How to F^ck Up Your Second Coworking Location

angel gcuc speaker

I recently got invited to present FAILURE at the Global Coworking Unconference Conference in Toronto, Canada. I take spectacular pride in my ability to fail with flourish and since the GCUC crowd always likes a good train wreck among stories of 43 Billion Dollar valuations and epic expansion stories, I indulge them. Below is the narrative of the failure and here is a link to my slides.

 

falling down

https://www.flickr.com/photos/felixtsao/4909753834/

Near the end of 2013, 4 years after Cohere hit the coworking scene in Old Town Fort Collins, I had to start turning away would-be members. We were full, things were great. So naturally, I would make a series of unfortunate mistakes that would lead to the 2nd space’s death in early 2015.

To be clear, I did SOME of the things right. In fact, all early indicators would point to Cohere’s second location being a raving success.  Here’s what went right:

  • I had a wait-list of members who wanted to join Cohere.
  • Cohere was nearing auto-pilot. Systems helped manage the behind the scenes tasks, 3 members had a strong hold on the day to day in the space and I was getting bored.
  • I selected a location that was near to OG Cohere but further south in an up-and-coming neighborhood called Midtown where rents were still affordable and the housing market was blowing up in all the right ways.
  • I took many, many members through the building pre-lease and they steered me away from one suite into 3 other suites they were much more excited about.
  • The members lovingly name it Cothere. It sticks. It’s perfect.
  • Natural light, windows, trees and parking were in abundance.
  • After we got into the space, the Coherians partied to clean up the parking lot and build furniture. It was spectacular fun and had all the trapping us Veterans look for in budding communities.
  • I paint everything, repair broken door knobs and make our entrances more safe. I pour all my love into this physical thing that will allow Cothere to grow and flourish.
  • I met and offered up our space after hours to our brand new Girl Develop It chapter. We love each other so much.

Things start to take a turn for the worse:

The landlords fail to make improvements to Cothere that are in my lease: working windows, safe stairs for our private entrance (my mother-in-law almost falls 2 stories after the railing breaks away during move-in) and cleanliness issues in the common area start to clog my inbox

And A LOT worse:

  • Nearly every day, concerns about lack of health and safety in our parking lots and common area restrooms begin to flood in.
  • My repeated requests for help from the landlords are met with either silence or passive aggressive notes in the common-area bathroom saying, “PLEASE KEEP THIS RESTROOM CLEAN!!!”
  • I become mortified when new members ask where the restroom is. The members say, “this building is dicey but Cothere’s areas are NICE!”
  • I spend 3 hours cleaning bathrooms just to prove to myself that I’m right about how dirty the bathrooms are. I am right. I get pneumonia 5 days later.
  • The restrooms are dirty again. ALL. THE. TIME.  I have to explain WHY we need more toilet paper. Sarcasm floods through my veins. “We have explosive diarrhea!” “All the women are synced up this week!!” “We are STEALING it because we are terrible people!!”

Piper

The last straw:

  • The landlords tell me in an email that goes out to all the other tenants of their building, “you don’t pay enough to have the right to complain.”

I check out. I resent the space. I no longer care about it. I do the bare minimum that an office space rental agency does. Paper towels? Check. Vacuumed? Check. Coffee? Check.

I bring on a friend to help the Cothere community and she tries really hard but we are broken. Midtown is broken, the gross restrooms are broken, our parking lot is an ice skating rink in winter and a mixed-media nightmare of dead squirrels and fallen tree limbs in summer. I refuse to pay more for basic tenant rights.

I stop coworking at Cothere. I repeat. I STOPPED COWORKING AT COTHERE. <—-really important warning sign

I spend all my time at Old Town Cohere. I breathe a sigh of relief every time I cross the threshhold and see the man that takes care of our lawn. I run into the landlord and he inquires about my well-being and asks if everything is okay in the building. He compliments Cohere, the members and how proud they are to have us as tenants. They are always a text away. Quick to fix and utterly un-involved in our day-to-day ops.

I get out of my lease free and clear on their breach of contract. After an extremely polite email exchange requesting the termination of my lease and having them agree, I feel this:

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Down from a high of 20 members, the 3 remaining Cothere members join Cohere and love it. Just. Love It. “It’s so happy here!” “Everyone talks to me!” “I thought I wouldn’t like Old Town but I DO!” Several private office members at Cothere REMAIN in Cothere’s space after we leave. <—-this blows my mind.

