It’s 10 a.m. on a Saturday. I’m in a coffee shop reading, and as I look around I can’t help notice, I’m surrounded by people on laptops and others engaged in conversations about projects and business ideas they are working on.
I overhear one particular conversation that catches my attention. There are two women sitting next to me discussing ideas for businesses they have, but they don’t know where to start. What is particularly interesting is that from what I can tell, they are both gainfully employed. One of the women wants to turn a passion project into a passive income source, and the other wants to find a way to take a product idea she came up with while traveling for work to market.
Lately I’ve been having similar conversations with friends and colleagues. It could be because of changes in the economy, or that my social circles have started thinking more about passive income sources, but it seems like everyone is starting a business or has an idea they want to get off the ground.
Regardless of the starting point—whether they are fully employed or not; whether they have a fleshed-out business model that's already making a profit but want to take it to the next level, or just a desire to start something—I always recommend joining a coworking space as the next step. I’ve worked out of different spaces across the U.S. and can honestly say that not all spaces are created equal. The ones that get it right offer educational and social programming, flexible memberships, and remarkable spaces designed with intention. These elements in combination can directly impact a business’s bottom line.
I’ll break down the rationale I give to those who have full-time jobs in a future post, but for now I’ll start with folks who actually have a small business or a funded startup and are interested in growing.
Three benefits of coworking for a small business owner.
- Saving on the cost of space: One of the biggest expenses of a small business is office space. You can find a space that’s cheap, but if you’re looking for a space that you feel motivated to go to each day, the cost goes up. There is also the hidden cost of the lease and operation costs of running it. Things like cleaning, utilities, coffee, furniture, etc. usually don’t get considered. All of these items, while critical to managing the space you work out of, don’t directly impact a business’s product. Whether an entrepreneur is at the edge about to take the leap or just getting started, I always advise them to get an office at a coworking space for this reason.
- Investing in a healthy company culture: The second benefit has to do with engaging employees and building the type of culture needed to create quality goods and services. The right coworking spaces have it built into their membership experience. The best coworking spaces offer community-focused activities designed to help you move your business forward. In fact, some of the better coworking spaces host great networking events and offer educational programing employees can attend for free or at a member discount.
- Connecting to a network of highly motivated people: Lastly, and I'd say most importantly, at a coworking space you’re surrounded by other highly motivated, high-functioning people that are working on growing their business as well. Having a network of people can make a world of difference. I consider myself particularly lucky because I have the best of both worlds. On one hand, I know what it takes to deliver on the COCO promise and the team I work with to do so delivers a level of output that is almost unheard of. On the other hand, I get to interact with and get energized by our members as I work on my projects as well. Side note, we're looking for talented people to join our team as we speak.
Being an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial minded, whether you’re a startup founder or a small business owner, the journey can be a real roller coaster. Having an authentic group of motivated people around you working on building their own future and disrupting industries can directly contribute to successful personal and professional outcomes.
Of all the coworking spaces I’ve worked at in the past, I can confidently say we offer the most value to our members, and I’m not just saying that because I work here. I started out as a member as well and took advantage of all the benefits I’ve listed myself. Now I get to help shape our member experience, and knowing why we do the things we do and how we do it makes me even more of an advocate. Don’t just take my word for it though. Schedule a tour and see for yourself what makes COCO a unique place to build or grow a business. You can do so here.
That's all I’ve got for now; I hope this was helpful. I’ll be hanging out here in the comments and you can also find me on Instagram.
- Thinking about signing or renewing a long-term office lease? Check this post out on the true cost of office space before doing so.
- Have an idea for a business but think it needs a bit more fleshing out? Check out this post on using Design Thinking to reimagine your business.
- Wondering about the culture you’ll find at our coworking locations? Check out this video.
I laid in bed this morning and successfully rationalized not going for a run. Then I took Kingston, our dog out and saw the view. The colors were changing and there was a nice cool breeze. How could I not get in on this? So I came home, drank some coffee, bundled up and hit the streets. It was cooler than I thought it was going to be but I'm glad I went.
