Rock Solid Rehearsal Space Is Born in Fort Collins, CO

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We’re so pleased to announce the birth of Cohere Bandwidth’s internet presence last Tuesday 11/11/14 at 8:45am MST. Mother and baby are doing well.

Total gestation for this pixalated bundle of joy was 22 months. That’s like baby elephant long but it was worth it. The worst part was having to pee every 15 minutes from all the coffee we drank.

Cohere Bandwidth Team Photo

A Julie Sutter Sandwich

We wanted to take a moment to thank all of Bandwidth’s baby mamas and papas (who also happen to be members of the Cohere Coworking Community). This pregnancy never would have happened without the support of the whole family!

Egg Donor: Ellen Bryant, creates the backbone of our design which we replicate every time Angel gets a whim to start a new business.

Godmother: Julie Sutter, who provides words, artistic direction, puns and guru support.

Baby Daddy: Shane Zweygardt, twerked the DNA of our original logo to make it 50% more 50’s.

Godfather: Kevin Udy, pays child support to the thing every Wednesday night by donating his time to the back end.

Surrogate Mother: Angel Kwiatkowski carried the thing for 22 months.

Please take a gander at our little love and tell us what you think!

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Help Cohere Create A Coworking Space For Local Musicians!

Cohere Bandwidth header

Good Monday Morning!

A few days ago, Cohere Bandwidth launched a fundraising campaign on Community Funded, a local crowdfunding platform. Our project is just one of a handful that are hoping to raise at least $5,000 through the My5 campaign.

Here’s the catch (aka opportunity): before we can actually begin collecting contributions, we have to gather endorsements. It’s kind of like proving that we have the chops to go far in the fundraising round. You have to have at least 50 endorsements to proceed to the funding stage, and the project that gathers the MOST endorsements gets a special cash prize from Community Funded before the crowdfunding even begins.

Alright, here’s where we stand:

August 1: Cohere Bandwidth campaign launches, begins collecting endorsements.

August 1: You, our awesome community of supporters around the world totally crushes it! Cohere Bandwidth gets 54 endorsements in the first 12 hours the campaign is live!!!

August 5: WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP! Every extra endorsement we get from now until August 14th puts us closer and closer to securing the additional $2,000 prize.

(Let’s pause for just a moment and reflect on exactly WHY we were so successful so quickly:

  1. We’ve been building a community of friends and supporters in Fort Collins for over three years. My main goal, when I had the idea to start a coworking space back then was to build a community around independence, entrepreneurship, and collaboration. We started in a lobby, sharing coffee and power cords, but we had a blast! I took the time to let the community tell me what it needed, rather than the other way around. From the beginning Cohere members have had a strong desire to support and help each other, whether work related or not. So, when it comes time to mobilize support for something like Cohere Bandwidth, all we had to do was ask.
  2. We know how to use the interwebs. Social media is INTEGRAL to crowdfunding success. You have to know the right words to say, and where to say them. Not everyone’s on Facebook. Not everyone’s on Twitter. It has to be a multipronged approach, and it has to be genuine (that means lots of shares and request from someone else OTHER than me!), telling the real story of why the project is important.
  3. We made it easy. Any time we asked for endorsements, we kept it short and sweet, and explained what people needed to do once they clicked through to the crowdfunding site. That way, they knew they would have to log in, and they knew what button to look for to endorse us.

Here are some examples of how we mobilized our community to support us through endorsements:

On the Cohere Facebook Page –

Clickity click click please! We’re trying to get 100 endorsements for our crowdfunding project to get Cohere Bandwidth off the ground officially. Can you take 3 minutes to help us out?

We only need 16 more votes to get to the funding round! Can we do it in ONE DAY?! I think we can. Be sure to either create an account with Community funded or LOG IN so your endorsement counts!

7 endorsements away from getting to the funding round for “coworking for bands.” Yeah, you like it and you know it. So go endorse us (but create your account or login first).

On Angel’s Personal Facebook Page –

Oh pretty please endorse our crowdfunding campaign for Cohere Bandwidth: Shared Rehearsal Space for Musicians in Fort Collins. We need at least 50 votes but our goal is 100 so we can get a cash prize to contribute towards the project. You have to create an account but can do so by just clicking the Sign in with Facebook button. Hooray!