So Really. WHAT went wrong?

As a veteran of the coworking community, I was raised up to always put the people first and see the physical space as a useful container that merely facilitates connections between people. Sure, I always made sure that Cohere’s container was lovely, cared-for and well-tended but none of my spaces until Cothere had ever existed inside a larger shell of a bigger building that I had no control over.

I began to think like a member as I approached the larger shell of Cothere’s space. Unkempt parking lot, dead bugs and leaves in the lobby, outdated decor in all the wrong ways, a soul-less, colorless hallway and then finally, the mecca of entering Cothere’s suites.

But sometimes the journey to mecca is just too far.

Post-hoc, I realize that Cohere has a really important value as a company and as a community that I had never said out loud, never consciously thought about and never wrote about. And this value includes the entirety of our physical container from the grounds around the building, to the entryways and all the way to the inner sanctum of our coworking areas.

To BElong to Cohere you must BE eager to help everyone feel proud of our space and the people in it.

Because Old Town Cohere has always had a loving landlord (we actually call him the Innkeeper) who tended to our grounds and common areas we had never truly felt the pain of a building owner who literally could not hold our container with positive regard. That, in turn, caused me to spend all of my Cothere energy trying to help the landlord learn how to hold the container that held US! He made it clear that he couldn’t hold the container. Won’t. Wouldn’t even pick it up and try.

As the community manager, I had nothing left to give the people of Cothere. My usual zest for connection and energy to give and listen was tapped out. My arms, my heart, my brain, were overwhelmed by TRYING to figure out how hold a container that didn’t actually belong to me. To us.

After asking the members what I should do about Cothere, all but one say a version of this, “we’ll follow you where ever you take Cohere (as long as it’s not in THAT building). Do what is best for you.” So I laid down the container. Permanently. After 14 months I gleefully get out of my lease and bring everyone back together at Cohere. The community is overjoyed that the saga is concluded.

As if the universe was bulging with abundance while it waited for me to sort out my shit, its fabric rips open and pours forth a rush of people who want to join Cohere. Tours are joyous again, filled with people and introductions and I don’t have to make excuses for the common areas. Each day we border on being full. Full of members, full of laughter and connectedness, donuts and lunches out together.

Cohere Social Event Hotdogs

A hot dog potluck marks the closure of Cothere and the revitalization of Frank Friday

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I immediately refine and add our values to our membership page:

BE yearning for interaction

BE willing to introduce yourself, make friends and help

BE ready to participate in impromptu and planned events

BE eager to help everyone feel proud of our space and the people in it

BE prepared for abundance (work, laughter, goodwill, and more)

Key Learnings

When considering expansion, don’t look for a building. Look for people.

  • Look for a community helper who is invested, excited and willing to put in the hours needed to bring people together.
  • Look to your existing members for feedback and talk about what expansion means for both communities.
  • Find a commercial Realtor who can add very specific language into your lease about maintenance and responsibilities.
  • Look for a landlord who is capable and willing to hold a container for you. MEET your landlord(s) in person before you sign.

Brave enough to share your epic failure? Post it in the comments or email it to me!

DIT Coworking Board Combats #selfie-ness

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In this digital age permeated by a pervasive #selfie culture, the Cohere coworking members decided to turn some introspection outward. Last week, over donuts and coffee, we wondered what a whiteboard might bring to our break room. Options included a life-sized Angel cutout replete with changeable outfits and a spreadsheet of how we take our coffee. Then the tables turned: quite magically. We decided to dust off our old Polaroid and crowd-source the content, hence the DIT (Do It Together) instead of the DIY.

Our first #everyoneelsie board has been up for 5 days. It comes with no instructions except the declaration, “Make it Ours!” and a small tray of supplies nearby.

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We’re looking forward to seeing how the board progresses over time and I’m secretly hoping for more people-pics. Does your coworking space have a community curated board? Show us!

Stop Fucking Up This Type of Email

suggestion-boxIn a world of increasing remote work and ever expanding social networks people are desperate to connect in a more meaningful way (besides our lovely coworking space in Fort Collins). Often, that meaningful way is to get a cooperative 3rd party to introduce you to someone over email. If one more well-meaning 3rd party sends me a “connection” email like the following, I’m going to go CRAY all over the interwebs.

