The Surprising Way Cohere Coworking Helped My Family

When it comes to coworking, you never know where or how inspiration will hit–unless you’ve activated your community using Cotivation.

Cotivation is a five-week program for members of a coworking community. Participants meet on a weekly basis to set goals and revisit previous commitments, so every participant has a chance to make progress with the help of fellow coworkers. Weekly meetings ensure everyone has a sense of accountability as well as ongoing guidance from helpful peers. Challenges are routinely identified, tackled, then re-examined, so participants can feel a sense of not just progress in their work but in their development as better professionals and more well-rounded people.”

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Cohere has had 6 cycles of Cotivation over the past 2 years. We decided to take a hiatus from it last summer due to travel and member Gina REALLY wanted Cotivation to keep going so she implemented it with her family!

Gina and I sat down over matchy-matchy mandarin salads at The Rainbow and I quizzed her about why she would take a “work” tool to her family.

Why did you join Cohere’s Cotivation group? I needed a kick in the @ss. I have these year long projects with huge deadlines and I have to keep moving forward on them no matter what. I wanted to have accountability to other people.

Why did you take Cotivation home? We were ending a family book club cycle and I suggested Cotivation as a way to work on our goals. We’ve been doing it for almost a year together. We do a weekly google hangout.

What benefits has your family seen as a result? HUGE RESULTS. My mom had retired and fell into a rut. Cotivation inspired her to re-certify as a teacher and begin subbing again. She also started exercising. My dad started exercising for the FIRST time in his life. He uses a Total Gym. ***at this point the conversation devolved into me telling Gina all about Chuck Norris Facts***

Gina loves that her parents are getting healthier and she loves that she’s now flossing on a regular basis. She also got to know her sister-in-law better which has been awesome.

What’s the best thing about Cotivation at Cohere? I love the safety of it, the non-judgmental aspect and how self motivating I found it to be. I had no fear in setting goals and giving progress updates because I don’t actually work for or with anyone in Cotivation. Just look how happy Gina is with her excellent gum health!

Gina Hooten

If you want to bring Cotivation to your coworking space, reach out to Tony and Susan! If you want to join Cohere and our next round of Cotivation, schedule a tour.

 

Featured Member Monday: Meet Michael Clingan

Michael Clingan
Professional Organizational Catalyst
Founder of the Claymore Group
www.theclaymoregroup.com 

Freelancers work far from the cubicles and constraints of the typical corporate structure. Most of us can’t imagine having to consult with the marketing department before we answer a question about our company, or worrying about whether sales is playing nicely with R&D. Nevertheless, that’s the reality for most of today’s medium to large-size companies. There are a lot of moving parts, and most of the time, executives are too close to the issues to realize why and how they need to change.

That’s where Michael Clingan comes in.  He helps groups think about their purpose, goals, and constraints in ways both creative and logical. Michael’s clients are often marketing, sales or leadership teams that need to create a new level of dialog, either internally or with their customers. Sometimes these sessions are strategic marketing interventions designed to quickly increase a companies sales without new products or discounting. Although his professional life often takes him deep into the belly of the corporate beast, we love the fact that Michael chooses to accomplish many of his tasks in our cozy little coworking space! Sometimes perspective can be everything, and according to Michael, working in a collaborative environment helps keep his sharp.

How did you hear about Cohere? Saw a little blurb in Northern Colorado Business Review and drove an hour to check it out.
When did you join? The day after my free visit.
What’s your favorite part about Cohere? The ability to engage at will with people who, while they’re usually doing something way way different than me, have the same work values.
Favorite past time? Travel and spending time with our 2 and 9 year-old daughters.
What’s something we don’t know about you? My first consulting gig was with “Unsolved Mysteries” as a technical adviser  We filmed in a swamp, in the rain, for four days.

Come meet Michael and our entire coworking community! Sign up for a free day pass here

Featured Member Monday: Meet Darrin Sharp

Darrin Sharp
Faculty Research Assistant
Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at Oregon State University 
occri.net

We often talk about coworking as a haven for creative types–designers, writers, and developers who like to make something out of nothing and color outside the lines. But that doesn’t mean artistic tendencies are a requirement for a successful coworking experience. Case in point? Member Darrin Sharp. Darrin’s a science man. Not political or social science, but the theory-formulating, hypothesis-testing kind. Yet he too found what he was looking for in the diverse environment of a coworking space.

