Working for yourself is awesome, but it’s not easy. The fact is, the world’s built for employees. That means the enterprising self-starters out there are largely on their own.

Not anymore. Coworking spaces have arisen as local gathering places for independents to find, befriend, collaborate with, and otherwise support each other, and in so doing, have begun to constitute a support infrastructure for people who have to date had no such thing.

So far, coworking spaces have focused on cultivating a great community and providing a shared workspace for that community to gather. This is a fantastically powerful foundation for a robust infrastructure designed to support the needs of a new workforce that is growing every day.

But it’s early. As we get better at learning how to support each other’s needs, we will adjust what we do accordingly. Coworking spaces to date largely offer memberships that relate directly to the use of the workspace, but we know that this is only one aspect of a wide array of services independents need.

Tying membership to workspace can contribute to the false impression that coworking spaces are just places to rent a desk. I posit that coworking communities have far more to offer.

Redefining Membership 

To this end, I believe we must find ways to separate membership from workspace. For the countless people out there who might not happen to have a need or a budget to work at New Work City during weekdays but who still would benefit from being a part of a supportive group of fellow independents, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be empowering them to participate as much as anyone else.

To do that, it has to be clear that New Work City has more to offer than just a nice place to work. To accomplish this, I’ve increasingly started focusing on fostering a more diverse set of interactions.

It’s a big experiment, but I’m already seeing results. I’ve seen a significant increase in activity in our internal discussion group as well as our new weekly announcement board, as well as a much better rate of interconnection between members through our new internal profile directory. We’re also organizing more activities, like Town Halls, a volleyball team, late-night coworking, movie nights, and more on the way. On the horizon are more happy hours, healthy habit development efforts and gatherings to help members show off their work and help each other get gigs.

I think if we can get a lot of people to participate, we can be of even greater value to each other. Our space doesn’t scale, but our community can. At well over 100 members, New Work City’s community is stronger and more supportive than ever, but what if we had even more folks in our ranks?

Participate in the experiment

For the past few months, we’ve had an experimental Community Membership that we’ve been using as a way for people to participate in the community without having to work in the space. Today, I’m announcing some changes to that membership. For $30/month, it includes one day of coworking per month and discounts on additional days, as well as all of the basic benefits of being a member.

All of the new and improved things are part of it: the more active discussion group, the profile directory, the town halls and other after-hours events, and whatever you and I and everyone else conspires to build, at your disposal.

I know dozens of people who have no reason not to be members of New Work City except that I haven’t given them a good way to become one. This is my effort to resolve that.

I’d love your feedback as we explore how to make our community bigger and awesomer. If you’re ready to join, I’ve included a handy link here. The Paypal subscription automatically charges you once a month, and you can cancel it anytime.

Sign up for our new Community Membership at $30/month.

Either way, I’d love it if you let me know your thoughts as to how we, and other coworking communities, can go further to support the needs of independents.

Finally, I must tip my hat to IndyHall, from whom we have drawn much inspiration for this direction as well as everything else. Alex has been tremendous in sharing what’s worked and what hasn’t in his years running IndyHall, and we owe much of our success to his wisdom and openness.

Building something better together

A lot of people put a lot of blood sweat and tears into making it possible for NWC to exist today. Now that we’re here, and sustaining ourselves, we have the amazing opportunity to do with this community and this space whatever we collectively decide is in our own best interests.

No investors to please, no profit numbers to hit. Just us, being awesome, together.

Let’s have fun with this. Let’s help each other pursue our own personal fulfillment, on our terms.

Sound good? Let me know all your thoughts!

 


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