I began working for myself about a year ago. I loved it. I would wake up, get dressed eat breakfast and get to work. In the beginning, working from home was great. No one bugged me, my home was pretty quiet, and I seemed to get a lot of work done.
Until I didn’t.
I found my productivity dipping. I would get distracted by laundry, the neighbor’s dog barking, and the small paper pile that I needed to sort through. It was time to change my routine. After a bit of research, I discovered co-working spaces. I joined two and I never looked back.
Many people ask why I pay to work in an office when I quit my job so that I wouldn’t have to work in one. Great question – I’m glad that I can answer it for you. First, as an entrepreneur or self-employed person, you need a space that is dedicated to work. That space should enable you to get the maximum amount of work done in as little time as possible.
My current home does not have a room that can be converted into an office. Even though it was free for me to work from home, I found that I was losing money because I was a lot less productive.
How to Choose a Co-Working Space
Co-working spaces come in all kinds of shapes and charge a range of rates. The one I decided to go to a couple of times a week costs $95 dollars a month. I was able to earn the money back basically within the first week of joining because I wasn’t distracted by all of the things that I could be managing at home. Besides, I was able to pitch more and find more clients.
Co-working spaces are a community of people with different strengths, skills, and information that you might need for your business. I found myself having discussions with graphic designers and video editors, and experiencing the shared camaraderie that comes from hanging out in a community of people with similar goals.
Many spaces offer professional development programs, social programming, and even the ability to run your own workshops.
The resources available for the spaces’ members range from phone access, printing services, scanning equipment, high-speed internet, kombucha, and beer. Seriously.
I was fortunate enough to also discover a free co-working space run by the city where I live. It has almost all of these resources with the exception of printing services. They even have beer on special occasions.
My co-working space, where I am surrounded by so many others who are similarly driven, is also a constant source of inspiration. At home, I had only my mom cheering me on whenever she called.
Potential Negatives to Consider
But there are also some cons to the co-working lifestyle. It may take you a while to find a space that’s a good fit. I looked at a couple of different spaces until I found one that I really connected with.
And some co-working spaces are really expensive. If you are in the beginning stages of growing your business, you may not have $500 a month set aside for office space. That money may be better used to market your business in order to grow your income.
Plus, many spaces don’t offer childcare. A large number of entrepreneurs have children and are unable to use these spaces in a cost-effective way because they also have to add the cost of childcare if they are members of a co-working community without childcare resources.
Finally, it’s a bit transitory by its very nature. People come and go. You can never guarantee that there will be constant access to the same awesome people that you first met.
I love my co-working space and I can’t deny that my earnings and productivity have gone up substantially as a result of joining one. Will I use one forever? I’m not sure. Maybe one day I will move into a larger home and I will reconsider. But, that won’t happen for a while, so until then, I will continue using my co-working space.