On Julie’s Personal Facebook Page –

I had breakfast with Alana Rolfe today, who told me she can’t stand up to play her viola at Stella Luce practice because the ceiling is too low. I think that sucks, and am working with some people to find a fix for such ridiculousness for musicians in our community. We could use your help. If you could take a sec to give us your vote for our shared rehearsal space project, we’ll be on our way to making things better.

And of course, we live-tweeted the entire thing from the @CohereLLC handle:

  • We’re only 14 votes away from getting to the funding round for Cohere Bandwidth:shared rehearsal space for musicians.
  • now we only need 13 more endorsements to get to funding :)
  • It’s FIVE now. FIVE! I’m literally atwitter right now.
  • And people wonder how the long process (of community building) actually works. Psshhh.
  • If you’re scrolling twitter right now you have time to be the last 3 endorsements we need.
  • It happened. It really happened. We got to our goal of 50 endorsements for Cohere Bandwidth in under 12 hours. You all rock.

Anyway, now that we’ve spilled our guts about the campaign, WE NEED YOU TO KEEP THE AWESOME FLOWING. We want that $2,000 so bad we can taste it. It will be a most welcome chunk of change and the first resources we really had to take Cohere Bandwidth off the drawing board and into reality.

This is basically a contest about who has the best and most supportive community. We know you’re the best, all you have to do is prove it!!

WE need as many endorsements as possible between now and August 14th to make sure we get the top spot and $2,000 cash prize towards our rehearsal space project. To show your support, click this link, then login with Facebook and click Endorse This Project (it’s a big green button). Easy! http://communityfunded.com/projects/angel/shared-rehearsal-space-for-musicians/

The Wild And Wonderful History of the Hashtag (and tips for using it!)

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 #ZOMG. It’s #Monday again.

Are your social media streams are clogged with the hashtag-bespeckled moans of the post-weekend world? Do you sometimes wonder how this tick-tack-toe board branched out from touch-tone phones into the world of digital media? Me too.

It turns out that hashtags weren’t invented to add irony to your Facebook posts or help you “trend” on Twitter. They were many things before being a part of the social media universe, and even when added there, they actually had a purpose: to help us find the conversations we’re looking for and stay on message once we do.

If Facebook’s recent introduction of the hashtag feels clunky and has you wondering if there’s even a point in using it for your business page or professional account, here are some tips.

1. Yes, hashtags are (slightly) different on Facebook and Twitter.

As ArabNet reports: “The first difference between Twitter and Facebook hashtags is that the latter enables you to control the audience for your posts, obviously. Accordingly, killing a post, whether hash-tagged or not, will delete all its related comments.

“Another difference is that sharing a Facebook hashtag will not cross the borders of your friend list to reach the outside world, unless you choose to share it publicly.”

2. They can magnify marketing efforts on a platform that’s usually very private.

Unlike Twitter where anyone can access anyone’s stream and all tweets are public, most Facebook users do everything they can to share their feeds and profiles with a select group of friends. Facebook hashtags transcend these walls, however. If people pick up and use your hashtag, it gives you access to a cross-section of Facebook that was previously inaccessible.

3. Monitoring is key.

Flinging your hashtag out to the masses is one thing, but it only matters if you can prove that it’s drawing them into your conversation. That means you’ve got to have a way to track it. Just like many social media platforms now offer tracking for Twitter hashtags, it’s likely that similar tools will begin to pop up for Facebook hashtags as well. In doing so, “brands will have the ability to listen to conversations about their products, positive or negative, simply by following the hashtag feed as opposed to Wall monitoring. Brands should evaluate their legal guidelines toward clickable hashtags, and if and how they’ll respond to complaints that aren’t directly posted on their wall,” advises IgniteSocialMedia.

And before you go, be sure to check out this neat #infographic about the hashtag’s history. (See what I did there?)

history of the hashtag

Image via quinnanya/Flickr

Social Media: The Productive Freelancer’s Arch Enemy

It’s Monday, the first day of a new week. Although we freelancers tend to work 24/7, most of us can (and SHOULD!) eke out a little time for fun and family over the weekend. So today’s the first day back to a full-plate of work. We start off the week with the best of intentions, we’ve all got an enemy out there who wants to kill our productivity. No, it’s not a competing firm or terrible client, it’s that oh-so-innocent-looking social media MONSTER. It lurks in our bookmarks, our browser history, and for some, our literal muscle memory: we open, check, and browse social media websites constantly.

