Some of you may already have a good idea of what coworking means. You may have had the pleasure of working in a coworking space in the past. For those of you that have never heard of coworking before or maybe have a general idea but want to know more, here is a brief explanation.
Coworking describes independent workers coming together in one place with other independent workers and working side by side. They don’t have to work for the same company or even be doing the same kind of work. Coworkers enjoy the social and collaborative environment that a coworking space can provide while still being able to do their own thing. Coworkers are mostly freelancers, remote workers, small business owners, artists, non-profits, contractors, and other professionals that have the freedom to work wherever they like.
Many independent workers end up working from home or finding a seat at a cafe or library to get their business done. This is all well and good for some. However sometimes one may feel isolated at home or surrounded by too many distractions like dishes, laundry, children or the too friendly cat who likes to sleep on your keyboard. Cafes can get you out of the house and around other people but you may still feel isolated. The seat by the outlet isn’t free when you go in or you may feel as though you need to buy a cup of coffee every hour you are sitting there using the free wifi. Another potential issue is the noise level when you are trying to take a call or the fact that it isn’t the best place to meet an important client.
A coworking space tries to bring the positives of being an independent worker together with the benefits of working alongside other people. Once you sign up and become a member you can grab any seat that is available and log into the high speed wifi. Coffee and snacks are included as well as printing and copying. Most spaces also include private offices and meeting rooms either for small groups, classes, conference calls or teleconferences. At these places you can meet a client for a private talk, step into the phone booth for a private conversation, be able to grab a coffee with a fellow coworker for a mid-day chat or lunch. You have the opportunity to reach out to other members and share your expertise with them and the greater community by giving talks, Q&A sessions, or classes and expand your knowledge base by attending other events.
Monthly rates of coworking spaces tend to be much lower than the typical cost of setting up and leasing commercial office space that you may not use full time. They provide workers with much more than just office space and office amenities. The greatest thing about coworking is the collaborative community that is created when people come together with a goal of working. People are surrounded by others that have experience, ideas, and goals. The community is created when coworkers open up to each other about their needs and strengths. Are you having a tough time getting past a part of your project? Maybe the person sitting next you just finished a project similar to yours and could give you a fresh idea. A coworking space is not just a table, chair and wifi. It is a way to plug in to the community and reach your goals through networking, expanding your skills through classes and lectures, and surrounding yourself with other professionals.
A good friend of mine, Tarri, created a wonderful blog filled with interviews of women that fill her with inspiration. I feel so honored to have been asked to participate. We met a few days ago in the building which is being remodeled for our space. I gave her a quick tour and she took some great pictures of the starting point of the remodel. She plans on coming back once we are open and doing it all over again. Check out her post here. Thanks Tarri for a fun time and a great post about us!
Many years ago my husband Chris and I came to Murfreesboro to attend MTSU. We met each other while working at a local restaurant during his last semester. The plan was to move out west once we had both graduated but Murfreesboro pulled us in and we decided to stay. Since then we have watched our town blossom and become one of the fastest growing cities in the state.
One of our most favorite parts of Murfreesboro has always been the downtown area near the square. For several years we have been looking at office space for Chris around the square. Our incredible realtor, Bill, has spent many hours touring various buildings around town with us and found the space on Lytle which we jumped on right away. When you walk inside you can feel the positive energy of the space. The ceilings are tall, the bones are good. You can see so many possibilities within. Chris and I could not be happier to get started on this project and be downtown every day.
You may be wondering how we got from looking at office space for our businesses to opening a coworking space.
Ten years ago Chris started his own business out of our house. At the time we had an extra room that he could set up as a home office. We quickly realized how expensive setting up a work space can be. Expense aside, once we had children, the extra space was gone and we were all in agreement that he could not work from home with three babies in the house. Believe it or not he started off in a shed in our backyard which led to leasing a more spacious office when he began hiring more people.
Fast forward a couple of years and we find ourselves owners of a great, old building two blocks from the square. Before buying Chris realized the building was going to be too large for his office needs. He gave me the task of researching our options and finding the most suitable plan to utilize the remaining space. Initially I began looking into creating private, executive type offices that could be leased monthly. That led me to look closer at additional options we could offer our clients that perhaps they could not get elsewhere. One day I came across a website of a coworking place in California called Hera Hub. Before finding them I had never heard of coworking. This was a completely new concept to me and I loved it. At that moment I realized that this was a great idea for Murfreesboro.
A few weeks later, after reading everything I could get my hands on about coworking, I travelled to Kansas City to attend the Global Coworking Unconference Conference. The biggest take away was the amazing community of coworkers and space owners. Everyone was so helpful to each other and truly wanted to share positives, negatives, what works and what failed in their own spaces to help new spaces just opening. It was all about helping others grow their business and supporting the community in the process. This is what I hope to help create in Murfreesboro, a place where people can work on their own projects while helping others do the same and growing a community within a community with a goal of strengthening everyone around us.