Like many entrepreneurs, when I started my business I decided to do it from home. It’s important to try and minimise overheads during the start up phase, when your business is at its most vulnerable. A bricks-and-mortar office could be considered an unnecessary expense in these early stages (or indeed at any stage!), particularly when almost everything can now be done online.
There are many advantages to working from home: no commute, lower costs, more flexibility, more time with family, your favourite coffee whenever you want it…!
But whilst there are many plus-points, working from home on a permanent basis can be isolating. You might find yourself craving the buzz of an office, where networking opportunities, social interaction and camaraderie are part of the day-to-day routine.
If, like me, you experience these ups and downs when working from your home office, then co-working could be exactly what you are looking for.
Co-working spaces are flexible workspaces where independent entrepreneurs and professionals can experience the benefits of a shared office environment. As a co-worker you get a desk, access to Wi-Fi, kitchen facilities and everything else you would expect from a normal office, but the beauty is you can rent a space as often or as little as you want. If you need a desk 5 days a week, you can have one, or if you feel that you simply need a change of scenery for a few hours a month, that’s ok too!
There are so many benefits to using a co-working space (some more obvious than others) – here are my top 10:
- Increase your productivity by surrounding yourself with others who are hard at work
- Expand your personal and business networks
- Feel less isolated as a solo entrepreneur or business professional
- Increase your motivation by getting a change of scene
- Create new business opportunities through meeting other co-workers
- Reduce your overheads through utilising shared facilities
- Work in a high-quality office location that would otherwise be over your budget
- Have flexibility, as there are no long-term lease agreements
- Convey a professional image to your clients
- Collaborate, share ideas and learn from others
Remember, co-working is more than just a hot-desk. These business hubs are filled with people who are passionate about what they do and who are working toward a dream, just like you. Flexibility is exactly what small businesses need to thrive, and co-working offers us just that.
There are spaces like this in cities all over the world – so what are you waiting for?
If you happen to be an entrepreneur in the Aberdeen area of Scotland, I would highly recommend a visit to The Soap Factory at 111 Gallowgate, Aberdeen – my co-working space of choice! Check out their website at www.soap-factory.co.uk.