Unfortunately, sometimes social media is part of our legitimate work, so the temptation to flush hours down the drain clicking through photo albums and sharing clever memes is almost too much to bear. If you’re trying to make the most of your eight hour day, the key is to work smarter, not get up earlier, and smart work begins with eliminating time sucks like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and all the rest of ’em.

Scroll through the infographic below for shocking stats about how much your social media obsession could be costing your business, and then check out our list of tips for shoving this beast back in its cage.

Social Media Monster [Infographic]

Shocked by how much time (and money) you’re wasting? Here are some tips from Apartment Therapy about how to avoid the siren song of social media:

1. If you use Google Chrome, you can install StayFocusd , a simple browser extension which lets you set time limits on how long you spend on certain sites.

2. Clean house on your Friends/Followers list. Fewer unnecessary connections means less distracting junk showing up in your feeds and streams. Don’t want to delete loose connections? Consider using some of Facebook’s built in feed settings  to control how much you see.

3. Consolidate. Flipboard ( for Android , iOS ) lets you consolidate a digest of social media sources, prioritizing what it sees as big stories (based on your social graph). Bringing together content from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and even Google+, Flipboard is a great way to get a quick dose of stories from all the social sites you frequent without hopping all over the web.

Got other tips for avoiding the social media time-suck? Share them in a comment!

Infographic Courtesy of Red e App

5 Ways Twitter Can Help Freelancers Find New Work

Twitter. Love it or hate it, this social media  tool helps connect online communities, breaks news stories, and drives thousands of visitors to the world’s best websites 140 characters at at time.

But with all the other things we have to do, should freelancers really be wasting their time on Twitter?

Short answer? Maybe. Depending on your industry and personality, Twitter can be a completely free way to attract new clients and generate buzz about your business.

Here are 5 easy ways to turn your tweets into new work without spending all day staring at your stream:

1. Choose a handle and bio that reflect your professional self or business.

Your handle is sometimes the first and only thing that a potential clients sees. Choose your business name if you can, or something that reflects your expertise, like @CopyQueen or @NeverStopsCoding. Don’t leave your bio blank, and try not to be too cute with it. Twitter users want to be sure you’re worth following, and if you’ve got a bio that’s empty or full of personal likes/typos, you’re making  a bad first impression. Save that stuff for your personal account.

2. Remember that Twitter is about conversation, not followers.

Marketing gurus want to convince you that building massive lists of followers will exponentially increase your chances of retweets, clicks, and ultimately sales. That might work for celebrities or international sites like Mashable and TechCrunch, but its unlikely to have the same effect for John Q. Freelancer. But you have an advantage that those mega-tweeters won’t ever have–you’re a real person, free to use your account to connect with current and future clients in a personable manner. Ask questions, post interesting links, and provide suggestions when others ask for help. If someone likes your short reply, they might pay you for your long answer.

3. Follow #hashtags related to your industry.

If you’re using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to manage your Twitter account, set up a new stream following keywords in your industry. This is a great way to find people who are asking questions or seeking advice on a topic related to your business. It’s also a great way to find other like-minded Tweeters to follow and chat with. Some tags you might want to try include: #jobs (such as #designjobs, #writingjobs, etc), #jobs, #projects, and so on.

4. Find and follow thought-leaders in your industry.

Search your favorite blogs or professional sites for Twitter handles to follow. Engage these experts publicly by asking advice or commenting on something they wrote. If you become a Twitter friend that they trust, they just might recommend you the next time they encounter a project that’s not right for their business.

5. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself.

When Twitter first exploded, everyone cautioned against being a one-note Tweeter. While it’s true that you should avoid sounding like a used car salesman every time someone mentions needing a web developer, there are times when it’s right to offer your services. If you see someone looking for professional help, offer to discuss their project offline, or direct them to a satisfied client for whom you completed similar work. Offering free quotes or consultations is another non-invasive way to say, “I’m here and ready to work for you” without being annoying.

Have you ever landed a job (directly or indirectly) because of social media? Share your experience in a comment!

 

Image Credit: epicute.files.wordpress.com

What Freelancers Should Know About Google Plus

Hoping that the third time’s the charm (remember Buzz and Wave?) the company behind the world’s top search engine recently launched a new social networking platform: Google+.

