Questions

What are the advantages of co-working spaces for new entrepreneurs in SF? How do I choose the right one for me?

I am a new entrepreneur who does not like working from home. I am interested in a co-working space but think that I can get more done working from home (more hours in the day/less commute time). I tried a coworking space, and it was way too quiet for my liking. How do I find the right community for me?

3answers

I think they're great if you're using them for specific purposes. I find working at home almost too easy and it takes a long time for me to really get into "work mode" vs having a space somewhere I start switching gears on the way there and then feel more productive right from jump.'

Benefits:
Meet peers/friends/teammates.
Better work/life balance.
Lots of the small stuff is handled for you.
A real address for meetings.
Learn about other things going on in your sector.

Drawbacks:
Can't really tailor the details to your specific needs (volume, potted plants, artwork, etc)
You incur a substantive cost on the books of your company.
Potentially distracting if you're direct sharing space.
Rarely do they deliver quality on any extra-stated promises (Money connections, quality events, etc) so you can really only bank on having a desk.

I find the best alternative is to try and rent some space from a larger company that is growing/scaling so you get to learn a bunch, meet people who are focused, and usually you sort of join the family and get the benefits of free lunches and happy hours.


Answered 5 years ago

When I first moved to SF in 2008, I choose to use both coffee shops & co-working spaces as a way to meet likeminded people. My approach was.

1) Every co-working space will usually give you 1 free day to try it out, or offer a low cost "open" membership (ex: 5 days a month). So you can always do that, and try them out.

2) Find a list of the top coffee shops in SF for entrepreneurs, and spend time there. I use to go to 1-2 places in the morning, then the afternoon. So 9-10:30 at one spot, then move to the next. If you go the same time every day, you might get to meet people who do the same and that's a great way to build a relationship.

The things I did that work were
- Asked the owners of the place if there was anyone they'd recommend you meet, that shared similar passions or projects, or had recently moved to the city.
- Ask people if they have lunch plans, and want to join you. Best to do this once you've made at least one friend, but works either way.
- Participate in events or other organized things (like lunch events, or talks at co-working spaces).

If you do this, you'll find the place you like the best ... don't settle too quick, spend some time getting to know the city and the people. It's such a wonderful place.


Answered 5 years ago

Have you considered Starbucks or the like? Seriously. They are not quite, provide WiFi and refreshments and a great place to meet and network. I prefer working from home for the same reasons. But, like you, I need to interact and network. So, when I am not with clients and want to be around others, a coffee shop does the trick.

There are plenty of co-ops, as you know. Ask for a quest pass type arrangement. You are interviewing them just as they are interviewing you. You both want it to be a good fit.

I know the owner of a co-op in Oregon. If you would like, I'll make a call and ask for referrals to your area. Give me a call if you have any other questions.

All the best!

Kevin McCarthy


Answered 5 years ago

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