So since the New Year I have been spending more time at my local co-working space ‘Wimbletech’ in Wimbledon, London and I’m loving it!
If you are a soloprenuer or work from home it can be pretty isolating - especially if you are like me and work with a range of international clients. Don’t get me wrong I love what I do and who I work with, it's just sometime there is no substitute for face to face human contact!
There are some challenges as it is possibly an unnecessary expense as I work part time and can only really go once or twice a week. That said on balance I think it has been an investment that should pay off.
So I thought I would give you my top 5 reasons why you should consider giving co-working a go if you work on your own:
#1 You get to meeting new, diverse people (in person!)
Working in the online work isn’t the best for making direct and meaningful connections with people. It take a lot more time to build up trust and develop the relationship. In my view face to face interactions build that trust much quicker and there is no real substitute.
I’m pretty independent, so working for myself is not a problem - but I do love meeting new people and so far I have met and chatted to a range of people from Brazil, Italy, China, and of course Britain!
This is a pleasure for me as I love hearing people's stories and perspectives. And for me you never know when somebody might need a web designer.
Of course not everyone is as forthcoming as others - and I have seen people come in with headphones work all day and then leave without saying a word. But sometime it just helps to be around other people I guess.
#2 Potential business collaborations
Collaborating with others is probably one of the biggest potential opportunities of going to a co-working space. Whilst I do get lost in my work I have tried to make an effort to find out what other people are into and how we could potentially work together
You just need to be willing to overcome any shyness and get chatting to people. Most people will be trying to develop their business just like you so you have nothing to lose. Ask them what they do and see if there are any synergies.
I have already teamed up with a talented Graphic Designer and we are working on a couple of projects together. I am also discussing collaborating with a social media expert. The thing is with these places is you never know who you are going to meet and what opportunities may present themselves.
So get chatting!
#3 It's Local!
There are now loads of coworking spaces popping up all over the place and if you are near a big town or city I bet you there are some co-working spaces near you.
I love being able to walk to work. My co-working space is close enough to allow me to walk to work (whilst listening to my favourite podcasts!).
Meeting proper locals has also meant that I got to hang out after work with a couple of fellow workers. It also means that more locally based opportunities present themselves, which I am always open to.
They also have some other locations around London that I can use - which is great for expanding contacts.
4. Self development opportunities
Many co-working spaces run various networking sessions and classes. Theses can be great as they not only allow you to promote yourself, but also to hear what other people are up to and to develop your knowledge.
I have seen many different training sessions offered at co-working spaces. This week I attended a session on Business Branding - delivered by an experienced branding professional. This was a great insight into the branding world and gave me some pointers as to how I can best help my clients develop their own brand.
I also recently gave my other co-workers a 5 minute talk about what I do to other workers. Whilst public speaking is not really my thing, it is this type of opportunity that helps with personal development and confidence boosting. I also mixed in a micro yoga session!
It went well and now I am looking forward to doing my next one.
Why not check out the schedule of classes and training your local space offers. You may even be able to attend some sessions without being a member. This would also give you the flavor and feel of the people and the space!
5. There is a wide range of options (plus free coffee and biscuits!)
Coworking spaces range from those that will cost you just a few $$ a month in return for a flexi desk, wifi and probably not much more. Through to high end or specialist co-working spaces designed for those willing and able to pay that extra bit more for top of the range facilities or maybe even a fixed desk.
Some are pet friendly, some offer massages and ping pong!
The space I use has a great little kitchen and as much coffee and biscuits as you can handle. As a coffee fan this as brilliant and I try to ration myself on the biscuits (I try to convince myself the walk will burn them off - but who am I kidding!).
So is co-working all great?
So it would be wrong not to highlight some of the negatives of co-working spaces.
If you need complete silence to concentrate then they are probably not for you. Whilst not always buzzing with chattering entrepreneurs, they tend not to be the quietest of places (that's kinda the point!).
You may also consider the cost as unnecessary - especially if you can work at home no problem. The decision is yours, but you never know who you are going to meet and what opportunities may arise. You can always give it a go and if it's not for you, then no problem - most are pretty flexible on contract lengths.
If you need ‘defensible’ space - i.e. your own desk then you will have to upgrade and go for a fixed desk. Most flexi-space are first come first served, so if you are a late riser you may have to compromise on your ideal working conditions.
However in summary my first month at my co-working space - Wimbletech has been really positive. There are other perks such as free room hire and I took this opportunity to offer my own Yoga class to members and public.
If you haven’t given it a go maybe check out your local co-working space. You never know what opportunities it may uncover.
Designed by Felippe Piccolo, a Graphic Designer from Wimbletech.