Community Cultivators: Cohere Coworking

I want to take a moment to recognize the FIVE Cohere members who make Cohere run smoothly. Adding several cultivators has really taken our community to the next level. While I still do much of the broader organization for Cohere (see also: Amazon Prime Orders), having this capable crew on tap has made all the difference in my sanity and has distributed responsibility across many people rather than everything landing squarely on my plate.

Alaina Massa: Team Tidy

For those of you who are really paying attention to details, my Cohere Bandwidth staff person is Tim Massa. These two are married and having both on the team is infinitely better than just having only one. Alaina recently took over the big task of keeping Cohere’s space in tip-top shape. She comes under the cover of darkness each week and when we arrive the next morning, everything is sparkling. If you are in need of some clean, contact Choice City Cleaning.

Carrie Lamanna: Copy Editing Magic

Carrie is a writer/editor/professor by trade and I’ve recently had her start copy editing all of my coworking consulting resources. I *know* I’m an average writer and having Carrie as my secret weapon helps me deliver more consistent content that makes more sense. She did NOT edit this post so don’t blame her for my flaws.

Andy Brown: Tours & More

Andy is an expert in e-media analytics and pretty much the nicest human ever. He cares for the basic maintenance around Cohere: finding rare light bulbs for old fixtures, minding the recycling and alerting me when supplies get low. He also does the bulk of our tours and orientations for prospective and new members. Book a date with Andy here. 

Jenny Benton-Fischer: Tours, Sarcasm and Therapy for Angel

Jenny and I have been running into each other for something like 15 years and she’s been a remote member of Cohere for YEARS. Her recent move back to graphic design freelance finally freed her up to be here in person. I knew she was “The One” when we both said a swear in her interview. Book a tour with Jenny.

Kim Kimball: Rocket Ships, Math and Jokes

Kim wanted a way to spend more time in the coworking area vs. his neat little office downstairs so he came on board to help out too. Kim works remotely for the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena under the guise of IT but usually just does hard math a lot. He’s also super good at scrubbing the kitchen sink (which, honestly, is why I had my eye on him to Cultivate anyway). He’ll be giving tours and delighting the members with his quick wit and Roomba jokes.

I do sincerely hope you’ll come visit us and meet our amazing team of Cohere Cultivators. They are equipped to help you meet other coworking members, find a fork or recommend a lunch spot in Downtown Fort Collins.

Honorable Mention: Harvey Wallbanger

Named by member Julie Sutter, Harvey is the unsung hero of Cohere. Between the tree seed pods, the cottonwood fluff and spilled coffee grounds, Harvey fires up at midnight each night and keeps our floor spotless. He also often gets trapped or stuck and we have to rescue him. It’s a labor of love though.

 

How To Keep Momentum After Startup Week Fort Collins

As Startup Week Fort Collins nears its epic end, let’s make a plan to keep the momentum into next week and beyond. Whether you got your first taste of coworking, got your mind blown by a musician or felt a much needed boost in motivation as a freelancer, it’s important to not let this enthusiasm dwindle.

Step 1: Outreach

Reach out to everyone in that pile of business cards you collected. Mention something that they said that really resonated with you. Invite them out for a coffee or beer just to talk and get to know one another better.  Ask to take a tour of their company. Mine through the Sched again and pull out company names or people you really enjoyed meeting. Follow them on twitter, like their Facebook pages and read their websites.

Step 2: Digest Your Notes

Did you take as many notes in your awesome FCSW17 notebook as I did? Now is the time to go back through all your notes. Check out the books, blogs or resources that you wrote down. Pull out action items and put them on your list to tackle next week. This post you’re reading right now was actually a footnote in my notebook. Look at me! Taking action!

