The Truth About Co-Working Spaces: Is It Even Worth Going to One?
Entrepreneurship involves many long hours spent building and developing your business. These long hours are usually spent alone — just you, your computer, and your phone.
The feeling of loneliness can weigh heavy on many entrepreneurs. When there is no one around for you to vent to or seek guidance from, the pressure can be daunting.
People who work regular jobs don’t understand your journey. They falsely believe that entrepreneurship is fun and easygoing. Therefore, they aren’t great people to talk to about the various pressures you’re dealing with.
As an entrepreneur who feels lonely or who needs a change of environment, you may want to be in the company of those who truly know your struggles.
There are times you need encouragement to stay focused. At other times you need the motivational boost that comes from witnessing others’ success, an experience which can provide that healthy competitive push to help you excel.
Whatever your reason for wanting to work among other entrepreneurs and freelancers, you should know that there is an emerging movement to provide communal working environments to those who typically work alone.
Why Co-working Spaces?
Co-working is an interesting concept, which is becoming increasingly attractive to many entrepreneurs and independent professionals.
Co-working spaces allow an individual, who works in isolation, to actually work among actual human beings again.
Sitting in your home office staring away at the computer can drive you crazy when there is no real human interaction taking place. Sometimes it’s actually helpful to be in the presence of others.
Though as an entrepreneur, you crave independence, humans are naturally social creatures. You want to be assured that there are others grinding away and working just as hard as you. This assurance is important for keeping you motivated and engaged in achieving your short-term and long-term goals.
While in the short-term, you are likely not working on the same project as the people around you, everyone is working extremely hard to maintain the same larger goal: independence.
Structure Among Independent Workers
While working from home sounds great, it is quite a challenge to stay productive while working in an atmosphere meant for comfort.
The temptations you face while working in your home can often be very hard to overcome. You have your bed, your television, and your ADHD behavior; any of these things can steer your attention away from your work.
That is why many people who work from home choose to work at Starbucks. There is less temptation when you are in a neutral environment like a coffee shop — unless you goof off on your computer or choose to people watch instead of work.
Your local coffee shop may be a better workplace option than your home, but it’s still missing something.
Placing yourself in a co-working space allows for a more productive environment, because you’re working in a culture of professional standards.
When you’re at home, you tend to feel that you have all the time in the world to get things done.
At the coffee shop, your time for productivity can be limited — there are only so many outlets available.
When working within a co-working space, you plan to be there for a given amount of time. Therefore, you feel more of a push to get your work done on schedule. There is no time to play around and goof off; you are there to work hard and get things done.
There is not much room to slack off when earning a living online. If you don’t complete your work, you don’t get paid. Working in an environment where everybody else is focused on their work and busy making progress pushes you to do the same.
Surrounded by hard work and success, you feel compelled to conform to the standards of your environment. When confronted with a certain type of energy, you basically have no choice but to imitate the conduct of those around you.
Even though you operate as an entrepreneur — conducting yourself as your own boss — structure and discipline are required in order to be successful. Co-working spaces create a structured social code focused on producing excellence.
The Benefits of Socialization
When people think of socializing in the workplace, they typically think of gossip — or other conversations that do not have anything to do with actual work.
What makes co-working spaces so great is that socializing with other creative and entrepreneurial people can actually lead to your innovative breakthrough.
We all have times when our brains just feel drained and go blank after working continuously for a couple of hours. You can’t think, and getting through your work is a difficult task.
Taking just a few minutes to have a conversation with one of your co-workers — bouncing ideas off of one another — can lead you to think on a higher level. Engaging in a carefree conversation about different aspects of work generates a spark in brain activity, which was previously shut down because your brain felt overworked.
The opportunity to be surrounded by likeminded individuals and communicate on a daily basis with them helps to create very beneficial connections.
Having great connections is very important as an entrepreneur, freelancer, and independent worker; no one can truly prosper on their own.
People depend on each other for success. Even though it seems like we’re completely independent as freelancers and entrepreneurs, we each depend on large groups of people to remain engaged and get paid.
The Diversification of Your Network
One of the greatest benefits of a co-working space is the variety of people all congregated under one roof.
Unlike a traditional office environment — where all the workers are performing tasks focused on the common goals of the business that employs them — a co-working space has many different individuals, working primarily by themselves, on their own projects and clients’ work.
Your peers can create access to people that you need in your network.