How did you hear about Cohere?

I was at a Green Drinks get together. I was talking to someone about my job, and the fact that I work remotely. In the course of the conversation I mentioned that I liked my job, but I was finding working from home a challenge (distractions, cabin fever, social isolation – the usual complaints). She mentioned Cohere to me. I did my free day a couple of days later, and joined for 3 days/week immediately. I did 3 days/week for a month or so but was beginning to dread doing the coffee shop/library routine the other 2 days. So I joined full-time and never looked back.

How do you pay the bills?

With my VISA card. Ooops, not what you were asking…I study climate change and it’s potential impacts on the state of Oregon (and to a lesser extent the whole Pacific Northwest). I have a background in software engineering, so I spend a lot of time writing code to analyze the output of climate models.

What’s your favorite part about Cohere?

All the interesting people I meet. One of the primary reasons I joined was for the social aspect. I’ve not been disappointed. And it’s soooo nice to get out of the house and have somewhere to go every work day.

What’s something we don’t know about you?

I occasionally sit-in as a substitute DJ on KRFC (Fort Collin’s own community radio station).

 

Featured Member Monday: Meet Katrina Pfannkuch

Katrina Pfannkuch
Owner/Writer
Buzzword Communications, LLC
www.buzzwordonline.com 

The very first time you visited the Cohere website, it’s likely that you watched the little video at the top of the page. That smiling face you met in the first frame was Katrina Pfannkuch, aka “Creative Katrina,” one of the original members of our coworking community.

Katrina is a communications expert, whether that means crafting compelling copy for your website or coaching entrepreneurs on how to keep their creativity flowing. When Cohere’s collective nerdyness slides into snarky cynicism, Katrina is always ready with a positive perspective, helping us to refocus on what’s really important. Since creativity and inspiration are her strong points, it’s no surprise that Katrina took naturally to coworking.

“I really love getting together with other people who embrace an entrepreneurial way of life and thinking,” said Katrina. “When people work side by side on their passion, there is a collaborative energy and inspiration you are unable to get working at home alone or along side people an office who don’t enjoy what they do.

“As a people-person, I was really missing that in my home office! I also really appreciate the sense of sharing in-person and online that we are able to do as a community. And most importantly, I love being part of a community that allows me to show up how and when I want to – there is no expectation of me other than to be myself.”

Like most freelancers and small business owners that work at Cohere, Katrina makes a living using her passions to help others be more successful. Unwiling to settle on a single title, Katrina describes herself as a creative consultant, intuitive copywriter, content strategist, teacher and overall creative fire starter. “I love helping people get clear on their gifts and then helping them develop authentic marketing and content to share it with the rest of the world,” she said. As if that doesn’t sound blissful enough, Katrina is also a Reiki Master, intuitive and an empath.

“Now that I’ve been a member of Cohere for a few years, I feel more part of a community of like-minded people that I was never able to find on my own or in an official “office job”,” Katrina said. “I’ve developed friendships and working relationships with other creative people I really respect and have also been introduced to even more groups, events, connections and work opportunities to enhance my learning and my business outreach.”

If you’d like to swap ideas about what makes killer content, or are just looking for a way to de-stress after a particularly long day, say hi to Katrina next time you’re at Cohere Coworking!

Featured Member Monday: Meet Bill Mastre

Bill Mastre

Bill Mastre
Worldwide Business Development Manager
Agent 18
www.agent18.com

The mobile workforce loves WAHMs. (That’s Work at Home Moms). We’ve got lots of them in our ranks here at Cohere Community. These women write the book on multi-tasking, but they’re not alone. Many have awesome husbands behind the scenes, supporting them all the way. Cohere is unique because we’re home to a very special set of coworking parents, Kristin Mastre, Fort Collins’ premiere food blogger, and her husband Bill, a sales and business development ninja–both of whom have shunned the traditional office for something more adventurous.