If you’ve been on any of the other well-established social media sites in the past week, chances are you’ve heard a peep or two about it.

Let’s be serious, the notion that the web’s best search service has launched a social network that could combine the intuition of Facebook and the speed of Twitter with possibilities for seamless integration into any existing Google tool is enough to make nerds quiver with excitement.

However, the idea of learning how to use a new social media tool correctly and efficiently hardly brings on the same jovial feelings. Let’s face it, until you know what you’re doing, using social media can be a time suck as well as a frustrating endeavor.

As freelancers with limited time, the big question is: Should we bother?

Here are some thoughts gleaned from freelancing experts and social media “gurus” around the web:

1. Ease into it: Go ahead and create a personal profile (if you can get an invite) and play around in your spare time, but don’t worry about migrating your business profile just yet. Chances are, you’ve had at least a few contacts “add you to their circles” and if you’ve got a few minutes, it’s worth poking around in the tool. Hell, if you’ve got gmail, that only takes one click. But for now, the “business experience” is still under development and Google is actually asking businesses and freelancers to avoid using “consumer profiles” for business purposes. When it’s ready, Google+ will have “rich analytics” and will be easy to integrate with Google Adwords and other goodies.

2. Get a jump on success: If your business is social media marketing, SEO, or content marketing, waiting too long to check out what Google+ has to offer could hurt you. This is the new frontier, and just like with Facebook and Twitter a few years ago, the people who figure out new and creative ways to engage online communities with this tool today will be the experts of tomorrow. Watch the platform carefully, look for avenues of opportunity nobody else is taking full advantage of, and move in with your own particular sales pitch.

3. Savvy sharing: Privacy and segmented sharing (two things that Twitter and Facebook have trouble with) are both prominent features of Google+. By creating circles of contacts, you make it possible to share links, ideas, pictures and more with only those that will appreciate it most (or judge you least). This has big implications for businesses and freelancers who are always looking for more efficient ways to communicate with their current clients as well as potential customers.

4. Impact your page rank: It’s also worth knowing that Google+ users themselves now have the opportunity to “vote” on the value of content and ultimately impact search engine rankings. This has the potential to level the page rank playing field, as simple blog post with 3,000 votes on Google+ may very well beat out a similar story with only 300 votes on a  major website. In the future, this may make SEO copywriting obsolete.

For more on Google+ and all it’s shiny possibilities, listen to Google PR Strategist David Allen talk about about an “optimized business experience” for Google+ in the video below.

And if it’s really keeping you awake at night, here are some additional resources:

Sources: WritingThoughts | PGC.org | Freelance-Zone

Why Being Social Is More Important Than Social Media

I’m often asked about the best way to market a coworking space, or how to attract new members to the community. Many space catalysts assume that because coworking is a natural fit for digital professionals, social media must be the best way to generate interest in their target audience.

No brainer-right? Find computer people on the computer. I decided to do the math and see if the Cohere community supported this obvious theory. To my shock and awe, it didn’t.

According to my stats (and the snazzy pie chart above), over half of all Cohere members gave it a try because a human told them about why they should. Even more surprisingly, Facebook, Twitter, and Google accounted for only 11 percent of all day pass requests. Combined.

What does this mean?! Just tweeting your blog posts and creating a Facebook event won’t automatically attract a community of awesome independents who live to stop, drop, and collaborate. If you want to help grow a strong, vibrant community of self-starters, you’re still going to have to talk about how much you want it. A lot.

Building a community is, among other things, about building trust. Establishing a reputation. Creating a place of security, respect, and intense creativity. Although there are many things you can like, thumb, & tweet, these actions will never usurp a smile, cup of coffee, or recommendation from an old friend.

My advice? Spend time talking with your community about why they cowork. Discuss the ways you interpret and implement the five values. Ask them why they’d rather share a desk instead of renting a private office. Create an atmosphere in which every member of the community can share the message of coworking–in their own words.

Then, you’ll probably notice that they begin to generate an online buzz organically (the way it’s supposed to be!) and people will start to take notice without ads, pitches, or kooky discount promotions. In my experience, social media can be a powerful tool to strengthen and solidify the community, but can’t make it materialize out of thin air.

Do you know where your members come from? Have you had a different experience? Share it in a comment!

Image Credit: Flickr – Phil Hawksworth

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