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    I left the house, and I liked it.

    I left the house, and I liked it

    Reflections of a first time coworker…

    This month we asked CTO Chief, Sarah to reflect on her first month (ever) in a coworking space and here is what she had to say. 

    242h

    So, my thoughts on my first month of being in a coworking space: I can honestly say that now that I’m able to look back on my time working from home, I can only laugh at myself in semi-exhausted hysteria. We all hear the stories of entrepreneurs and how tough it is, the sleepless nights and needing to be a jack of all trades. Not to mention that creating a successful business becomes synonymous with how little sleep you are getting, instead of how efficient you are actually being. Now two thoughts come to mind: first, that the jack of all trades is the master of none, and second, a line I remember from Scrooge Mc’Duck: “work smarter not harder.” I am now acutely aware of both in hindsight. 

    So perhaps, before I go on, I should mention what it is that I do for a living (to put this all in perspective). I am an Airbnb host, as well as an interior designer for Airbnb spaces and vacation rental homes. The focus of my interior design company is offering e-design packages, and while I’m based in Cape Town most of my clients thus far have been based in America. Sounds ideal, right? Airbnb host and designer, working from the comfort of home with an incredible view of Table Mountain, earning in US dollars.

    No, No No. Let me elaborate. Airbnb guests, as incredible as they are, are more interested in discussing the tourist attractions the city has to offer than your design conundrums (or, more importantly, acknowledging your looming deadline). The two roles become very blurred, and it’s hard to distinguish which one is the most important to nurture in that moment, as both are in fact income-generating. The human desire to be “likable” wins, and you find yourself negotiating how many hour of sleep are necessary for human survival while answering trivial touristy questions.

    The fallacy that I am living the dream of living in Cape Town while working with American clients and earning US dollars needs to be right sized, and quickly. Why? Well, I have two reasons, but both come down to the same frustrating issue: the internet. Firstly, have you ever tried having Skype consultations while you are trying to troubleshoot your WiFi connection? Let me tell you, it is most unpleasant. Secondly, the Design software I use is available online, which has two benefits: I don’t have to pay for licencing software, and I don’t have to upgrade my laptop (which solves the start-up’s ongoing problem of managing expenses). Have you ever tried to explain to Americans, a nation renowned for suing the likes of Nike because their shoelace came undone, that you are unable to meet your deadline because the internet has stopped working? There is not enough Prozac in the world to prepare you for that WhatsApp conversation.

    So five consultants and a few twitter posts later I realise that I need to “cease fighting” and get on with the designs that are now very overdue, as Uncle Sam is a bit hot under the collar. The only problem is that the WiFi still isn’t working, and the technician is only due the following day. So the only solution is the WLAN cable (which is too short to reach the desk) and I end up setting up shop on the kitchen floor. My Airbnb guest is strongly advised that cooking dinner is a really bad option given the current state of affairs, and is thrust a takeout menu.

    The other conundrum one faces is the design of your interior space: Is it that your bed is too close to your desk, or your desk too close to your bed? Both are true. There are days when you just seem to be in the flow and the ideas feel endless and you really want ride the wave, so to speak. So as you climb into bed and the next idea hits you like a lightning bolt, the desk is just too close to resist jumping up and switching on the laptop to start beavering away again till the early hours. The following day is generally when your motivation and your concentration are at an all-time low. Then it the bed that is too close to your desk. It would be so easy to just jump in and have that refreshing nap, the only thing stopping you is guilt. If it weren’t for that feeling of guilt and the fear of missing that one email that is about to change your destiny forever, you would Nike it (or said another way, Just do it). 

    275hSo instead you convince yourself that to carry on working is the best option. You spend hours researching whether a WordPress or Wix website is the best option. So the journey into the internet begins, and suddenly I am wondering when it was that I started caring about Brad and Angelina’s divorce? And just as I am arriving at a point where I am about to make a decision as to whether I am team Brad or team Jolie, the internet bombs out on me, again. 

    So, given my flair for drama, I think I have painted a fairly accurate picture of some of the frustrations experienced while working from home. It still does not negate that starting a business is stressful, and there are serious and sometimes paralyzing fears regarding expenditure. So why did I opt to join a co–work space? Sanity is the most concise answer I can give you. I based my final decision on this simple formula: Number of chargeable hours lost due to internet issues multiplied by my hourly rate. Viola! It suddenly made sense. 