Angel,

I was in a meeting with these folks yesterday and thought you’d all like to connect. Find their email addresses above.

Tom

WHY?! Why would I want to email a bunch of strangers? It’s sort of like ringing my doorbell and slinging a couple of strangers into my living room then driving away, tires squealing. But because I’m a lovely person, I tried to email the strangers and ask what they needed from me but Tom, in his infinite wisdom, mistyped all of their email addresses so they all bounced back. Tom, you’re a peach. Never change.

Here is a formula for crafting connection emails that won’t make your friends and colleagues cringe:

Character Key:

Needer: person who you’re trying to help

Giver: person who you think can help

Me: I tell the Needer that I’ll send a connection email so they know it’s coming. OCCASIONALLY I will warn the Giver that a connection email is coming but since I’ve pretty much nailed the connection email process this isn’t usually necessary. I ALWAYS address the Giver first in the email and the NEEDER second.

Components of the Connection Email:

Address the email to both the NEEDER and the GIVER.

Title: Please e-meet each other!

Giver,

I’d like to introduce you to my friend NEEDER. She loves X, Y, Z (Z is always directly related to the need they have). Background info like relocation, education, jobs or another way they might know each other OR the context of why they should know one another (you were both at my birthday party). Needer asked for my help in meeting people who Z & A so naturally you jumped right out at me as an expert in those areas. NEEDER will be emailing you with more info about the project etc. Needer is also available to help volunteer for your upcoming event if that’s helpful for you.

Needer,

Please meet my dear friend, GIVER. She loves X, Y, Z and we’ve known each other for xx years. She has been instrumental in Z & A so she’ll be a wealth of information for your upcoming project. Giver is wicked busy right now due to an upcoming presentation so it may take her a few days to get back with you. Thanks for being patient.

I’ll let you two connect directly from here as everyone is copied on this email. I hope it’s fruitful for you both!

Angel

Summary:

There are a couple of key components that will make your connection email more useful to everyone.

First, in order to pull off a stellar connector email, you HAVE to know both parties fairly well. You won’t be able to address their likes, needs and personality if you’ve never had a good conversation. If you don’t know each party well enough to follow the script above YOU SHOULD NOT BE SENDING CONNECTOR EMAILS!

Second, always make it clear WHO is supposed to take action. 99% of the time, I ask the NEEDER to send the next email and a tip on what it should contain. This removes ALL the ambiguity of who is supposed to do what and it’s the key thing that is lacking in almost every connection email I RECEIVE. #awkward.

Here are some real world examples of connection emails that I have sent in the past month:

Amanda M,

Please meet Amanda W.  Amanda is relocating here in August. She mentioned that she’s certified in event planning, has an MBA and loves coordinating business events so it seemed natural to connect you two.

Amanda W, please meet Amanda M. Amanda and I have known each other for years and she’s a neighbor to our midtown Cohere location. Here is her website xxxxxxxx. Amanda is well-connected to many businesses, events and the arts scene here in town.

 I’d love for you two to meet sometime and see if an interesting connection pops for you. I’ll leave it to Amanda W to email Amanda M.

 Glad my name’s not Amanda,

Angel

C,
Please meet S, Founder of the xxxxxx. We used to be next door neighbors in Fort Collins (our businesses, not our homes) and S is expanding into Denver. He’s looking for connections with the coolest coworking spaces both for space to conduct the tech workshops AND as a business landing place.

S, Please meet C of xxx xxx. We’ve been circling each other in the coworking world for 4-ish years now?! xxx xxx is very similar to Cohere and if I may be biased, is my favorite Denver coworking hub. C is the founder and community manager for both locations.
S, please email C and explain in more detail what you’re needing.

Angel

***********************************

Go forth and connect.

Happy Holidays From Cohere: Thanks, Reflection, Future

As the year comes to a close I wanted to take some time to thank you, reflect, and give you a preview of what’s coming in 2015.

Thank You.

I never say it often enough but you make Cohere possible. You choose us. You work with us. You laugh with us. You grow with us. Maybe you’ve been a member for 5 years or for 5 days. You matter. You are important.

Without you, Cohere is just an empty shell, a real estate transaction and a line item on someone’s budget. WITH you, we become a community, a pivot point for new friendships, and a platform for personal growth and change.

Let’s Reflect.

