One of the big factors in my starting this co-working space is that I worked at a co-working space in Ogden, UT for around a year and saw firsthand all the benefits that came from working in such a space. When I was moving back to Logan, I wanted to have that same beneficial environment that I had in Ogden, here in Logan.
I thought it would be good to cover for those new to the concept what co-working is and how it can benefit you.
First, what is a co-working space?
Harvard Business Review defines it as "membership-based workspaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting". link
Why do we need co-working spaces?
"The journey of an entrepreneur can be quite a lonely, especially when you’re bootstrapping everything from the ground up by yourself. It’s a tough, lonely journey which can have pretty negative effects on you as a founder. Not a lot of people understand the processes of entrepreneurship and the unique obstacles we encounter, so being cooped up in a bedroom office all day by yourself with your own problems can be pretty daunting. A good way of avoiding this is to rent an area in a co-working space." link
What are some of the benefits of working in a co-working space?
When I lived in Ogden, I spent a few months working from my home. I started out pretty strong, but staying productive after a few months alone was a challenge. There were a lot of distractions, I usually worked in pajamas, and when my family was home it was even more challenging to work. When I was stumped working on a website, I would spend hours looking for a solution and become frustrated and discouraged.
Moving into Startup Ogden helped me be much more productive and professional in my work. Instead of having to switch my mental mindset to work mode, I was now in an office and it happened much more naturally. There weren't near as many distractions around and seeing everyone around me working was motivating.
Everyone in the space was very welcoming and supportive. Now when I had a question, I just had to get up and walk a few seats away and get an answer from a fellow coworker in just a few minutes instead of hours. As my business grew, I started to lose track of some of the projects, a few seats away was the advice I needed to manage projects better. Just about any task I was looking to take on, there was a member in the space that had a greater level of expertise than I did that was more than happy to give advice and genuinely try to help me to succeed.
When my business grew to the point of wanting to hire my first employee, others were more than happy to share their experiences with me and even share names of candidates with me that they had interviewed for a similar position, but had not hired. Adding another employee to the space was easy as well, just one more membership, month to month contract, no obligation.
This is one of the great things that I like about co-working spaces. Starting a business is scary, it's lonely, you have no idea if things are actually going to work out. The co-working space helps eliminate many of the obstacles you face when starting a business. No more year long lease agreements, you can work independently, but not alone, a group of people trying to achieve the same thing as you with a broad range of expertise that they are happy to share.
"Co-working spaces can ease some of the stress of starting a new business and provide valuable resources and connections you won't find anywhere else. They're popular for the flexibility they offer new businesses, but the real value is in their assisted serendipity: the informal conversations and the expert advice members are happy to offer one another." link
After searching the internet I came across something called the Coworking Manifesto that contained a code of conduct for the co-working community that I really liked.
THE VALUE/THE CODE OF CONDUCT OF THE COMMUNITY
We have the talent. We just need to work together. Different environments need to overlap, to connect and to interact in order to transform our culture. In order to create a sustainable community based on trust, we value:
- collaboration over competition
- community over agendas
- participation over observation
- doing over saying
- friendship over formality
- boldness over assurance
- learning over expertise
- people over personalities
- "value ecosystem" over "value chain"
I hope that we can create these same type of benefits at Habitat Logan and that our startup community grows a long with it. We look forward to meeting all of you next month.