1 Year. 25+ Coworking Spaces. Here's What I Learned.

    The Importance of a Year of Coworking

    The Importance of a Year of Coworking

    With the new year upon us, it is important to look back and determine where we want to go before we move forward.

    With the significant changes 2016 brought me personally and professionally, I was able to discover many new things about myself. If you’ve known me for more than a minute, you’ve probably seen me get my dance on and noticed my love of people. However, you may not have seen my other side that is filled with despair and self-destruction. This year has been a sharp, double-edged sword full of wonderful highs and the lowest lows.

    Throughout 2016, I have been digging out of the painful depths of divorce while meeting a tremendous number of people. With coworking, I have found support systems all over the country. This is how I see coworking. This is why I started my journey to spread the power of coworking, and why I believe it is so important.

    Many of you that I connected with brought me exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it, oftentimes without me even knowing it. From my home base at the Tampa Bay WaVE, to my first coworking space, to the more than 20 coworking spaces I visited, I have had special moments everywhere. There are amazing people and businesses in every city and every office. These moments have, and will continue to shape, who I am and who I want to become as a person and in the way I conduct my businesses.

    As I sit on a plane back to Seattle, Washington, where I left my car for 2 months while I was taking time off with my family, I keep thinking I’ve made a great leap toward one of my first missions for Cowork22 —  to absorb as many experiences in coworking spaces and the cities in which they are located, while connecting with as many people as possible in the community of coworkers.

    There are so many questions I want to answer. What are the common themes in these offices? What is working? What could be done better? What should other spaces be doing? What can I learn that I haven’t even thought to ask? Is there an ideal business model for coworking spaces? How can a coworker become an ambassador of the space?

    These are the questions I am getting closer to being able to answer from multiple points of view. but here is one simple thing I’ve figured out so far.

    An idea or process does not always work for every coworking space.

    There are intricacies in every coworking space that are so special that trying to stick to a rubric will often fail. There are definitely some best practices, however, managers should try everything and anything. It may work and it may not. (Side note: there is definitely a franchise coworking model that has had success in replicating spaces. Exploring this will require more of a deep-dive series of articles.) For this upcoming year, I will continue to write about interesting coworking spaces that I visit, however, I will be focusing more on diving deep into the many challenges of coworking to help owners, community managers, ambassadors, and coworkers. I want to create an open dialogue for us to grow together and learn from each other.

    Again, thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me. I hope I can return the favor through what I learn and share with you all.

    Have a great 2017, and if you find value in my mission and what I write about, please share the site with your networks and communities.