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!

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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.

 

Coworking and Suicide: What the Spirograph Can Teach Us About Community

There are a thousand resources to learn how to be a community manager in a coworking space. But in all my six years of learning I never came across the chapter entitled, “How to handle the suicide of a member.” So I’ll write that chapter now and tell you how I was only able to put words to my feelings by using a Spirograph.

The Spirograph can teach us a lot about coworking, community, interaction and how we all weave an invisible net under people.

But first, let me tell you about Bill.

For the purposes of family privacy, I’ll name our member Bill. Bill came to Cohere in early 2014 to work on his freelance software project while attending school. He was always smiling, quick to chat and super excited about Cohere’s Pinball party. We all shared tacos at La Luz with Bill last May 24th. It was a really good night.

Bill stopped coming to Cohere and then in October emailed me to let me know he’d be cancelling b/c he had another office in town that required his presence more often. That’s a pretty typical scenario and set off exactly ZERO red flags for me. He told me he’d like to return in the spring. That would be now if he were still here.

My last email to him read, “Thanks for the note! It was good to see you the other night at ***. That’s neat that you have an office at ***! Congrats. I hope to see you in the summer.”

Earlier this week Bill’s wife messaged me to tell me that he had ended his long battle with depression in late January. I told her that he must have been in so much pain and was surprised that I didn’t notice. She told me that only two people in the world knew he was struggling. TWO people of the hundreds he interacted with over the past several years. Two. How could we not notice? How could we, as a community, have failed to spot the warning signs?

All I can say is that people with depression develop a helluva toolkit of coping mechanisms and mannerisms that defy their truth. It’s necessary. Society gets squeamish at the first hint of mental illness and it’s typically not a topic that will come up at the coffee pot, least of all at work.

So let’s remember Bill while we talk about the Spirograph. The Spirograph can teach us a lot about people, safety and coworking.

I borrowed this vintage set from Bryan and Maggie. Thanks, you two!

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To use the Spirograph, you have to pin down the primary ring onto a piece of cardboard using 4 pushpins. In the world of coworking, this ring is your coworking space. It’s the physical space, the container that holds all the neat things that happen every day. We can put your communication software in this container too. Your slack channel, your Facebook group, your Cobot, your Group Buzzio. The four pins become the holy quadrangle of coworking space amenities: wifi, coffee, electricity and redundant wifi. Those four things anchor a community to one physical space.

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Next come the plethora of little gear doodads. Those are your members. Each gear is a type of member and each gear has between 5 and 33 holes. Each hole makes the gear do something different and each hole is an emotion or behavior.

Next you need some pens. Not only does each member become a gear but they also each get their own unique color. Cohere would need 55 colors today. One for each member.

As you begin to rotate the pen in a gear, you’ll find that it’s actually quite hard. There’s a fair amount of concentration required. Here’s my first attempt. Yikes. That’s a little like being a new community manager. You try really hard but still fuck up at first. It’s normal.

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In my second attempt, everything becomes clear. With every color change, I change gears and holes and a unique pattern emerges. Each color and rotation of the gear makes loops that intersect with every other color that’s already there. Those intersections are the interactions between your members. See how many there are? Thousands, maybe even millions.

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At each intersection, we would hope our members are truly seeing one another, listening and helping each other. After only 3 colors, you’ll see how utterly complex the design is. That’s the web of safety that communities are striving to weave under one another. That web is made up of high fives, hugs, sharing, listening and laughter.

Who knows if Cohere could have held him if he’d stayed at Cohere for an extra 2.5 months. We’ll never get the chance to find out. So my fervent plea to you, out there in the world today tackling your to-do list and worrying about what’s for dinner is to SEE your fellow members. Ask and listen and hug and laugh and BE THERE. Weave a tight web among yourselves that is unbreakable even by the worst depression. If you have depression, fucking SHARE that with your community no matter how terrible it seems and hopeless you feel. Find 3 people to put on speed dial for the darkest of times.

