By Shantanu Mohan
July 6, 2016
The journey of an entrepreneur can be quite a lonely, especially when you’re bootstrapping everything from the ground up by yourself. It’s a tough, lonely journey which can have pretty negative effects on you as a founder. Not a lot of people understand the processes of entrepreneurship and the unique obstacles we encounter, so being cooped up in a bedroom office all day by yourself with your own problems can be pretty daunting. A good way of avoiding this is to rent an area in a co-working space.
Co-working spaces are a relatively new phenomena, and are now really coming into their own. Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time in a number of co-working spaces around Melbourne and I have been loving every single one. Each is unique, full of different people, different services, different vibes and their own special stories to tell. Working in these spaces ensure you will always be surrounded by like-minded, talented individuals and teams which can really benefit you in the short and long term.
But curing startup loneliness is not the only benefit you’ll get. Research shows that startups who work in a co-working space are Four times more likely to succeed than those who don’t. Not only that a study from Deskmag.com found that those who decided to work in co-working spaces were more likely to be motivated, have higher levels of interaction, and more than half worked in supportive teams.
Not to mention the fact that most people found that they were able to relax more at home, and 46% reported earning a higher income ever since they started working at a co-working space.
So if you and your startup aren’t based in a co-working space then you very well should be. But if you’re still not convinced let’s find a few more reasons as to why you’ll, almost assuredly, double your performance and productivity at a co-working space.
As Porter Gale says: Your Network Is Your Net Worth. When you’re in the entrepreneurial business who you know is just as, if not more, important than what you know. That’s where the real value of the co-working space comes into play, when everyone who walks through the door of a co-working space is a professional in their own right. Then you’d be a fool not to take advantage of the opportunity to make connections.
Even if you’re a solopreneur you’ll find that you’re surrounded by similar-minded people who are just as passionate and goal-driven as you are. You can find someone to bounce ideas with, maybe even help each other by sharing insights into each other’s business. Who knows the experience of you two working together could very well mean that you’ve met your next business partner or investor.
Many co-working spaces offer very cheap and affordable rent, especially in comparison to hiring out an entire corporate office. Most won’t even ask you for a lock-in contract. Depending on the space you’ll be able to find places that offer daily rates, or even month long contracts. So you don’t have to be committed for long. That’s the beauty of a co-working space, it’s the perfect breeding ground for startups!
Most co-working spaces offer access to the necessary amenities as well. So you won’t be in the lurch when it comes to printers, fax machines, internet etc. So you won’t have to worry about all those little details with their not-so-little costs anymore.
Did you know that a co-working space is filled with an absolute smorgasbord of talent?
Co-working spaces tend to attract a wide variety of people from all different sorts of industries and fields. You can guarantee that if there’s some part of your business that you’re having trouble with and need help on, the person next to you might have the solution.
Take advantage of the ability to trade and share skills as you never know who you’ll find and you’ll often be surprised by how they’re so beneficial to you and your startup.
Just bear in mind that not all co-working spaces are created equal, so be sure to vet them out before you sign anything. Most good ones will let you tour the place first and work a day for free, so make sure you take them up on the offer so you can get a feel for the place.
People and community are exceptionally important to co-working spaces. Not every co-working space will provide you with the same support.
Incubators (usually deriving within a co-working space), for example will offer high levels of support and mentorship, but usually in return for equity. They will also be a lot more pickier with the teams they adopt, but this means if you are given a space, you know you will work well with the other people already there. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s shared office spaces, where anyone can rent an area. Usually there’s not really a sense of community there, and everyone just minds their own business. The kind of questions you need to ask yourself are, how do you feel when you first visit the space? What events does the space regularly run? How does the space currently support their existing startups? And lastly, Are the facilities good?
Co-working spaces are everywhere. A quick Google search will bring up the ones closest to you. Often, good co-working spaces will host weekly events such as seminars and networking sessions. These events are a really good way to meet new people and learn a few new things, plus you get a good feel for the space and community so definitely keep your eye out for these kind events in your local startup community.