The journey of an entrepreneur can be isolating, especially if you're building alone from the ground up. To combat common difficulties, more and more professionals are taking advantage of coworking spaces, which foster greater collaboration and productivity.
Here are some tips for maximizing your coworking experience.
What Are the Advantages?
Because they bring writers, programmers, graphic designers and marketers together, coworking spaces are fertile environments for cross-talent collaboration. Professionals are able to gain fresh perspectives that yield greater insight into their endeavors. This diversity fuels new ideas, while paving the way for new opportunities. Coworking spaces also foster better work-life balance, but the benefits don't stop there. In the right setting, entrepreneurs enjoy a number of substantial advantages, including:
Increased productivity and better focus
Access to massive networks that pave the way for greater collaboration and innovation
Discovering new opportunities outside your comfort zone
Fewer distractions and interruptions
Increased stimuli and relief from the stifling effects of isolation and loneliness
A sense of community and greater engagement with peers
Access to tools and facilities outside your usual budget
Greater mobility and freedom from long leases
The flexibility to work on your schedule, even outside of normal business hours
Coworking services also allow startups to maintain a consistent brick-and-mortar address for receiving packages and mail. Many also offer small suites for client meetings, along with calm, private rooms for telephone conversations. Some coworking spaces even support startups by hosting speakers, gatherings and competitions.
Getting the Most from Your Experience
When they work, coworking spaces provide big benefits that enhance success. When they don't, they become little more than an extra expense. Much of your coworking experience depends on your willingness to step out of your comfort zone and mingle with others. At the same time, it's important to choose a space that is most likely to match your needs.
When selecting a coworking space, it pays to look for key attributes. This should include everything from location and amenities to hours, pricing, network security and support. You should also consider the vibe and culture of the space. Try to determine whether the space will provide networking and educational opportunities, while also offering a quiet, productive environment where you can get things done. As with most things, this will require a good amount of research. You can start by reading reviews on popular coworking spaces in your area. You should also interview the provider to make sure they can provide the tools, infrastructure and opportunities you need to market your business and develop your pipeline.
Right now, coworking spaces are relatively limited in all but the biggest U.S markets; however, that should change soon. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2010 about 65 million American workers will be independent contractors, temps, freelancers or solopreneurs. That will make up about 40 percent of the workforce. This expectation sets the stage for significant profit-potential in the coworking industry, which should result in more spaces, more competition and better choices.