Creative Coworking: Community

It’s a sunny Thursday afternoon, and an event planner sets up in the lounge, fall decorations and appetizers in tow. The sun has just begun to set, the final rays of orange light illuminating the colorful artwork on the lounge walls. As a writer types beautiful prose at her desk, a programmer types code at his, just two feet away.

This isn’t a description of some fantasy utopia–it’s a typical day at Creative Coworking, where consultants, coaches, and creatives work side-by-side, brought together under one roof by the Creative Coworking promise to be their office home.

As an intern for the past four months, it has been fascinating to see how the space can accommodate so many different types of careers with such different functions. Some members can always be found working quietly at a desk while others jump from conference call to client meeting, moving from room to room, floor to floor.

What really sets Creative Coworking apart, however, is the blooming community that has been created within the space. Almost every day thus far, I’ve seen members sharing ideas with one another, collaborating on various events and projects, and simply connecting with one another after a chance encounter in the kitchen or in the halls.

Creative Coworking isn’t just a workspace; it’s a community, a gathering place for people of so many different interests, passions, and backgrounds to create, build, aspire, and inspire. A home is not only a place of living but also a place where something flourishes. In that sense, Creative Coworking truly is your office home.

Curious about what our members do? Take a look at our list of current members!

–Stephanie Chang, Intern

Sharing Is Caring: How Coworking Is Changing How We Work

Chrissy Gomez recently sent along an interesting research graphic titled “Sharing Is Caring: How Coworking Is Changing How We Work.” The infographic gives a short history of modern coworking, then looks at why and how the coworking movement has taken off within the past 20 years.

Creative Coworking was ahead of the curve when we opened in March 2011, but the benefits of coworking still hold today. One of our favorite facts from the graphic? “One recent survey found that nearly 70% of people in coworking arrangements said they focused better while working, and 70% said they felt healthier.”

Check out the graphic here:

Shared by Chrissy Gomez. Learn more at http://www.mbacentral.org/coworking/
Shared by Chrissy Gomez. Learn more at http://www.mbacentral.org/coworking/

Happy coworking!

Stephanie Chang, Intern

Partnerships

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Here at CC, we believe in building a community with other businesses—and that is why we are always excited to partner with other organizations. As a member or friend of Creative Coworking, you benefit from our connections!

 

UrbanSitter:

UrbanSitter is a user-friendly babysitting service that is ideal for the modern parent. The website (and/or app) provides a filtered list of babysitters options for you. You can input the date and time you need, and even filter it in terms of rate or other factors. Each babysitter must go through a background check, and is ranked in terms of how many positive reviews they have received from past clients. You can also see which babysitters have repeat families—knowing that a babysitter has been asked to come back is proof that the family was satisfied with her work. Last-minute help is not an issue with Urban Sitter, as sitters keep their availability updated on the booking calendar. Because of our partnership, anyone in the CC network gets $15 off their first booking by using the code: BYCREATIVE15. Angela uses UrbanSitter all the time now!

 

SpaceWays:

ChicagoInno describes SpaceWays as an “Uber for storage.” In many ways, SpaceWays is looking to revolutionize the way that we live and store our belongings. Instead of having piles of stuff taking up valuable space in our homes, we can now rent out space in an affordable and easy way. SpaceWays offers free storage boxes, a secure collection of your materials, and returns your items whenever you like. All you have to do is pack and gather your items in the boxes that they provide. Check out their poster and box of flyers by our staircase for more info! Because of our partnership with SpaceWays, we are able to offer you a discount. In order to get $30 off your storage rate, just go to www.spaceways.com, tell them what you want to store, and enter the code SPACEQ9XH at the checkout.

 

Cooked:

As many of you may know, our December Business After Hours event was sponsored by Cooked. This Evanston-based catering and restaurant service provides healthy and locally sourced meals. These are ideal for the environmentally conscious eater as well, as the packaging is all made with sustainable materials. We greatly appreciated and enjoyed the meals that Cooked provided at our Business After Hours event, and that’s why we want to make their food more accessible to you! Cooked is offering free delivery to all CC members. This is an easy way to bring dinner home for your family, or have a group lunch right here at the office! Cooked delivers in Evanston Sunday-Thursday, and the weekly menus are posted every Friday. In order to get your free delivery, go to eat-cooked.com and use the code: CCDELIVERY to get your delivery discount on all orders over $25!

 

LUNA Bar:

As you know, Creative Coworking provides free coffee and snacks for its members all the time. Now, you’ll be seeing LUNA bars around the office more, because they are generously sending us free samples of their delicious bars! Be sure to give feedback to Angela on the different flavors.