Since announcing the death of Bill, we’ve had members come forward to share their own struggles with depression. That shit matters because we can tighten the net for them. We’ve opened the door to this oh-so-hard conversation and now we can build interactions around that.

Coworking, like the Spirograph is complicated, “It is possible to move several pieces in relation to each other…, but this requires concentration or even additional assistance from other artists.” -Wikipedia

Even the Spirograph, a child’s toy, admits you might need help from a friend to do the hard stuff.

Today we remember Bill. Today we have a Spirograph out for anyone to try but it’s okay to ask for help. We’re here for you. And here’s the National Number to call if you’re in crisis right now. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Hey Neighbor! Meet The Birdsong Katz Team

We’re resurrecting Featured Member posts. These Q&As let you peek behind the curtain of Cohere. Find out what makes our members tick and why, in a world (Fort Collins) of almost limitless work choices, they choose Cohere as their preferred shared office community. This motley crew resides in the former “Estrogen Den” on the lower level of Cohere.

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From left: David, Ryan, Stuart.

How long have you been in the neighborhood, and what brought you here? Why choose Cohere over any old office?

David: We have been at Cohere for 3 or 4 months.  We love the location and the more laid-back atmosphere.  The sight of cubicles make me nauseous. 

Ryan: I’ve been in Colorado for over 5 years. 1 year and a half of that in Denver. The rest of the time I’ve lived in Fort Collins. The mountains, progressive eco-mindset and the promise of new adventure brought me here. Cohere is so much better than a totally empty private office space and offers the benefits of synergy and people to visit with when you are going cross-eyed from staring at your computer screen. Plus doggie friendly :)

Stuart: I’ve been in Fort Collins for 6 years. Moved to escape the wind in Wyoming, although I do miss Wyoming. We chose Cohere because we liked the idea of sharing Peanut Butter (Crunchy of course), proximity to all of my vices Harbingers, Lucille’s, 415, Dam good Tacos'(I am fat now as the result of this) and of course Angel’s dry sense of Humor. Truthfully, we liked the flexible lease terms and overall idea of co working. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time being here. Editor’s note since Stuart is a Realtor and we’ve been over this before…this isn’t a lease. It’s a membership. Remember?!

What do you all do for work … and play?

David: We are real estate professionals that help people develop opportunities for themselves and their family’s.  For play, I can only speak for myself…. If I could ski or saltwater fly fish every day I would be “OK” with that.

Ryan: Work for Me = Executive Administrator – We can’t ALL be at Harbinger -So I handle overseeing file completion, marketing design & execution, business & marketing consultation, social media, research, managing web presence, creation of team systems and creatively thinking out-of-the-box for our clients. I truly enjoy properties, details and research. Real Estate is full of new obstacles and unique situations. I really enjoy complex problem solving and helping others. Play for Me = hiking, mountain biking, yoga, thrift shopping, painting and ceramics.  

Stuart: Full Time Parent and Real Estate Investor/ Broker. I love to Fly Fish, Ski and any activity in the outdoors that doesn’t involve Horses.

What makes this neighborhood unique?

David: The neighborhood is in walking distance to 3 of my favorite places to indulge. Lucile’s, Harbinger Coffee, & Damn Good Tacos.

Ryan: Super friendly people, “house” businesses that Colorado loves so much, the train running down the street, mix of businesses and homes with a focus on local privately owned businesses.

Stuart: Angel,… duh

What makes YOUR team unique? (hidden talents? odd habits? guilty pleasures? etc.)

David: Unique?  Have you met Stuart?

Ryan: Our team is unique in that we each have a valuable yet specific skill-set. We all really excel in our areas of expertise with little overlap and that has allowed for a natural, sustainable role-creation. We also have a similar sense of humor which never hurts a group dynamic. Dave and Stuart like to drive around in their matching trucks and talk smack to each other at traffic lights. They also have several “bro-mances” in the industry besides their total ‘old married business couple’ banter. Sometimes they have very differing opinions on things but that has created an environment where we don’t fear but embrace the progress of conflict. This is a necessity of a functional team. Dave and Stuart love to play- travel, ski, bike – etc. What makes our team unique is that they think that is just as important for me to go play and have that balance as well. Dave and I are both junkies for new industry and business techniques, ideas and approaches. Fun Facts: Dave has a strong weakness for chocolate and an affinity for electronics- destroying them upon touch. Stuart is a master at old man noises. Also, Stuart serenades me daily ;) Ask for a personal song – I’m sure he’d be happy to share his massive, massive talents.

