It was early 2011. I had just started my freelancing business and was navigating the waters as a fledgeling entrepreneur. I heard from my friends Adam and Adam about a get-together they had each week called “Chikipah Tuesday” (which actually was on Thursday, but that’s another story). They would meet to work and discuss challenges with their businesses. I loved the idea of meeting regularly with someone I could trust and grow with professionally. So I sent out a Tweet inviting others to join me for coffee one morning and two people showed up. I thought, “Wow! This is awesome.” So I did it again the following week, and the next, and the next. There was a real need here, and it wasn’t unique to me.
It wasn’t long before I stopped feeling like a fish out of water. Our group realized that coffee shops weren’t a long term solution to the creative cluster of people we had formed. Our next interim would be the Richland library, which kept us held over for several months (thanks Ann for letting us use your conference room for so long). At the end of 2012 we hit critical mass and our informal group put pen to paper and founded Room to Think, the Tri-Cities first “official” coworking space. We had over 30 members and hosted on average 3-4 events per week. For me, it was a labor of love helping run the space for the year we were in business.
The connections I made with people during this journey will last with me for the rest of my life. The past three years have been filled with more change and personal growth than any other period of my life. Without the friendships I formed through coworking, I doubt I would have weathered it as well as I have.
For me, coworking isn’t just about work. It’s a way of life. You see the people around you for who they are, and they see you. It’s a way to connect in a world that craves connection.