A few months ago my working life was getting stressful. I started working from home at around the same time as my little girl, Elena, was born. This worked out fine for a good while, but at around 13 or 14 months old in she started walking…
I went to my first co-working day out of desperation. The banging on my office’s door, the stomping, falling and crying (the wee one, not me!) were interrupting my concentration. And, of course, the temptation to go and play with the baby was hard to resist!
There was always the local library, but I had some other itches that needed to be scratched– it’s a little isolating working from home. Twitter only goes a short way to alleviating the cabin-fever– I needed some real human conversation!
Co-working seemed like the perfect answer!
More than I bargained for
My first co-working session was amazing! It was a designer/developer-centric event, which suited me: many an evening my poor wife would glaze over as I enthusiastically rambled on about the latest web design techniques, so to be amongst other web people was fantastic!
Everyone had their laptops and tablets hooked up to the free wi-fi, excellent coffee from the nearby coffee-shop was flowing, and the atmosphere was chatty and productive. I was sold!
So I looked into other co-working events that were happening locally. Colleagues on Tap jumped out and turned out to be a great set up with an informal group discussion scheduled after lunch. The local Jelly is also well worth a look.
I’ve met lots of great people with interesting businesses, from keyword consultants to alternative hairdressers! I’ve been to lots of networking events and dinners in the past and they’ve all felt a little bit pushy and contrived. This might work for some people, but it’s really not my style.
I believe that relationships come first and business will follow. I’ve met lots of people that would be great to work with, so it’s a good idea to bring some business cards, though—remember—that’s not the point of it all; more a happy by-product!
I’ve since found myself a nice sociable office where I hire a desk, so the chaos at home isn’t an issue any more, but I still head down to a co-working day every week or two.
Although they can sometimes cost a few pounds, the change of scenery, sense of camaraderie and business relationships that form make it more than worth the price tag!
Why not have a look at the co-working days in your local area? Or, if there aren’t any, what’s to stop you starting one!?