Stuart: Dave and Ryan may be the loudest speakers in the building. Thankfully, we are in the basement. Ryan is a surprising Do-it-yourselfer; She can rebuild dishwashers, stoves and any electronic appliance you cannot figure out. In addition to that, she is an exceptional communicator(other than loud speaker) and makes our business run flawlessly, despite Dave and I’s obvious quirks. Dave, on the other hand, is not allowed anywhere near electronics (It will most likely combust in his presence). Truthfully, Dave is all about Self Motivation and Personal Development. He genuinely cares about the people he works with and has a 110% commitment to being a great Dad, Husband, and businessmen. Our team is awesome, despite me, and I am thankful to work with them every day.

Favorite neighborhood haunts (nearby restaurants, stores, businesses you frequent)?

David: See above.

Ryan: Flamingo Boutique and Find Of The Day – Told you i was thrifty ;)

Stuart: I go to Harbinger Coffee 6 days a week(and Thanks for the 10% discount) and Lucilles once a week with my Wife, Cassady, and Daughter, Stella, strictly for the weekly pancake special.

In your opinion, what makes a good neighbor?

David: There is some old book that says “help thy Neighbor” (or something like that)

Ryan: “All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.”
Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers (Just for you, Angel)

Courtesy and kindness are just as powerful as anger and alienation. We’re all in this environment for different reasons/purpose. The next Cohere member’s purpose/mission and mine are different- each day. My mission doesn’t really help their mission or vice versa. People could easily not be friendly because they don’t have a specific reason to (i.e. no negative consequences from HR, trouble from your boss, etc). Yet, in this environment we are helpful to each other- with no real benefit to ourselves. That to me, is what makes a good neighbor. No strings attached – no personal benefits up your sleeve – truly just being helpful and courteous to your fellow man.
Plus the consistent flow of donuts into this building may be related…

Stuart: A smile and a hello, when you see them.

What’s your favorite part of Cohere?

David: Angel…duh.

Ryan: The witty instructional notes, environmentally conscientious, random silly surveys on personal hygiene, dog friendly environment and the opportunity to connect with others.

Stuart: Everything.

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!

Ashok Amaran Remembers His First Day Of Coworking…

If you’ve just recently joined Cohere, you probably haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Ashok Amaran. Ash was one of our first Night Owl members back at the old location, and is the co-founder of Quark Studios, a full featured mobile apps and web development company.

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After coworking with us for about a year, Ash decided to move back to Kansas City to be closer to business partners and family (we still consider him an honorary member). We miss his quirky sense of humor, love of unicorns, and passion for coworking something fierce, but we’re glad he’s been able to get out and see other coworking spaces all around the country!

When we sent out a call for Cohereians to tell us what they remembered about their first day of coworking, Ash sent in a detailed account of his first experience. We figured it was so good that it should get its own blog post, so here it is.

What do you remember about your first day of coworking?
Ash: I remember it well. It was September 29th, 2010. Just a little over a week since I had met Kevin Udy at a NoCoFat tech event and at Ignite Fort Collins. He had recommended I come and try out coworking even though I was working full-time. The membership he recommended was aptly titled the Night-Owl plan, which fit my profile quite nicely at the time as I was working late nights after work on side-projects with a friend of mine in order to legitimately run a company so we could escape the dependence of our jobs. Days seemed to blur together as we both spent close to 70-80 hours a week working on projects and our full-time jobs.

This September night was going to be slightly different as I would try out a shared office space that was advertised to have members who had managed to craft their lives outside the corporate world. Their stories on the website were inspiring and something felt so right about the purpose behind their work and their intention to make a living being independent. Almost as if it was a sanctuary for those who felt like square pegs being shoved into a round hole.

