When I left the classroom to work on my own, I thought I was going to love the solitude of working from home. I quickly realized that it’s really hard to do creative work when you’re the only one around.
I recently began working from a co-working space called Converge here in Denver and it’s changed everything.
I kicked around the idea of joining a co-working space earlier in the year, but I didn’t have a real need for a workspace away from home. Once my wife and kids finished school, it became apparent that staying home was no longer an option.
Even the strongest willed man can only abstain from laughing in the other room for so long. At some point, you have to ditch the work to see what all the fun is about.
Fortunately, Denver has a lot of options. I narrowed my focus to two areas:1.
- Fairly close to home (mine is 10 minutes away)
- Eclectic mix of people and business (I didn’t want the homogenized feel of an “industry office”)
Mine is located in a quickly changing art district (meaning warehouses are being converted to restaurants and bars fairly quickly). Its members are a variety of creative people from painters, to jewelry makers, to design agencies, to a video production company. This unique mix of people and businesses creates a really cool energy.
I’d never wanted to work in an office. That’s definitely not the vibe I was (or ever will be) looking for. As one person recently mentioned to me, “When you work with people in an office, they find a reason to not work. They interrupt you to talk about work. People are more reserved [in a co-working space] when they’re working on their own thing.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Aside from being a totally cool old warehouse, I find myself being more energized and inspired to “go to work” than I was when I was rolling out of bed to work at the kitchen table.
But aside from being inspiring, it’s also helping my business grow. Here are two ways that’s happening:
Getting Stuff Done
I liked working from home, but it takes a different kind of discipline.
There’s a constant nagging to do something other than work. Abstaining from TV was easier than I thought, but I always felt a need to do a load of laundry, mow the grass, take out the garbage, or dust the furniture (the ultimate sign of procrastination).
But at Converge, I feel like I’m “at work.” I make sure I get there around 9 am (most mornings). I have no problem sitting down and getting right to work.
It helps that others around me are working too. I always found that coffee shops were too busy for me to do any good work in. I feared the same about a co-working space. But the reality is that Converge is so large and everyone is hustling so hard to make their business work, that the energy is calm and encouraging.
Aside from all that, there’s a conference room for meetings, great restaurants, bars, and coffee shops close by, it’s got amazing sunlight, and it’s filled with creative people.
All of these things fuel me and make me excited to show up each day. There’s a great energy to it that I didn’t get by working in isolation from home.
Making New Connections
I started working from Converge about a month ago. In that short amount of time, I’ve worked on projects with two different people, gotten a recommendation for a local printer, found something in common with at least half of the members, and had three people tell me they knew of businesses that could immediately use my help and asked for my contact information.
If you’re out there struggling in the solitude of your home office, this makes things pretty clear: get out and start working around new people. It will change your business!
Simply being in their presence is enough. At some point, you’ll engage. It’s a great opportunity to connect, partner, share, collaborate, and inspire. Even if you’re more of an introvert, being around people who are working hard and creating something new and amazing in the world will energize you.
Get Out of Your Home Office!
The good news is that these types of spots are becoming more and more popular. If you find that you’re lonely, bored, or distracted by working from a home office, do a quick search of co-working spaces in your area and check them out. Most allow you do work for free one day as a trial run.
What if there aren’t any in your area? Still make the effort to put yourself in the company of people with similar work ethics and values. Maybe it’s a coffee shop. Maybe it’s library. Chances are smaller that you’ll find like-minded people to interact with, but it’s a start.
More reasons why my co-working space is amazing:
- Fast Internet
- Creative people
- Making connections
- Lots of sunlight
- Free beer
- Shared interests
- Free coffee
- Close to downtown
- Feeling a part of a community
- Monthly member lunches cooked by the owners
- Cool arts-focused neighborhood
- The giant brewery being built next door
- Collaboration/ partnership opportunities
- Meeting new people
- Fewer distractions than home
- Amazing patio with a great view of the Denver skyline
- Saying, “I have an office…”
- Helping others’ local businesses succeed