Saturday, May 24, 2008

Co-Working Works for Home Workers

According to the US Census Bureau, our nation opened almost 4 million single-person businesses between 2000 and 2005. Four million is a lot of people toiling away all day, every day, by themselves and they agree. At first freelancers, writers, designers, consultants, entrepreneurs of all types began gathering at coffee shops, laptops in hand looking for WiFi signals. The coffee house gave them a change of scenery and a bit of social interaction, maybe even some inspiration, but it was not enough.

Now these entrepreneurs are forming groups of co-workers. The goal is to provide a professional support network where people can work, share and interact with other professionals in a work-like atmosphere while still allowing them the freedom and independence they get from being self-employed. Co-working groups give single-person business owners people to bounce ideas off of, share work product with and ask help from. It provides the benefit of having co-workers without the corporate baggage that goes along with it.

If you work at home and feel that a co-working group might be beneficial for you, join one that already exists or start your own. Some groups charge an entrance fee and monthly dues. These fees are used to rent professional space and equip it with utilities, internet, work space, meeting rooms and hang out space. However, if you work from home, one of the perks you are enjoying is saving money and spending it again may not be in the budget. Alternately, these groups are often geared toward computer techs, web designers, consultants and other business to business professionals; they may not be the best fit for work at home moms who may have young children to care for or who may work in online retail or sales. If you can not find a co-working group that is right for you, start your own. It can even be as simple as a few moms who get together at someone’s house, with their kids, and brainstorm for ideas while the children play.

Whatever the nature of your group, co-working can bring much needed social interaction, professional support, and inspiration to work at home, alone, entrepreneurs.

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