Let’s talk co-working for the self-employed

by | Feb 21, 2022

Whether it be with a close friend, working on a project while I create new posts opposite, or me working on a new blog while my colleague Suzanne sits across from me, co-working is the ideal flexible way of getting stuff done and not feeling like you’re on your own.

My main love of co-working is that it keeps me on track and focused on the task at hand!

As someone who sat for four hours, learning about where alien life could exist, but cannot sit still for a 30 minute zoom meeting: co-working engages enough of my brain so that I can focus for longer, while not letting me wander off into some weird rabbit hole of just how homemade Morrison’s meal deal sandwiches really are.

It’s all about that accountability!

Co-working is like a mini masterminding session

When you co-work with someone, you’re bouncing your problems and ideas off of them. They’re doing the same for you, and left right and centre you’re coming up with creative solutions together!

Thinking of a really awesome idea but not sure where to start in making it happen? Maybe someone else will have be able to help? You might even find some new tips on how to generate ideas.

Who knows who you’ll co-work with

Co-working doesn’t always have to be with your friends or immediate colleagues (if you have them). Sometimes a friendly stranger or someone in your professional network will be happy to sit with you, maybe even making you their permanent co-working buddy! We’ve done this for MINT members in the past, where people in similar fields, but with different areas of expertise, have met once a week for an hour to co-work. Our Business Bootcamp members also spend a couple of hours each month sat together bouncing ideas around.

When you do this, not only do you get the chance to make new friends and extend your professional network, but it’s often the perfect excuse to get out and try a new cafe, or a new drink or go somewhere new for a change of scenery!

Personally, I have 5 co-working spots that I change around every so often just to keep it fresh. If you’re not yet a member, join our Business support group over on Facebook and ask to see if anyone locally wants to work together, and hopefully you’ll find someone to collaborate with! Meet at a public space or a cafe with power sockets and free wifi and let people know where you’re going and who with.

Hopefully, by now I have convinced you to try co-working, so here are some tips:

  • If you are going to work with someone, you need to be able to work with them and not just natter about nothing for a couple of hours – perhaps go with an agenda or a to-do list of 2-3 things you want to tick off.
  • Don’t underestimate what you can achieve. I often find I go just to write a blog and end up learning about a new LinkedIn feature in the process. Don’t be afraid to go off-topic to learn about something new, or work on a project your co-worker can really help with.
  • Very busy places can make it hard to co-work. I tend to try and go in the middle of the afternoon because that’s when my head is ‘screwed on’ and it’s quiet (oh and by the way, we’re going to be setting up the PERFECT co-working space for all our MINTies in the new HQ, so keep an eye out for that announcement!).
  • There are so many potential distractions – turn your phone to silent if possible, try and keep conversation on topic and if you need to find another place or seat to work better in that’s fine! Focus on the work and the moment! If you want to co-work for an hour, maybe give yourself an extra 30 minutes or so for general chat so it’s not all business.
  • If you want to try fancy-style co-working you can hire a meeting room and that means you could also invite a few more people for group co-working. Hiring a room does tend to cost more than sitting in a cafe, so arrange this in advance with your co-workers and share the cost.

Co-working might not be for you, or maybe it will take a couple of sessions with different people to figure out how you co-work best, but give it a go and let us know how you get on (join the free Facebook group for that).

In fact, here’s an idea…

We’re hosting our next free taster session on February 28, so if you’re not yet a member of MINT Business Club, join us (via Zoom). Not only will you get a taste of how MINT can support you in your self employment, buy you’ll also get the chance to network with like-minded North East business owners who could become your future co-workers. Find details of our next free taster here.