3 Reasons To Grow Your Small Business In A Coworking Space


Are you the next big thing? Has your fledgling company just taken on its first two employees because business is pouring in faster than you can handle it? Right now you’re working around the kitchen table (like those guys up there) but between kids, spouses, and a menagerie of pets, it’s becoming impossible to get anything done.

Or perhaps you’re a seasoned entrepreneur who knows the wisdom of taking it slow, but you lack a network of talented designers and marketers that can help ease your workload. You’ve got the capital for your own office space, but often find yourself meeting clients at coffee shops or working at the library, because you can’t stand the isolation.

You need coworking.

I know, I know. You’ve heard your freelance friends talking about how much they love coworking, but you don’t think it’s for you. You’re not just taking on contract work. You’re building a business. You’ve got proprietary information to protect, and need space for meetings with your 2, 3, or 6 member team.

Coworking is still for you.

According to the hundreds of international coworkers who responded to the 2010/11 Global Coworking Survey…

The following things are important to entrepreneurs and likely, your employees.
86% value flexible work times and the ability to interact with new people
82% value sharing knowledge with others
79% place high value on the random opportunities and discoveries made inside coworking spaces

What benefits can you expect your employees to experience?
85% saw an increase in daily motivation
88% have better interactions with other people
60% organize their working day better so they can relax more at home
86% reported meeting at least 3 helpful acquaintances in the first two months of membership
91% of coworkers are either very satisfied or satisfied with their overall coworking experience
85% plan on staying in their coworking community for at least another year

(OK that’s way more than three reasons…)

Coworking with us at Cohere will unleash the true potential of your employees, and as a result, your company. Instead of limiting your pool of ideas or subcontractors in a tiny office (or kitchen), coworking incubates your business through instant connections to a city-wide network of motivated independent professionals.

In a coworking space, asking for advice, feedback, or parsing out contract work is as hard as turning around in your chair. (The people who can do these things are sitting right next to you, see?) Also, it will give your employees a change of scenery, and a chance to learn from the seasoned designers, marketers, writers, and programmers who work with us every day.

Learn more about the benefits of coworking for small business here, or send us an email about what you’re budget can handle. We’ll work something out.

Image via cyberhill/Flickr

5 New Year Resolutions For The Successful Freelancer

Freelance New Year Resolutions

Well folks, 2011 is almost over. There have been ups and downs, surprises and disappointments. But over all, I think I can say with confidence that Cohere is a stronger, more vibrant community than we were before. We survived a lean summer, a difficult lease renewal, a graffiti attack, and the search for a new home. All the while, you, the amazing community, supported each other, collaborated, grew your businesses, and redefined the state of unicorn cuisine.

I’m so excited to see what’s in store for Cohere in 2012! There will be a new space to make our own, new members to welcome, new projects to devise, and new projects on which to collaborate. It will be hard work, but as freelancers and remote workers, we are no strangers to self-motivation.

But just in case you’re looking for some resolutions that will help you to improve your professional and personal life in the New Year, here are a few to get you started:

Raise Your Rates

One thing every freelancer can agree on is the need to end the feast or famine cycle. One month you’ve got too much work, the next month you’re killing time while the bank account dwindles. This is no good. One strategy for ending this cycle is to raise your rates. Undervaluing your services is a surefire way to ensure you will constantly be searching for more clients. This can be stressful and also reduces the quality of customer service you can provide to your loyal customers.

Resolve to dedicate at least a few hours of your time to researching your competition. Get a better idea of what your peers are charging, and consult industry resources (if they exist) to find a baseline rate for professionals in your field. Consult with your fellow coworkers to find our what they charge. When in doubt, double it.

Use Your Coworking Space

Once you’re a seasoned coworker, it can be easy to forget that this community exists to empower and enrich you, the mobile worker. Are you using it to it’s full potential? Your membership at Cohere gives you permission to use this community as your sounding board, your focus group, your group therapist, and your drill sergeant. The level to which you are engaged with the community determines how much of a return you’ll see on your monthly investment.

Resolve to to teach and be taught. Be willing to share: your success and failures, as well as your knowledge and time. Most importantly, just show up. Amazing things happen when you are in the company of like-minded individuals that are genuinely interested in your success.