This pair represent the future of the mobile workforce, and coworking is helping them to achieve balanced lives while supporting their families. Kristin’s been a member for a while, so this time it’s Bill’s turn in the spotlight.

It’s not hard to imagine where Bill heard about coworking (his wife!) but up until about 6 months ago, he saw it as a haven only for her. Then, he landed a remote business development position for Agent 18, a company that makes protective gear for your electronics. The company’s based in West Hollywood, CA, but Bill gets to stay home with his family here in Fort Collins.

After a couple of months of summer vacation with kids and both parents inhabiting the same space all day, it’s not hard to see why Bill’s favorite thing about Cohere is the silence. “I use it to get away from the kids when I need to concentrate on important projects,” he says. “Before joining Cohere, life was frustrating….trying to land international distribution deals while dealing with a 6yo and 3yo playing zombie apocalypse around me.”

Although Bill spends a lot of his time tucked in the corner with his headphones in, he wants everyone at Cohere to know that he DOES talk. The best way to get him yammering is to ask about his favorite pastime, fly fishing.

Want to pick Bill’s brain about business development strategy or his favorite fishing spot? Come visit us at Cohere coworking

Featured Member Monday: Meet Nick Armstrong

Nick Armstrong
Colorado’s Small Business Marketing Expert
WTF Marketing
www.wtfmarketing.com 

Nick Armstrong is a great example of what happens when you let entrepreneurial talent flourish in the fresh air of the real world, rather than locking it up in a cubicle. Nick isn’t your average marketing expert or website developer. In fact, he has built an impressive roster of satisfied clients by making it a point to be anything but average. He’s a professional feather-ruffler, a self-described digital gunslinger, and has declared war on business as usual. Since he takes such particular pleasure in bucking the status quo, it’s no surprise that Nick has been a supporter of Cohere coworking ever since it was just a twinkle in Angel K’s eye. What might be more surprising is that it took him a while to become convinced that coworking would help his own business become more successful

“I can’t say I’ve been on since the start – I’ve come and gone a few times since Cohere started. I think I’ll always have a Cohere membership – it’s just such a core part of Fort Collins culture and a great place to coordinate with your fellow co-workers that I don’t see a day when I won’t want to spend time there.”

Nick says that it’s the collaboration and community spirit of coworking that keeps him coming back for more. “Among the members, you can find almost every single freelance profession represented. If an idea is to succeed in Fort Collins, it’d better have the backing of Cohere’s residents; that’s my litmus test.”

Nick may have been a stand-up comedian in a past life, but he’s not joking when he describes life before coworking as ‘less profitable and less social.’ “I’m so much more connected to the community – I’ve started businesses, collaborations, and friendships, with other Cohere folks.” (Nick is 1/4th of Fort Collins’ newest restaurant-centric marketing boutique, Four Course Marketing. The other three-fourths are also Cohere members).

Nick can sympathize with those who might be a little skeptical about investing in a Cohere membership, but he’s also got some sage advice: “Give it a shot – it takes a bit of getting used to. Coworking is unlike working in an office – these are people that you can actually like working beside, there’s no politics, and how you spend your day is pretty much up to you. Headphones in, jamming out while keeping your nose to the grindstone, or chatting it up while writing a blog post over a cup of coffee, you’ve got the whole gamut open to you. Cohere is also unique in that you have access to any section, any table, any conference room, the patio, etc. You won’t be bored.

“Coworking has to be tried in order to be understood – and your experience will vary from day to day. Cohere is a great place to meet new friends while you try it out!”

So, if you’re tired of smelling like a barrista or a basement and would love to challenge Nick to a game of Halo or Modern Warfare 3, come visit us at Cohere coworking

Friday’s Featured Cohere Member: Meet Matt Rose

Matt Rose -  Developer

Matt Rose, Web Application Developer
Owner of Composition 9
www.composition9.com

Want to double your productivity as a freelancer?  Meet one of our 40-hours-per-weekers, our very own Matt Rose, owner of Composition 9—as he talks about why coworking is working extra well for him.

