Caveat: This might smell like a sales pitch. And suppose it is, in a sense — we’re inclined to evangelize for coworking in general and coworking at The Skillery specifically.
But that aside: Our team was having a meeting the other day, and we started talking about the benefits of coworking that people sometimes don’t think about. There are space-specific perks (we had this conversation while eating spectacular Sifted tacos that our partners Stoked gifted upon everyone), and there are general things that aren’t necessarily obvious, but are nonetheless awesome.
Want some specifics? Here’s a quick list:
Coworking benefits you might not have considered
You can write your membership dues off on your taxes.
When you’re a freelancer or other independent professional, work expenses are tax deductible. Like, say, your workspace. That can mean a John Nash-esque calculation of the square footage you use in your home, or a fantastic jumble of coffee shop expense receipts or, maybe, a nice round coworking membership. *We are not tax professionals and this should not constitute tax advice, we’ve just done the jumble-tax dance a few times.
You have a professional, functional workspace, but don’t have to wrangle all the extras.
Yes, working out of a coworking space, as opposed to straight-out renting office space, is a whole lot cheaper at the baseline. That’s a given. But a side benefit is that you’re not dealing with or paying for all the extra headaches that come along with heading up a commercial space. You don’t have to buy furniture or secure insurance, replace toilet paper, hire a cleaning crew… DEAL WITH COMCAST. There are financial benefits to being removed from all that, too, but — and we can say this with confidence — just not having to deal with all that is its own reward.
You might actually make more money.
A funny thing happens when you inject yourself into a varied mix of independent professionals and entrepreneurs: you network, totally naturally. You meet people who will at some point probably need what you do, or know someone who does. And boom: new client, without having to beat the pavement. It’s not something any coworking community can guarantee, of course, but it’s commonly the way of our world — 50 percent of coworkers report higher incomes after joining a community, which ain’t too shabby.
You can shortcut your problem-solving.
We talk a lot about coworkers being a part of a community and the shared energy of working around other entrepreneurs/independent pros. But there’s a lot of nitty-gritty to it, too. Like, for instance, regular opportunities to save yourself time, which saves you money. (Time/money, as they say.)
Take our team as an example. We decided to create a one-day workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs, and needed a workbook to go with it. We could handle the idea-making and writing ourselves, but we needed someone to design it. Sure, we could’ve sought out recommendations and reviewed portfolios and bids and so on. But as it happened, we’d already met a stellar designer whose work we loved, and she was sitting 10 feet away. As the project took shape, we realized we needed an illustrator who could capture a few things visually, too. Once again: There was a massively talented illustrator sitting on the couch. If those two hadn’t been sitting there, one of our other members would’ve almost certainly had the perfect complement to our team at the ready. It just always seems to go that way when you’re surrounded by friendly, like-minded folks.
It might actually be cheaper than coffee-shop working.
Let’s break it down. If you signed up for a part-time Skillery membership, you’d have 12 days/month at $200/month to play with. Let’s say you have two cups of coffee at one of our nicer coffee-slinging establishments, about $4 apiece. Throw in something to eat (because you’re gonna get mid-day snack attack), maybe a pastry or biscuit of some sort for $4-$5. But whoops, you just realized you need to print a handful of color pages for a client proposal before the awkward meeting you’re going to have there, shouting over an espresso machine. Usually almost $1 a page at your chain printing places, and you have 10 pages! (Turn on your audio.)
We have coffee! And meeting rooms! And snacks! And free printing! (And a place to get fancy espresso beverages right next door. And a membership option that gives you a tab at that place.) Sure, mileage may vary, but with full acceptance of our bias, there’s a lot of potential to make out better on the dollar-sign front with a coworking membership.
You’ll make the local coffee shop owners happy.
Here’s something the coffee-shop chief won’t want to out-and-out say: She or he really wishes you wouldn’t work there all day.
Your business is appreciated, of course, but their business hinges on turnover (not the pastry kind, but the leaving-and-entering kind), and when you buy a 12-ouncer and proceed to commandeer a four-top and suck down their Internet for eight hours, you’re kinda throwing a wrench in their works. “Why should I care?” you might think. Well, we’re all independent local businessfolk, and there’s a kinship and careship there that, ideally, exists. By working in a workspace, you’re helping yourself with better and more consistent amenities, more professional surroundings and less paperwork-y taxes, and helping that coffee shop accommodate more customers. It’s good for everyone.
This is a part of why we created our new Coffee + Coworking membership option — while we have free drip coffee at our place, a lot of us are fiercely dedicated our properly barista-made espresso beverages at Steadfast Coffee next door. So we wanted members to have an easy way to get the good stuff (and save a little on it), while getting their work done in an environment that was tailored for that. (More about the Coffee + Coworking membership, if you’re interested.)
Those are a few of the less-obvious benefits that come to mind — there are more, certainly, not the least of which being the fact that, if you find the right place, you get to spend your workdays with a tiny T-Rex. (Check our Instagram.)
Anything to add? Anything you’d like to argue with here? We’d love to see your feedback.
And if you’d like to know more about coworking at The Skillery, poke around our membership options, or come by and see us at 1323 Sixth Ave North.