Say No More Often

As a freelancer or small business owner it’s easy to feel guilty when you’re not working. We take on too many projects because we’re afraid that someday we might not be able to find any. This “bring it on” approach might work for bigger companies with a stable full of talent, but it’s the expressway to burn out for a one or two person business. Not charging enough for your services facilitates this need to take on more than you can really handle (see Resolution #1).

Resolve to be more choosy. Pick projects that excite you, not projects you can live with. Refuse to renew contracts with difficult clients. Embrace your status as an expert in your field, and leave the entry-level projects for entry-level professionals.

Refine Your Brand/Specialize

This is part-two of the resolution to say no more often. Finding your niche is the first step toward success in your field, and limiting the type of projects you take on is the best way to define your brand. Specializing will allow your customers and coworking community to better understand what type of work you’re looking for, facilitating referrals that you’ll actually enjoy.

Resolve to sit down with yourself and outline your dream projects and clients. Once you’ve got a list, look for overarching themes. This is the type of work you’d love to do, and therefore the work that you’ll do the best.

Don’t Work More, Work Smarter

As a non-traditional worker, you are the master of your own destiny. You decide when and where to work. But we often forget that we also have the ability to decide HOW we work. Emulating a traditional workstyle in a new place won’t allow you to achieve the greater productivity that’s proven to come along with location-independence. Most people can only be truly productive for about 4 hours a day, so why are you forcing yourself to work 8?

Resolve to listen to your body and mind. Pay attention to your work habits, and find ways to maximize your personal style. When you’re tired, take a break. When you’d rather read a book than answer emails, do it. Don’t gaze out the window at a nice day, get out in it. Seek out tools and tricks that will help you stay focused and work more efficiently.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Share your goals for a more productive year in the comments!

Image Credit: Flickr – lel4nd


5 Ways Twitter Can Help Freelancers Find New Work

Twitter. Love it or hate it, this social media  tool helps connect online communities, breaks news stories, and drives thousands of visitors to the world’s best websites 140 characters at at time.

But with all the other things we have to do, should freelancers really be wasting their time on Twitter?

Short answer? Maybe. Depending on your industry and personality, Twitter can be a completely free way to attract new clients and generate buzz about your business.

Here are 5 easy ways to turn your tweets into new work without spending all day staring at your stream:

1. Choose a handle and bio that reflect your professional self or business.

Your handle is sometimes the first and only thing that a potential clients sees. Choose your business name if you can, or something that reflects your expertise, like @CopyQueen or @NeverStopsCoding. Don’t leave your bio blank, and try not to be too cute with it. Twitter users want to be sure you’re worth following, and if you’ve got a bio that’s empty or full of personal likes/typos, you’re making  a bad first impression. Save that stuff for your personal account.

2. Remember that Twitter is about conversation, not followers.

Marketing gurus want to convince you that building massive lists of followers will exponentially increase your chances of retweets, clicks, and ultimately sales. That might work for celebrities or international sites like Mashable and TechCrunch, but its unlikely to have the same effect for John Q. Freelancer. But you have an advantage that those mega-tweeters won’t ever have–you’re a real person, free to use your account to connect with current and future clients in a personable manner. Ask questions, post interesting links, and provide suggestions when others ask for help. If someone likes your short reply, they might pay you for your long answer.

3. Follow #hashtags related to your industry.

If you’re using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to manage your Twitter account, set up a new stream following keywords in your industry. This is a great way to find people who are asking questions or seeking advice on a topic related to your business. It’s also a great way to find other like-minded Tweeters to follow and chat with. Some tags you might want to try include: #jobs (such as #designjobs, #writingjobs, etc), #jobs, #projects, and so on.

4. Find and follow thought-leaders in your industry.

Search your favorite blogs or professional sites for Twitter handles to follow. Engage these experts publicly by asking advice or commenting on something they wrote. If you become a Twitter friend that they trust, they just might recommend you the next time they encounter a project that’s not right for their business.

5. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself.

When Twitter first exploded, everyone cautioned against being a one-note Tweeter. While it’s true that you should avoid sounding like a used car salesman every time someone mentions needing a web developer, there are times when it’s right to offer your services. If you see someone looking for professional help, offer to discuss their project offline, or direct them to a satisfied client for whom you completed similar work. Offering free quotes or consultations is another non-invasive way to say, “I’m here and ready to work for you” without being annoying.

Have you ever landed a job (directly or indirectly) because of social media? Share your experience in a comment!


Image Credit: epicute.files.wordpress.com

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