Eighteen months ago I had no idea what co-working was. If you’d presented me with the term and asked me to define it, I’d have said something along the lines of “people who work together” or “colleagues in a collaborative setting.” While those are both part of it, the larger concept of co-working spaces that cultivate creativity among independent professionals was totally foreign to me.
I’m happy to say that is no longer the case.
At the beginning of Yes Louisville we were a tiny team with no need for a full office of our own. But, we did need to be together to work in tandem as we sought to grow our platforms and further our mission of helping people to discover the city and unlock their best life in it.
For almost the first full year of our first phase of growth we had the blessing of renting one small office room and additional flexible working time inside of Story Louisville in NuLu. This was my first introduction to a co-working space. It included private offices for rent, open working areas where any member could set up shop at any time, conference rooms that could be booked for private meetings and presentations, a kitchen area, basic office resources, and a prime location above Please & Thank You on East Market.
I loved it. It made so much sense.
Why would a small business team or entrepreneur in business for themselves spend an arm and a leg on a whole office or risk low productivity working exclusively from home when there was an affordable in between option like this available? The answer is, they shouldn’t!
I told everyone who asked where we were located about the awesome benefits of co-working. Apart from the physical space, our work was enriched by the perspectives of others in the space. Here’s one of my favorite quick examples.
One afternoon there was a couple I didn’t recognize in one of the common spaces. I introduced myself and we struck up a conversation about our work. They were passing through from out of town but were planning to do so frequently and were looking for ways to get to know Louisville and get ideas on things to do on the days they were here. I told them about the Daily Yes List on YesLouisville.com and pulled it up on my screen. They loved it, but also added some simple and awesome feedback right away. The woman, Kara, asked me what time the list posted every day. I told her there was some slight variance but the aim was always before 11AM. She suggested adding the date to the top of the list so that early viewers would know right away if the new list was up or if it was still coming.
I don’t know why we weren’t already doing that. It was so straight forward. Remove the barrier of a question from our audience and make sure they were getting the information they were looking for as clearly as possible. Add a date.
I started doing that the very next day and got several messages from people saying they had been thinking to suggest it but just never took the time to reach out. It was a helpful fix that we hadn’t considered as a team. We wouldn’t have if it weren’t for feedback from a temporary office mate in a co-working space.
It’s amazing what fresh eyes and insight can bring to us when we are open to it. Co-working gives you access to an endless pool of perspectives every day!
When we reached the next phase of our company growth and were hunting a permanent home we found a property that, while way too big for just us, would provide us the opportunity to create more co-working space in the city! It was too good to pass up.
Just shy of one year ago we moved in to 965 Baxter Ave. in the heart of the Highlands and launched a new co-working concept, Yes Working. Yes Louisville has it’s HQ on the second floor, but the first and third floors are a haven for anyone in need of space to get things done. Yes Working has conference rooms of all sizes, open event space to reserve, a full kitchen, always working internet and other amenities, and it’s handicapped accessible so there’s no limit to who can utilize the space! There’s a big front porch overlooking Baxter Ave. across from O’Shea’s and an even bigger back porch with a private yard connecting the main space to the adjacent carriage house, which we’ve converted into a hip Airbnb. We also have the attached building at 963 Baxter where we’ve been able to partner with teachers to host a yoga studio, as well as a retail space for a new high quality CBD brand, Q Apothecary, which will also sell other ethical and sustainable products. There’s room for bigger teams to rent upstairs office space there, too. The collective space is called the Highlands House and it is becoming a community with something for everyone which makes us smile.
The opportunities are endless and we are a better company having the neighbors we do inside our space.
I can’t imagine sitting home alone cranking out content and trying not to get distracted by a million other things I could be doing during the day. I love having group lunches when we can take a break and enjoy a meal and learn about each others’ lives and business. I enjoy the buzz of other people’s productivity around me. I’m motivated to do more and feel challenged by others’ independent ambition. I appreciate their suggestions when I seek out help and I am happy to share mine with them anytime. We help each other be better at what we do, even if our work is nothing alike.
Can you tell I love co-working?
I speak for all of Yes Working members inside of Highlands House when I say we’d LOVE to have you come see our space! Even if you’re not looking for a place to do your work, you may know someone who needs the kind of community we have, or you may just be curious about how it works. Whatever the case, come see us at 965 Baxter Ave. anytime. You can call ahead or just pop by. We’re always up for guests!