I remember being somewhat anxious as work was winding down, scanning the time on my computer every few minutes to see if it had reached 5:30pm yet. I got back to my apartment, still nervous about what to expect that night. I typically cook when I’m stressed so I prepared some simple Tomato Kochi curry and ate a small meal before heading over to the space for night coworking which was happening between 4 – 10pm. For some reason, arriving at 7 seemed like a perfect time (or in other words, a safe enough time to show up where I hopefully wouldn’t be the only person there and Kevin would surely be there by then). I still remember the butterflies in my stomach as I walked up the stairs after finding the old-fashioned door which led into the space.

It was quiet when I entered, with no one to be seen at the top of the stairs and the front of the space. There was a small white board on the desk in front of me that said everyone was in back with an arrow pointing in that direction. I paused and glanced at all the colorful stickers that were on the table as well as a business card by the space owner which was a circle, a pure contrast to the common rectangular ones. As I walked around the corner, Kevin welcomed me and showed a quick tour of the space. Explaining the loft areas, the kitchen, the lounge, shared desk area, the patio and other perks of the space. There was also what looked like homemade apple pie, like a crumble, on the table near the desks with small plates to serve with. I helped myself as I took a seat on one of the shared desks right behind Kevin. He mentioned the space owner had left with the only other member who was present at the time to pick up something to eat and should be back.

The night seemed slow, not the busy buzz or the high energy excitement you may expect after having seen pictures of events on the website and many videos taken within the space when it was more full. I remember we chatted about the surface level topics: what we did for a living and what brought us together in this unique space in an attempt to create a rapport from that gap of knowledge of each other’s lives. Like arriving on the first day of a new school in a sea of unfamiliar faces and trying to understand where common ground was located. There seemed to be a subtle feeling however in everything that was being said that the culture prided itself on being vastly different from the corporate world.

During the many pauses in conversation, I managed to wrap up a few e-mails and send over a test version of a mobile app I had been working on for a client. I felt productive if nothing else that night. Maybe I wouldn’t understand this new way of working, but it didn’t slow me down from my focus on the goal of escaping cubicle life. I remember the space owner, either in drowsiness or having felt I didn’t need much convincing, left that night saying only “I hope you come back; that’s my hard sell”.

As I went home that night, there was a calmness and peace I felt. I had not only finished that night’s work, but I felt relieved and less-stressed in some way. This wasn’t going to last I knew, as I had to wake up in less than 9 hours to get ready for another day at the corporate cubicle farm, but the sense of peace I felt that night still stays with me to this day.

Did you attend a free coworking day or come on a regular old day of the week?
Ash: Attended on a free coworking day.

What was your impression of the other people who were there on your first day?
Ash: Everyone seemed anxious and uncertain of how to interact with each other it seemed like. We all knew this was a cool new way to work, but it was so radically new that it was a little awkward at first.

Did someone in particular stand out to you or make you feel extra welcome (or unwelcome)?
Ash: Kevin Udy made me feel very welcome and I came purely on his invitation. I think this helps a lot when you know at least one person will be there. It can be a little intimidating to enter this new concept of work basically ‘naked’.

What do you wish you had known before you tried coworking?
Ash: That the most valuable asset of coworking is the community itself and how you can participate with it. There can be a perception that simply by joining you instantly become a part of it or will enjoy all the benefits, but that’s not entirely true. You only really start to enjoy all the benefits when you can integrate well with the community. This tricky part is it may be better to not know this before joining so you can add your unique flavor to the culture rather than ‘attempting to fit in’. There will always be an abundance of value coming your way when you first join because everyone loves the new spice that’s been added to the mix, but you must always be providing value in order to receive.

Looking back, do you wish you would have joined sooner than you did?
Ash: No. I think you learn things by having failed and it was important to suffer in a cubicle to see the true value that a coworking space offered. You can’t appreciate and truly understand the meaning and purpose behind the coworking movement until you’ve experienced the polar opposite of it. It just seems like a private or shared office space if you can’t understand the power of community. In some ways, the visions and passions that circulated at Cohere, compared to the apathy of life at my corporate job, is what made it so painfully clear how valuable a community of passionate individuals could be.

