5 Compelling Reasons Why I Ditched My Office For A Coworking Space Coworking opened up opportunities I never would have had access to in my solo office.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I have always loved working alone and it was probably my penchant for seclusion that led me towards the path of internet entrepreneurship in the first place. I had also built a dreary image of coworking spaces in my mind, to me, they were for people who were just getting by.
However, last year, I spent one day away from my personal office in a coworking space on the behest of a friend who wanted me to help him write some copy.
My experience there that day led me through a series of events that culminated in my ditching my comfortable office in favor of sharing a desk with a heavily bearded guy in a coworking space.
As an internet entrepreneur, I thrive on self-motivation and on inspiration from mentors and successful business people. Of all the powerful quotes that often spark my entrepreneurial spirit, the priceless words of Sir Richard Branson stand out: "Whatever your goal is you will never succeed unless you let go of your fears and fly."
I decided to ditch my pre-conceived notions of how solitude could lead to my success and moved into a coworking space. Here is why:
1. Incredible motivation
After I arrived at the coworking space my friend explained the task he wanted me to perform for him and then he vacated his desk so that I could get to work. Based on my usual work rate, we figured it was going to be a 2-day task.
By the end of the day when my friend returned to the desk, I was done with every single one of the tasks and was staring at the computer screen in as much disbelief as he was.
What was even funnier was that my desk partner (the bearded guy) said he had been inspired by me to complete a whole lot of work, too. I was shocked because I had also been feeding off of the motivation I got from watching him work.
The first tangible benefit of a coworking space that I realized that day was the motivation that existed in that environment. To have many focused people hard at work in the same space does wonders for the mind. I repented on my illusion that coworking spaces were just for people trying to save costs.
By this time I had done it all, I had worked from home and borne the attendant struggle with self-motivation. I had gone on to having an office away from home and doing a bit better, but in all that time, I had never accomplished as much work as I did that single day.
The most powerful benefit of coworking spaces to me is the incredible environment it provides to get driven, focused and productive.
2. Valuable networks
As you may have already imagined I was already drawn to the power of the coworking environment, so when my friend invited me again, I didn't hesitate. We had been coworking on a children's book we wanted to get published on Amazon.
On the day we were supposed to publish, my graphic designer failed to send in the graphics for the book and couldn't be reached. The situation was stressing me out, but I noticed that my friend didn't look nearly as perturbed.
When it became clear that my designer wasn't going to come through, my friend reached across the desk and tapped to get the attention of the other occupant of the table, you guessed right, the bearded one.
He asked him if he could whip up a "little' graphic design for the cover page and a few other things. Without looking up from his screen our bearded friend asked for the details of the book and in one hour we had the best graphics we could have hoped for. The best part was that it was free!
Coworking spaces expose entrepreneurs to other professionals, most of whose skills complement your work and vice versa. Building a strong network and friendship along these lines will most likely yield referrals back and forth and also saves costs when a hand is reached across the table.
The things I saw when hands were reached across tables blew my mind!
3. Coworking money savings
The other thing that really endeared me to the coworking space came during a lunchtime conversation I had with my friend and with the CEO of the coworking space.
The conversation soon swerved to a comparison between how much money I spent renting an office, paying for my data, power and other amenities and how much my friend spent working from the coworking space. Then more interestingly, how much on the average the CEO made in a month from running the coworking space.
I had always guessed that there would be a margin, but I wasn't prepared for how huge the margin was. When I considered this with the additional perks of networking, increased productivity, and the mood-enhancing effects of working from a coworking space, it was pretty much becoming a no-brainer.
However, I seemed to pay more attention to the CEO because at that time I seemed more overwhelmed with the idea of starting a coworking space myself than saving cost on my expenditure! (Who knows I still might).
4. The brainstorm effect
I have had many days where I had to toil with software, scour the net for a solution or worry over some little glitch I had in executing a project, however, the collaboration in the coworking space was heartwarming. Everyone knew who to approach for a certain kind of problem and sometimes, the combined efforts of a few people brought solutions rather easily.
In the TEDx Talk, A Case For Coworking Spaces, Sean Fedorko highlighted the many ways in which this networking can affect your business. He mentioned one as being "The brainstorm effect" where many minds can come together to solve one person's problem.
Experiencing this on more than one occasion also helped me make up my mind.
5. New skills
The final nail in the coffin came when I picked up relevant graphic design skills from my bearded friend. I had always had a little knowledge of graphic design and could whip up a few basic designs, but I had never taken time to further my expertise.
On one of my visits to the working space, I showed my bearded friend, a design I had whipped up the night before, beaming with pride at my accomplishments.
He asked me what software I had used, then frowned at my response. In a few simple steps, he showed me a few tricks on another software that could revolutionize my designs. I re-designed it later that night using his tips and it was actually good enough, to be used as a book cover on Amazon, a feat I am still proud of.
The plethora of skills you are exposed to in a coworking space is reason enough to prefer it over working alone. Learning alone is much harder than learning from a pro even if it is for a fee.
Working from a coworking space proved to be better for me emotionally and financially which are key areas for any entrepreneur.
As an internet entrepreneur or small business owner, working from a coworking space could be the happier route to productivity. This could be true for you at least till you grow big enough to the point where you just have to deal with the depressing stuff like maintaining an office, staff, and amenities.
It worked wonders for me; perhaps it could do the same for you.