Step 3: Participate OR Amplify

My key takeaway this week is a new awareness of how many people are doing AMAZING things in our community. Now is the time to participate in those activities by attending meetings or helping to push us forward as a group. If you can’t possibly take on another task, then please be an amplifier. Tell your friends and coworkers about the great progress that is being made. Awareness is the first step to Amazeness! Here are some things I learned about this week:

What are you going to take action on next week? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Tiny Coworking Spaces Around the World You’ve Never Heard Of

Every so often, the Cohere Coworking team deploys a set of bots (it’s just Angel) into the world (the coworking google group) to find the coworking communities you’ve likely never heard of. They are the ones you never see listed on the “Best Of” lists and the ones quietly doing amazing things in tiny towns or tiny spaces. We recognize you, tiny spaces. We salute your wee stature and appreciate you!

CoWorking Mullumbimby | Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia
This place is tiny by comparison to most – it will cap at 18. “I’m growing extremely slowly – in a small town/village so at the moment we only have 4 permanent members and the day/week guests. The coworkers were all strangers until we met here. They like it… because it’s a bit different. It was an old community hall converted into an artist’s residence with studio gallery and now a coworking space with 2 bnb rooms. So it’s still set up like a home with comfy lounge-work areas, full functioning kitchen and vege garden plus the large gallery-office area. It’s a coworking home-office away from home. We walk 3-minutes down a quiet dirt laneway into the centre of town… what else. We have a play room with a drum kit, PA and amps, guitars etc. and a punching bag.” -Kerry Gray

Bonus points from Cohere: hosting a yoga photo session with kids.
Mullumbimby

 

 

Valley.Works | Waitsfield, Vermont, USA
“Valley.Works opened on march 1st in central Vermont. My space is about 350 square feet but accommodates up to 9 members at a time with 2 printers and 2 permanent creative work stations. It was a challenge to make the space as productive as it is, the bookcases and couch are on wheels, and the desks can be re arranged into a conference table. We are brand new an membership is low but our small rural community of about 5,000 people is almost 50% telecommuter and has a large community of creative entrepreneurs and working artists, so I am hopeful that the Valley.Works membership will grow!” -Samantha www.valleyworksvt.org.

Bonus points from Cohere: trees in the view!!

Valley Works

Scribble Space | Windermere, Florida, USA
Our space is surrounded by dense rural apartments, townhomes and single family homes – lots of families so our space gets used for professional uses as well as kid, family and mom events and there’s even a farmer’s market now on our doorstep as well as vendors setup inside. We are adding a fresh coffee vendor inside at this week’s market. Our Facebook is full of photos and links to the events and the market – can find it easy searching for ScribbleSpace. :)

Bonus points from Cohere: discussion over catered lunch!

ScribbleSpace

 

Frontal Lobe | Howell, Michigan, USA

Frontal Lobe is Livingston County’s first coworking space and hosted their anniversary party in the alley. Also, I think this space is directly next to a Dairy Queen. WHUT?!

Bonus points from Cohere: This space reminds me of OG Cohere. Tiny, brick and a couple people hunched over a monitor. Good work Frontal Lobe!

Frontal Love

 

Shhared | Hamburg, Germany
If you’re ever in Hamburg, head over to Shhared. They have pictures of people on their website! You guys are crushing it.

Bonus points from Cohere: their website and Facebook page featured the most pictures of their members and people in their space. Good. Job.

Shhared

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.

 

Building Coworking Communities: No Sailboat Required

It’s easy to make connections and get to know one another inside a coworking space. We take that for granted and just assume that we’ll meet someone new in the course of our day to day to-dos. A recent retreat to Seattle taught me how vital and AWESOME a planned group activity can be especially when that activity is way outside our “normal.” So when our organizer asked if we’d like to go SAILING, it seemed a little scary but we would be doing it together so surely it would be okay.

