As I reflected on my life during the Thanksgiving holiday 2017, I came to the realization that the concept for T-Werx Coworking was born this week in 2015. Within 2 weeks the business name, logo and website were created. The same week we ran a Facebook ad campaign for $200 to test the theory.
I tell you this, not to brag. I want you to know that it does not require a lot of time, thought, or money to test an idea. Too many great ideas never get launched because potential entrepreneurs never act or believe that they need a large sum of money to test an idea.
What were the results of the T-Werx theory? Well, the website reached over 2080 people in 5 days and received 800 clicks. Plus, 10 interested members entered their info into the site. This gave me the information that I needed to take the risk of opening a coworking space where none had been before.
When you start a business from nothing, you develop impressions of what your customers needs are, what products you should offer, and what the business will look like.
One thing I learned, after opening the doors of T-Werx in August 2016, was that many of the preconceived ideas had to be adjusted to the market. Flexibility is a required trait for any new business, especially a coworking location. One critical adjustment that was made after opening was the amount of dedicated desks we had in the space. Most of what we had learned about coworking early on had been written about spaces in Urban environments. The typical coworker in these spaces averages 25 years old and is typically male. As a coworking space in a suburban area, our typical member is 35 years old on average and is an even split between males and females. They also generally live less than 7 miles from my space. Suburban Coworking represents less than 17% of Coworking, however it is the fastest growing segment of the industry. What we learned early on is that older and more established business people prefer their own desk, office, etc. Being a flexible space, we reshuffled some of our open space to add more dedicated desks. This is just an example of doing what it takes to adjust to your market.
What did we learn in a year?
Looking back at just a little over a year in since we opened our doors I realized that there are three key things that have differentiated our business from other Coworking spaces, and businesses in general.
From the beginning, we had developed a mission statement that we use as a filter for everything we do:
“We Help Businesses Start and Grow in our Community, Stay and Be Successful, and hire locally.”
From this mission statement the Three Principles of T-Werx emerged. These include:
Of these three principles, Collaboration is the most critical and allusive. Many of our members were originally working from home or coffee shops. As entrepreneurs, this can be a blessing and a curse.
Collaboration is not something that we can force to happen. We provide an environment for business owners to come together. As relationships form two things happen. First, our coworkers find ways to work together sharing business and clients with each other. Second, and what I believe is more important, business owners are able to talk about business challenges with each other.
Building relationships with other business owners cannot be underestimated. No one else understands the challenges that a small business person faces better than another small business owner. Surrounding themselves with other entrepreneurs can help to reduce the self-doubt that can creep into our heads as we face challenging business environment.
The second principle of T-Werx is Education. As business owners we must be life time learners. At T-Werx, we have embraced this through several programs we offer:
In addition to our free resources, our Business Evolution Academy has programs that are structured to provide as needed training for Startup, Rapidly Growing and Mature Businesses.
In the last year, and certainly moving forward, we have learned that businesses tend to get stuck at certain points and it takes additional Education and training to help these businesses become “Unstuck”.
The final principle of T-Werx is Community. I think many of you will agree that businesses today need to have a heart for their local community. Companies today must show more than just a profit. Today the public wants to know what your business is doing with that profit.
As small businesses, we cannot necessarily have the impact on the Community that Fortune 500 companies can. We can’t necessarily write a big check or sponsor events, but we still want to have impact. We house C-Werx, Community-Werx promotes local non-profits within the community. We serve as a catalyst to nurture and inspire philanthropic giving and volunteering within the T-Werx community, and the Cedar Park community as a whole. We build awareness by providing lunch & learns, and opportunities to volunteer as a group.
So, what is next?
The future of T-Werx will be expansion into new markets with both additional spaces as well as Virtual Incubator programs. We have learned that our core principles and mission will guide us on our path toward our mission statement:
“We Help Businesses Start and Grow in Our Community, Stay and Be Successful and Hire Locally”.
This first year has been a wild ride and the future looks bright for small businesses in our community.
Do the addresses of your work office and the nearest Starbucks location just so happen to be exactly the same? If so, it's probably not the overpriced lattes, increasingly loud music, and nearby chatterboxes that draw you in. Not only that.. but when you consider that this month's pumpkin spice latte & bagel budget likely EXCEEDS the cost of an office space rental for the rest of the year.. what excuse do you have left?!
Ditching your coffee shop office and instead opting to cowork (FREE coffee) will undoubtedly save you many headaches and many more dollars. Your decision to switch over also earns you a real business address, stable wifi, networked copying - printing - scanning, conference rooms, and access to exclusive community events. Your new coworking space also provides you with the opportunity to show your clients a professional setting you can actually be proud of.
Working from home or in a "traditional" office space does not typically grant entrepreneurs the opportunity to "pick the brains" of like minded individuals. Coworking, on the other hand, allows
- and breeds - collaboration between freelancers & remote workers.
At every member's disposal is a vast skill set that spans across nearly every profession under the sun.. and they don't even have to leave the building to access it! From across your desk you can share and gain the same expertise and services that non-coworkers travel all across town attempting to accomplish. Experience what it's like to work alongside every type of professional you'd ever need.
Billions of people commute to work each day. Some spend as much time travelling per day as they do actually working. One of the most beneficial perks of coworking is that freelancers and remote workers are able to decide where and exactly how long they'd like to travel to their office.
If you're able to eliminate long drives and traffic jams from your daily schedule, all while gaining yourself endless networking opportunities, why wouldn't you? Whether you spend 10 or 100 minutes getting to work, your freedom to choose the scenery, the location, and the community you're a part of each day could drastically increase your productivity. Just imagine being able to cut the commute and customize your work life to perfectly fit your lifestyle. This simple decision can save you time, energy, and stress on a daily basis!
Being self-employed or working remotely and working at home comes with perks, such as flexible hours and pajama days. But it can get pretty lonely, especially if your neighbors aren’t home during the day.
A remote employee and coworker, Terry W., graciously shares his thoughts on coworking, "If you search the internet, you will find multiple topics in regards to working from home. One topic will see a lot of discussion on is “how to prevent being lonely” while working from home. Unfortunately, many people find that if they have been accustomed to working around people most of their lives, when they start working from home it gives them a sense of isolation and loneliness. Not only that, you will find that your cognitive skills start to diminish as well. There are multiple articles explaining how to combat the side effects of working alone by using various techniques and activities. However, most of us are not designed to work in isolation and we need to be around other professionals to grow our business ideas, knowledge and communication skills. The problem with most of the “co-working” offices, is that they are not actually co-working offices. They are offices that you can rent to keep from working from home, but they do not have an office environment that is filled with energy, ideas and people. They do not support the needs of the growing professional. This is not the case at the T-Werx Coworking. T-Werx is more than just an office, it is an environment where you can engage with people on a daily basis to grow as an individual and grow your business. It is an active support network of ideas and resources. The facility is very professional. This is a place where you can be proud to bring your clients, both big and small. I chose to locate my office at T-Werx Coworking for these reasons and I have not been disappointed. Each day has been both exciting and rewarding."
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