First Day Of Coworking At Cohere: Members Share Memories

remembering Everyone remembers their first time…

No silly, their first time coworking.

As freelancers and entrepreneurs, we like doing things differently. And we love being on our own. But it can still be a little unnerving about walking into a coworking on your first day.

What will it be like? What kind of people will be there? Will it be chaos, or will you really be able to get your work done. Can it really be as awesome as everyone says?

To take some of the mystery out of the first time coworking experience, we polled some of our veteran members to see what they remembered about their first day.

As you consider the options available for work space options around Northern Colorado, we hope these personal accounts of community, friendship, and productivity will pique your interest.

If you want to see what all the fuss is about, sign up for a day pass, and hang out with us for the day! No charge. Coffee included.

What do you remember about your first day of coworking?

“Not much — other than it felt good to be out of the house. Real good.” – Julie S.

” I was thrilled to be headed to a clean, bright shared space instead of the crowded coffee shops that had been my substitute office for so long.” – Beth B.

“Like arriving on the first day of a new school in a sea of unfamiliar faces and trying to understand where common ground was located. There seemed to be a subtle feeling however in everything that was being said that the culture prided itself on being vastly different from the corporate world.” – Ashok A.

What was your impression of the other people who were there on your first day?

“I was very welcomed and that everyone had the same kind of relaxed sense that I did.  I knew it was a good fit.” -Dani G.

“I was unprepared for people to ask me about what I did and to actually be interested in the answer! I loved that everyone was a motivated entrepreneur or professional in their own industry, but we could all share tips or a laugh without hesitation.” -Beth B.

“They all seemed friendly, open, and out-going.” -David M.

What do you wish you had known before you tried coworking?

“That there were other people who were feeling like me: like working at home *should* be a dream, but that it was quickly becoming an nightmare. That independence can come with more loneliness than I like, and that is actually a “normal” feeling that many other people have. My people, at least.” – Julie S.

“I wish I had known how stress-free it would be.  Minimal expectations are placed on others.” -David M.

“You only really start to enjoy all the benefits when you can integrate well with the community. This tricky part is it may be better to not know this before joining so you can add your unique flavor to the culture rather than ‘attempting to fit in’. There will always be an abundance of value coming your way when you first join because everyone loves the new spice that’s been added to the mix, but you must always be providing value in order to receive.” Ashok A.

Looking back, do you wish you would have joined sooner than you did?

“Yes, I would have 5 less lbs on my ass from coffee shop guilt.” Dani G.

“I definitely wish I had found out about coworking sooner…it would have saved me a bundle in lattes!” Beth B.

YES. But it didn’t exist yet here, so I am glad I took the leap as soon as it did. Really, it’s changed my life. Thank you for making it happen and letting me be a part of it.” Julie S.

“No. I think you learn things by having failed and it was important to suffer in a cubicle to see the true value that a coworking space offered. You can’t appreciate and truly understand the meaning and purpose behind the coworking movement until you’ve experienced the polar opposite of it. It just seems like a private or shared office space if you can’t understand the power of community. In some ways, the visions and passions that circulated at Cohere, compared to the apathy of life at my corporate job, is what made it so painfully clear how valuable a community of passionate individuals could be.” Ashok A.

Do you remember your first day of coworking? Share the experience with us in the comments!

Image via Jessica.Tam/Flickr

It’s Fat Tuesday! Cohere Celebrates Mardi Gras In Style

King Cake Mardi Gras

Today is Fat Tuesday, and those who were lucky enough to be at Cohere today were treated to some Mardi Gras treats!