To say that Matt Rose has been at Cohere from day one would be an understatement.  Having previously heard of the concept of coworking, Matt was on the hunt for a Fort Collins based space before Cohere ever came to be.  So sure that it was exactly what he needed to make his business a success, he was one of the very first people at the front door–showing up before Cohere had even celebrated its grand opening.  Today, he confirmed that he had been spot on—coworking is indeed working for him.

“I’ve seen my productivity double since coming to Cohere,” Matt said.  Owner of his own web application development company, Composition 9, Matt originally started working out of his own home and like many found it more challenging than he had expected.  “For me, the main (reason for working from Cohere) is getting out of the house. Structurally, life balance wise—I’ve found that it’s really good to separate home and work.  Otherwise it starts to bleed together and you don’t have really clear lines of when you’re working or when you’re not—and it’s frustrating.”

Matt now spends 100% of his work time at Cohere—a balance that feels like a much better fit. In addition to noticing how much more he gets done, Matt also gives a shout out to the added “bonus” of the great community.  “Working alongside others who really like what they do, and being around other people who are doing the same thing (freelancing) and enjoying it is motivating,” he says, “And also getting to bounce ideas off of people.  That’s one of the things that you don’t normally get as a freelancer…is getting to bounce ideas off each other—turns out that’s really important.”

With Cohere being THE place that he calls his home office, Matt is particularly appreciative of Cohere’s new, larger Fort Collins location.  The addition of several private offices off of the main shared space is ideal for Matt and others who also happen to need the flexibility of being able to duck into a private room from time to time for their work.  Also mentioning the improved cozy feel, the great location in town, and the much larger conference room—Matt is happy to say that the recent move was the right move for the Cohere community.

Friday’s Featured Cohere Member: Meet Ellen Bryant

WHY work at Cohere?  Meet one of our members, the marvelously talented Ellen Bryant, owner of Ellen Bryant Design—as she reflects on her personal WHY.

Ellen Bryant, Graphic Designer
Owner of Ellen Bryant Design
www.ellenbryantdesign.com

A little over a year ago, Ellen had one of those fork-in-the-road type of moments in her career. As a freelancer and business owner operating her design studio out of her house, it was suddenly clear to her that she couldn’t sit around waiting for business to come to her—she needed to leave the confines of her home office and get out there and meet people. She gave traditional networking a fair shake, attending groups and passing out business cards, but didn’t feel like it was working for her—it was uncomfortable and didn’t seem to be producing the results she was after. She came across Cohere, purely by chance, on Facebook. Admitting happily that she slightly stalked this bustling community—she started following Cohere’s blog, checking in on their Facebook dialogue, and checking out their website. It didn’t take long for her to recognize that this might be the perfect fit.

“This was a group of people that I could see myself not only doing business with, but also wanting to spend time with. They were funny and seemed to always be having a good time, but were also clearly professionals. It was obvious right away that they were great enough at what they each do to be successful at freelancing.” She decided, “I could really use these type of people in my life as friends and co-workers.”

After a brief trial run, Ellen was hooked. “I love the collaborative energy—when someone is stuck on something they throw it out and get tons of great feedback. There is a very strong sense of community—and it makes a huge difference when you go from working in vacuum to having a professional community.”

From a business angle, working at Cohere has done more to boost her bottom line than anything else she’s ever tried. “It’s definitely changed my personal revenue stream,” she says, “Because of the collaborative nature—you’re pulling together professionals from different fields who are able to refer business to each other, work together on projects, and connect with new clients. This has made a huge impact—I’ve worked directly with Cohere members, and with businesses that they’ve then referred me to, who have then referred me to still other businesses. I told Angel I call it ‘six degrees of Cohere’. Steady clients have come out of it.”

Other perks of working at Cohere? Ellen says that although she still works from home on certain days, the break in her week is a welcome refresher—a change of pace and scenery. She mentions the improvements in the quality of her work and credits challenging herself more when she’s surrounded by others that she admires and respects—knowing that she’ll look to them for input on her projects, and striving to show them her best work.

When asked what she believes she lends to the Cohere workspace, Ellen reflected, “I think just being a collaborative team member. The biggest thing that we ALL bring to each other is a sense of humor and community, and support to each other’s professional goals.”

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