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Peter Thomson is a London based Digital Brand Strategist specialising in social media for technology companies. For #AWKickstart month, we asked Peter how he has seen freelancers and start-ups use co-working spaces.
Co-working spaces have been around for several years but the number of spaces has increased rapidly in the last twelve months. This explosion has been good for entrepreneurs and mobile workers because it provides the community with more diverse choices. But it has also increased the confusion about the different options. In London the number and range of co-working spaces has increased so fast that more established organisations are now being forced to adapt to changes in the market. The Innovation Warehouse has recently re-branded and launched a new angel investing network.
The Innovation Warehouse provides a mix of co-working, incubation and acceleration so we have a good overview of the market and the differences among the experience of members for each type of programme. Every space and programme is different but the common themes include:
1. Co-working spaces provide a mix of open-space hot-desking for individuals and fixed-location shared office-space for teams.
2. Incubators help turn ideas into businesses by running medium intensity programmes and taking a small fee or equity in the company.
3. Accelerators turn early-stage teams into high-growth companies by running high intensity programmes and take a solid chuck of equity in return.
There are other models like direct angel investment, mentoring programmes, government schemes and the new ‘start-up studios’ (who incubate their own ideas rather than outside ideas). Co-working spaces can be the most flexible because you can then choose your own mentors, advisors and investors.
The most important thing for an entrepreneur to consider is the personality fit with the staff and the other participants.
Most co-working spaces host lots of meetup events which are a great way to check out the space and meet like-minded people. The mood and tone of the spaces can be subtlety different. Do you prefer a buzzy cafe-style space or a more focused and productive environment? You can always ask to visit the space during the day and sit for a few hours to get a feel for the space.
Some spaces suit freelancers and mobile workers while other spaces are intended more for entrepreneurs in particular industries.
One way of evaluating a space is to talk to existing members about their experiences through Twitter or Facebook groups.
Many spaces offer membership tiers with a smaller number of days per month. These are great for flexible working because you can mix and match the space you go to on any given day. Look for access to meeting rooms, networking events and a community that you get along well with. It’s also worth checking the flexibility around adding extra team members as you grow.
Good Morning Manchester! The Anywhere Working team have arrived at Tech Hub for a day or co-working, talks and breakfasts – we’re very much morning people!
We’ll be updating the blog here to keep track of the day, so keep checking back, add to your bookmarks and hit refresh every so often to keep updated. You can also keep up to date on Twitter by searching for #AWKickstart
16 weeks ago, a car full of tech and t-shirts set off on an little adventure across the UK known as Anywhere Working Week 2013 (was it really that long ago?). On day 3 of the week, we arrived in Tavistock and met Cesi D’Alessio a young student who is off to University in September but already has a firm grip on the career and lifestyle he wants to achieve.
We got in touch with Cesi to find out what words of wisdom he could share with students looking to kickstart their academic routine.
Flexible working is flourishing across the country at the moment, being able to access data from anywhere is becoming increasingly important and has made its way into the workplace. However, for some people, e.g. students like me this will be a factor from day one.
I would like to go through a great service as a student and young entrepreneur that allows me to connect with the world from anywhere and also be as productive as possible.
Evernote has 65M users worldwide and is one of the top productivity services in the world. Allowing you to make notes, reminders and also save clips from the websites has become an efficient and routine way of organising my life.
When I started using the service around 3/4 years ago, I was in my GCSE exam phase, I had a lot of information to retain and I discovered Evernote when someone mentioned in through Twitter, I was taking every opportunity at the time to find ways of making processes easier.
This was a saviour at the time, a location that I could babble my notes down, take photos of my class notes, make to do lists and bung in every website clip or online notes that my teachers had recommended. I sorted these all into Notebooks based on each subject as well as other notebooks for personal and social.
I was developing almost a second brain that improved my productivity with every task, as I didn’t have to search my memory for thoughts I had last week but refer back to my Evernote and pull everything together to make things more effective.
Comments such as “How do you get so much done?” were very common and I talked them through the service to try and pass on how to use it. Luckily I was able to find this secret weapon very early on and I would recommend it to people starting the upper years in the education as it has the potential to double productivity.
The service is also neat when it comes to working anywhere. Evernote is a Cloud Service, This means that it can be accessed anywhere where you have Internet Access (3G, WiFi etc). It also has a fantastic multiplatform application, allowing you to access Evernote offline and online on almost every device with an app store.
This has been so beneficial to my working habits, being able to access it on my tablet, phone, and computer and also other touch devices I own
Also the offline access feature has been great when going abroad as I have been able to write up notes and add photos to the service, then when I return home for it to sync with the service all the notes I have made.
It truly has increased my productivity by limits I never thought were possible and I can be very organised and effective in all activities not solely academic but social and personal.
I think if everyone had this weapon in their education years, there would be a lot less complaining about organisation and a lot more doing.
Thanks Cesi, best of luck with the exam results!
Check out my last productivity post for more apps to get your teeth into, including One Note* and Dropbox.