IWNG Coworking began with a few strangers meeting at a cafe in central Rotterdam. It started off with no real plan, just find a cafe with wifi and accessible electrical outlets, say hello and get to work! This has been quite an enjoyable learning experience for me!
What is Coworking?
Co-working is a style of work where people work alongside one another but not for the same organization or same project.
For IWNG’s last coworking session we met at the Citizen M hotel lounge and we had present: a journalist/writer, catering business founder, Pilates/spirituality instructor, IWNG founder, e-commerce expert and a food blogger/photographer.
Some of us have full time/part time jobs but like to get together to work on our side projects. Some of us are full time freelancers or entrepreneurs and normally work alone so enjoy a fresh environment and people to talk to.
We all had unique projects to work on but were still able to give relevant feedback and learn from each other. We also could complain about the struggle of taxes and general business challenges. It’s always nice to talk to people who can relate.
The diversity of the group made it even more interesting and meaningful to me. Not only were our career fields different but we came from 6 different countries as well! Connecting with a diverse range of people rather than just within your chosen career field has been shown to be an effective way of networking. It also brought to light the differences in how easy or difficult it is to work and live in the Netherlands depending on visas, country of birth, etc. It made me realize I am privileged and lucky in many ways and to keep that in mind when I’m feeling discouraged.
Finding the Zone
When I first started organizing coworking for IWNG I had to overcome my fear of being socially awkward and push even farther outside of my comfort zone than I already was by living in a new country. I was willing to do this because connecting with like minded people will ultimately help me feel at home and get back into that sweet sweet zone of comfort.
I noticed a lot of ladies who attend these meetings express this same fear, some even had to talk themselves into showing up and we all end up happy that we did show up and pretty proud of ourselves for taking the leap!
Along the way I have learned that I needed to give the sessions some structure. We all loved meeting each other but we would often get distracted with chatting and never actually get to work! So we’ve implemented a new agenda with time for chatting, designated time for work and an opportunity to get feedback on your work or share knowledge.
I’m happy with how the coworking sessions have evolved and that more people are showing interest and joining in. Working beside other professional women gives me a boost of motivation that I need to increase my productivity and reach my goals!
We meet at least once a month, I hope to see you at the next one!