Editor’s note: This post is part of a partnership with Ace Coworking where I have been compensated. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Finding My Focus
When I first started my business, I spent a lot of time in coffee shops because I felt I couldn’t focus or didn’t know how to focus while working from home. I thought I would have better success in coffee shops. It actually made things worse. I became distracted by the people who weren’t working. Over time I was able to get into a routine and learned how to be more productive working from home.
If you are able to work from home and have a designated space to do so, it can be very beneficial. You don’t have to deal with the common coffee shop problem: arriving there super early just to snag a table or strategically spreading your stuff around so no one will sit near you. Although I do the latter anyway in my home office and it never seems like I have enough space.
The best thing about the home office is that you can play your music as loud as you want, however many times you want. Certain songs never get old.
The Growing Trend of Coworking
When looking up “definition of coworking” on Google, this is what comes up – “The use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas and knowledge.”
I especially like this sentence at the end: “The whole idea of coworking is to bring bright, creative people together and let the ideas collide.”
Coworking establishments won’t be going out of fashion anytime soon. They will only continue to grow and thrive to meet the increasing demands of people wanting a better alternative to a coffee shop. A coworking space eliminates the constant distractions but still has the aesthetics of your favourite cafe or brunch spot.
I Am Now a Coworking Convert
As much as I love being alone (My Meyers-Briggs personality type is INTJ), the lack of human interaction can get to me. I don’t have kids or pets, so I sing a lot when I work from home to fill the silence. Running your own business is tough and isolating enough as it is, which is probably another reason why I sing to myself.
I have been aware of the coworking trend for a while. Even though I have heard the benefits of it from other people, I never really gave much thought to joining one until recently. Like many people, I assumed that coworking spaces were more of a big city thing and my only option was renting an office. I didn’t want to have to make a long commute on a regular basis.
Then through word of mouth and social media, I began to learn that coworking spaces existed in the suburbs!
So after having experienced a bit of the coworking life, I am hooked and will share with you 6 reasons as to why coworking will improve your business.
1. Networking Within a Community
I know. I hate that word too and instantly have an image of someone making it rain with their business cards. I try to use the word connecting but sometimes I just say networking out of habit.
Coworking spaces go to great lengths to create that sense of community. Ace Coworking, a beautiful shared workspace located in downtown Oakville (a quick drive from where I live), does an amazing job of this. With their weekly yoga classes, inspirational quotes, book club, lunch outings, monthly socials and accountability group, they are a prime example of how important it is to work hard/smart, but also to play hard (for the record, I don’t think the term “play smart” exists).
These types of spaces provide a more casual, fun networking environment where conversation doesn’t seem forced or awkward. You don’t feel so obligated to automatically default to talking about the weather. You can talk about things happening within the coworking community instead!
Sometimes it can take some time to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes it’s hard to do when you’re home alone. Whenever I’m feeling stuck or uninspired, I’ll take it as a sign that I need a change of scenery. Many coworking spaces are well designed and pleasing to the eye. Other visually appealing spaces that come to mind are Make Lemonade and Love Child Social House in Toronto. Places like these can help boost mood and productivity.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to running a business. Coworking spaces can offer a variety of options such as private or shared offices, shared desks and dedicated desks. If you don’t see yourself using the space that often, there are also memberships that provide discounts on meeting rooms, member events and day passes.
If you want to try it out before making the commitment, there is always the option of day passes. I took advantage of using the Ace Coworking space a couple of times when they were celebrating International Coworking day (Thurs Aug 9th, 2018). They were letting people try their space free of charge that week. It may take a few tries to really get a feel for coworking, which is why many of them also offer day passes in a multi-pack.
Many people are afraid of discussing money, but when you’re running a business you have no choice but to do so. It’s important to know how things will affect your bottom line and whether or not they are worth the investment.
Coworking spaces provide flexibility for your business finances because every budget is different. The use of this space can help keep a startup’s costs low because they do not have to pay for rent, cleaning services or utilities which can end up being a hefty monthly cost. Unlike a coffee shop, you don’t feel obligated to constantly purchase food and drink to show that you have a right to be there. You can bring in your own food, drink and place it in their fridge. Just like when you used to work your 9-5.
Don’t forget that the day passes mentioned in the previous point can also be very friendly for your business budget.
5. Variety of Coworkers
All sorts of people use coworking spaces. Startups, solopreneurs, small business owners, freelancers and venture capitalists just to name a few – which can also mean access to different resources, industries and areas of expertise. As they say, variety is the spice of life.
6. Collaborations, Customers and Clients (How’s That For Alliteration?)
Getting to know the people in the community can directly result in any of the above or lead you to people who can. Remember the sayings, “People buy from people” or “People buy from people they know, like and trust.” Being part of a coworking community can help you be that person that people know, like and trust.