As someone who is self-employed, it can often be hard to find a work space that is all my own. Even with a designated home office, I’m constantly surrounded by distractions (a package delivery at the door, the dryer buzzing, the fact that those brownies in the kitchen are totally calling my name…to name a few). Aside from distractions, though, working in total isolation isn’t always the best option–especially for creatives and planners who thrive on inspiration and a sense of community. Looking back, moving our tiny little corporate HQ from home sweet home into a private office in a creative coworking space brought benefits beyond compare, and breathed new life into not only my business, but my personal state of mind. So today, I thought I’d breakdown the benefits of a shared office space and introduce you to some of the best coworking spaces out there.
Why a shared office space? Aside from avoiding that brownie issue I mentioned earlier, coworking spaces have a ton of benefits:
Almost all coworking spaces include a number of standard amenities in your monthly rent payment from WiFi access to printing and postal costs to the use of private conference rooms for client meetings. I’d also be remiss not to mention the awesome snacks and bottomless coffee. Some spaces even come with assistance offered from interns, showers (yes, showers), fitness centers, the free use of shared bicycles, and–my personal favorite–craft beer.
What are my options?
With so many coworking spaces to choose from, you have your pick of a private/semi-private office versus a desk in a common space, a gender-specific versus co-ed shared office space, or even a space specific to creatives or wedding planners.
What does it cost?
Some coworking memberships start as low as $45 per month (i.e. WeWork). When you calculate how much you’re currently spending on printing/postal, WiFi and, yes, coffee, $45 per month could end up saving you a significant amount of money. On the higher end, memberships can cost up to $800 per month for a private office space in a coworking environment (i.e. The Common Desk).
Aside from the killer amenities and cost savings, we love that shared office spaces come with the opportunity to network and connect with other creatives. Even though people in a shared office space often come from different industries and are there for different purposes, there’s an undeniable sense of community amongst the space as a whole.
For planners especially, having a shared office space can help to legitimize you in the minds of your clients. Skip the Starbuck’s and invite clients to your own private conference room instead. Aisle Planner Ashley Stork of I do I do! Wedding Planning told us, “It is wonderful to have a meeting space for our clients that is warm, inviting and quiet. We are able to offer our clients a special experience there rather than meeting in various places. For us, it has been a great resource.”
What coworking spaces come with high recommendations?
We reached out to some of our coworking-loving Aisle Planners to ask about their favorite shared office spaces. Here are the top responses:
With 12 U.S. and 4 international locations, WeWork is a growing and affordable shared office space option. All of your standard amenities are included, plus: gym memberships, foosball, arcade games, bike storage, showers, weekly networking events and web hosting. Membership ranges from $45-$450 per month. Aisle Planner Joe Rogers of Contagious Events especially loves that WeWork offers members access to every one of its locations: “I have access to all of the buildings in their network. In fact, my PR person is in NYC so I go visit and work out of that space from time to time.”
Soiree | Center
Located in Santa Barbara, California, this wedding-planning-specific shared office space doubles as a private event venue. (Genius? We thought so, too.) Aisle Planner and Soiree | Center Member Joelle Duff of Joelle Charming said, “Becoming a Soiree | Center member not only gives you the convenience of having your own personal meeting space [without all of the overhead costs], it means that you are a part of an elite hand-chosen group of industry professionals, upholding the highest standards of professionalism, quality, and insurmountable talent.”
Located in Lakeland, Florida, amenities include everything from showers to intern assistance (yes, please) to legal/business/accounting mentorship. Membership is affordable at anywhere from $50-$250 per month. Aisle Planner Laura Helm of Ashton Events loves the inspiration and balance coworking spaces like Catapult offer: “Catapult has been a game changer for my business. It has allowed me to cultivate a healthy work/life balance, network with other like-minded individuals, and provides daily inspiration. It is incredible to walk into an encouraging, driven environment with people who are walking similar paths.”
The Common Desk
With two locations in Dallas, Texas, amenities include private suites, shared bicycles, free parking, fireplace lounges (holy cozy) and a café. Memberships range from $100-$800. Aisle Planner Megan Willis of Celebrate Colorfully loves the credibility it has brought to her business: “Working out of The Common Desk in Dallas, Texas has done more to legitimize my business than any other single thing I did in the first year.”
So, are you sold yet on the idea of a shared office space and the legitimacy it can bring to your business? Are there any other shared office spaces you’d add to our list? And–perhaps most importantly–are you ready for some foosball, bottomless coffee, craft beer and a shower?