Spark Listers have a lot of different working styles and as entrepreneurs, freelancers, contractors and consultants. For some of us, it’s the Side Hustle and for others we cut the cord from traditional work to go create something new. One thing that is for sure, we are all about freedom and this includes choosing where we spend our time at work. We get the question from Entrepreneurs a lot “Should I build out my home office, or should I join a CoWork Space?” “Is it possible to have Work/Life balance where I live?” Well, for me, it’s all about CoWorking at Impact Hub, Santa Barbara! Read more to learn why.
First, a little back story. When I first moved away from my traditional career path, working full time for UCLA Anderson, I not only changed jobs, but I also packed up my home of 13 years, my furry animals, had a lovely farewell party with my friends, and moved myself to a brand new home in a gorgeous and remote part of the Central Coast of California. I was ready to start my startup and build brilliant things all on my very own. Armed with my education and ideals and a supportive partner, I was ready.
After a few months of working in my PJs, sitting on the patio and sunning at lunch, and being able to go for long beach walks at my leisure… I started to realize something. I was ALL ON MY OWN and it was lonely. I was becoming unproductive and actually kind of sad, missing my colleagues and collaborators. The Ellen Show was pretty much my best friend, I watched Super Soul Sunday every day. I missed my water cooler buddies, and wondered what on earth I’d done. I stared at my cat and questioned my choice to leave everything I had known to do something as foolish as start a business.
As an Entrepreneur Strategy Coach, the number one thing I remind folks is that they simply cannot do it all on their own. It’s a no win situation if you are a solo act. You need a team and a community of some kind, yet here I was, breaking Rule #1. I needed a solution fast as I was running out of time, energy, and money. Coffee Shops weren’t a solution – because I needed to be around some serious entrepreneur energy. I hopped in my Hybrid and zipped up PCH to Santa Barbara and into a co-work space, found myself a window seat, and turned my laptop on.
It was remarkable in short order how much more productive I became and how quickly I began to foster a new community. It didn’t take long before I had a clear direction for my business, a smart group of people to bounce ideas around, and my momentum returned.
I am a firm believer in the community opportunity in Co-Work spaces, and I am not alone.
“It’s estimated that 50% of the population will be working independently by 2020. If this comes to fruition, the demand for shared space will continue to rise at a fast pace in the next year. According to some estimates, there could be up to 37,000 Coworking spaces worldwide by the end of 2018.” – Major Coworking Trends for 2018
Over the last three years, I’ve graduated from the Community Membership to my own office at Impact Hub, Santa Barbara. It’s a vibrant part of town known as the Funk Zone and it’s still just a few hundred steps from the ocean. I enjoy the social and professional aspect and am incredibly fortunate to be able to bring my dog to work. (The cat stays at home.) My office acts as both a place to accomplish great things, have wonderful meetings with clients, and with a lovely little corner office – it is a marketing tool in the Startup and Freelance community.
<id=”5questions”>If you are considering joining a co-work space or renting an office in one, here are 5 Questions to Ask Before you Make your Co-Work Space Decision.
- What are the top Co-Working spaces in my area and what do I think about each of them?
- Do not make a decision without research. I visited a number of co-working spaces both right near my home and in other areas close by. I used week passes at a lot of them. Ultimately, I chose to become a member at Impact Hub because it was the right group of people, had the right kind of services, and felt like the right vibe for the stage of business I was in.
- How many hours a week can I commit to going to work at a co-work space?
- Most spaces have tiered memberships, from part time to 24 hour access. Think critically about how much time you intend to spend in the office and find a membership that matches it. Then, show up. Put your office time on your calendar and hold yourself to it. Make it a one-month goal to use the space to the maximum membership capacity you can.
- What financial commitment am I willing to make and can I make it for six months?
- It is critically important that you recognize the financial commitment you are making and put yourself in a position to commit for a period of time that will really return benefits. The first month of just about anything is learning, so make sure you have a little runway. For me, I look at my rent as a way to determine how many Strategic Growth Clients I need to justify the commitment.
- You will also be given different levels as options, Community Membership, Dedicated Desk, or Office. Determine what your needs are and if making a bigger financial commitment will help you use the space better. This is NOT a gym you don’t actually use. It’s a business tool, so think about the dollars and how they make sense.
- What do I want out of my co-working experience?
- Here we go again with goals! What is your goal for co-working. What do you want out of it? As yourself, “Am I looking for connections, collaborators, a place away from the laundry, good internet, coffee? What will make this financial commitment worthwhile?”
- What do other members of this co-work space say about their experience and how are they getting the most out of it?
- When you are visiting the space, make sure to get up – go to the kitchen, listen to the conversations happening around you. Talk to the people who work at the front desk and ask them if there is anyone you should meet to learn more about the space. Ask people what works for them and how they get the most out of it.
Want to read a little more on the Co-Work World and what makes it worthy of investment? Here are a couple articles we found valuable.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2017/10/02/the-way-we-work/2/#3380e66e1781 (WeWork’s $20 Billion Office Party: The Crazy Bet That Could Change How The World Does Business)
https://www.wunsystems.com/blog/major-coworking-trends-2018/ (Major coworking trends for 2018 – lots of yummy stats!)