When to Ditch the Coffee Shop for Co-Working

Workplace expert and entrepreneur Liz Elam on knowing when to say when to working out of your local café in favor of more professional accommodations.

learn more about Liz Elam

By Liz Elam


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Q: How do you know if you should leave the coffee shop and upgrade to co-working?

-name withheld

A: It's time to take the plunge -- and become a member of a co-working space -- when you're tired of fighting for outlets, packing up your stuff to go to the bathroom and spending more than $10 a day on coffee. Plus the constant interruptions and the brushes with snippy baristas is enough to make anyone want to flee the café scene, right?

I've been there. And if you're anything like me, by the time you get situated at a coffee shop, you're probably already stressed out. And you still have a full day of work ahead.

Related: 3 Tips for Newbie Entrepreneurs on Starting a Business

Plus, there's the professional factor. If you want your clients to think your company is bigger than it is, won't it send the wrong signal if your internet connection cuts out during a Skype chat?

I am a true believer in the mantra "Fake it until you make it." And honestly, while working from a coffee shop is perfectly OK for a time, it will get old and could leave your company feeling woefully small in no time.

If you're still not convinced, the cost of dropping at least $10 a day on food and coffee at your office – I mean, the coffee shop – adds up. If you do the math, a co-working space is likely not that much more expensive.

Related: Are You Ready to Launch? Here's How to Find Out

Co-working memberships at some spaces cost around $200 a month. That clocks in at about $7 a day. See what I see? The investment is totally worth it. And without all of the coffee shop distractions, you might even manage to take on more clients.

Beyond the affordability factor, there's of course the camaraderie that can be entirely useful for any startup founder. At co-working spaces, you can meet future co-founders, make connections with entrepreneurs in complementary businesses or even learn a new skill or two. If these kinds of results sound like they'll help your new company grow, then maybe co-working is for you.

For more on how to evaluate a co-working space, check out this video "How to Find a Co-Working Space That's Right for Your Startup" from YoungEntrepreneur.com's Antonio Neves, as well as our series on the subject. And for questions on co-working, don't forget to leave a comment below or Tweet us using the hashtag #YEask.

Liz Elam

Founder of Link Coworking

Liz Elam is the founder of Link Coworking and Link Too, co-working spaces in Austin, Texas. She does interior design and space consulting through Powered by Link. Elam is the former president and founder of co-working network group the League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces and founder of national coworking association Coshare. Previously, Elam served as a sales executive at Dell. 

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Celebrity Entrepreneurs

'I Dreaded Falling in Love.' Rupert Murdoch Is Getting Hitched for the Fifth Time.

The 92-year-old media tycoon announces he will wed former San Francisco police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith.

Business News

Carnival Cruise Wants Passengers to Have Fun in the Sun — But Do This, and You'll Get Burned With a New $500 Fee

The cruise line's updated contract follows a spate of unruly guest behavior across the tourism industry.

Starting a Business

Selling Your Business? Do These 6 Things Right Now.

If you want the maximum price you need to make these moves before you do anything else.


5 Practical Strategies Founders Can Use to Improve Their Mental Health

Supporting your mental health is one of the most important investments you can make in your company. If you're unsure where to begin, choose one of these strategies and focus on implementing it in your everyday life.


How Great Entrepreneurs Find Ways to Win During Economic Downturns

Recessions are an opportunity to recalibrate and make great strides in your business while others are unprepared to brave the challenges. Here's how great entrepreneurs can set themselves up for success despite economic uncertainty.