How co-working spaces can help entrepreneurs


Nathan Schokker, owner of Brisbane-based facilities management company Talio, believes the cliché “it’s lonely at the top” rings true for small business owners.

Dashing from client to client, or working through admin upkeep at home, Nathan says he often used to find himself feeling – as he assumes other small business owners do – “stuck in [my] own head”.

So to break the silence of entrepreneurship, he joined a co-working space.

And he loves it.

“It gives you that flexible space where you can come and go as you much as you want,” Nathan says.

“Because I spend the vast majority of my time out on the road and face-to-face with clients, I don’t need an office all to myself.”

Nathan jokes working from Spring Hill’s Little Tokyo Two co-working space (LT2), in which he is one of 80-plus members, keeps him from “going stir crazy”.

He speaks excitedly about the collective of creative entrepreneurs and freelancers who frequent LT2.

“The biggest thing is the community they’ve created there (at LT2).”

Nathan says he’s been able to meet many likeminded creative people who have taught him a lot about business.

“When it’s done right, collaboration can be such an awesome and powerful thing. You shouldn’t be afraid to share your fears or your challenges, your highs and lows with those around you.

“[Other small business owners] go through [challenges] as well, so they’re just as likely to support you, give you ideas, or give you a pat on the back when you need it,” Nathan says.

Nathan Schokker loves the community vibe Little Tokyo Two has created at its co-working space.

Co-working venue Spacecubed earned entrepreneur Chris Dinham business leads

For owner of Summit Web Design Chris Dinham, networking at Perth co-working venue Spacecubed has been invaluable to his business and personal endeavours.

“It’s brought in a couple of leads for me,” Chris says.

“When you start making connections with other people and aligning with other businesses, it’s great.

“Personally, I’m currently trying to raise funds for a trip a couple of friends and I are doing to go to India and [help a charity].

“I met a person at Spacecubed who’s very good at Kickstarter campaigns and crowdsourcing platforms – he started helping us and giving us some advice so we can raise $138,000 for the trip.”

Chris says it was by chance he stumbled upon Spacecubed and first learned about he concept of co-working spaces.

“It’s one of those places where I was looking for it, but I didn’t realise I was looking for it.

“I was trying to grow my business, I was attending a few meet-ups around Perth and one of the meet-ups was in Spacecubed,” Chris says.

“It’s an amazing space for entrepreneurs, small businesses, start-up companies and likeminded people.”

He regularly recommends the space to friends and small business owners.

He enjoys its buzz, the multi-functional working and meeting areas (which even includes areas to sleep), the full-service kitchen and super-fast internet services.

He finds others working and moving around the office fuels his productivity levels.

“If I have action and bustle happening around me, I seem to focus more. I’ve talked to a few people and it applies to them as well.

“I enjoy stuff happening around me, music in the background, that helps me focus more. If I was at home, [I] find distractions.

“I’m at lot more productive at Spacecubed than anywhere else I’ve tried working,” Chris says.

Chris Dinham enjoys the ‘buzz’ of Perth-based co-working space, Spacecubed. Image via Desk Surfing

Your Desk gives creative freelancers and entrepreneurs an inspiring place to work

Owner of Sydney-based co-working space Your Desk, Carl Sullivan saw “the opportunity to help people re-define what their working life looks like” after working in the creative industry for many years.

Along with his siblings Emilie and Oliver, Carl set out to create a work environment for sole traders and micro business owners to “enter sought-after business districts, share the benefits of professional tools and services such as meeting rooms and fiber optic internet access, and maintenance, etcetera”.

Emilie says it is important to “create a beautiful space designed to inspire great work and productivity”.

They both believe the sense of community held among Your Desk’s 35 full-time members, 42 occasional users and 60 business network members drives the co-working space’s success.

“[Your Desk members] can still enjoy the classic office perks of gossiping around the water cooler.

“We have found that when small businesses work side by side there is a lot of dialogue, encouragement and sometimes even a healthy dose of competition with likeminded people.”

Carl says Your Desk is not a “traditional office setting” but it “maintained the most useful elements”.

“It’s a beautiful, historic open-plan space, we have great meeting rooms, easy-to-use booking systems, superfast fiber optic internet, a fully stocked kitchen, Friday treats, informal breakout spaces and lots of plant life to keep things fresh.”

Emilie adds: “Our clients are independent workers and thinkers, looking for a space that reflects how their lifestyle looks outside of office hours”.

“It’s important to us we always maintain this kind of cool, chic and urban intimacy in our ventures.

“I feel it’s this element that really sets Your Desk apart from other co-working spaces in Sydney,” Emilie says.

Carl and Emilie Sullivan wanted Surry Hill’s Your Desk to be a non-traditional workspace. Image credit: Toni Veziris