Member Jennifer Davey brought in a King Cake–crazy sweet danish thing that people in New Orleans eat to celebrate Fat Tuesday–so that everyone could have their dose of sugar for the day. Here’s a little background in case you’ve never heard of this tradition:

“The King Cake tradition came to New Orleans with the first French settlers and has stayed ever since. Like the rest of Mardi Gras during those early days, the king cake was a part of the family’s celebration, and really didn’t take on a public role until after the Civil War. In 1870, the Twelfth Night Revelers held their ball, with a large king cake as the main attraction. Instead of choosing a sacred king to be sacrificed, the TNR used the bean in the cake to choose the queen of the ball. This tradition has carried on to this day, although the TNR now use a wooden replica of a large king cake. The ladies of the court pull open little drawers in the cake’s lower layer which contain the silver and gold beans. Silver means you’re on the court; gold is for the queen.

King Cake Cohere

“”With the TNR making a big deal over the king cake in the society circles, others in the city started having king cake parties. These parties particularly among children, became very popular and have also continued to today. The focus of today’s king cake party for kids has shifted more to the school classroom than the home, however. Up through the 1950s, neighborhoods would have parties. One family would start the ball rolling after Twelfth Night, and they’d continue on weekends through Carnival. Whoever got the baby (the coin or bean had changed to a ceramic or porcelain baby about an inch long by then) in the king cake was to hold the next party.”

Be sure to stop by Cohere this week to find out who earned the privilege of supplying next year’s King Cake!

Source: GumboPages.com

It’s The End Of Cohere As We Know It! (But Everything Will Be Fine)

New Cohere Front Door

That’s right folks, in case you haven’t heard by now, COHERE IS MOVING!

Our new home is located at 418 South Howes Street, a scant 8 blocks from our current location. Cohere 2.0 will officially open its doors to the laptop-working public on 2/1/2012, but current members and first timers will have access before that time.

Below are more pertinent details of what I hope will be a smooth transition to our new home. If you have any questions or concerns about this change, please contact Hannah or Angel. And PLEASE mark the below dates on your calendar–I don’t want anyone showing up to the cold, empty, Jefferson St. location next Monday, wondering what happened to their coworking space.

The Essential Details (for skimmers)

Cohere will be closed from 1/20-1/23 for the move and reopening at 9am on Tuesday, 1/24 at our new location. 418 South Howes Street. From Howes, walk along the south side of the building until you see the door with 2 small steps (above). Head to the top floor. Free coworking from 1/24-1/27 for first timers.

The Complete Details

In prep for the move, Cohere will be completely CLOSED for just 2 days to members and the public on:

Friday, January 20th

Monday, January 23rd

If you volunteered to help with the move (you are awesome). Please show up at Old Cohere around 10 am on Saturday, January 21st. There will be a variety of different tasks, and not all will include heavy lifting. Pizza and beer will be provided.

Cohere will reopen at our new location, 418 South Howes Street on Tuesday, January 24th. We’ll have an electronic key pad at the new location too but your code may change so please watch your email in the coming weeks for what code to use to access the space.

Mail Service: will still be available at new Cohere to ACTIVE members only and you should have changed your address effective January 13th (If you didn’t, please do so ASAP!) An active member is someone who uses at least 50% of their coworking days each month.

Conference Room Reservations: you’ll reserve the NEW conference room exactly as you do now just realize that your meetings will be at NEW Cohere starting Tuesday, January 24th. There will be no operations at Old Cohere as of Friday, January 20th.

To see juicy pics of the new space check out our Facebook group page!

Cohere Coworking Launches First Small Business: Akinz

Cohere, a local shared office space is proud to announce the expansion of Akinz, one of its first small business members and purveyor of stylish clothing for an active lifestyle.

Akinz owner Suzanne Akin started designing clothing as a hobby in 2005, and as an avid wakeboarder and snowboarder, was inspired to create exciting clothing options for the action sports scene.

After moving to Fort Collins two years ago, Akin hoped to focus on growing her business, but also wanted to meet locals that were interested in art, design, and active lifestyles. She heard that a local business was offering “trial coworking days” in a shared office space as a way to build community among local freelancers, and couldn’t wait to check it out.

That business was Cohere coworking community at 215 Jefferson St., and Akin soon joined as the first official member.

