My Truly Terrible Introduction to Coworking


In 2012, I joined a coworking space. At the time, I had (slowly) started working my way out of being a longtime record store supervisor and was growing my freelance writing business one article, one publication, at a time.

I joined this particular space because they were running a special for a year-long membership agreement. I figured all coworking spaces were the same.

How wrong I was.

I joined and regretted it almost immediately.

This moment, this experience, this misstep, is the reason I talk endlessly about cultivating community, being intentional in your vibe and vision, and attracting people who are a good fit for YOUR SPACE.

Because all coworking spaces are not the same.

And no matter how fabulous your space may look, if it’s lacking life, energy and engagement, your members are not thriving—whether they say so or not.

The space I joined wasn’t a good fit for me. I wanted community, they sold desks and wifi. I wanted engagement and connections, I found silence and people working in isolation.

All day, every day.

I hated it.

After a few months I stopped going. I paid the membership fee each month, as I had agreed to do, but I rarely, if ever, went in. It just wasn’t my space.

In 2013, when that membership agreement was up, I went across town, walked into NextSpace and met the two people sitting at the counter (who turned out to be coworking pioneers Jeremy Neuner and Iris Kavanagh). I told them I thought I wanted a desk, but it turns out I want community.

Jeremy responded: “You found us.”

And I had.

NextSpace taught me what coworking truly is. The community helped raise me from a side-gigging record store employee with dreams of doing something meaningful into a full-time freelance writer, then a business owner, to the founder of CJ Co,which has become a thriving part of the coworking ecosystem. I’m so proud of Coworking Convos, and The Lab, and the content we publish to support and connect coworking space operators.

Coworking did that.

It supported, incubated and tough-loved me every step of the way. And it is my absolute honor to pour what I know about writing, content, marketing and community right back into coworking.

This is transformational stuff.

Onward, friend!

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