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Starting / Business startup

My friend’s starting a coworking space & I’m green with envy

My friend's starting a coworking space and I’m green with envy, writes Lucy Kippist.

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coworking space

A recent seachange has inspired my friend to start a coworking space.

It’s such a clever and cool idea that I wish I had thought of it myself.

Her new town is a place on the cusp of a revolution – once sleepy and a little backward it’s becoming an affordable hub for creatives looking to escape the prohibitive costs of Sydney life.

Not only will my friend’s coworking space be a boon for the area – her business idea appeals to three core business values – community, creativity and connection.

"Gone are the days of a desk, WiFi and loo down the hall."

A soloist with a freelancing business, by literally inventing the town’s first professional networking space, she’ll reap massive personal rewards.

That is, she’ll be expanding her own business via supporting the businesses of her new connections.

Huzzah! As she would say.

Of course, there are a few hurdles to jump through before she can begin.

Among the most interesting to me though lies in nutting out the details of what the coworking space will actually look like.

Co-working spaces are highly subjective beasts

And thanks to the surge in soloism generally, they’re both in demand and incredibly diverse. Read: Brimming with sophisticated accoutrements.

Gone are the days of a desk, WiFi connection and loo down the hall.

Take The Wing for example. It’s a women-only coworking space and social club in New York that along with meeting rooms and WiFi offers its members a hair and make-up salon, gym and cocktail bar.

And you don’t have to go as far as America to experience that kind of thing.

A quick search of coworking spaces here at home revealed an equally sophisticated array of benefits, like meditation rooms and Yoga spaces, being sewn into the corners of what used to be a pretty humble offering.

Which brings me to my next question: how will my friend appeal to her new community of soloists from a whole range of professions and business backgrounds?

Especially given the general vibe of her town, it’s safe to assume that the cocktail bar and make up may not be such a top priority.

At least, not yet.

What does the ideal co-working space look like?

As a soloist with a part-time job, I rarely need a co-working space. When not in an office, the rest of my work is done with a great amount of joy, in the quiet of my own home, the backdoor open to listen to the birds and my own kettle.

Working from home is my happy place. And would definitely always be my first preference for writing and quiet work – the foundation of my business.

So an ideal coworking space for me would definitely be a place for doing admin-type tasks and networking meetings. I’d want a decent sized meeting room with access to a good projector, fast WiFi and an excellent cafe nearby.

Volume/ambient noise is another key consideration

And again, an element not all soloists agree on.

When I asked for opinions on the Flying Solo forum, quiet made the top of member Joli’s list:

“[My ideal space needs to be] quiet enough so we can concentrate.”

While member Matt saw the value in having a bit of a buzz in the air:

“I think co-working places are great for people that want to work on their own business while having others around them (ie: they work better in an environment with ambient chatter or people to talk to).”

Freebies and perks

Personally, I think any new tangible business offering a service should throw in a freebie or irresistible perk!

Especially if like my friend’s future co-working space you’re the new kid on the block.

Given my friend’s seaside location, I’d suggest access to a shower/bathroom and maybe some lockers to store your cozzie and flippers for a quick after-meeting dip.

And maybe a couple of vouchers organized with local businesses for a free first coffee or half-price sandwich. It’s all about building community, right?

What do you look for in a co-working space?

Lucy Kippist

is an experienced Australian editor with experience in writing, podcasting radio and television, with previous senior editorial roles at News Corp news.com.au, Kidspot and Kinderling Kids Radio. In her current role as editor of Flying Solo, Australia's #1 website for solo business owners she is pursuing her passion for women in the small business space. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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