Starting my Business from Home
In 2014, I started my digital marketing business from my mom’s couch. I had come back home to live with her while I was getting things off the ground, and thank god I did – because my one large client had pulled the rug out from under me and circumstances changed quickly.
So I decided to really give it a go at starting a brand new marketing agency.
Working from Home & Coffee Shops
I was getting a few clients little by little and working from home. But oftentimes I felt quite lonely, unmotivated, and a little anxious about the future – so I wanted to figure out another working situation. I had also recruited a new colleague and wanted to have a place for us to work together and meet.
I visited coffee shops off and on for months but only had so-so luck. Oftentimes they were very crowded, with not enough room for me and my colleague to sit together and lay out our work materials (e.g., laptop/notebook, documents). We also struggled to find consistent access to working power outlets and high speed wi-fi for video calls. For in-person meetings with clients, having a noisy work environment didn’t make for the most productive meetings. Some days, working at a coffee shop just felt like a complete wash.
Discovering Coworking Spaces
I loved the idea of being in a social setting while working, but the coffee shop wasn’t really cutting it in terms of reliability. But business never sleeps, so I kept doing it.
After some time, one of my friends sent me a photo of a flyer she found for a new Coworking space that had just opened in North Park, San Diego. I had never heard of “coworking” and had no idea what it entailed. My friend explained it was a place where remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs would go to work. I decided to give it a try and got my first coworking membership at the space in North Park.
I started going in almost every day and I had no idea how this small decision would change my life
The Hidden Benefit of Coworking Spaces: Community
The coworking space had a variety of practical (and awesome) amenities: reliable wifi, ample power outlets, coffee and beer on tap, meeting spaces for client meetings, and enough desk space to comfortably lay out all of my work materials. However, the most impactful benefit of joining this space was the incredible relationships with other coworkers I’d develop.
It got to a point where we were all supporting each other in one way or another: referring business to each other all the time. To this day, we still work with our Coworking colleagues.
I met my company’s lawyer there, who went on to introduce me to my CPA and bookkeeper. I met one of our longtime copywriters and several other agency partners who we’ve worked together with. I met some new friends who would go on to become some of our largest clients. Hell, I even witnessed one of my employees meet their future husband at a happy hour the coworking space hosted. Talk about serious networking!
The bottom line is, this space and this community very clearly changed and benefited my life as a whole, in ways that working from home or working with an inconsistent crowd at a coffee shop never could.
The great people in our community, all with different professions or different points in their careers, literally became office coworkers, because we would see, work, and interact with them on a daily basis for years. It was a real game changer and year after year we expanded and the business kept growing.
Eventually, our team got to be a little too big for our past coworking space and we had to move to larger offices (but that’s a good problem right?). I’m not gonna lie, despite our company’s growth, I was a little sad about the move. We loved the community we’d built and didn’t want to leave. But, convinced of the power of coworking, we decided to move our company into a multi-tenant building where we made new friends!
Remote Work and the Return to Coworking
After COVID hit, we, like many, shut our office down and our entire team went remote. Many team members are still in San Diego, but our team is also spread across the country. “Post Covid”, I still missed the in-person element with my team, and getting out of the house.
In August of 2022, when we got an opportunity to own and operate a Coworking space in San Diego ourselves, we jumped on it, knowing that Coworking was the antidote to the work-from-home loneliness and anxiety I’d started experiencing again. Better yet, we got the opportunity to bring coworking to one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Diego, Hillcrest!
My husband and I now make it a habit to come in at least 2 days a week, and all I can say is that I feel so much better mentally and get more done on the days that I do go in. And I’ve already met some great people that we can now help and support on their Coworking journey. Having a real “circle of life” moment over here
If you’re on the fence about coworking, why not try it out and experience it for yourself – you might find it transforms you in ways you never expected!