September 27, 2017 By email@example.com
Source: Entrepreneur Magazine
TJ Rinoski, a young graphic designer, talked to us about learning from others with more experience. He said that he often asks the more seasoned designers who work in Gather, technical questions when he gets stuck or needs some guidance. Likewise, Stinson Munday, of Linden Legal Strategies and Gather’s legal business partner, spoke about the ease of both giving and getting advice from others who are “next door.” She offers office hours each week, where coworkers can pop in to receive some quick legal advice. Stinson explained that she also relies on other professionals at Gather to answer questions outside of her expertise. She said, “It is like having an office without all the office politics.”
Related: 6 Benefits of Coworking With Strangers
When PJ Wallin needed to hire an employee for his growing financial planning company, WorkSocial, he looked no further than his fellow coworker, Darla Keefer. Because of their many interactions, PJ felt he knew Darla’s character, skills and work ethic. It was an easy hire. Similarly, Kate Ayers with ReEstablish Richmond, a non-profit that connects refugees to services and aids in their transition, has referred several of her clients to Andrew Crotts with Volatia, a company that supplies interpreters in more than 280 languages. As Kate said, “Our clients need jobs. This is a win for our clients and both organizations.”
Members of Gather often look to each other when buying services and products. As Brian Cannon, executive director of OneVA2021, explained, “We are a small nonprofit, and coworking has enabled us to cross-pollinate with smart, creative people regularly on a ton of projects. One of the biggest was our work with Charles Merritt, whose social media targeting and analytics, plus a natural knack for strategy, enabled us to execute a crowdfunding campaign with $50,000 from 1,000 donors all over the country. We cowork because informal access to such talent can’t be found in a regular office environment.”
The networking that occurs naturally in a coworking environment can also lead to referrals. Jessica Zullo with Hickok Cole, an architecture firm, referred Barbara Bliley and Nick Toce of Helm & Hue, a branding and marketing company with a knack for printing, to create decals for Jackson & James, one of her client’s new stores. Nick said, “The opportunities we have received have been integral to our growth and expansion. Our access to new clients, collaborative resources and referral partners have opened doors that would otherwise have been unreachable at this stage in our development.”
Jeff Kelley is a commercial journalist whose company Kelley provides content, media and digital communication services. To do this, he uses a select group of freelancers and small companies to add to his skill set. When several of Jeff’s clients started asking for graphic design, Jeff called on Caitlin Hathaway, a freelance graphic designer and web developer. Jeff said, “For six months, we met maybe once and did most of our work via email. But, when we each moved into our own space in a coworking community, we were able to work like a true agency — but without the overhead. Today we remain individual but can shout across the hall and get face-to-face time that we could not before. Work is done more efficiently, and we’ve been able to get more work because of the proximity.”
Related: 5 Ways Business Leaders Unintentionally Kill Collaboration and Creativity
When Caio Bailoni overheard AJ Mojaddidi talking at the next table about cybersecurity, a partnership was born. AJ, of Key Cyber Solutions, a successful cybersecurity consultant, teamed up with Caio, an analyst with Cloud Automation Solutions, to extend the services of both. Together, the companies have been able to bid on several large projects that they would not have been able to approach before the collaboration. Caio said, “This is just the beginning of our work together.” He sees this partnership growing in the future as they find more ways to create together.
Most cities and even smaller localities offer coworking. If you have a business that could benefit from discussion, collaboration, networking and learning opportunities, we encourage you to look at the options located in your area. The benefits are many, and like the bottegas of Florence, the environment they create inspires innovation and more.