In Phase 4 of the Small Biz Start Up Guide, I discuss signing a lease as one of the necessary steps before launching your biz. Obviously, this may not be applicable you plan to work at home. If you’re like me - not very productive at home - I highly recommend considering a co-working option.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, I’ll use some of WeWork’s web copy to help elaborate.
“When we started WeWork in 2010, we wanted to build more than beautiful, shared office spaces. We wanted to build a community. A place you join as an individual, 'me', but where you become part of a greater 'we'. A place where we’re redefining success measured by personal fulfillment, not just the bottom line. Community is our catalyst.”
“The nature of work is changing. Recruitment, retention, innovation, and productivity now require not just coffee, but also yoga, not just printers, but also art installations. WeWork offers companies of all sizes the opportunity to reimagine employees’ days through refreshing design, engaging community, and benefits for all.”
Co-Working has blown up in the past few years. Now, most cities have many competitors in the market. You can find spaces with a casual vibe or places that are more professional. You can choose a space based on size, location, amenities, or the make-up of its members.
Here’s a list of co-working spots in San Diego:
My Top 6 Reasons to Co-Work
Being a solo small biz owner can get lonely. If you’re currently in the corporate world, you might have an itch to get away from everyone, but after a few months in your home office, you may wish you had someone to grab lunch with and brainstorm some new ideas.
Co-working is great because you can surround yourself with fellow business owners in a similar position to yourself. People don’t really get the blood, sweat, and tears that go into starting a business until they do it. All of a sudden you are a bookkeeper, designer, content marketer, service provider, secretary, scheduler, receptionist, maker, IT troubleshooter, and more. It’s a lot, and none of us do it without help.
Since joining a co-working space, I now know have a developer across the hall, another attorney a few doors down, a friend with expertise in sales tax, a graphic designer on the floor above me, and a copywriter that I bump into from time-to-time. Each of these new small biz friends is happy to answer questions and know they can swing by my office if they have a contract question.
I still, arguably, have an unreasonable Starbucks habit. I go about three days per week. That beats the 12 times per week I used to go. When I signed my lease at WeWork, I made a commitment to narrow my visits down to once per week and on weekends, thereby, saving enough to make up for more than half my rent. Most co-working spaces have great coffee! Many feature local roasters and have cold brew, a big plus in my book.
Most spaces have phone booths where you can take private calls, printers and scanners, kitchens, mail service, and more. Each space has its own perks. Moniker Commons, a co-working space in Liberty Station, has bike and paddleboards that are free to use for members. Many spaces also have affiliate programs with business tools for member discounts. For example, I know our space has a killer program with Slack.
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Most co-working spaces have regular “Lunch & Learns” where you can present or attend a presentation to learn about new topics and become a more well-rounded entrepreneur. I have presented on tax and small biz law. Many spaces also host happy hours and networking opportunities.
Probably my very favorite aspect of co-working spaces is the ability to have free event space. I have scheduled workshops at WeWork locations all across Southern California from San Diego to north Los Angeles. I even have events planned in San Francisco. It’s a fantastic way to host small events at little to no cost.
Some individuals are more sensitive to their environment than others. I very much appreciate good design. I get sleepy under fluorescent lights and find myself to be more productive in places with fun colors and nice art. I won’t pay for an office that I don’t want to hang out in. If you walk into a co-working spot and are immediately filled with energy, feel ready to work, and ready to meet people, that’s the space for you.
Check Out More Details in the Guide
This is a snippet of the information provided in the Small Business Start Up Guide. If you are in the beginning stages of your business, we would love to have you as part of our SBSUG fam. If you buy the guide and have follow-up questions, myself, Lauren, and Michelle are happy to answer them in our private Facebook group, which is for SBSUG members only. I’m always happy to chat biz entities with you there.
5. cost effective
Co-working isn’t always the cheapest option, but when you consider everything noted in this blog, the value proposition starts to look pretty good. Most spaces in San Diego range from $250 to $400 for a general membership without a private desk or office. A private desk tends to run in the $350-$500 range while a private office is more like $600+.
I’m an extrovert, so I’m more productive around others. Combining that along with number six below, the amenities, and the frequency at which I use the event space, and I feel like I’m getting a great deal.
6. referrals and partnerships
Business is all about relationships. We all want to work with people we know. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that those working near you every day can become either clients, potential referral sources, or business partners. I, on average, get about one client per month from my office building, which in itself covers the rent. Obviously, this is no guarantee, but co-working, at a minimum, expands your network.
Every space is different. Take time to tour all the options in your area and weigh your options. Don’t forget to ask about things like parking and printing. As noted, I am a member of WeWork. Lauren and SBSUG co-author is a member at Moniker Commons. If you want to check out either space let us know. We can send you a referral link and introduce you to the membership directors.