The exponential growth phase of a startup can be exciting, but comes with a fair amount of “growing pains”. There seems to be a difficult transitional phase that every startup encounters as a company begins to grow out of its basement phase. However, this need for a larger, more professional office space often cannot be met with appropriate funding. For this reason, many up-and-coming entrepreneurs are moving toward collaborative coworking spaces.
According to Inc. Magazine, Boulder, Colorado has become America’s startup capital with six times more high-tech startups per capita than America’s national average as of 2010, and these stats have continued to grow since. Unfortunately, Boulder’s property value has seen a similar increase, making it very costly to establish a physical work space. Our city is swarming with young entrepreneurs and vibrant ideas, but perhaps lacking the proper space and resources for these ideas to blossom. Coworking spaces are becoming a popular solution for young solopreneurs, and here’s why:
Coworking improves happiness and effectiveness– Admittedly, startups are not for the faint of heart. They involve a great deal of psychological stress and strain, but being surrounded by people who are going through the same journey can ease this stress. Working alongside people who have similar interests and goals encourages a happy, harmonious work environment. Coworking spaces often focus on a shared business purpose, developing a fairly homogenous group of people. Whether you are sitting in your own office space or enjoying a communal work table, coworking brings a sense of community one cannot find in a cubicle. Work members are also surrounded by smart, hard-working entrepreneurs, performing and accomplishing goals every day, creating a sort of urgency to do the same. This motivation combined with a positive atmosphere is what makes coworking so attractive and successful to millennials.
The serendipity and networking is limitless– There are countless stories of two completely unrelated people meeting spontaneously at collaborative work spaces, creating a partnership that becomes crucial to their company or endeavor. Many assume that young people are the leading demographic in a coworking space. However, these spaces are home to a diverse ecosystem of ages, experience, and skills. Over a casual cup of coffee, one might stumble across a potential coworker or even a potential boss. As a business grows, you begin to realize how many new industries you collide with. With growth, simple tech startup requires lawyers, a marketing team, etc. What better way to build your team than working right next to potential partners?
Coworking spaces offer flexibility– Coworking spaces often offer different levels of membership for every startup need. Whether it’s a simple 2-day drop-in membership or a part time or full time or dedicated desk, all of these options offer flexibility with a monthly rate. These rates are far less confining (working on a month-to month basis as opposed to 1-3 year lease term as with most private offices). They also provide something a little more professional than your local coffee shop. Free Wi-Fi, printing, community events, and available conference rooms are normally included with memberships. These amenities are available all day, so you can be the boss of your own work schedule, altering it whenever necessary. And with today’s added degree of technology, office spaces are more mobile than ever. Coworking also accommodates all types of growth in your startup. As your company base develops, expansion is as simple as an upgrade in membership or switching to a larger office space.
Added entrepreneurial supportive resources– The real value of a coworking membership is not in the Wi-Fi or coffee however. Often, a good coworking space will hold weekly events such as seminars, workshops, lunches, and other events to facilitate networking. These are generally drop-in events that are open to any member. Mentorship programs are another popular benefit of being a member at a coworking facility. Some spaces even provide entire class courses more designed for those just getting their foot in the door of the world of business. This is also a great way for members to engage with the community and encourage others to enter the realm of startups. Aside from networking events, coworking spaces also organize fun, stress-relieving events that build friendships that will last a lifetime, even outside of work.
Entrepreneurs and small startups are on the rise, especially here in Colorado. With this growing need for flexible and affordable office space, coworking spaces seem to be the perfect answer for young, driven freelancers. Coworking spaces produce an organic and effective work community where it is almost impossible not to interact and learn from the people working around you. As most young entrepreneurs know, startups generally have humble beginnings and are not an easy journey to embark on alone. Joining a coworking community gives you a network of people to help you along the way. Perhaps this movement will even move the world of business as we know it to a more cohesive and interactive environment among all companies.