In December of 2009 we started out coworking in a donated reception area once/week. On the 5th week we ran out of chairs (14 of them) and broke the internet.RMI2 coworking test In March 2010, we opened our first location in Old Town with 4 members. Coworking-Cohere

In January 2012 we moved to the Howes location. Last December we had 39 members and 1 location. This December we have 75 members and 2 locations. That’s double. That’s huge. And we’re set to double again in 2015. Whether you told a friend about Cohere or posted an update on Facebook, many of our new members come from word of mouth and it makes a difference.2014-11-07 13.17.06

What’s Next.

2015 will bring Cohere to its final space frontier: Cohere Bandwidth, shared rehearsal space for musicians inside the amazing artist ecosystem that is the Downtown Artery. We’re looking forward to creative new connections between the artists of the Artery, the musicians of Bandwidth and the nerds of Cohere.

While Bandwidth may be located at the intersection of Linden and Jefferson we’re really at the crossroads of combining art, music and brains in brand new ways.

Here’s to 2015, may it bring you meaningful connections, amazing independence, kindness and love.

Love, Angel

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Ps. Hat tip to Julie who’s been with us every step of the way from our first pre-community meeting to today.

 

Coworking ebooks: A Wicked Discount

***30% off all ebooks by Cohere. Code at bottom of this post.

Coworking: Building Community As A Space Catalyst was the first book ever written specifically for those who want to start a coworking space in their town, but aren’t sure how to get started.

Co-authored by Angel “Madame” Kwiatkowski and Beth “Bethesaurus” Buczynski of Sharing Is Good, this book is a useful, hands-on and thought-provoking resource for coworking space catalysts based on the proven principle of “community first, space second (or never).”

This first of its kind book guides wannabe space catalysts through the most important phase of coworking: building the community.

“Coworking: Building Community as a Space Catalyst is a timely and much needed book about the most important movement for independent workers today,” said Neal Gorenflo, founder of Shareable Magazine. Coworking spaces are one of the crucibles from which a new economy will emerge, but it’s essential that the movement hold on to it’s core values of community, collaboration, openness, accessibility, and sustainability as it grows. This book will help new catalysts incoporate these values into their spaces and create a life-affirming economy to replace the destructive one we have today.”

Check out a preview of the book here, and purchase your own digital copy at 30% off through November 7th with coupon code SOEXCITED. Coupon code works on your entire shopping cart so buy now and buy many!

 

Building Coworking Communities: No Sailboat Required

It’s easy to make connections and get to know one another inside a coworking space. We take that for granted and just assume that we’ll meet someone new in the course of our day to day to-dos. A recent retreat to Seattle taught me how vital and AWESOME a planned group activity can be especially when that activity is way outside our “normal.” So when our organizer asked if we’d like to go SAILING, it seemed a little scary but we would be doing it together so surely it would be okay.

I tentatively agreed to a sailboat ride and bummed some Dramamine off a fellow coworker. Little did I know that it would be scary and exhilarating and that it would change Adam’s life forever.

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By getting us a little out of our comfort zones and putting us in cramped quarters we were able to learn something (sailing) from new friends (the captain and his crew) and experience our location (Seattle) from a whole new point of view. Andy and I even did the most terrifying thing and crawled out to the front of the boat while we were experiencing maximum “reaching” aka, the boat was really at an angle to the water and we could have fallen out at any moment. But we didn’t.

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In order to bring a similar experience home to the Coherians of Fort Collins, we’re going to stay up late and sort canned goods. Yep, I plan to use up as much if not more adrenaline during our Food Bank Shift at the CAN Jam on November 6th from 11pm-1am. Heck, it meets all the criteria: new location, new people to learn from and we’ll get a different point of view on where we live.

Has your coworking community done activities outside of your space? Tell us in the comments!

ps. my “crew” on the boat:

Aaron from Rapid City, MI, The Factory

Tony from New York City, New Work City

Adam and Alex (not pictured) from Philidelphia,PA, Indy Hall

Susan and Jacob from Seattle, WA, Office Nomads

Ashley from Toronto, Canada, The Foundery

Andy from Columbus, OH The Salt Mines

 

Coworking Is My Compass: A Long, Strange Trip Through Freelancing And Back

Hi Cohereians! It’s Beth. If you’ve been a member of Cohere for a long time, you may have a very foggy memory of me. Possibly driving away in an RV? Yeah, that was me. I’ve been on a lot of crazy, meandering adventures in my life–both literally and figuratively.

