresh and exciting for everyone, especially since success seems to be infectious. The high-fives, the secret handshakes, the little tiny victories we celebrate every day push us to do more, to try harder, and to make the best out of what (little) time we’ve got in the day.
If you want to take control of your career, be a part of something bigger than yourself, if you want a professional space to meet others like you, or if you’ve ever felt like work should be less of a job and more of a passion you can get paid for, then I’ll make the case that you don’t have to be in a co-working space.
You NEED to be in one.
For those of you in Reno, the newest co-working space to hit the streets is Fusion@Midtown Premier Co-working, located at 800 Haskell St. in the heart of Midtown District. Fusion has all the amenities listed above, a fun, creative community of doers, starters, and go-getters, and a host of local shops and eateries in walking distance. We’re a community of self-motivators who love to turn great ideas into money and help others do the same. We want you to join us.
After reading this article, if the question is no longer “why join a co-working space?”, but “which one should I join?”, then I’ll answer you with a dare. I dare you to start your own business and I dare you to try out co-working for a day at Fusion@Midtown. I dare you to take control of your life, find new experiences, and meet somebody you’d never have thought to run into. Are you game?
If you’ll take me up on my dare, or even if you’re still unsure, book a tour with me at http://fusionatmidtown.com/book-a-free-tour and let me show you what co-working is all about.