Using a coworking space can be very hit-and-miss and you have to find a space that works for you in order to really feel at home and get all the benefits that coworking has to offer. When I first heard about coworking I was so excited and immediately thought that this was the future of work. At the time, I had just left my full-time job in Bristol as an Editor and had made the leap to go freelance. It wasn’t long before I got lonely and started to feel isolated working from home. I decided to join a local coworking space but I very quickly realised that it was not going to meet my expectations.
I didn’t really feel welcomed into the space and it wasn’t particularly easy to meet others or start conversations. Everyone seemed to be happy to keep themselves to themselves and I actually felt even more lonely than I did at home despite being surrounded by people. Unsurprisingly that coworking space didn’t last long.
I ended up joining another one that was designed for creatives but I had practically the same experience. The space was nicer as it felt less corporate and more creative but I still didn’t feel like I belonged there so after a few weeks I gave up and went back to working from home.
The next time I tried coworking was in my own space when I opened The Tribe. I knew exactly how I wanted the space to feel and what kind of vibe I wanted to create. I didn’t just want a shared office space, I wanted to create a coworking community where everyone who came felt like they belonged there and were welcomed into the space every time they came.
I try really hard to create an environment for women thrive but I can only do so much. t also requires you to take action to ensure that you get the most out of the experience. So today I am sharing 11 proven tips to help you thrive at The Tribe.
1. Come Regularly
Coming regularly will allow you to get the know more of the other women and to strengthen any of the ties and connections that you make. When I say regularly, that doesn’t have to mean daily. You don’t have to commit to working here full-time. Regularly could be once a week, once a fortnight or even once a month.
Showing up regularly means that people get to know you, what you do and what you can offer. It keeps you in the mind of people who may be able to recommend you when opportunities arise. If you don’t show up enough, people probably won’t remember you when the time comes.
2. Introduce Yourself to Everyone
When you come in to work here, make an effort to introduce yourself to everyone else who is in that day. Find out what they do and tell them what you do. Our office is a small space so it feels awkward if you don’t at least acknowledge everyone else in the room.
I do my very best to make sure that I introduce people that I know haven’t met one another before, but I see so many women every week that I may not realise you haven’t met. If I miss this opportunity please do jump in an introduce yourself.
3. Talk About Your Business
Don’t just stop at the introductions. Make sure that you talk about yourself and your business in greater detail. What do you do specifically in your line of work, who do you work with, where do you work, who are your ideal clients, what problems do you help to solve?
Talking about yourself and your business in this way helps to fast-track the networking that you will do in the office. People need to forge a deeper understanding of you and your business before they are really able to add value and spot opportunities for you.
4. Tell Everyone What You Need
You don’t have to wait and hope that others will spot opportunities for you or make connections for you. Be proactive and tell everyone that you meet what you need help with and what resources, connections or opportunities you are looking for.
When people know what you need they are more likely to keep an eye out for it and spot it when it comes along. It’s like when you get a new car. You may never notice another Citroen on the road until you get one yourself and then all of a sudden they are everywhere and you can’t unsee them. When people know that you want to be on a podcast, for example, they will suddenly be more aware of the podcasts they listen to and will therefore start sending you suggestions.
Think of it this way, if people don’t know what you need, they can’t help you to get it!
5. Connect Others
Don’t just focus on your own connections and what is in it for you. Remember, the Tribe is more than just a network, it is a community. The women who come here actually care about the success of everyone else in the community. They want to support you and will be your biggest cheerleader if you let them.
But this is not a one-way street. You won’t get the best experience if you’re constantly taking from the community without giving back. So think about how you can be of service to others. Who can you connect them to? What can you provide for them that will make their life easier or help them in some way?
6. Ask for Help and Support
If you need help or support, ask. Trying to do everything alone is a recipe for entrepreneurial burnout. take it from me, I am an expert at not asking for or accepting help and I know the consequences of this very well.
Reach out to members of the community when necessary. Just remember that it is important not to take advantage. If the help you need is something that someone does for a living, don’t ask them to do it for free. That is where things become awkward.
7. Be Proactive
You may be happy enough being a more passive member of the community, but you will definitely get more from The Tribe if you are more proactive. What do I mean by this? Well, maybe you could offer to run a workshop, host a coffee morning or arrange a social meet-up for members of the community.
If you have skills or experience that you feel would benefit the community, be proactive and offer them up in a way that feels comfortable for you. this allows others to learn from you but it is also a great way to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge and to establish yourself as a trusted source. It also gets you in front of potential new clients and customers.
8. Respect When Others are Working
The Tribe is a very small shared office space. We work in an open layout and that means that we need to be respectful of everyone else in the room. It is important to read the room and gauge whether people need to focus or are open to chatting and networking.
If you can see that someone is trying hard to work and not engaging in the conversations around them, that could be a clue that they need to concentrate. If you’re in the middle of a great conversation that you want to continue maybe consider taking it to the kitchen so that you don’t disturb other users in the space.
Likewise with calls. The office isn’t really conducive to calls as we don’t really have the facilities for private calls. If the small office is available you can pop in there but calls in the main open office should be kept to a minimum so as not to disturb others and headphones are compulsory.
9. Commit to Yourself
Starting and running a business is really hard. Many of us start on a shoestring budget and aim to keep expenses to a minimum. It may seem like paying for a coworking hot desk is an unnecessary expense when you can easily work from home for free, but being part of this community is like making a commitment to yourself.
It is an investment in your own growth and self-development. It is a commitment to yourself. It can keep you accountable. There are women who come in here, they declare what they are working on or share the scary thing that they want to do, and other women hold them accountable. They check on their progress.
10. Give Feedback
The final way you can make the most of being part of The Tribe is to provide feedback. Let me know what you like about working here. Let me know how it could be improved or what you like to see. Tell me what support you need, what workshops you would like us to run, and which experts you need to connect to. I will always do my best to meet the needs of the community.
So those are my 10 tips to help you thrive at The Tribe. Coming to work at The Tribe will give you a community of women who share your values, visions and experiences. You will learn the value of having a business support network and you may even make new friends and get new business opportunities.
There are many reasons to consider working from a coworking space as well as many myths about coworking that need to be dispelled. If you have any questions please do reach out to me at stacey@thetribecoworing
If you would like to come and work at The Tribe, you can visit our bookings page and see the range of options that we have from a half-day hot desk right through to a monthly membership or a private office booking.
Stacey Sheppard is the founder of The Tribe, a small community-driven coworking space in Totnes that caters to creative, growth-oriented female entrepreneurs by providing an inspiring working environment designed to foster collaboration, connection and community.