    In fact I could in all probability rent two desks a months based on my elementary calculation. Why would I even contemplate two desks? So that I had somewhere for my ego and a whole new set of fears to sit while I was trying to get work done. I could not believe that lunacy had returned on my first day at my new desk – it was like my first day at school all over again. What if nobody likes me? What if everyone thinks what I do for a job is stupid? What if they peer over my shoulder watching me as I surf the World Wide Web?

    Honestly, as if someone could even read the words on my screen when they are five desks away. The words are smaller than the last letter on those eye tests that optometrists make you take. The other truth that was hard for ego to digest is that people are not like cats: they don’t hover around my computer watching the mouse dart across the screen. They are genuinely interested in themselves and committed to their daily tasks.

    Having said all that, it does not mean that they don’t care about you – there are plenty of opportunities to engage over the coffee machine, while preparing lunch, or on the collaboration platform. And yes, they may know someone who knows someone who is interested in your services. With such a variety of companies that use the space, I have been fortunate enough to meet someone who has untangled the spider web of confusion I had spun around WordPress vs Wix. So, combined with the advice, step-by-step guidance, and fear of what people will think of me if they find out if I am team Brad or team Jolie, I have managed to focus my efforts and get on with tasks.

    What it really comes down to is – yup, you guessed it – connection, both internet and human.

    Sarah is the founder of Urban Savvy Design, a consultancy based in Cape Town that provides bespoke design services to Air B&B hosts and operators.

    Contact her:

    sarah@urbansavvydesign.com | https://www.facebook.com/UrbanSavvyDesigns/

     

    March 21, 2017
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    Five reasons to join a coworking space.

     

    photo-1433650552684-d4004a945d6c (1)

    So this is something I get asked quite a lot and I hasten to add that it’s usually from people who have never worked in a coworking space or people that haven’t heard of coworking before *gasp*, but yes…it’s true, there are people out there who haven’t heard of coworking.

    I think there are many really great reasons, but as we’re all busy people I’d like to distill it down to just five great things and I guess you could say reasons why it’s great to be in a coworking space.

    1. You’re not alone.

    Now even though this sounds pretty obvious, I think it’s really important to remember that humans are naturally quite social beings. We like to meet new people. We like to share our experiences and most of all I think we like to be reminded that we’re not alone.  So being part of a coworking community like Cape Town Office is a great way to not spend what is a large chunk of your day/s alone.

    2. You get all the trimmings, without the price tag.

    This is a pretty great reason all on it’s own to join a coworking space. With the collective buying power a coworking space has, you get enterprise class internet (or you should) without the hefty price tag, for example. Installing a fibre optic internet line, if you’re lucky enough to be in an area where it’s possible, can cost thousands. Then there’s the monthly premium which again can cost you thousands per month so as a freelancer or a small business that’s a really tough expense to swallow every month.

    3. Resources.

    Here at Cape Town Office we have loads of really talented people. Graphic designers, Illustrators, Website developers and even a guy who sells aluminium components to the building industry. Now, granted the last one isn’t exactly something you can make use of daily, but being a couple of desks away from someone who can help create your new brand identity, a cute logo or even your new website can be a very handy thing!

    4. Productivity.

    I know we all like to think of ourselves as self-starters, energy bunnies who jump out of bed in the morning with a big smile on our face ready to face the day, but let’s be honest. There are many days where the mere idea of getting out of bed can be a challenge. Here’s where having “somewhere to go” can be a life saver. You get in, grab a coffee and get to it! Head down for a few hours and before you know it you’ve conquered most of your To-Do list and suddenly the world is a sunnier place.

    5. It’s fun.

    In a coworking space like ours, there are loads of cool and quirky things you can do when you need to get up from your desk and take a break. Games, yes proper arcade games with Pac-Man, Space Invaders and even Moonpatrol on tap…suddenly it’s all about setting that high score. We’ve also got an old school vinyl record player with heaps of tunes and if you’re still feeling a little bored you can always grab a deck of cards and have a few games with someone.

    So there you have it. Five really great reasons to get out of your pajamas and book a desk here at Cape Town Office or any of the coworking spaces in Cape Town for that matter. It’s important that you find your tribe and settle in to a great working experience, so give me a shout if you want to check out CTO.

    Lizelle

    Your host at Cape Town Office

    August 10, 2015
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    Keeping on track.

    04-05-15

    It’s that time of year. We’re nearly half way through 2015, wow…can you believe that, so I thought it might be good to touch base and share how I’m doing on the old “things to do” list.

