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

2014-11-21 10.20.46

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

 

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

3 Reasons To Cancel Your Coworking Membership

cancel

My dad always said, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And the personal and professional benefits of coworking simply sound too good to be true.

So I’ve decided to come clean.

Not everything about coworking is made of rainbow-colored unicorn farts. I told you I want to be more transparent with the Cohere community, so here it is. If you’ve been harboring secret skepticism about what coworking can really do for your business, get ready to say, “I knew it.”

3 Reasons To Cancel Your Coworking Membership

1. Too much socialization

We all know that the best work is done when we’re alone. Preferably in an cubicle-like environment that’s totally closed off from the world. The fewer windows and avenues of communication with the outside world, the better. Chatting, laughing, explaining the massive bag of Easter candy you consumed over the weekend–that kind of tomfoolery is best reserved for after-work hours. When you’re “at work” (because let’s be honest, freelancers shouldn’t really be allowed to say that) it’s head’s down, mouths shut. That TPS report isn’t gonna write itself.

2. Not enough structure

There’s an order to the business world. Decades of capitalism teach us that business happens between 9 am and 5 pm and that it occurs most successfully when everyone involved wears a suit. Or at least a collared shirt, for pete’s sake. And the number one priority of any business should be the production of profit. As much as possible, however possible. Cooperation and collaboration is a sign of weakness in the business world, and there’s just too much of it going on in the coworking community.

3. Lack of professionalism

Do you know that in some coworking spaces, it’s considered acceptable to share information about the day’s tasks with other entrepreneurs? Did you know that in some cases, members are permitted to work at all hours of the day or night, often in the company of non-members? Did you know that coming in to work in jeans or even pajama pants is accepted by the community? Most shockingly, there are sometimes beer or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches involved, without the supervision of a receptionist or at the very least, office manager.

I know these things are hard to hear, but I had to get them off my chest. I couldn’t stand watching my friends and fellow entrepreneurs duped into thinking they had found a low-cost way to expand their professional networks while tapping into an entire community of supportive talent. It was horrifying to watch my peers laugh and collaborate their way through the work day with smiles on their faces.  We all know that’s not what work is supposed to look like.

Coworking has failed us, and it’s time to return to a state of order. Membership cancellations will be accepted immediately and without question.

Thank you,
Management

(April Fool’s! Did you say I knew it?)

Image via jmv/Flickr

 

Cohere Is Thankful For You, The Kick-Ass, Proactive Community!

Later this week, most of us will celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday when we pause to reflect on the abundance life has given us, and the blessing of friends and family.

Freelancers, and coworkers especially, have much for which to be grateful. In a time when many feel rudderless, or trapped in unfulfilled careers, we do work we love for clients we care about, and most importantly, we have a community that understands and supports our efforts every step of the way!

This year, however, it’s my turn to thank you. The past 12 months haven’t been easy, but you’ve embraced every twist in the road. Our community is more vibrant and connected than ever before. Although I’m not visibly at the helm like the early days, Cohere members have risen to the challenge and stepped up when the community needed them. Case in point? The projector.

While coworking isn’t all about the amenities, it’s not much fun if the ones you’ve got don’t work. Several weeks ago, Member Derek Haynes noticed that the conference room projector was outdated and causing problems for Mac users. Instead of complaining or waiting for someone else to fix it, Derek took action. Here’s what he posted on the Cohere Facebook Group page:

There’s nothing worse than showing up all dapper-looking to lead a presentation in the conference room, then realizing the projector won’t work with your Apple laptop. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this several times with the current projector – it’s a bit outdated. How about a pledge drive for a modern, SVGA, HDMI projector? There’s a well-reviewed one on Amazon for $360: http://www.amazon.com/ViewSonic-PJD5133-SVGA-DLP-Projector/dp/B005EV1R8Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1351616497&sr=1-1&keywords=projector.

I’ve pledged the first $60 for it – you can send a donation via PayPal to fccoworking@gmail.com or just give me your hard-earned cash at office. Lets just worry about which tie to wear instead of technical issues!

Although Cohere offered to cover all but $150 of the cost, the community rallied together and raised an impressive $250 toward the cost of the new projector! In addition to Derek, Matthew Rose, Dani Grant, Nick Armstrong, Kristin Mastre, Lindsay Ogden Herrera, Julie Sutter and Darrin Sharp all deserve high-fives for contributing.

The point here isn’t that these people donated, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t. The point is that you proved (yet again) that our community is bigger and stronger than any building that might contain it. In a recent blog post, Alex Hillman suggests that the three necessary ingredients for successful community are participation, connections and empathy. The simple act of crowdfunding a projector proves Cohere has all three in spades.

For that, and for each one of your wonderful faces, I am thankful.

It’s “Make Up Your Own Holiday” Day!

Happy hump day

It’s the middle of the week. We’re all pining for the weekend (or whatever day means a day off for you). Time to have some fun!

For no good reason at all—except to keep our creative minds sharp—we asked Cohere’s members, “What holiday would you declare if you had the opportunity to do so?”  National Peanut Month, Build A Scarecrow Day, and Work-a-holics Day were already taken, but here’s what our crew came up with:

“Coffee Appreciation Day! I’ve been celebrating it pretty heavily today…” -Andrea Rooney

“If I have to talk again, my vocal chords will explode” day. 9-3 webinars last week, 8-2 webinars this week. Two more days. Then I may have to use a computer to speak for me instead.” -Nick Armstrong

“National No Phone Call Day” -Angel K.

Got ideas to add to the list? Share them in a comment!

Image via shirtoid

Why You Need A Few Days Off (And Why That’s OK)

Out of office vacation

The average freelancer works almost twice as long as the average nine-to-five employee. So, why is it that we feel guilty taking some time off for the holidays?