 

We are always looking to grow our community and expand our partnerships. We love the services that these companies provide and their support of our business! If you or someone you know is looking to partner with us, please send information to info@creativecoworking.com.

 

Join Our Space, Join Our Networks!

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Being a member of Creative Coworking means more than just working in a communal office space. We have a growing business network within the office and throughout our local community. For example, we are part of the following business organizations: Downtown Evanston, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, the Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce, and the Chicago North Shore and Visitors Bureau. When you’re a member of CC, you have access to all of these member organizations. Talk to Angela if you are interested in joining her at networking events.

Downtown Evanston

Creative Coworking is located in the heart of Downtown Evanston. Members of CC are at arms’ length of some of the best restaurants, entertainment, and financial resources that Evanston has to offer. We also benefit from exciting community events being held just steps away at Fountain Square, having our sidewalks cleared by Downtown Evanston, and we can post events to their community calendar. Our events are often highlighted in their newsletter and social media posts. As a CC member, be sure to tell us if you are hosting an event here at the space and would like us to post it on the DE calendar. If you have ideas about how to improve Downtown Evanston, please share them with Angela; she serves as a volunteer on their Marketing Committee.

Evanston Chamber of Commerce

The Evanston Chamber of Commerce is a valuable resource for all local residents, and we have enjoyed the privilege of networking with other business owners through this outlet. The ECC is a non-profit that is entirely supported by its 485+ member companies. Recently, CC hosted a Business After Hours event for the Evanston Chamber, sponsored by local catering company Cooked, and it was a great success. We have previously hosted lunchtime events for the SOHO subgroup of the Chamber. The ECC website gets a lot of traffic, and if anyone is hosting a public event here at CC, we can post it on their community calendar. As a CC member, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to market your event. Our interns can help you with the posting.

Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce

Creative Coworking is also a member of the Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce. You have access to their public calendar of events, so use it to check out what they have to offer. Angela attends their lunchtime events regularly, and would love for you to join her. Public events hosted at Creative Coworking can be posted on their calendar, for other affiliates of the Wilmette Chamber to view as well.

Chicago North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau

The CNSCVB is a North Shore marketing organization that represents the villages of Evanston, Skokie, Glenview, Northbrook, and Wilmette. The CNSCVB hosts networking events as well, and our relationship with the organization will make it easier for you to attend and network at these events.

Please take advantage of these opportunities for us to share our network with you!

My experience as a CC intern

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Sitting near the window in the front lounge of Creative Coworking for as little as 20 minutes can tell you a lot about the community here. Passersby frequently stop at the door to grab a brochure or ask for an impromptu tour of the space, and once they get inside, Creative Coworking comes to life even more. I’m not exaggerating when I say that in my summer at Creative Coworking, every tour I witnessed ended in a membership. This doesn’t surprise me: curious passersby don’t stay strangers for long, because once you’re here, you’re home.

The friendly conversations overheard in the lounge and out by the printer prove that it’s a truly welcoming place. Members are always pleasant and everyone greets one another. There are no feelings of rigid competition and if people are feeling exceptionally stressed on a particular day, it doesn’t show.

So, as you might guess, interning here was a great experience. Like Angela does with all the members, she immediately made the interns feel at home. She added our biographies and photos to the member board and regularly checks up on us to make sure that we have meaningful work to do. It’s been great bouncing ideas off the other interns and learning from one another as we work.

I’ve also really appreciated the interactions I’ve had with members here. From small talk in the kitchen to working on projects together, I’ve gained valuable experience and learned more about a variety of professions. I was given the opportunity to enhance my design, research, and writing skills, and was made to feel as though my contributions were important and helpful.

Although I’m sad to leave Creative Coworking to begin my sophomore year of college, I’m grateful for the skills I’ve gained and the people I’ve met. I hope curious passersby continue to knock on the door and inquire about the
space – they won’t regret it.

Teresa Balistreri, intern

A Growing Trend

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

More than one in two coworking spaces plan to expand this year, according to Deskmag’s 2014 Coworking Forecast. With our own expansion in progress, we know that firsthand here at Creative Coworking! But as more and more professionals join the coworking movement, it’s interesting to explore different opinions and experiences people have with coworking across the country. Below is a list of articles in which the authors discuss the benefits, drawbacks, and growth of the coworking industry.

The Future of Coworking and Why It Will Give Your Business a Huge Edge

by Lydia Dishman

In her article, Dishman explores the results of Deskmag’s annual Global Coworking survey. Some of their findings are truly amazing, including the fact that 71% of participants reported a boost in creativity after joining a coworking space. Dishman delves into the greater flexibility, productivity, and even job satisfaction that coworking spaces can provide.