It was waay back in 2009 when Angel rescued me from the coffee shop circuit. My first day of coworking at Cohere, I was totally intimidated. Y’all were so cool and creative and confident in your chosen fields. As a chronic sufferer of imposter syndrome, I was none of those things. Yet.

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Me in the ole Treehouse.

Every day I hiked up the stairs of the Jefferson Street space and planted myself at one of those curvy desks (or, more often than not, the Treehouse) I learned so much from my fellow coworkers: not in workshops or classes, but in the chatter, the laughter, the frustrations that touched us all in turn. I discovered, then became addicted to, the warm-and-fuzzy feeling it gave me to be around you. How your success motivated me to reach for my own.

When Eric and I had the crazy idea to put location-independence to the test, and travel around in an RV with nothing but a WiFi hot-spot connecting us to the real world, the larger coworking community opened its arms. We saw new spaces and felt the kindness of strangers with whom we had nothing in common but a desire to do what we loved wherever the hell we wanted.

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Angel and I with the first coworking book.

And when we came back, MUCH sooner than expected, you didn’t skip a beat. You welcomed me back and Angel and I set about combining her knowledge of coworking and my wordsmithing skills together into two of the most popular e-books about coworking the world has ever seen (no, seriously). Being asked to assist with that project was an honor, and helped to nestle my foundation in the coworking community just a little bit deeper. And there is going to be a third some day, damnit.

Then, it was off for another adventure in Wyoming. Cheyenne was 45 minutes and A WORLD away from the things and people we loved in Colorado. I missed coworking so much during those days, I wrote it a letter. During that time, occasional visits to Cohere and contributing to its blog kept me grounded. Yeah, many of the posts you’ve read here over the years were written by me channeling Angel. We’re really good at that.

As luck would have it, it was when I was in the wilds of Wyoming that my freelancing really started to become something. Gone were the penny-a-word copy writing gigs. (Yeah I did that. New writers, don’t ever do that). Now came the steady blogging for the earth-friendly sites I loved. Even though I was a state away, my connection at Cohere helped me land some legitimate copy writing work for a firm in Fort Collins. It was also during this time that a publishing house approached me about writing THE BOOK.

That’s right. See all this time of coworking and collaborating and being part of a community was actually part of something bigger: collaborative consumption and the rise of the sharing economy. Thanks to coworking (which was directly responsible for me landing a freelance gig with Shareable magazine) I was right in the thick of it at exactly the right time. And when opportunity came knocking, carrying my unabashed dream of creating a real book with a real publisher, I had the confidence to open the door.

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The book!

In the interim I moved to Denver and joined the Creative Density coworking community. They didn’t even know me like you guys do, and STILL everyone was encouraging and supportive of the new project. A year later, Sharing is Good: How to Save Money, Time and Resources through Collaborative Consumption was born, and my heart overflowed. Now I was really cooking with gas. Doing radio interviews (what?!), being quoted in the New York Times and yes, even selling a few copies.

I collected even more work and suddenly found myself in the mind-boggling position of needing to raise my rates and actually (gasp!) turn down gigs that weren’t exactly right for my passion and skills. And guess what taught me how to do both of those things? Coworking.

Now, I’m setting off for yet another adventure. NOT literal this time (thank goodness). We’re staying right here in Colorado where we belong. No, this adventure is strictly the professional kind. A full-time job for a media startup out of  NYC recently landed in my lap.

That is not a metaphor.

I was sitting (WHERE ELSE?!) at a desk in the Old Town Cohere, chatting about life and work with Kristin and Angel when an unsolicited email from their CEO appeared in my inbox. Three weeks later, I was hired on full-time to help them launch, and eventually lead, a sustainability vertical. It was a chance to bring my tree-hugging ways to an entirely new audience in a different way, and thanks to everything I’d learned over the past 5 years, I knew how to seize it. And thank god, it’s a remote position so I can continue coworking, currently at The Armory in Loveland.

So, I’ve journeyed all the way through freelancing and back again. And all the while, coworking has been my constant, my compass. No matter how far away from the actual space I ventured, the collective power of your brains and hearts was never more than an email or Facebook post away.

Never mistake coworking as just a desk in a place where you can go to get away from that sink full of dishes or noisy coffee shops. The people of coworking are a treasure. They have made every difference in my success. The support and love and motivation you’ll find in a coworking community can’t be duplicated. It can’t be manufactured just because you put a bunch of desks in a cool looking space. It is built, one smile, one cupcake, one computer crash at a time. It is changing you, making you better, even if you can’t see it or feel it right now.

