After being home with the kids for a couple of years and not being able to work (I didn't have a work permit for the US) as a H4 wife, I started working on a couple of business ideas from my small desk at home. While I spent several hours focused I really missed having coworkers, someone to go on a lunch break, bouncing ideas, someone else who would be interested and supportive of my work and also acknowledge my (rather) small accomplishments. I didn't want to find a job with fixed hours, adding stress on our family life, I just wanted to continue working on my projects in a nurturing work environment.
I found out about SVP (Social Venture Partners) and entered a work space with added child care center to the competition. I attended a couple of workshops that really helped me craft out the idea. One participant walked up to me after one of the workshops and told me about another person that also tries to open a Coworking space with child care. He took my email address and shortly after that Jessie (from Works Progress) contacted me. We emailed back and forth about our ideas and decided to stay in touch.
Another 2 month later Jessie contacted me to tell me she met someone that also wanted to start a Coworking space in West Seattle. In October of 2012, Stefan and I met for our first business meeting at Uptown Espresso in the Junction. Shortly after that meeting we started looking into commercial spaces all over West Seattle, White Center and Burien. We also started a meetup group for home officers that met weekly at Uptown. In March 2013 we found a small work-live unit on California Ave, across from Rite Aid, that was affordable enough for us to give it a go. We opened our doors to the Office Junction on April 1st, offering 15 desks on 3 levels.
In February 2012, I went to the Coworking Conference (GCUC) in Austin, Texas where I got a crash course in all things Coworking, from technical set ups, to community building, marketing, pricing advice from some veteran Coworking pros in one of the most open and friendliest service industries I could think of. The values of Coworking are Collaboration, Openness, Community, Accessibility, and Sustainability.
Within a couple of month we built membership up to 15, then to 18 and 20 members, continuing with our weekly meetups, adding Art Walk, Krypton workshops and hosting other events in our work space. I finally had what I missed over the past 2 years, a work community where I could still work on my own terms, projects, call in sick whenever I wanted, but enjoy feedback, company for lunch, side conversations about travelling, gluten free treats, schools and local events.
We moved to a bigger space 8 blocks south on California in March 2013 where we have space for up to 22 members.
Needless to say, I am a huge fan of Coworking in general and our Seattle Collaborative Space Alliance.
Optimistic, curious, human bee.