8 Reasons to Consider a Coworking Space

by Sarah Kessler

New York reporter Sarah Kessler decided to spend a month trying different Coworking spaces in the city. Her article highlights the benefits of coworking spaces, including networking opportunities, the ability to meet potential clients, access to legitimate meeting space, and the possibility of learning from fellow members.

Coworking: Is It Just a Fad or the Future of Business?

by Adriana Lopez

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2020, about 65 million Americans will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and solopreneurs, making up about 40% of the workforce.”

Lopez writes that the current state of the economy has called for a change in how we work, thus inciting a surge of coworking spaces in cities nationwide. She also discusses the social benefits of coworking and how it can provide an intellectually and creatively stimulating environment.

What’s the Top Benefit of Co-Working Spaces?

by Rameet Chawla

“A great co-working space is a collection of minds inspired by the brand that brought them together.”

In his article, Chawla discusses the inspiration professionals can find in a coworking space. He notes that coworking spaces can ease the stress of starting a business by providing flexibility, resources (WiFi, coffee, printing), and an opportunity to collaborate with individuals who are also working toward a dream.

The Reasons For and Against Joining a Co-Working Space

by Adam Toren

Toren explores some pros and cons of coworking spaces to provide readers with a base to think about whether this work environment is right for them. He believes the sense of community that coworking spaces provide lends itself to networking opportunities, creativity, and accountability to your work. However, Toren views potential drawbacks of this social work environment, as well. He believes sharing a workspace could lead to competition, distractions, and conflicts.

 

Teresa Balistreri, Intern

The Internship Program at Creative Coworking

You may have noticed a few college students hanging around Creative Coworking, sometimes sitting in the kitchen or on the super comfortable couch in the front lounge. How many interns are there? What are their names? Most importantly, what do they do here?

Creative Coworking interns all come from nearby Northwestern University. Most have backgrounds in marketing and communications. Some are film majors. All have stellar social media skills. Additionally, all interns have an understanding of design programs – Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc. They are also proficient in WordPress, MailChimp, and more. This makes interns a great resource for any social media, design, or technical help!

Yes, we are here to help YOU! Although we do a lot for Creative Coworking, updating the Member Board, working Art & Wine nights, caffeinating our members, and fixing paper jams, interns are here to help members for just $15/ hour. When you hire an intern, your dollars help keep the program running. That’s right, you’re doing us a favor. Scanning, printing, PowerPoint designing, social media updating, researching – whatever you need help with – just let one of us know in person or via email. To quote former intern Zoe, “As interns, we don’t just share a space with our members. We interact and learn about where they come from, what they need, and how they participate in the Evanston community.”

Currently, there are two interns for the summer: me (Paige) and Lucy. There will likely be one or two more sometime soon. The intern schedule will change each quarter. Our availability is conveniently displayed in the kitchen.

The interns at Creative Coworking are truly eager to help, and they are friendly people to talk to whenever you need to take a break from work. We are your support staff – at the ready – for short term or long term projects at an hourly rate.

 

Paige Pak, Intern

Looking to the Past for Motivation for the Future

After reading Angela’s blog about her making “lemonade out of lemons,” I was inspired to think about how much we have all been shifting and struggling in today’s post-recession world. As a staffer here, I’m surrounded by businesses that are just seedlings, as well as those who have been in the game for a while but perhaps are experiencing rapid change.

It’s important to stay motivated and know that what goes down will certainly come back up again. As far as bad times go, the depression still trumps the recession we seem to be coming out of now. While in recent years it has sometimes felt like another depression could happen, thankfully it hasn’t.

It helps to look to the past—even through the worst of times—to find motivation for the future. In fact, some of the best inventions were born out of the depression; including the supermarket, the car radio, the laundromat, the board game Monopoly, Xerography, and the best one of all: the chocolate chip cookie.

Of course, at some point, even the most confident, successful, and talented human beings hear the word No at some point in their careers. Believe it or not, even seemingly rejection-proof people have heard it A LOT:

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, sent out proposals about his plan for a national chain of coffee houses that would offer all staff members health insurance and a stake in business. He was turned down by 224 people.

•  In 1954, when Elvis was still unknown, the manager of the Grand Ole Opry fired him after one performance. He told Elvis that he should go back to driving a truck because he would never make it as a singer.

•  As a sophomore in high school, Michael Jordan was kicked off of his basketball team. He was told he wasn’t good enough.

