By: Ryan Coon
The boom in coworking spaces over the past few years has been well documented. According to this timeline by Deskmag, the 3,000th coworking space opened just a few months ago. While much attention has been paid to the growth in the number of spaces and the resources that they provide, very little has been written about how to successfully work in this environment. When my team moved into 1871 over a year ago, we had little more than an idea. Today, after lots of hard work and amazing support from the community, we have built Rentalutions into the best landlord software available for mom-and-pop landlords. Below are 3 suggestions for getting the most from a coworking arrangement:
1. Build Meaningful Relationships
In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits to joining a coworking space like 1871 is the people you are surrounded by. These are people who likely have skills and knowledge that could benefit you at some point. While it’s great to know of these people, I find it much more rewarding to build meaningful relationships with them. If you haven’t read the Dale Carnegie book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, get yourself a copy today. According to Carnegie, the best way to develop lasting relationships is to take an interest in others. Eventually they will reciprocate and care about you and your venture.
The best relationship builder I know at 1871 is Jamie Johnson, CEO of Verde. While I now consider us friends, we first met because Jamie took an interest in Rentalutions. Since that first conversation, Jamie has shared ideas with me and has made very helpful introductions. As a result of Jamie’s effort and help, I am constantly looking for ways to repay the favor and help him.
2. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
When you join a coworking space, you are joining a community of individuals with immense knowledge and powerful connections. Whether you need someone to test out your new product, or an introduction to a potential customer, people will generally be willing to help. As an entrepreneur, it is important to keep this in mind – you don’t have to do things alone! The big challenge, though, is remembering this and asking for help. I’m assuming you have more important things to do with your time than to recreate the wheel. Just remember that the community is a two-way relationship when you are approached for help.
3. Stay Focused
Since joining 1871, I have at times been overwhelmed by the number of resources that are available. From workshops to events to office hours, there is never a shortage of people to meet and things to do. The key, though, is staying focused on your goals and deciding which of the available resources you should utilize (if any).
From my experience, entrepreneurs who succeed generally follow the same path. Upon joining the space, these individuals seek to learn as much as possible (oftentimes through workshops and events). Next, they get to work and block out all distractions. Finally, after they have learned and taken a stab at building something, they seek input from others during office hours.
Chris Motely, CEO of Better Weekdays, is a focus fanatic. He and I talk frequently about how important it is to know what you need to accomplish and not do anything but work towards that goal. He followed the path I mention above and it has worked well for him so far.
One bonus tip – get to know and be extremely nice to the people who run your coworking space. From my experience at 1871, these folks work as hard or harder than most entrepreneurs. They’re busy and always have a lot to do, so treat them how you would want to be treated.
As an entrepreneur, the challenge is doing everything above simultaneously. Tom Hanks’ character said it best in A League of Their Own, “it’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”
Photo Credit: www.someconnect.com