We’re Growing! AKA How To Be Nice To A Coworking Newb

hello-my-name-is

As you may or may not have noticed, there are some unfamiliar faces around Cohere Coworking Community these days (and we’re not just talking about Eva, although hers is arguably the cutest).

Please join me in welcoming….

Madison Crowley, Social media specialist
Chris Lenfert, Freelance designer
Derek Haynes, Co-founder at Scout Monitoring
Dani Grant, serial entrepreneur
Lauren Garrison, independent contractor at Cognitive Change Concepts
Lee Porter, Founder of Innovation News

All of these new members are great because it means the message of coworking is reaching a greater number of the Northern Colorado entrepreneurs who need to hear it. It also means that we’ve got work to do.

The main benefit of coworking is the community and camaraderie it provides. In traditional work environments, this community forms around water cooler chatter or mutual hatred for the TPS Report. As a coworking space, most of us love what we do, so we form connections based on skill sets, or hobbies, or caffeine addiction levels.

Many of us are seasoned veterans of the coworking scene, and it’s easy to forget what it was like to be newb (more on that in a future post). Before you can drink the kool-aid, someone has to invite you to the compound. And in order for new members to have their “aha” moment and become firmly rooted in our community, we’ve got to show them how awesome it is to be here.

Of course, we can’t make people love us. But we can make it hard for them not to. Tomorrow (or the next time you’re here) try a few of these (newbs, this goes for you too!):

1. Sit at a completely different desk than you usually do.
2. If someone comes in that you’ve never seen before, take out your earbuds and introduce yourself.
3. Come to Uncles Pizzeria next Monday, and find out what the heck colunching is.
4. Ask the person next to you what their ideal project would be.
5. Bring donuts (this will automatically make you VIP for the day)

Most of all, just be your awesome, creative selves and never become so buried in your work that you can’t flash someone a smile. Sometimes that’s all that’s necessary to go from feeling like an outsider to a cool kid!

Image via Alan O’Rourke/Flickr

3 Easy Ways To Continue Your Freelance Education

Happy Monday!

Last week we talked about some reasons why continuing education is essential for freelancers. In a time when technology and modes of communication are changing rapidly, to become complacent in your knowledge is to become instantly outdated.

If you want to create a more robust network of clients and connections, and increase your value (aka your hourly rate), education is the key.

But it’s been a long time since most of us were in school, and I’m definitely not saying that getting another expensive degree is the way to go. So how does a busy freelancer continue his or her education without taking too many hours away from paying gigs?

Learn From Your Peers

For the past six months, Cohere has hosted an almost-weekly schedule of valuable workshops specifically targeted for working freelancers. We affectionately referred to it as the Winter of Learnin’, but high demand means this essential tradition has continued into the summer, and will probably stick around all year. We’ve learned about everything from copyright infringement to SEO strategy, all in the comfort of freelancers we know and experts we trust.

If you’re looking for an easy way to broaden your horizons, see what classes are available at your home coworking space. And if your home space doesn’t have workshops yet, offer to teach the first one. You might be surprised how much you learn when you teach.

Get Certified

Are you a self-taught whiz when it comes to graphic design? Do you love to manage large, complicated projects that involve contractors and vendors all over the world? These skills are worth their weight in gold, but only if your client believe that you truly possess them. Because a resume or online profile is usually the first introduction prospective clients will have to your skill set, the ability to brandish well-respected industry certifications will let them know that you mean business right from the start.

Check out this article on the Top 5 Certifications for Freelancers or this interesting blog post about certifications in various freelance industries from Fresh Books to learn more.

Brush Up On Your Business Skills

Almost everyone starts freelancing because working in the corporate world interfered with the pursuit of their passion. If you’re passionate about your career, you probably don’t need much motivation to continue building your knowledge base. But how skilled are you at owning and operating a business? The administration-side of working for oneself is a stumbling block for many freelancers, and often gets ignored until it’s too late.

Check with your local government or business development agency to see what they offer in the way of classes for new small business owners. Fort Collins, for example, is offering a Power Up Your Business! mini-conference on how to be a great leader within your business, increase visibility of your products and services and save money throughout your operations. It might not all be applicable to freelancing, but hey, it’s $15 and you’ll probably make some valuable connections in the community.

What other ways can freelancers continue their education? Share your ideas in a comment!

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