We’ve got a small group here in Portland called HUB that was formed a few months ago by a couple of solo entrepreneurs who wanted to get out of their home office spaces and work side-by-side with their friends, associates and colleagues in a communal setting. As those who do work from home in one-person enterprises know well, it can get lonely and you can really miss the synergy that comes from being able to bounce ideas off one another.
These folks found a copacetic coffee shop with free WiFi and the group has now grown to anywhere from six to ten participants on any given Friday from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. It’s kind of a loud, exuberant and chaotic atmosphere in the coffee shop, the caffeine factor notwithstanding. People are not working on joint projects. They’re doing their own work on their own projects or getting caught up on tasks that haven’t been completed yet. But they are talking to each other, asking each other questions and getting answers they wouldn’t get when working alone.
Someone working on a website might have a question about search engine optimization. And there’s usually someone in the group who knows more than a little about that subject. Another might be wrestling with a graphics issue, or placement of a graphic in a web site, and there’s usually someone in the group who is able and willing to help. It’s not all just computer work, however. There’s discussion about social issues, pets, kids, organizations, projects and a host of other topics. With work getting done in the process.
If you work alone most of the time, perhaps a group like this would be of value to you. I know that it is of great value to me even though I can participate only once or twice a month. You’ve got to be willing to give of your time and knowledge during the sessions but you’ll get payback in droves from those you help. New ideas, new techniques, new relationships and new business possibilities abound. For their really is synergy in collaboration.
If you’d like more information on this group, let me know via a comment on this blog entry or the Contact page on my website and I’ll put you in touch with its founders.