Being an adult is hard, y’all. There are bills to pay, obligations to uphold, responsibilities to take care of and let’s not even talk about that retirement account we haven’t bothered dealing with yet. Depending on what you do for a living, your creative impulses might get buried under the weight of those daily to-do lists, and for someone whose calling is in a creative field, being in a rut feels like torture. But there’s good news: It’s now easier than ever for creative entrepreneurs to find resources and support, and it’s also a great time for people to leave their traditional workplaces behind for something more fulfilling.
Why Do Coworking Spaces Exist?
Coworking is a fairly new concept that’s been taking the business world by storm, giving independent professionals and small business employees a comfortable place to work each day with hot coffee and fast WiFi. Sort of a cross between joining a gym (for the mind, not the body) and leasing a space for commercial use, a coworking membership grants access to both a physical space and a group of potential allies, mentors, clients and champions for a few hundred bucks a month. While most coworking spaces are generally open-minded about the kinds of members they encourage to sign up, many tend to attract a particular type of professional. For instance, some cater primarily to developers and IT folks, while others are filled with marketing and communication pros.
How a Coworking Space Can Help Your Career
One in particular, a global network called Impact Hub, works mainly with social entrepreneurs who are trying to make a positive social, cultural or environmental change in the world for the better. Many of its members are nonprofit organizations and solo creatives whose work skews toward that of the change-making variety. Brian Schoenbaum, head of strategy + vision for Impact Hub Austin at Vuka, explains some of the ways his space — and others like it — can help people reach the next step in their creative careers.
“For folks who have already embarked on their journey toward their calling, we offer a restorative space where they can feel at home and get their work done in an environment that’s supportive and inspiring,” Brian says. “We call ourselves a community because that’s exactly what we are: a group of people coming together toward a common set of goals, encouraging one another to be the best possible versions of ourselves.”
He says there’s an element of accelerated connection in the way people come together in a coworking space, from trading projects and building portfolios to helping one another out in ways that save everyone time and effort. “Our staff is consistently energized by learning of stories about new collaborations between coworkers who happened to run into each other in our space, and are now working together on a new project,” he says. “These organic connections aren’t surprising, but we also provide more structured opportunities for connection through group lunches, panels featuring thought leaders, dinners for company founders, workshops, peer learning groups and happy hours onsite.” In other words, in a coworking space, it’s easy to bump into people who can help both you and your business grow.
Is a Coworking Space Right for You?
But what about people who are still tethered to that old-school nine-to-five office job that pays the bills but offers little in the way of freedom? Turns out, some coworking spaces keep them in mind too. Many offer a drop-in rate of around $20, Brian says, which can grant access to a shared workspace, special events, member benefits and sometimes even online networking tools.
Many coworking people looking to pivot their careers into something new and exciting can tap into a curated community of pros who could teach them a thing or two, not to mention give them first dibs on job postings in their dream fields. With the benefit of a coworking connection, it’s easier than ever to kiss that cold gray cubicle goodbye if you’re willing to branch out and connect. That’s because it’s less stressful than ever (and likely more effective) to make an introduction, ask a potential mentor to meet up over coffee or pitch yourself as the next great member to join their team.
“We’re human beings, not human doings,” Brian says, “and when we surround ourselves with a supportive community, we’re often reminded to live in balance, which inspires our best work.”
Has a coworking space helped you achieve your goals as a creative professional? Tweet us about it at @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty and Impact Hub Austin)