One of your primary goals within the co-working space should be building your network — developing those relationships that will help your business thrive.
For instance, imagine you are building an information product website based on written content, and talk on a daily basis with a web designer. The designer happens to mention one day that he has a couple of clients who are looking for exactly the type of content you are creating.
Who is the designer most likely to refer the work to?
The person he has developed a good connection with, which just so happens to be you.
Would this sort of scenario have occurred if you were sitting somewhere in an isolated place, being an “independent worker”? I highly doubt it.
Likewise, when you are looking to expand your written content into more web design, who will you reach out to?
They say that your network is your net worth.
Being in an active co-working space enhances your network’s net worth, because entrepreneurs are constantly creating new contacts and will most certainly have someone in their network who needs your services or products.
How to Tell if You Need a Co-working Space
As an entrepreneur, making an investment in anything for your business must always be a well-thought-out decision, and co-working spaces are not for everyone
A co-working space sounds good, but will it actually benefit your productivity?
You may need a co-working space if you are dealing with any of the following issues:
Constantly Behind On Work
This is a major issue that many entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers deal with. When you are constantly behind on your work, you have no chance to breathe, and you always feel rushed and under pressure.
Working in a co-working space helps you to better schedule your time. Say that you commit to working from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. In that timeframe, you are going to schedule a specific amount of time for the day’s tasks.
This helps you to get more work done in a shorter amount of time instead of constantly dragging projects out for days and days. Your productivity goes up.
The reason this change in productivity occurs is that you’re around others who are making consistent progress. Seeing their diligence will compel you to ask others how they manage their time, and you will find yourself emulating their behavior in order to get the same results.
Need More Clients
In order to remain independent, you need to be able to support yourself by building up a solid base of clientele. Unfortunately, you may be having a little difficulty securing new clients and customers.
One reason for this may be that you are too secluded. You are too far removed from real people and real connections, plus you have cut yourself off from any peer-to-peer education.
Even if if you primarily work behind a computer screen, business is all about people. It’s always people who click your links and buy your products, right?
In order to connect with these people, you will have to step out of your seclusion and make contact with the outside world, in order to create leads, build marketing, and learn how to better operate, both through first-hand and second-hand experience.
First-hand experience is knowledge you have gained from working and learning through trial and error on your own. Second-hand experience is knowledge passed on to you from the learning process of your co-working community.
A co-working space makes this process much easier, because you are given the opportunity to do these necessary activities every time you are there.
Your co-working space is your premier network for learning and lead generation. You are given the opportunity to learn important lessons from those with more experience than you in the entrepreneurial world.
Also, people specializing in a particular field of work always have clients and customers that have other needs — particular services and products that they cannot provide themselves.
If you are the person who can provide the necessary services and products to a particular client, then you have a very warm lead that can possibly turn into revenue.
This type of scenario may only happen because of the connections made in the vibrant co-working space you have placed yourself within.
Need a Challenge
Working by yourself can sometimes lead to complacency.
You believe that you are quite good at what you do and view yourself as successful, but there are always those who far surpass your current level of work quality and work output.
You must surround yourself with competitive people in order to be motivated to perform at a higher level yourself.
When you are working alone, the standards that you put in place tend to slacken as you allow yourself to relax into a routine. When surrounded by others, you tend to compare and contrast their qualities with your own, because you don’t want to be the least successful person in the room. This is a competitive mindset.
Healthy competition is never a bad thing to take part in. Competitive co-working spaces help to improve the focus and performance of their occupants.
Just as accelerated classrooms force students to think and operate far better than the average student, co-working spaces induce the same type of behavior in their occupants. Everyone in the co-working community wants to prove that they are the best content writer, the best coder, the best SEO and marketing strategist — the best at what they do.
Is a co-working space a good environment for you to work in?
If you want more discipline and structure, an improved work performance, a better network of people, and the opportunity to gain more qualified leads, a co-working space is definitely a great option for you.
Take the time to go out and find a co-working space that fits you. If you locate one that does, join it and reap the benefits it provides.
Here are two websites that can help you locate a co-working space in your city:
- https://www.coworker.com/ This site focuses strictly on co-working spaces within a given city. It lists price per day or month and the available co-working spaces.
- https://placestowork.co/ This site has a mixture of co-working spaces and coffee shops. If money is a factor in your use of a co-working space, the coffee shops listed have a great working atmosphere.