August 9th is officially International Coworking Day!

As if today’s celebration of co-working wasn’t enough, it’s also National Rice Pudding Day, National Polka Day, and Book Lovers Day. While today is an impressive one, we just missed the mark to combine even more of my favorite things, as tomorrow is National S’mores Day, AND National Lazy Day (which shouldn’t be on a Thursday), but I digress.

In the not so distant past (4 years ago) when people first heard about The OWN and one of our services of co-working, the first question was “co-working?” which then generally led to a lengthy discussion about how isolating entrepreneurship can be.  Indeed, running a small business can be a lonely gig.  One of the challenging components of small business is being the sole individual responsible for every facet of your company, regardless of your strengths and weaknesses.  Without coworkers, you often lack the ability to “bounce ideas off one another” and gain momentum.  Even if you have employees, you typically don’t go to them and say “Don’t worry about your next paycheck, but things aren’t going so well and we need to generate more revenue- any ideas?”.

On the surface, co-working seems to be simply a change of office scenery from a coffee shop, library, or your home or car, to a trendy, downtown-y new spot.  Once you’re involved though, it becomes so much more. Usually the fellow coffee shop patrons or library goers aren’t in the same boat as you, so you can’t look up from your work and go, “anybody know of a good app for invoicing?”.

To a new business owner, these solutions often save years of struggle, and that can amount to a very real financial return.

Enter co-working.  At The OWN, when we office together, ideas, tips, and tricks tend to surface and be shared naturally.  We also have a bi-weekly event called “The Charette” which is a brainstorming session where we can share our business “aches and pains” if you will, and see who has also struggled with (and often remedied) these common woes.  The collective wisdom of the group nearly always has a solution (or five) to most any problem.  To a new business owner, these solutions often save years of struggle, and that can amount to a very real financial return.  For those who’ve been in business longer- and learned the hard way- sharing their experience often makes the past struggle feel more meaningful, because someone else was spared from the loss or pain or both.  Win win all around.

Incidentally, even if you never get a helpful bit of business advice from a fellow co-worker, just being around other people is immensely beneficial for almost every area of your life (fellow research nerds click here, here and here).  What’s more, developing a sense of belonging (like you have people in your life who just “get it”) can keep you happier and healthier, which in turn also contributes to greater business potential and success.  To quote Shawn Achor in “The Happiness Advantage”, “Countless studies have found that social relationships are the best guarantee of heightened well-being and lowered stress, both an antidote for depression and a prescription for high performance.”  We totally agree. While working from home at first glance seems amazing (and is for about the first 6 months) it can be incredibly isolating, and that takes a toll on everything from our well being, to relationships, to our business operations.  Co-working isn’t a cure all, of course, but it’s a big step towards important benefits both personally and professionally for any entrepreneur.

So, if you’re on the Island of Small Business, put on your polka pants, grab your favorite book, some rice pudding, and come visit The OWN to see if we’re a good fit for you!  If it works out, maybe we can share a S’more tomorrow!

See you soon!