Those that attended the Mediaville All-Media Mixer, already know Station C. An excellent workspace, Station C made quite an impression with many of the freelancers in attendance, so it’s time to recap how the space operates, why it’s good for freelancers and to take look at a few other interesting points about the space.
This is the first of two posts in which Patrick Tanguay, Co-founder of Station C, answers a few questions to help freelancers better understand the concept of coworking, and see why working in a professional, creative space like Station C beats the distractions of the home office or the coffee shop.
DAN: In a nutshell, what is coworking?
PATRICK: I think the “official” definition from the coworking.info site says it best:
“Coworking is redefining the way we do work. The idea is simple: that independent professionals and those with workplace flexibility work better together than they do alone. Coworking answers the question that so many face when working from home: “Why isn’t this as fun as I thought it would be?” Beyond just creating better places to work, coworking spaces are built around the idea of community-building and sustainability. Coworking spaces agree to uphold the values set forth by those who developed the concept in the first place: collaboration, community, sustainability, openness, and accessibility.”
D: For freelancers working from home or cafes can leave one feeling isolated and can be full of distractions. How does coworking solve these problems?
P: Members from a coworking space know each other, collaborate, socialize, refer clients, etc. so you aren’t isolated when working from such a space. It may look somewhat like a cafe but people know and support each other. In terms of distractions, it’s usually much calmer than a cafe, much less traffic and most people are there for similar purposes, as opposed to cafes where you have people working, on dates, with babies, etc. However, we also find that members aren’t looking for a distraction free space, they want some movement and activity, which the open space and lounge area provide.
D: Obviously human interaction is an important part of it. In what other ways is coworking beneficial to freelancers?
P: Makes it easier to split home and office life, that distinction can be hard to make when working from a spare bedroom or the kitchen table. They also get a network of collaborators and referrers and, increasingly, an even broader network through the international coworking community.
D: From a business perspective, does it help for networking – being able to meet different kinds of freelancers in a professional setting and broaden job prospects?
P: Yes, definitely, it helps with meeting people you can get help from, either in the same discipline when overworked or with others to collaborate on larger projects that you couldn’t tackle by yourself. It also helps in a few other ways like well designed professional meeting rooms to meet clients and, when collaborating with others there, a more classical collaboration setup. Clients like knowing that you are working side by side with other members of the team in a nice space instead of from two apartments each in your pyjamas.
D: To work in a café costs 5 bucks for a coffee (seemingly still an optional expense in some places) –Station C fees are obviously a fair bit more than that. But one gets what one pays for, so how can freelancers best use a space like Station C, to get the most out of it?
P: Residents and Lites are more expensive but you can also drop in at $3 an hour so if you work from here for a similar length of time to a visit to a cafe, it’s not that much more expensive, calmer, stabler wifi, you don’t have to pack your laptop to go to the bathroom and you can build your network.
We also actually have members who thought they couldn’t afford the membership but signed on anyway and quickly found that they got so much work from referrals that it more than paid for the monthly fee. Six months of Lite membership is $1500, most freelancers are at least at $40-50 an hour which comes out to a 30-35 hour contract. The majority of our members, if they take just a little bit of time to meet everyone and build relationships they stand a good chance of getting that much work.
(Continues in the second post in this series…)