Just a quick note to say that coworking is not ONLY super-cool-hooded-Mark-Zucker-thingy-type-tech-start-up people, of course, you’d be forgiven for thinking that.
In the same way, that hardly anyone in the UK votes, likes David Cameron or actually enjoys Stella Artois – not many coworking places are about to eat themselves for being too trendy, it is just what you see in the media.
In all the coworking spaces I have been to in London most of the residents are over 30, and often 40+ , have children and families they work for themselves in a micro business or freelancer capacity and often have a couple of projects on the go under different brands.
When I jump online or accidently switch on TV to look for “business stuff” there seems to only be tech-start-up things (other start-ups are available) nearly everything is Richard Branson, The Apprentice or Dragons Den and then some blurb about a San Fran tech-startup or the Sharing Economy being worth 100000000000000000 billion GDP in 2019…….
London is obsessed with the “Cult of Entrepreneurship”, I have sat through millions of boring conversations with people (who have jobs) and talk about business shows on TV and tell me “that’s what it takes to be in business” or “that’s business for you”.
It is as if people expect:
a. they have to get screwed over
b. they are not doing it right if they don’t, at least, think about screwing someone over
c. to have a private island, or aspire to have one
d. to write a book and be on a panel every night of the week
e. have an app
f. suddenly start drinking champagne
People get obsessed with being a founder rather than a business owner
I LOVED the idea of being a founder and it blew up in my face.
Whereas these days I just can’t stop writing or researching about collaboration and community, I don’t need to look up ‘how to be a writer” or put in any extra effort – I am clinically obsessed. However, even less people understand that this can be a living the only writers they know are Steven King and JK Rowling.
I spotted a quote the other day in a coworking group, it read:
“Say you have a new job and get 200 facebook likes.
Say you have just started a business and get 3 facebook likes”
Most people just do not understand “running a business” or being an ‘independent economic agent’ OR how long it takes to get going. You hear about the “college dorm guy” who started a website and sold it for 10-million in just took 2 months – you hear about this because it hardly ever, ever, ever happens.
Actually, most people running a business do not understand how to run a business and when you realise this it all makes sense. Being in a coworking space is GREAT for this, even better than events in my humble opinion. When you bump into each other every day you get past the small talk and pizazz and get to the help section much faster!
Where is the pain?
All those people who LOVE talking on panels tell you their life story in five minutes and what they miss out are the software crashes, the late invoices, the selling yourself short and the pages and pages and pages of spreadsheets for accounts, projects and well, because you just don’t know any better.
It takes about three years to get your business going, part of this is to work it out and another is to get a customer base or, at least, a few fans.
After this if you make it past five years you are lucky and IF you make it past five years AND grow into something bigger you are really lucky.
These days if I make it past lunchtime I am happy.
Photo Credit: StefanoBorghi.com