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!

“Maximizing Synergy and Backward Revenue Streams”

The Cohere Coworking Community is a verbal group. We enjoy a good conversation about words. Let’s discuss one.

Synergy might be the most overused word right now behind the recently revived “D*****bag.”  I get annoyed with the word synergy because people use it for everything.  “I’m going to synergize my workout by adding weights.”  “Let’s get some synergy going at lunch today.”  “That D-bag totally ruined the synergy we talked about.”  None of these phrases makes any sense.

What is synergy?

Screw the dictionary.com and wikipedia definitions and let’s get back to an example that we can relate to.  The best use of synergy is when the ghostbusters cross the streams of their proton packs to destroy Gozer.  Initially, the ghostbusters thought that crossing streams would be detrimental.  Similarly, many business people shy away from joining networking groups where other people in their same profession are members.  This is lame and a totally unrealistic and unproductive way to approach business.  Don’t avoid crossing streams with people in the same field as you.  Who knows, if you cross streams with similar people, you’ll be able to destroy a demon from a parallel universe.  Don’t discount the magic that can happen through co-opetition.

The intersection of ideas and passion between like minded people is where the true synergy happens.  Synergy: working with others to achieve more together than you could alone.

Please give some critical thought to the word synergy and let’s clean it up a bit so that it can get its meaning back.

#funfriday

Time to wind down for the weekend with some hilarious Cohere and coworking shenanigans from the week.

Today has been all about link sharing.  Enjoy this snapshot of our irc chat between @_achiang, @rockstar, @sgillies and @coherellc

<achiang> http://i.imgur.com/UTSDN.jpg
<achiang> seang: rockstar ^^
<seang> … D’ALBA
<seang> barbera?
<seang> mmm
* Angelk doesn’t want to see rockstar dance
<achiang> awilliam: so, king weiner?
<awilliam> achiang: sure
<seang> yes
<awilliam> achiang: I’m leaving in a few, I’ll just meet you @cohere
<achiang> http://www.asofterworld.com/
<Angelk> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=832P-WWv0JM (trolololo guy with real sounds)
<achiang> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqxIZD4phJw&feature=related
<achiang> Angelk: hitler and balloon boy
<achiang> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM5Bpz9HA5k
<achiang> hitler ipad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lui0-4IW64
<achiang> wait, this is a better hitler ipad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHchZtRL40Y&feature=related
<achiang> HTFU: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EY7lYRneHc
<achiang> yay, weiner quorum
<smallakin> I’m still looking at this frequently. http://i.imgur.com/MgxEY.jpg  love them

Additionally, Cohere welcomed many of our old Coherants back into the folds of coworking on Wednesday night.  There’s something about having @reusmith, @shirjoycreative, @kevin_u and @coherellc (the person) in #inappropriate corner that lends itself naturally to science + graphs + relationships.

We got on the topic of “levels of nerdery” and naturally we had to use some XY graphs to represent each of us.  Fossil fuel, mucus production, chocolate intake and keyword density were all found on at least one graph.  Enjoy these pictures of the results.

What “type” of people cowork at Cohere?

This post is inspired by a new coworker in the Loveland group named Dusty.  He found out about coworking through a flier in a coffee shop.  He said that when he saw the flier, he immediately thought, “Yes!  THESE are my people!  This is the tribe I’ve been looking for!” Dusty worked one day with us in Loveland and after 4 hours proclaimed, “I’m in.  Whatever you need me to do to help, I’m there.”

Not everyone feels as comfortable as Dusty to just show up to a new place filled with strangers.  You might have some reservations about coming in for the first time so I thought I’d take a moment to describe, in more detail, who we are. If you can identify with at least one thing on this list, we’re a match made in coworking heaven.

Members list their values for coworking and Cohere

Cohere is made up of what the coworking movement calls “like-minded people.”  At first glance, like-minded seems a little cultish and you might even believe that we all think alike, have the same opinions and are basically clones of one another.  Nothing could be further from reality.  Our diverse opinions is what keeps the conversation flowing and lively. None of us think exactly alike.  That would be boring! When we say “like-minded” we are talking about our values as independent workers.  The basic values we hold in the space are:

  • Being Part of a Community
  • Freedom to Collaborate and ask for/give Help.
  • Productivity balanced with Social Time
  • Giving and Getting Inspiration
  • Forming Deeper Relationships

If those values appeal to you, read on to see how our interests overlap.  After collecting over 20 members and spending countless hours together, I’ve noticed some trends in member behaviors and preferences.