No matter how you celebrate, the holidays are a time for sleeping ridiculously late, eating way too much, spiking the egg nog, and hugging everyone you know.

To that end, the holidays are one time of the year when traditional workers have an advantage over the freelancer: They get PTO, and we get guilt. The average 9 to 5-er waits for the clock to hit quitting time, and bolts out the door. The thought of the emails waiting to be answered or presentations to be assembled won’t cross their mind again until Monday morning.

Here’s the difference: most freelancers love what they do.

We are obsessed. We think about our business every waking moment. We’re always networking, worrying about clients, checking our published work to make sure our names are spelled correctly. While we are completely in charge of when we get work done, the thinking about it never stops. We ALWAYS feel like we should be getting work done.

Maybe it’s because we still don’t feel like our job is as legitimate as one that happens in an office. Or maybe the lack of a salary safety net makes us feel uneasy about earning a few hours less this month.

Whatever the reason, I’m here to tell you that the guilt you’re feeling is unfounded, and you totally deserve a day (or seven) to completely unplug from your business.

This is not the corporate grind. You’re not competing for the corner office. You’re building a business, a legacy. You’re in there for the long hall. The work will always be here, but your friends, family, and the opportunity to make memories with them may not.

So go ahead. Activate that “out of office” email response a few days early. I know you planned to work right up until Christmas Eve, but I’m challenging you to scrap that plan. Bake 1,500 gingerbread cookies with your kids. Craft some presents for your best friends. Stay in your pajamas and read a book all day.

I’m writing you a prescription for laziness and self-indulgence. Take daily and repeat as needed. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel when it’s time to be brilliant. Next year.

Happy Holidays Cohere!!!

Image Credit: Flickr – Victor Bezrukov

Top 6 Gift Ideas For Freelancers & Small Business Owners

Christmas Gifts for Freelancers
Wondering what to get the independent professional on your list? Stumped about the best present for the small business owner in your life? 

Although there’s more to the holidays than giving and getting, here are some useful gift ideas that will help your favorite freelancer be even more productive and successful in the New Year. Feel free to add your own gift suggestions in a comment below!

1. Membership at a local coworking space.

(You know I had to…) There’s nothing better than the gifts of friendship and community, and you’ll be giving both when you buy a coworking membership for your favorite mobile worker. Most coworking spaces offer different levels and lengths of membership, so it’s much more flexible than a gym membership or fruit of the month club. Do some light research before you buy to make sure the coworking space is conveniently located and has all the amenities your small business owner will need. Cohere has a wicked discount on 3 day pass packs right now. 3 days for just $25!

2. Cloud storage for precious data.

Freelancers live on, for, and through their laptop and other mobile devices. In the blink of an eye these precious machines can be destroyed by a poorly placed coffee cup or dragged to the floor by a dangling power cord (just ask Julie). Give peace of mind by purchasing a storage unit in the cloud. Online data storage backs up your files automatically, and allows you to access them from any internet-connected computer. Check out these top five affordable online storage services.

3. A stand-up desk.

While freelance work can be done from almost any location, it’s almost always done in a sitting position. According to a study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal, people who sat most of the day had a 54% increased risk to have a heart attack. Therefore, a stand-up desk can literally save a freelance writer’s life. Check out GeekDesk.com for some of the best stand up desk designs.

4. A mobile hot-spot.

While this might be at the pricier end of the holiday gift-giving spectrum, it is absolutely worth the cost. A mobile hot-spot has the power to change a freelancer’s life by creating a little bubble of secure wi-fi that will travel with them wherever they go. Slow, costly airport wi-fi, and unsecured coffee shop wi-fi will be a thing of the past, and your beloved freelancer will never have disconnect anxiety again. Read reviews of the fastest, most reliable hot spots.

5. Portable solar charger.

The only thing worse than having no internet access is dead devices with no power outlet in sight. Ease the fear of running out of juice by giving a portable charger that only needs the sun to work! There are now solar chargers that can power everything from your laptop to your smartphone as long as you’ve got an hour and access to sunlight. Check out the best portable solar charging devices here.

6. Industry-relevant e-books.

As a small business owner, it’s easy to feel like you’re just making stuff up as you go along. Reading books by successful entrepreneurs can restore inspiration as well as confidence. Instead of giving a bulky book that will only end up gathering dust, give a sleek (and more affordable) e-book that can be accessed anywhere. Here are some of our favorite titles:

Guide to Guerilla Freelancing – In this compact eBook (22 pages), Mike Smith packs in information on how to start your freelancing business for a minimum amount of money, red flags to look out for, benefits and drawbacks to freelancing, and more.

What Matters Now   – This free 82-page eBook from Seth Godin is a collection of thoughts and quotes from well-known bloggers and thinkers on important topics. Each topic is about a page long. Use this book for inspiration.

Coworking: How Freelancers Escape the Coffee Shop Office – The only book written specifically for coworkers by coworkers, this is your guide to the who, what, where, why, and how of coworking. Featuring tips for finding and participating in a local coworking community, and personal stories from coworkers around the world.

Time Management for Creative People  by Mark McGuinness from Wishful Thinking – Do you struggle to find enough time to get everything done? This book is here to help. Over 30 pages on how to manage your time better.

How to be a Rockstar Freelancer  – Written by the creators of Freelance Switch, this ebook goes far beyond the creative aspects of the business, giving practical advice on the difficult situations a new freelancer can face: from managing your budget on a freelancer’s changing income to balancing work from multiple clients.

Seek and Destroy  by Peter Shallard – This 61-page eBook discusses some of the common obstacles entrepreneurs face and explains how to overcome them. If your business is stuck and you can’t figure out why, Peter may have the answer

What do you want Santa to bring you?

Image Credit: Flickr – _Fidelio_

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