    Looking at my list at the start of this year there were a few familiar ones.

    1. Loose a few kilos
    2. Be more productive
    3. Find more creative things to do in my spare time

    Like I said all too familiar and alas … not quite as ahead of the game as I’d like. Although I have to give myself a bit of credit on a few things on that list that are some what better than the year before and isn’t that worth celebrating? I say YES – celebrate the little victories along the way, you don’t climb a mountain in one big leap after all, it’s one step at a time.

    As most women, the first item on my list is generally the one that causes a lot of angst and complimentary guilt. My vice is not the sweet stuff, but the delicious combination of barley, hops and wheat best served cold with a bit of a fizz. I am of course talking about beer, any beer but especially craft beer. Cape Town is such a haven for all things craft beer, from The Beer House on Long Street to our Cape Town Office local, Lefties – it’s just so hard to resist.  But, as I said it’s about keeping on track and celebrating those small victories and to that end I’m rather chuffed with myself by only visiting these fine establishments once a week now. It all helps.

    When it comes to productivity, I like most of you, suffer from syndrome known as “loss of time” directly attributed to scrolling aimlessly down the timeline of my social media fix, Facebook. Why is it that we care so much about what others are doing, seeing, drinking or even thinking? This is not a post that will attempt answering the question of our time, but rather how the hell do we cut the umbilical cord and shed that fear of missing out? #FOMO Here’s what I did and it works! I simply deleted the Facebook application from my phone. No, really it’s as simple as that. At first it was hard, really hard filling in time whilst sitting at Vida drinking coffee or standing in the lobby waiting on the lift when I’d usually just stare at my phone and scroll through the posts. The difference is in so small way, A M A Z I N G people. I highly recommend you do it today.

    I still pop in from time to time via my desktop to see what’s been happening, event invitations and wishing people far away Happy Birthday so it’s not like I went cold turkey, but it’s a start!

    The 3rd item on my list is an ongoing project. I’m very excited to be joining a weekly Life drawing class with good friend, Viky Petermann Rueda right here in the building at Artsauce Life drawing studio. It’s been a long, far too long, time since I’ve let the creative juices flow and I’m really looking forward to getting back into that rhythm. There are still spaces available, so if you’re keen on flexing that creative muscle, why not come along. Beginners (and trust me that’s where I’m at) are very welcome. https://www.facebook.com/events/863154777085807/

    We all get so busy with our daily routines, especially when you’re self employed / an entrepreneur that stopping every now and then to nurture that inner Picasso, Leonardo or Monet just moves further and further away.

    Academic researchers have begun to converge on the opinion that:

    “Considerable evidence now suggests that employee creativity can make a substantial contribution to an organization’s growth and competitiveness” (Baer & Oldham, 2006).

    Further in an article in The Economist it was suggested that the biggest challenge facing organizations is identifying and developing individuals with “brainpower (both natural and trained) and especially the ability to think creatively” (Frymire, 2006).

    (Creativitypost.com)

    So what do you to be more creative?

    In the world, this wonderful world of coworking I’m fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by some of the most creative thinkers and do’ers from all disciplines and walks of life. I love how a quick chat in the kitchen over a coffee can lead to a collaboration which may initially only be a small project, but has the potential to be the next big start up. Coworking is such a great way for all of us to be motivated in the morning, especially a Monday, to get out of bed and get to your desk. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

    Here’s to the start of a new month and in keeping with #StarwarsDay … May the 4th be with you!

    Cheers,

    Lizelle

     

    May 04, 2015
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    These major coworking events will take place in 2015

    Coworking-Africa-Conference-2015-970X180

    Almost 300,000 people have worked in nearly 6000 coworking spaces worldwide by the end of this year. The coworking movement acquires maturity, expanding with bigger spaces and more locations, an higher diversity of business models, and exploring more niches. This development will be also reflected in more coworking events next year. Asia’s first coworking unconference will be held in Bali.

    The Global Coworking Unconference Conference is going to California. However, it won’t take place only once, but three times, by popping up in Australia and Canada as well. And Africa will get its first dedicated conference on coworking, in Cape Town. It’s time to mark your fresh calendar with the upcoming major events on coworking in 2015!

    Click on the link to get the full list –> http://www.deskmag.com/en/these-major-coworking-conferences-events-barcamps-will-take-place-in-2015

    Via http://www.deskmag.com/

    deskmag

    March 09, 2015