Why Coworking Just Works
*Special guest blog from our member Amber Monaco*
I’ve been coworking for about 4+ years.
Before I became a full-time entrepreneur in 2015, I had a “regular” job that expected absurdities from me, like coming and going at the same time everyday, sitting in a depressing and windowless cubicle, asking permission to take a vacation, and waking up at an ungodly hour.
While I was at my full-time job, I started my first side-hustle as a blogger (and later as a life coach) in 2011. I created a lot of blogs, articles, and digital products, and in a few years, I knew that I wanted to quit my job and create a life full of travel and variety. As I began to work toward that goal, I was interviewed on podcasts; I was learning everything I could about entrepreneurship; and, I was making big plans to leave my job.
But, working in my business, planning my escape, and executing my plans just wasn’t happening at home. I needed a space that didn’t involve my couch, a TV, or my (bra-less) self lounging around in jam-jams. I needed to be surrounded by other entrepreneurs who were doing the work. I needed to see that other people had taken the jump, and that, one day, it would be possible for me too.
That place was a coworking space.
A coworking space is a communal office. Often times it’s an open floor plan with desks and tables dotted around multiple rooms and nooks. The atmosphere is less like a coffee shop and more like an incubator for learning, sharing, encouragement, and, you know…doing the work.
People who come to coworking spaces are quite diverse. Sometimes you see students who need to get away from roommate drama to study. There is the stay-at-home-side-hustler-mom who needs a few quiet hours to be really productive. There’s the traditional side-hustler who uses any spare minute they can find to get their startup off the ground. Another common face around coworking spaces is the entrepreneur* who can’t stand the confining walls of their living room and needs to see daylight a little more often. There’s the workaholic who spends more time at the coworking space than anywhere else. And, of course, there’s the wantrepreneur, who doesn’t know exactly what their business is going to look like, but knows there’s something wonderfully creative simmering inside.
*feel free to replace this word with teleworker, remote worker, telecommuter, or any other trendy jargon that means “someone who works at home.” You may have also heard of digital nomads (that’s me!) or location-independent workers, meaning “someone who doesn’t work in a traditional office.”
No matter who you see wandering around and waiting for that next pot of coffee to brew, it’s so nice to be surrounded by people who are hustling and killing it. Of course the people are a HUGE benefit of coworking spaces, but here are a few other benefits to making a coworking space a regular part of your routine:
1. Observing how other businesses run
At a coworking space, you might be the only person in your industry who works out of that particular space. This is a huge benefit for many reasons. First, you have the chance to tell people about your industry who may not have been exposed to you before. Second, you’ll get to see how others outside of your industry run their businesses. Third, it’s so helpful to have a set of eyes and ears that aren’t in the deep end with you.
As a coworking regular, I’ve sat next to drop shippers, affiliate marketers, designers, coders, developers, writers, digital nomads, coaches, MLMers, English teachers, product developers, mastermind leaders, YouTubers, podcasters, social media experts, and serial entrepreneurs all who have had different perspectives and ideas about how businesses succeed.
2. Working in a creative environment
In my 4+ years of coworking, I’ve been to at least 30 different coworking spaces, either to work or to be a part of an event. Each space is different and unique in its own way. I’ve been in masculine spaces in Washington DC and in very sterile spaces in Cambodia. I worked out of a coworking space in Bali for 6 months that didn’t have walls but had very aggressive monkeys who would steal things, like pens or your cookie. (Ask me about the time a terroristic monkey stole my glasses directly off my face!)
The environment in coworking spaces breeds creativity. Sure, there is the décor and the view, but there’s also the energy. I believe that creativity begets creativity. When the person next to you is motivated and excited to do more and create more, that energy seeps into you. The creativity of the owner and employees encourages you to try harder, do more, and invest a little deeper.
Plus, knowing that you’re there because you want to be there allows your creativity to be nurtured, helping you excel as a person while your business grows too.
3. Professional development
Every single coworking space I’ve been to has some sort of education component. Some spaces have “after-work” events, similar to meetups. Other spaces have lunch-and-learns. A few spaces have mastermind groups. I’ve even seen social events, like field trips or weekend getaways.
All of these events are there to grow your business in some way, but there’s also a camaraderie that is gained by spending time with people who are working hard to make their personal and professional dreams a reality, just like you are.
When spaces have learning opportunities, you too will have the chance to share your knowledge. Maybe you could lead a lunchtime session on a trick you know that has saved you time and money in your business. Perhaps you could host a book club. You might find that a no-strings-attached presentation provides a lot of value, which then leads you down a path to a new service that your business could offer.
Magical things start to happen when you start sharing your world with other people.
I wouldn’t be where I am in my businesses without coworking spaces. Because of spaces like The Hatchery, I’ve had the courage to start my second business, to grow my offerings, to position myself as a leader in my industry, and to raise my prices. I’ve met incredible people from around the world who have turned into lifelong friends.
Plus, no matter where I go in the world, I know that there is a place for me in a coworking space. I love knowing that any day, any place, I can pull up a chair, and get to work. Coworking spaces have shown me that there is no such thing as competition, just community….which, after all, is what we are all seeking anyways.