Coffeeshopping: The mobile working strategy that requires changing neighborhood coffee shop location every few hours to capitalize on the best combination of internet, outlets, and acceptable music. It requires focus amid the sound of clanging espresso tamps, the public displays of affection from the couple across the table, and glaring death stares from the eyes of the coffee shop manager.
Coworking: The mobile working strategy that offers a reliable desk, comfortable chairs, shared office supplies, and the companionship of people with focused energy, strong business sense, networks and expertise that can help grow a career.
You are proud to be able to work from anywhere: Home, coffee shops, while traveling. You are nomadic. With your computer, phone, and notebook over your shoulder, you can manage clients from anywhere in the world.
As a digital laborer and part of the growing mobile workforce, you have discovered the secret of career freedom: Working from a laptop provides the enjoyable opportunity to sit wherever you like as long as there is Internet, coffee, and a place to plug in your power cord. You have found that sending e-mails from home, coffee shops, or jungle retreats are all the same to your clients.
That is, until a loud bus, howler monkey, or ten-decibel talker interrupt your most important call of the day and you have to abandon your laptop on the table, cross your fingers in hopes no one snags your things, and scoot to find quiet cover in the restroom or outside on the sidewalk where buses, horns or a light breeze can squander your perceived facade of professionalism in seconds.
This is no way to work. It’s also no way to build, grow, and scale a business.
When your big potential client requests a last minute meeting and you suggest a meeting at that cute cafe on the corner, they are wondering if bill enough to own an office — or hire a support team to help. It might not matter for one-off jobs or clients that are willing to grow with you, but what about leveling up and building a reputation?
Why fight the very design of a coffee shop — created to appeal to writers and artists, with missing outlets and spotty WiFi — when there are people who do want you to set up your computer all day?
These are the coworking space owners—the neighborhood entrepreneur who realized you needed a place to work the way you want without the guilt and without purchasing another pastry as rent for your coffee shop seat.
For the same monthly cost of a latte and pastry per day, freelancers and employees can commit to building their career by choosing to graduate into an urban and suburban coworking space—a place comfortable like a coffee shop with the tools needed to build a business.
A place with a printer, a fax machine, a little kitchen space to make lunch. A place with meeting rooms, comfortable chairs, and the focused energy of others who have found a way to work with freedom while executing projects and delivering results.
These days the file cabinet, receptionist, and cubicle are outdated, and work spaces look and feel different. Thankfully coffee shops helped to bridge the time between traditional offices and the current iteration of coworking spaces.
So give the coffee shop back to the community, and keep conference calls away from the espresso machine.
Choose to work among coworkers, not coffeeshoppers. People who know your expertise and are proud to you introduce you to someone who may need your services. People who are on the journey of building a company with you.
Leave the coffeeshops to those who aren’t quite there yet.
Boston-based Kevin Saba is a serial entrepreneur, a veteran of four presidential campaigns, and a long time member of the legal community. He launched his own coworking space, Commoncove Coworking in Chelsea, MA, on October 3rd which allows coworkers to work the way they want with a membership structure of $20/ month and $2 an hour.