I tentatively agreed to a sailboat ride and bummed some Dramamine off a fellow coworker. Little did I know that it would be scary and exhilarating and that it would change Adam’s life forever.

photo 2

By getting us a little out of our comfort zones and putting us in cramped quarters we were able to learn something (sailing) from new friends (the captain and his crew) and experience our location (Seattle) from a whole new point of view. Andy and I even did the most terrifying thing and crawled out to the front of the boat while we were experiencing maximum “reaching” aka, the boat was really at an angle to the water and we could have fallen out at any moment. But we didn’t.

photo 3

In order to bring a similar experience home to the Coherians of Fort Collins, we’re going to stay up late and sort canned goods. Yep, I plan to use up as much if not more adrenaline during our Food Bank Shift at the CAN Jam on November 6th from 11pm-1am. Heck, it meets all the criteria: new location, new people to learn from and we’ll get a different point of view on where we live.

Has your coworking community done activities outside of your space? Tell us in the comments!

ps. my “crew” on the boat:

Aaron from Rapid City, MI, The Factory

Tony from New York City, New Work City

Adam and Alex (not pictured) from Philidelphia,PA, Indy Hall

Susan and Jacob from Seattle, WA, Office Nomads

Ashley from Toronto, Canada, The Foundery

Andy from Columbus, OH The Salt Mines

 

On A Break? Gift Your Coworking Membership To A Friend In Need

invitation, coworking, gift, membership

Are you going on an extended vacation? Need to work from home while the kids are out of school? Just don’t feel like coming in when the weather outside is frightful?

The winter months are notoriously slow traffic times for the Cohere community. Some members simply use these short days to take a well-deserved vacation, while others just don’t feel like venturing out as much when it’s cold and icy. Although this dip in attendance makes for less fun at the office, it’s yet another benefit of coworking–we’re flexible and designed to work with your schedule, not the other way around.

You might feel like canceling or suspending your membership during this time, and that’s fine, but recently member Carrie V. came up with a different solution.

It may seem like a small gift, but this is a huge idea!

Although we don’t have too many visitors that decide against membership because of the price, there could be some who don’t even sign up for a day pass because they’re not sure coworking is a worthwhile expense. The sad part is that at one time or another, almost every member has said that it was visiting the community, actually being here and working beside us, that showed them how useful coworking can be. This type of sharing is also a basic principle of the coworking lifestyle, which seeks to be open, collaborative, and supportive to those in our immediate community and beyond.

If you can’t think of a freelancer or small business owner that would take advantage of a gifted membership, don’t worry. Just let Angel or Kristin know that you’re interesting in giving someone else your spot for a week or month, and we’d be happy to extend the invitation a freelancer who needs a break from the coffee shop office!

Top image via dan hodgett/Flickr

Valentine’s Day Giveaway: Here Are The Winners!

Valentine's Day Candies

Happy Valentine’s Day! We’re sweet on coworking, and we thought you might be too.  

We had so much fun with our Valentine’s Day giveaway!  Congratulations to Alice Ashmore, Vicki Wilson Conley and Suz for winning a free three-day pass to Cohere!

We look forward to seeing you around the “office” for some coworking, collaboration, and fun.

Image Credit: Flickr – butterflysha

We Love It (Co)Here! Win A Free 3-Day Pass To Try Coworking

Valentine's Day Latte

It’s February, and that means Valentine’s Day is on it’s way! No, I won’t go on a rant about the silliness of this Hallmark holiday, instead, let’s focus on the spirits of the season–love and affection. I feel a lot of that for each and every one of the marvelous mobile professionals that call Cohere home!

If you’ve been meaning to give Cohere a try, but haven’t had time, energy, or just keep forgetting, we love you too…and we want you to come experience the myriad of benefits coworking will add to your life! We’ve got a great new building and lots of talented freelancers for you to rub shoulders with.

Because we think this place is pretty neat—the first three people that comment on this post will get a free 3-day pass to try it out for themselves.  Sweet, huh?  (Does not apply to current members—offer valid through Feb. 13).

Comments can be as simple as “I really want to win!” or you can tell us your entire freelancing life story. We like stories.

Current members, please tweet and post this to Facebook so your self-employed friends and neighbors will have an opportunity to win!

