Co-working spaces are growing year on year. Often visited by the intrigued early-stage entrepreneur who has had enough of working from home or a noisy coffee shop, battling with the idea of having to pay for a place to work. I spoke to Bournemouth Eagle Lab resident, Lucy Hitchcock of Sassy Digital, to hear how she mastered working from home before it was time to move onto co-working.
Like most young entrepreneurs Lucy started Sassy Digital when she was living with her parents. Lucy recalls how her main challenge at first was thinking that because she worked from home she could work from her bed or in her pyjamas. “For at least the first 6 months I thought 'this is great, I can wear my PJ's all day and no make-up because I won't see anyone!' But I quickly realised that this left me feeling slobby, and I felt more unproductive because of it.”
When you speak to people about the prospect of working from home, many people’s first reaction is to get excited at the idea of sleeping in longer or having time to do housework tasks in-between work. Though as Lucy mentions, in terms of business, these are all things that are not productive or sociable as you’re doing all these things alone. Being an avid cook, Lucy has found herself as she calls “Procrastibaking”…
Definition: to make extravagant lunches or pre-cook dinner, often resulting in a temptation to go to the shop to buy ingredients you do not have.
Though tasty (they make often appearances on @sassydigital), Lucy is keen to add that this isn’t always a good use of working time.
Taking the leap from working in a big corporate office in London to a home office all day heightened the awareness that she wasn’t talking to anyone during the day other than her small portfolio of clients. So, you’ve decided working at home is getting too much and you venture out into new places - in Lucy’s case, a hotel lobby in London. You’d think that, as you have decided to do this, then surely there will be plenty of other entrepreneurs in the same hotel lobby that you can discuss your business stories and experiences. Unfortunately, that didn’t transpire the right way for Lucy, experiencing that most people were with colleagues or with friends - not the easiest of crowds. Realistically as a start-up, there's a high chance you’ve thrown a fair sum of money into your business or you’ve left employment and are getting used to cash flow, so co-working might not be an option for you just yet.
The truth is, you may not have to leave your house to interact with entrepreneurs going through the same process as you. Lucy is a firm believer in online communities..
“Try and find some good Facebook groups where you can get support from other homepreneurs, there are so many out there! I'm part of female-only and mixed groups and both provide support and value. I'm a member of The Coven which is for women, another great one for women is Discovher, in terms of more general ones you can find specific ones for your area by just typing in 'Bournemouth Entrepreneurs' or 'London Entrepreneurs’.”
Being a B2B social media entrepreneur, Lucy has found there's to be one of her most powerful tools, not only for growing her business but also giving and receiving advice from like-minded business owners all over the world.
As Sassy Digital went into its second year of trading, Lucy moved down to Bournemouth to live with her boyfriend, Woody the Cavapoochon (our favourite Lab visitor - Left) was added to the family and it was around this time that she began to get more business.
Soon after, she decided it was time to move into a co-working space - Bournemouth Eagle Lab, a 5-minute walk from her Bournemouth home. This allowed Lucy to put structure to her working weeks by being strict on full working days, it also meant that she was able to take on her first full-time employee, Jess, enabling her to share her jobs and grow her workload. Not only having Jess but a full office of entrepreneurs, the difference made a profound effect from being on her own at home - “I also really love the people that work there because it means I can ask for other people's opinions on what I'm doing, brainstorm with others and generate new ideas!”
Lucy’s journey is a clear reflection of many start-up businesses across the country, we’re super proud at Bournemouth Eagle Lab to share with you her recent appearance in the Sunday Telegraph with her thoughts on “The challenges of running a business from home”
“Lastly definitely get to a co-working space if you can - even if it's only once per week. It provides a bit of normality in your routine, allows you to be more productive and leaves room for collaboration...and if you miss the coffee machine chit chat from a bustling office it's definitely great for that too.”