This freelancing or business owning thing is a journey, with LOTS of twists and turns. Many of them unexpected. Don’t go it alone. Take the community with you. It makes all the difference in the world.

I’m living proof of that :)

Image: calsidyrose

Giving Thanks: Coworking Celebrates Abundance and Gratitude

be thankful freelancers

Thanksgiving is almost here and once again it’s time for Cohere’s annual ‘give thanks’ post!

To get the juices of gratitude flowing, I’ve been pondering this quote from the Queen herself, Oprah Winfrey:

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Here at Cohere (and in many coworking spaces around the world) we call this serendipitous abundance. As coworkers, we have a unique opportunity to see first hand what happens when we are open, accessible, kind, and focused on community.

Each and every one of us has experienced a blessing–maybe big, maybe small–as a result of working elbow-to-elbow with our fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs. I’ve seen each of you act selflessly toward fellow members, which means when the time came to return the favor, we were ready and willing. Our lives, families, and businesses are better today as a result.

I’ve watched some of you go through hard times, facing challenges that seemed insurmountable right up until the moment you vanquished them with courage and grace. I’ve seen and heard you all give thanks for your successes, deflecting praise to those who helped you along the way. As Oprah said, you don’t concentrate on what you don’t have, you celebrate what you do–and that makes all the difference.

You should know that this is NOT normal. In offices the world over, negativity and complaint is more common than a cheerful word about blessing or abundance. Many professionals see cut-throat competition as the only way forward. But not you, not the coworking community.

You celebrate collaboration, reciprocity, and just generally being good people.

And for that, I could not be more thankful. Keep it up :)

Image: rustiqueart

Help Cohere Create A Coworking Space For Local Musicians!

Cohere Bandwidth header

Good Monday Morning!

A few days ago, Cohere Bandwidth launched a fundraising campaign on Community Funded, a local crowdfunding platform. Our project is just one of a handful that are hoping to raise at least $5,000 through the My5 campaign.

Here’s the catch (aka opportunity): before we can actually begin collecting contributions, we have to gather endorsements. It’s kind of like proving that we have the chops to go far in the fundraising round. You have to have at least 50 endorsements to proceed to the funding stage, and the project that gathers the MOST endorsements gets a special cash prize from Community Funded before the crowdfunding even begins.

Alright, here’s where we stand:

August 1: Cohere Bandwidth campaign launches, begins collecting endorsements.

August 1: You, our awesome community of supporters around the world totally crushes it! Cohere Bandwidth gets 54 endorsements in the first 12 hours the campaign is live!!!

August 5: WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP! Every extra endorsement we get from now until August 14th puts us closer and closer to securing the additional $2,000 prize.

(Let’s pause for just a moment and reflect on exactly WHY we were so successful so quickly:

  1. We’ve been building a community of friends and supporters in Fort Collins for over three years. My main goal, when I had the idea to start a coworking space back then was to build a community around independence, entrepreneurship, and collaboration. We started in a lobby, sharing coffee and power cords, but we had a blast! I took the time to let the community tell me what it needed, rather than the other way around. From the beginning Cohere members have had a strong desire to support and help each other, whether work related or not. So, when it comes time to mobilize support for something like Cohere Bandwidth, all we had to do was ask.
  2. We know how to use the interwebs. Social media is INTEGRAL to crowdfunding success. You have to know the right words to say, and where to say them. Not everyone’s on Facebook. Not everyone’s on Twitter. It has to be a multipronged approach, and it has to be genuine (that means lots of shares and request from someone else OTHER than me!), telling the real story of why the project is important.
  3. We made it easy. Any time we asked for endorsements, we kept it short and sweet, and explained what people needed to do once they clicked through to the crowdfunding site. That way, they knew they would have to log in, and they knew what button to look for to endorse us.

Here are some examples of how we mobilized our community to support us through endorsements:

On the Cohere Facebook Page –

Clickity click click please! We’re trying to get 100 endorsements for our crowdfunding project to get Cohere Bandwidth off the ground officially. Can you take 3 minutes to help us out?

We only need 16 more votes to get to the funding round! Can we do it in ONE DAY?! I think we can. Be sure to either create an account with Community funded or LOG IN so your endorsement counts!