For some time now I’ve been interested in writing publicly. Not necessarily blogging to build an audience or develop “content” for the sake of content. Instead writing for me is about learning, the sharing of ideas and getting things done.
Lately I've found myself having similar conversations with friends and colleagues about lifestyle design and maximizing output at work. These conversations are one of the many reasons I enjoy going to work at COCO each day. Sometimes these conversations include tools, life hacks, lessons learned, philosophies, observations, concepts or ideas that both resonate and can easily be applied. These usually end with a follow-up message and links to resources being shared.
It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but it just dawned on me that sharing these resources and synthesizing the lessons I’ve learned and will learn is an excuse to write more. I’m not sure why it took me this long to arrive at this realization.
All that being said, here are a few products, tools and books I've been obsessed with in July.
I use both the VSCOcam app on my iPhone and their Lightroom filters when shooting with my DSLR. There are two things I really like about these guys. The first is the way they went about building a community around their product. They didn't start with the tech, instead they focused on digitally replicating classic film which appealed to their core customers. The user experience of their app also reflects their attention to detail. The Verge did I pretty good feature on the founders. You can check it out here: Explore the minimalist Oakland HQ that inspires VSCO co-founders Greg Lutze and Joel Flory
I don't consider myself a good writer or more accurately a good "blogger". I do however communicate a lot in writing, especially when it comes to managing projects. AI writer is the tool I use to draft pretty much anything I write. From tweets to emails to this very post, everything passes through this tool. They have an iOS and desktop app connected via the cloud which I find extremely useful. Most times I’ll have an idea and start fleshing it out on my phone before putting the finishing touches on it on my laptop. The best part about this app is its sentence mode. Whenever I need to agonize over the wording of a sentence I find it a life saver.
Its very easy to get distracted on the internet and I've found (for me at least) when I have a lot of tasks to get done in a day I need to focus. I find shutting down notifications for an hour and working through one action item at a time works best. I use my Time Timer to help me stay focused. It's also a great tool for keeping brainstorming sessions on track.
I love a good book, specifically non-fiction or books with actionable information I can apply. There are two books I found myself revisiting a few times in July. The first is a year without pants by Scott Berkun. It took me a while to get to this book on my reading list but I'm glad I finally did. It has fundamentally changed the way I approach remote collaboration.
The second book is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I usually don’t discuss philosophy publicly but I've found so many of the core principles of Stoicism applicable in today's business environment and in life, I thought it was worth sharing. I'm also fascinated by the concept of Stoic Optimism, an idea I came across in Ryan Holiday's book The Obstacle is the Way. Ryan did a guest blog post on Tim Ferriss' blog that does a great job of breaking down some of Stoicism's principles, while providing some actionable takeaways. You can find it here: Stoicism 101: A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs.
That's all I have for now, until next time.
Ps: I’m not sure if I’ll keep doing this in
When I began paying attention to how established brands were adjusting their marketing and advertising strategies in the face of the social web’s evolution, I had dismissed Starbucks as a coupon pushing organization that just didn’t get it. However, I’m currently reading Onward by Howard Schultz and have revisited that assessment. I think they’re actually making the transition really well. The philosophy and tactical execution driving their digital strategy outlined by Howard is both powerful and relevant. This is how I believe brands of the future must engage with and nurture their fans/consumers to remain relevant.
I’m not quite done with the book yet but can already recommend it with confidence.
When I read books it’s usually to resolve some intellectual curiosity that eventually gets filed away. David Brooks' new book [Road to Character] however has sparked a dialog in my head usually reserved for books I intentionally seek out and invest the time to reflect on. I’m especially fascinated by the concept of Adam One and Adam Two he explores or as David frames it in his book, The Resume Virtue and the Eulogy Virtue.
These are two talks he gave about his book I found particularly interesting.