Image Credit: Flickr – WordRidden

Get Involved: 3 Reasons To Become A Freelancing Mentor

Coworking Mentoring

Lately, there’s been some talk among coworking space owners about how to build a community of coworkers, not just a community of desk renters.

Coworking has the ability to transform individual careers and invigorate local economies, but only when members use their talent and personality to take it to a level above desk-sharing.

Space owners and community managers can do their best to provide intentional avenues to get people talking, but at the end of the day when there’s no event scheduled the community will only thrive if members aren’t afraid to step outside their comfort zones and talk to each other without needing a staff person to help them do it.

The freelance industry is exploding. Everyday, fresh new faces join the trend, excited but completely unprepared for the challenges ahead. (Remember, that was you once!)

If you’re the slightly introverted type, and would rather plug-in and crank out work than conversate, consider this:

1. Sharing Is Caring: We all know how hard it is to be the new kid. In fact, that’s why lots of us got off the corporate merry-go-round in the first place. Coworking is supposed to be different, but once a community is established, it’s easy to fall into the same routines, slogging to our usual spot, plugging-in and checking out. Mentoring doesn’t need to be a formal process, it’s as easy as taking an interest in a new member’s profession, or asking them out to lunch. Asking about how a project’s progressing, offering to give feedback, or making a professional introduction are all easy ways to make a big impact in a fellow-coworker’s day.

2. Teaching Makes You An Expert: Have you hit a professional plateau? Feel like you’re at the top of your game, and the challenge has suddenly disappeared? Taking a less-experienced freelancer under your wing is a great way to put your treasure-trove of knowledge and experience to work. If you’ve always wanted to try consulting or public speaking, one on one mentoring is a great way to test the waters and build your reputation as an expert.

3. Help A Noob Avoid Mistakes: While there are some trials of business ownership that must be experienced, lots of mistakes could be avoided if only there was someone to tell you what to look out for. Baby freelancers are full of questions, and just dying for someone to answer them. Make yourself available. Chime in when someone’s struggling with an issue you’ve already conquered. Not only will you be helping to cultivate a more vibrant coworking community, you’ll be building major karma points as well.

Would you be willing to help a new freelancer learn the ropes? Or, if you’re new to freelancing, would you like to find a mentor? Share your thoughts in a comment!

 

Image Credit: Flickr – IK’s World Trip

 

Sharing Your Work And (Co)Working To Share

Sharing Your Work, and Coworking To Share

As you all know, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the future of coworking. Right now, coworking is a dynamic entity–a movement–that’s growing rapidly and defining itself in slightly different ways all over the world.

Although it might not feel that remarkable, each coworker makes a direct contribution to the health and future of this movement just by buying a membership, attending workshops, and telling their friends about the benefits of coworking.

The coworking movement is becoming huge, but it’s only one part of something even bigger–something we’ve talked about before called “collaborative consumption.”

This larger phenomenon has introduced new way of living, in which access is valued over ownership, experience is valued over material possessions, and “mine” becomes “ours” so everyone’s needs are met without waste.

In a word, sharing.

Coworkers know a lot about the value of sharing. We share our professional talents, time, and work space. But what about sharing outside the boundaries of our businesses and work weeks? A truly vibrant community isn’t just focused on one goal: it’s diverse, flexible, and focused on total wellness of its members, rather than just one aspect of their lives.

When a high value is placed on sharing rather than claiming territory, members of the coworking movement are better able to demonstrate their incredible worth in the community at large. Being supportive and active in sharing groups (think CSAs, co-ops, car sharing, bike lending, tool sharing, yard sharing, online media swaps, and more) outside of the space actually helps coworking take its rightful place as a vital cog in the local business ecosystem.

What kind of “outside the space” sharing have you engaged in since joining Cohere? What kinds of collaborative consumption would you like to see incorporated in the future? Share your ideas in a comment!

Image Credit: Flickr – JW_00000

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