One of the most common questions I get asked, as a full time Suitcase Entrepreneur, is "Don't you ever get lonely Natalie?"
And the answer to that is, yes I do. Not as often as you might think mind you, but entrepreneurial loneliness is a common thing, even for people who aren't living out of a suitcase.
One of the cures for this is having an online community of friends and contacts you can reach out to 24/7. I get so much joy and engagement with my tribe, my blog community and online groups and forums.
In fact sometimes I've left interactions with `real' people to go and hang out with my online community because frankly they're more interesting!
Yet if I'm honest, sometimes all that online contact still leaves you feeling devoid of human touch and interaction.
There's nothing better in the world than hanging out with a bunch of like-minded friends and fellow entrepreneurs in person - for reals...
That's where I think the power of co-working comes into play. Its the topic of today's video, where I bring in a special guest Chris Ducker.
Entrepreneurial Co-Working Is The Cure
Like me, Chris is into virtual freedom, so he and I are like BFFs now, especially since we hung out in Cebu, Philippines at his new co-working space, Location63.
He set this space up to for many reasons (which we discuss in this short video), including to cure entrepreneurial loneliness.
What Exactly Is Co-Working?
If you've not heard of co-working before...well I'd seriously have to ask `What planet have you been living on?!'
But I guess for those of you who have offices of your own or work from home, the idea of mingling with others in set space designed for `drop-ins', frequent travelers, or occasional desk-goers, may seems strange to you.
So here's the official Wikipedia definition that I think sums it up pretty damn well.
The Definition of Co-Working
Coworking is a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.
It's that last sentence that really nails it on the head for me.
As much as I love working from cafes and planes, and airports, there's something about being in a stimulating co-working environment, surrounded by other entrepreneurs working on growing their own businesses, that really fires you up.
You have the opportunity to speak to others about what's going on in that creative head of yours, that `normal everyday' people just wouldn't understand if you blurted it out.
You get to have conversations over an abundance of, often free, coffee and strike up friendships and collaborations with people that you had never envisioned.
Networking opportunities abound that actually turn into real business initiatives. Plus you just feel like you belong - and that's a basic intrinsic need all humans have.
How Do You Start Co-working?
Google is your best friend here, seriously. Just Google `Co-working spaces in XXXXX' city that you're in.
Also in this video I mention a couple of key ways I hit the ground running when I move to a new location:
Meetup.com is a great place to find a ready-made community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Just search on keywords and groups in your location to find all the movers and shakers and attend the regular events they hold.
Startupstay.com is a great tool for reaching out to people before or during your stay in a city and it's just for legitimate entrepreneurs. You can request to meet them for coffee or even have them host you. Plus quite often coworking owners are lurking on there to offer you a free day pass at their location.
Co-working spaces usually offer a daily rate, a weekly and monthly rate, plus long-term deals. You can often rent a desk or just use the space and meeting rooms they offer.
As an added bonus, many of them will offer services like printing, faxing and holding snail mail for you - basically acting as your own office.
In the comments below, tell me whether you've ever tried co-working before, and if you have, one benefit or disadvantage you found from it
Thanks for watching!
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/nataliesisson
See this post on my blog: http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/?p=13816
Watch this direct on YouTube: http://youtu.be/Wg3ZnhAc3Nc