7 endorsements away from getting to the funding round for “coworking for bands.” Yeah, you like it and you know it. So go endorse us (but create your account or login first).

On Angel’s Personal Facebook Page –

Oh pretty please endorse our crowdfunding campaign for Cohere Bandwidth: Shared Rehearsal Space for Musicians in Fort Collins. We need at least 50 votes but our goal is 100 so we can get a cash prize to contribute towards the project. You have to create an account but can do so by just clicking the Sign in with Facebook button. Hooray!

On Julie’s Personal Facebook Page –

I had breakfast with Alana Rolfe today, who told me she can’t stand up to play her viola at Stella Luce practice because the ceiling is too low. I think that sucks, and am working with some people to find a fix for such ridiculousness for musicians in our community. We could use your help. If you could take a sec to give us your vote for our shared rehearsal space project, we’ll be on our way to making things better.

And of course, we live-tweeted the entire thing from the @CohereLLC handle:

  • We’re only 14 votes away from getting to the funding round for Cohere Bandwidth:shared rehearsal space for musicians.
  • now we only need 13 more endorsements to get to funding :)
  • It’s FIVE now. FIVE! I’m literally atwitter right now.
  • And people wonder how the long process (of community building) actually works. Psshhh.
  • If you’re scrolling twitter right now you have time to be the last 3 endorsements we need.
  • It happened. It really happened. We got to our goal of 50 endorsements for Cohere Bandwidth in under 12 hours. You all rock.

Anyway, now that we’ve spilled our guts about the campaign, WE NEED YOU TO KEEP THE AWESOME FLOWING. We want that $2,000 so bad we can taste it. It will be a most welcome chunk of change and the first resources we really had to take Cohere Bandwidth off the drawing board and into reality.

This is basically a contest about who has the best and most supportive community. We know you’re the best, all you have to do is prove it!!

WE need as many endorsements as possible between now and August 14th to make sure we get the top spot and $2,000 cash prize towards our rehearsal space project. To show your support, click this link, then login with Facebook and click Endorse This Project (it’s a big green button). Easy! http://communityfunded.com/projects/angel/shared-rehearsal-space-for-musicians/

New Program Helps Local Artists Become Successful Entrepreneurs

street musicians

“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

This is a favorite quote among my friends who pursued liberal arts degrees. It speaks to both the dream and reality of trying to build a career around creative talents. AKA it’s damn hard.

Google “least valuable college majors” and you’ll see a laundry list of arts degrees: creative writing, film, philosophy, photography and especially music.

What’s always funny to me about these lists is that they assume a salary is the only way to judge value. Books, movies, visual art, and especially music bring immeasurable joy to our lives. Without them we could never be transported to distant imaginary lands, feel the pain of another person’s suffering, or know what it’s like to have a one-person dance party while sitting at a stop light. WE NEED ART, which means we need artists who aren’t living in a van down by the river.

One problem with the current arts education system is that it lacks a business aspect. Few if any art students start their senior year with the knowledge they need to successful seek, find, communicate with, and supply a paying audience. They’re afraid, or worse, completely oblivious to the business world, unaware of how to be both the artist and CEO. Likewise, business people assume artists are flakes and vagabonds, and so are hesitant to invest money into art-based ventures.

Well artists, it’s time to put up or shut up. Arts Incubator of the Rockies just launched a comprehensive new series of workshops and seminars that are designed to connect artists to the business training they need and business people to the artistic ventures that Colorado craves.

If you’re a local band that’s looking for a way to turn that demo tape into a record contract, a painter looking to show your work in galleries where people will actually buy it, or a crafter whose friends have been saying “you should really sell these” for years, this is one educational series you can’t afford to miss.

AIR Shift Workshop: A 3 day learning event that will teach you how to change your thinking about art, value and community, help you develop your business pitch, and connect you with the diverse community of artists and art lovers that can help make your dream a reality. Learn more about dates, topics, and prices.

AIR Evolve Program: After you’ve taken the Shift Workshop, the next step is to put what you’ve got on paper into practice. Yes, drummers and bass players, this means developing a business plan. Yes, writers and painters, this means learning how to model and track your finances. At the end of this six month program, you’ll find yourself pitching your creative venture to a panel of local business people. Learn more about dates, topics, and prices. 

Image via drgonzo/Flickr

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