•  Divorced and living on welfare, author JK Rowling submitted Harry Potter to 12 publishing houses, all of which rejected the manuscript.

•  Walt Disney was fired from his work at Kansas City Star Newspaper. According to the editor of the paper, he “lacked creativity and had no good ideas.”

•  Supposedly, the studio exec who evaluated Fred Astaire’s first screen test wrote, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Skinny. Balding. Dances a little.”

•  Oprah was fired from her job as a junior reporter. The producer told her she was “not fit for     television.”

Hold onto your vision, even when others can’t see it.

~ Patricia Biesen

Social Media Webinar for Evanston Businesses: A Recap

On Thursday, May 1st, The City of Evanston’s Economic Development Division hosted a free social media webinar for the Evanston business community. For local business owners in Evanston looking to enhance their social media presence, this webinar was a must-watch.

After detailing how the City of Evanston and the Economic Development Division utilize social media, the webinar showed how the City promotes local business and provided tips on social media. If you couldn’t watch the 75-minute webinar don’t fret! We watched it for you. Below are seven key tips from the presentation.

1) Utilize The City of Evanston’s Social Media

EvanstonEdge.com – the main Economic Development Division website hosts a blog covering local businesses and events
• Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are all used by the City to promote local businesses. Let them know what you’re up to. Posts can highlight local sales, part-time hiring, events, and articles.
Connect with Evanston on Instagram – Use #CityofEvanston or @CityofEvanston

2) Business Promotion Program

Want a free custom website? – Small business owners can create a custom website for 1 year free, powered through Google
http://www.gybo.com/illinois
Celebrate Business Anniversaries with style! – Join Evanston’s “Celebrate Your Business Birthday” program for free business promotion. The City will recognize business anniversaries at City Council meetings, the Evanston Edge website and newsletters, as well as social media. Sign up here.

3) Blogging & Blasting – Helpful Services

• Tumblr is a visually interesting platform. Check out how the Evanston Police Department uses Tumblr to generate community awareness:
evanstonpd.tumblr.com
WordPress – an easy to use, free blogging tool and content management system
• Email marketing services – GetResponse, Constant Contact, MailChimp, AWeber
• SMS/Texting – Tatango, ZipWhip

4) Website

• WordPress is most commonly used (1/6th of websites in the world use WP). Squarespace is another popular site.
Make your site mobile friendly – 60-70% of small websites are not yet mobile optimized
• Some sites that will help you go mobile: Dudamobile, mobify, goMobi
Tint – More than 40,000 brands use Tint to aggregate their social media feeds. Curate and display social media on your website. Useful for automatically populating site pages and keeping them updated.
Storify – Helps you live-tweet an event and track the tag to follow your social media “story”

5) Facebook

Create a page for your business – Don’t create a user profile for a business, create a page. You can also create a public Facebook group for a more communal discussion board experience.
Increase your reach! Be selective about what you post. You should ideally post twice a day. Think about content that makes people want to share. High quality images often generate greater responses.
Organic Reach – This term refers to how many people see or interact with your post naturally. Organic reach has been dwindling over time so reliance on boosting posts have increased.
Boost Posts – Facebook has an algorithm to decide what content shows up on an individual’s newsfeed. Even if you make a post, not everyone will see it. However, boosting makes your post appear on more newsfeeds.
o Facebook charges fees ($5-$10) to boost your post. Don’t bother boosting already viral content.
o You can selectively target audiences and increase the number of people who see your post.

6) LinkedIn & Twitter

LinkedIn – Create a personal and a company page. If hiring, spend some money and create a listing on LinkedIn. 3/4ths of all jobs are listed on LinkedIn.
Twitter – Most people don’t realize analytics are available. To access, click your settings wheel, click “Twitter Ads”, go to you Analytics tab and take a look at recent tweet activity. Compare and contrast to find out what best appeals to people.

7) Best Posting Practices

Time it – For Facebook it’s best to post 1-4pm. In Evanston, activity is pretty high until 9pm. For Twitter, best times are 1-3pm and for LinkedIn 7am-9am and 5pm-6pm.
Schedule it – On Hootsuite you can schedule posts to be posted automatically to all of your social media outlets. This way, you don’t need to spend nights and weekends posting material. For posting to Facebook, utilize Facebook’s scheduled post feature instead.
• Hootsuite lets you post from different platforms all on one convenient dashboard. You can manage multiple social media outlets, shorten links, get analytics, schedule posts, and save templates.

Hopefully, these seven tips can help you improve your social media. Look out for a more advanced version of this webinar offered later this month and check out other Evanston business news here!

Paige Pak, Creative Coworking Intern