I’m having so much fun it doesn’t feel like research. You might have noticed I’m a bit obsessed with coworking lately. I’ve become more motivated each week to actually become a space catalyst and open my own coworking space here in Oakland.
Very quickly I got overwhelmed reading the Coworking Wiki and blog and thought I probably couldn’t pull it off. The prospect of a commercial lease scares me, although I’ve already found the most perfect location in the Lake Merritt section of Oakland. It’s a beautiful space style space that’s right near a lake, good restaurants and one of my favorite bars for happy hour. But where would I get the money? Would a landlord understand the concept?
Angel to the Rescue
Sometimes good ideas happen at the wrong time. So, I was preparing to put this dream aside until I discovered a Kindle book by Angel Kwaitkowski and Beth Buczynski, Coworking: Building Community as a Space Catalyst
The amazing thing about coworking is how flexible the concept is. You can build what you want, what suits your community so long as you stay within the five core values of Community, Openness, Accessibility, Sustainability and Communication. I’ve seen sustainability interpreted in a couple of compelling ways. I especially loved the way Julia of Coworking Frederick things about it. A very good read.
The dreadful thing about coworking is how flexible the concept is. Every decision rests with you. Now, I built my home from the walls out and chose every square inch, every finish and color happily. Yet, I find charting a road map for my space daunting. It’s easy to make a lot of mistakes, which Felena Hanson of Hera Hub confirmed during her interview with me.
I truly believe that the answer to every problem is available if you look. So instead of trying to reinvent the wheel I set out to find the ‘best in breed’ of space operators. And, because I’m all about the girl power thing, I wanted to learn from the Women of Coworking.
Women of Coworking Chronicles and Directory
This is what I love about the coworking community– people raise their hands to help. Folks like Jen Ross of W@tercooler Hub and Ashley Proctor of Foundry were the first to say yes to my crazy plan to chronicle the stories and adventures of the first women of coworking. Mostly importantly they shared other women, which so warmed my heart. This movement is growing like a weed so it feels especially important to capture and preserve the wisdom these women can share with us.
Forty fabulous women space operators (and counting) have agreed to share their stories as part of my interview series called, what else, Women of Coworking Chronicles. We spent 20 minutes together chatting about launching a space, the quirky side of operating a space and the very real practical concerns. We also talk each operators philosophy on community and how they bring the five values alive in their spaces. Jeannine van der Linden of Kamer52 talks about her idea of building ‘earned trust’ during her interview.
If my first two interviews with Jeannine and Felena are any indication, the next few chats with Ashley, Judy Santos of OfficeSlice and Marnee Chua of Works Progress should be off the charts with juicy insider insights and food for thoughts.
Coworking Week is coming!
The first Women of Coworking interviews will be released to celebrate International Coworking Week, August 5-9th. Communities around the globe, literally, are planning all manner of events, parties, educational programming. Don’t miss out!
Being a home-based entrepreneur is great until it’s not. I strongly encourage you to give coworking a try if you’re finding yourself unmotivated, less productive or just plain stuck at home. You won’t believe the difference working alone together can make to your growth and happiness as an small business owner.
Oh, the title is one of the questions our fab WOCs suggested. So, why are women so good at coworking??!
Photo credit: T de Jong, BureauT A member of Kamer52 was so excited she created that special ‘Time’ news cover! Use Google translator