Opening March 26!

Barring any unforeseen setbacks, The Armory will open its doors on Monday, March 26!  We are excited to show off the remodel and begin welcoming members.  The first week will free to all who would like to come coworking.

If you know you will be coming a certain day, please RSVP (coworking@thearmoryworkspace.com) to ensure you will have a spot.

Looking forward to welcoming members and seeing the coworking community continue to grow in Loveland

The Chicken or The Egg

The age old question of which came first.  In the coworking world, the question boils down to whether to get a space first or build a group of members.  Common wisdom from many sources is to get a community of at least ten people to commit to memberships before opening a coworking space.  I believe there almost always are exceptions to every rule.  Please do not get me wrong I agree wholeheartedly with the community first mindset of coworking.   There must be an ability to understand the needs of the city and those that will use the space.  There is a large difference in opening a coworking space in a city of several million people and Loveland, population 60,000.  What I have run into in my city is a number of people that are intrigued by coworking and would like to check it out if we had a space.  They are hesitant to join the community without a space to identify with.

In internet startups there is a movement of people advocating a “Lean Startup” model.  This model, simply put, attempts to put a product out to the public before it is perfected to test the founder’s hypothesis and gain valuable feedback from early adaptors.  From their testing and the feedback they gather the company makes adjustments for their future progress.  At this point in my catalyst journey and from the input of those interested in coworking, I am beginning to see the need for a Lean Coworking Office in Loveland.  I started looking at commercial real estate with the dream space in mind, but see that as something to grow towards not start with.  The space I am most interested in would be small (~650 sf) but would have all the basics a coworking community would need.  So with a nervousness in my stomach and an excitement as I look towards the future, I am working towards starting a Lean Coworking Office in Loveland.

Stay tuned for updates….

Coworking Core Values – Accessibility

Coworking as a movement shares community, collaboration, openness, sustainability, and accessibility as core values.  The values are intentionally vague and open to interpretation. This is the final installment of a five part blog series exploring these core values and how they apply in Loveland.

The term accessibility is most often used in the context of ADA requirements.  The desire is to have a space be physically accessible to all.  If any person is limited from joining the community, the community is the one that suffers.

Location of a space also plays a part in this core value as well.  This is the main motive of finding a space downtown in Loveland.  It provides a central location that would allow the maximum number of people to use the office.

As I have stated in other parts of this series, my main motive is to create the environment that helps other entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners, and creatives to thrive.  The bottom line is not what drives my desire to create a space in Loveland.  Like-minded individuals need a place to connect, to collaborate, and to create.  Making that place financially affordable as well as physically accessible is the goal of Loveland coworking as a business.

Coworking Core Values – Sustainability

Coworking as a movement shares community, collaboration, openness, sustainability, and accessibility as core values.  The values are intentionally vague and open to interpretation. This is the fourth entry in a five part blog series exploring these core values and how they apply in Loveland.

Sustainability has become a buzz word in the world today.  There is much talk about businesses being committed to lowering their environmental impact.  As a coworking space in Loveland, we would be committed to this ideal.  The office would be centrally located in the downtown area which would help reduce gasoline usage.  Personally, I would be able to bike most of the year to a downtown location.  There also would be reduced energy usage through shared appliances (i.e. coffee maker) and a commitment to recycling.  With entrepreneurs ever concerned about reducing waste, the reduce/reuse mantra is only reinforced in a co-working environment. As Angel Kwiatkowski of Cohere says in her book Coworking: Building Community as a Space Catalyst, “Do good to do well and offset the environmental footprint of the space.”

This core value can also be applied to the economic side of business.  Businesses do not survive if their model is not financially sustainable.  Decisions about location, amenities, pricing, etc. must factor in the ability of the space to support itself.  I, as the catalyst, am not interested in creating a coworking space that created a huge profit for myself.  I am more interested in meeting a need for community among entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners, remote workers, and creatives.  The success of Loveland Coworking will be community based, not bottom line based.