Most members:

  • Make a conscious decision to work together instead of alone and have been willing to abandon home offices and the coffee shop circuit to be at Cohere.
  • Believe that they get much more value out of membership than just a physical space to do work.
  • Exhibit happy, helpful attitudes in life and at Cohere.  Members are happy to offer up their expertise when another member hits a roadblock or gets jammed up in the creative process. They are also resilient and hard working.
  • Are willing to collaborate on projects and make useful introductions to key people in the community to grow social networks.
  • Have quirky or off beat senses of humor. We all have our own particular comedic style and we’re all embraced just as we are.  If you’ve ever read our twitter stream, this should be apparent!
  • "like-minded" ladies sport matching Bike to Work tees; locally designed by Akinz.com

    Participate in physical activities like going for walks, ultimate frisbee, softball, running, spinning, climbing, yoga or individual activities.

  • Enjoy eating, growing and/or learning about natural or organic foods.  Many members enjoy shares of community supported agriculture, have gardens of their own or support the local economy by shopping at farmers’ markets and buying/eating local foods.
  • Like animals.  Most members have pets ranging from dogs and cats to bunnies, horses and fish.
  • Are technically diverse.  Members are nearly evenly split PC and MAC and run both Linux and Windows based systems.  Some use social media a lot, others not at all. Some are “power users” and others just use computers as a means to get their jobs done.

If any of these resonate with you, try out a Free Day Pass. I won’t spam your email or force you to join.  I won’t even ask you to make a decision about membership while you’re here.  Just come check it out.  All we ask is that you come with an open mind and get some work done or meet a new friend.

Cohere Members–what other characteristics have you noticed?

4 word resumes

Inspired by an event which I can no longer remember, I launched a “create your 4 word resume” contest and received the following entries.  I have decided that the 4 word resume should take over the traditional resume.  It takes a good chunk of time to write only 4 words that sum up who you are as a person and if my experience in HR has taught me anything, that’s all the HR folks are reading anyway.  Read on to see the winner.

Graphic & Clothing Designer: Imagination Vendor

Stay at home mom: Skilled incubator

Unknown: I care

Writer: Writes well for money

Game developer: I am a Ninja

Unknown: Jill of all trades

Trainer: Passionate about Singapore Math

Art Advocate: I teach sustainable creativity

Community Platform Builder: I know my gifts

Writer: Creates content, changes world

Marketing Strategist: Strategic Marketing Trail Guide

Videographer: Telling Creative Visual Stories

Programmer: Computer plumber, mirth maker

Programmer: Will work for comics

Web Dev: I am a Drupalista

After a quick vote yesterday during Free Coworking Day, a clear winner emerged: Creates content, changes world.  Congratulations to veteran Coherian and writer, Beth @gonecoworking who just won an Explorer pass for the month.  This will be Beth’s last month at Cohere before she launches her year long travels across the USA as a truly location independent freelancer!

On Listening

As the community “manager” of Cohere, it’s important that I take in lots and lots of information daily. I have to listen to all of the social media channels, inquiries from prospective members, my vendors, my landlord, friends, family, well-wishers and so on. While all of those sources give me valuable data to work with, current members of Cohere get my full attention and top priority when they have something to say.

When the Cohere members need something, they all seem to need it within about 32 hours of one another. Example, Julie asked me if we could have a venue to share our specialties/passions with each other. Then Paul walked up and asked if I could organize something where the members could come together to teach and learn from each other. Then I got an email from Skippy asking if we could all get together as a group regularly. I’d have to be an idiot to ignore this kind of collective brain trust.

So I implemented it, the same day, within an hour of the request. We went to Stuft as a group and Julie got to share with us how she came to be a freelancer, what her favorite projects are and who her ideal client is. Listening to Julie was inspiring for all.  I think we all took a little slice of her passion with us and now every Friday, we get together as a group to listen, share and learn from each other.

Our blog is pretty awesome.
What are you looking for?

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Stay in touch with news and events from the Cohere community with a monthly subscription to our newsletter.

The only spam we like is fried. We assume you feel the same.