“Suzanne came to Cohere every day for the first six months we were open,” says Angel Kwiatkowski, owner and Madame of Cohere. “During that time she created bright new designs for her clothing line, and every day, the coworking community members would offer suggestions about everything from t-shirt graphics to marketing strategies.”

Shortly after releasing its 2011 spring line, Akinz held a clearance sale at the Cohere space during which the business sold over $1,000 in merchandise in two hours.

Successful Akinz Sale at Cohere

Fellow Cohere members also gave Akin the motivation she needed to create local programs that have now become quite successful, like the annual Akinz Sunglasses at Night party and Akinz Bike to Work Day T-shirts with bike delivery.

“Being around other people that were running their own successful freelance businesses definitely helped boost the “I can do this” thought process,” says Akin. They are a great network of people that support me in everything I do!”

When she became flooded with beanie orders last winter (Akinz beanies are handmade and a big seller during the Colorado winter), Akin knew she had outgrown her Cohere membership.

“Around December 2010 I decided it was time for me to buy my own printing press so I could have more creative and financial freedom in printing my clothes, and that was the tipping point,” says Akin. “After that, there was no way to pretend that I could fit all of my business into our second bedroom and I knew it was time for Akinz to “graduate.”

Entrepreneurs who join coworking spaces get instant access to a huge network of brilliant, well connected professionals who are truly vested in one another’s success. Akinz is just the one of many startups that Cohere plans to help launch in the coming years.

Fort Collins shoppers can find Akinz clothing at The Wright Life, Killer Rabbit, and White Balcony, as well as online at Akinz.com and the new Akinz store at 432 S. Link Lane.

About Akinz

Akinz is a clothing line for those with an active lifestyle who expect the extraordinary. Started in 2005 in the studio apartment of founder Suzanne Akin, the Akinz motto, “Find your wings.” encourages men and women to find the one thing that motivates them to push life to the limit and reach for the sky. After all, life’s too short to settle for the ordinary. Find handmade Akinz clothing, accessories, and jewelry in local stores and online at Akinz.com.

About Cohere

Cohere is a collaborative shared office space and coworking community for freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers located in Old Town Fort Collins, Colorado. Coworking creates an environment that is more conducive to collaboration and success than coffee shops, executive suites, or private office space. Learn more about Cohere by requesting a free day pass at www.coherecommunity.com or by joining the Mobile Workforce meetup group.

 

Why Niche and How to Get Started

Niche statements for freelancers

So…how’s that niche statement for your business coming along? “What’s a niche statement?!” you ask? Well, I suggested a couple weeks ago that finding your niche should be a New Year’s resolution. And I’m still curious if you’ve thought about yours.

Why nicheing out matters.

This may seem like an exercise in semantics or in marketing—but I promise you, having a niche statement will help you grow your business. How? Because not only does it help you narrow in on the core of what you currently do or want to be doing—it also helps other people remember and understand what you do. When you can succinctly and easily tell someone you’ve just met what it is you do, they’re more likely to remember it—and keep you top of mind the next time they need a designer/developer/writer/etc.—than if you spend 5 or 6 minutes fumbling around, trying to explain your business.

Nicheing out isn’t easy—but here’s how to get started.

Why do you think copywriters charge a bundle to help a company write a tagline? The tagline may be only a handful of words—but those words are so telling, so important, that it takes crafting, honing, splicing & dicing to get just the right tagline. Your niche statement will take a little bit of thought, too. On the start-up and marketing blog A Smart Bear, there’s a series of 10 questions start-ups should ask themselves monthly (and, honestly, most of these are questions you should consider asking yourself as a freelancer or independent, too). Go check out questions #1 and #2.  I think they’ll really help you create your niche statement.

And it will behoove you to think about this…because there will soon be a wall in Cohere that will feature your photo, name and niche statement. (Sounds awesome, right? It will be!) This wall will offer another way for you to get to know your coworkers. And, perhaps, get new business.

Stay tuned to the blog on Wednesday for more about niche statements. And in the mean time, share in the comments section what your niche statement is. Not sure yet? Share what your struggle is in developing it. Who knows–other Cohere members just might be able to help you!

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