Coworking Core Values – Openness

Coworking as a movement shares community, collaboration, openness, sustainability, and accessibility as core values.  The values are intentionally vague and open to interpretation. This is the third entry in a five part blog series exploring these core values and how they apply in Loveland.

Openness can be applied to a coworking office in a number of ways.  In a literal sense, it refers to the layout and design of the space itself.  The floor plan of any potential space we would have in Loveland would need to have an open floor plan.  The fewer walls the better.  The more open the space, the fewer boundaries to cross in building a community.
As an attitude, openness revolves around the free sharing of ideas, information, and experience.  This value works closely with the last value we spotlighted, collaboration.  The more members are open to each other, the opportunities increase to give to and benefit from each other.
The office itself is open to other groups and other uses by the members.  If a member needed a place to hold a meeting, seminar, party, or networking event, it can be arranged. If a business or community group is looking for a space to hold committee meetings or events, I would love for the office to host.  The goal is not to create a members only space, but to have a space that benefits the city as a whole.
The final application of openness is in my vision as the catalyst for the space.  I do not see this as my baby or my business.  I see myself as merely one piece of the puzzle.  My plans are always open to the input of others as to the use of the future space.  A coworking space in downtown Loveland is for the city, not for myself.

Coworking Core Values – Community

Coworking as a movement shares community, collaboration, openness, sustainability, and accessibility as core values.  The values are intentionally vague and open to interpretation. This is the first part of a five part blog series exploring these core values and how they apply in Loveland.

Community is often seen as the most valuable characteristic of a coworking office.  It is what sets coworking apart from office suites or executive offices.  Being able to work alongside others that are like minded provides emotional and social benefits that could not be realized working from home or from a coffee shop.

There also is a commitment from members to contribute to each other’s business, knowledge, and personal growth.  Daily there are opportunities to learn from other members’ mistakes, successes, and other experiences.  The shared space is merely the soil for the seeds of community to grow within.  Coworking creates a place to belong, a people that have shared values, an environment to work independently yet not alone,  a common purpose to give to & benefit from.

To summarize, coworking is always about the people first.

Benefits of Coworking

Coworking is often misunderstood.  Most times when I mention I am working to establish a coworking office in Loveland I get a puzzled look.  Once I explain what it is, there is usually an “Oh I get it” statement.  I don’t blame people for not understanding, I was in the same boat a couple years ago.  As I have experienced the community and offices of a few difference spaces, I have found the benefits of coworking to be incredible.

Working from home can be extremely lonely at times.  Twitter and Facebook help as they provide a touch to the outside world, but real relationships always are deeper and more meaningful.  Coworking offers a social environment while still being able to maintain occupational independence.  Deskmag, an online coworking magazine, recently published their findings from their Coworking Survery, which found 96% of those using coworking offices found community to be an important value in their space.  Also, 93% of coworkers experienced an increased social circle in the past year while 88% experienced less isolation.  Even if it for one day a week, coworking can be a benefit to independents, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.

Along with the social benefits come motivational benefits.  There is something about being with others that are working hard that creates hard work in you.  This has been the biggest benefit I personally have found.  Deskmag’s survey reports that 76% of coworkers found their productivity to increase from being a part of an office.  Deskmag writes 74% of those surveyed state their self confidence has increased, which I believe is closely related to one’s productivity and motivation.

I have said in past posts that being with other that are like-minded is a great benefit to coworking.  The ability to know that others are in the same boat as well as having the ability to collaborate can create an exciting place to work.  The Loveland Coworking Community is already providing this benefit even as it is small and just starting.  A couple members of the meetup group have been able to work together on a project one of them was bidding.  On a global scale, Deskmag’s survey notes 86% of responders having a larger business network.  The collaborative side of coworking can also increase the skill sets of members due to being able to learn from those in other fields (Deskmag – 71% report increase) as well as using educational opportunities through their coworking offices.

For those that get involved in a coworking community the benefits are not merely just to have an office for their business.  If you are willing to give as well as receive, the community can help you grow professionally, relationally, and as a person.