One of my favorite proverbs, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”, sums up everything I believe about community.
Today, more than ever, being part of a community is invaluable. The pandemic has isolated us causing greater stress handling a chaotic world. Working from home, we may find ourselves disengaging from others who kept us motivated.
While most of us are members of various organizations, clubs, and networking groups, not all build community. There is a significant difference.
I get asked a lot what I mean by “community”. I’ve found the best way to understand the community difference is to ask yourself these four questions.
#1. Can you let your true self show when you are with your group, or do you find yourself acting how you think others expect you to act?
Community happens when members give each other permission to be themselves. Being vulnerable and authentic comes naturally and are rewarded with trusting and supportive relationships. You’ve heard of imposter syndrome, haven’t you? Well, that doesn’t exist within a community.
#2. Do you feel a genuine connection with the members of your group?
A connection means that you’ve gone beyond the surface to get to know other members and to understand their strengths and their particular needs. In community there’s a willingness to help one another face challenges and celebrate achievements without judgment. There’s no scorecard to track how many people I’ve helped and how many have helped me. Because within community, we genuinely wish our fellow members to succeed along with us.
#3. When you’re with your group, is it ok for you to voice a different idea or perspective?
Within a community, exploring diverse perspectives are encouraged because it opens our eyes to new ideas and points of view that we may never have otherwise considered. It’s how we learn and grow as individuals and as community. We may not always agree, but we do respect each other’s right to disagree.
That leads to my last question.
#4. Does your group support your growth?
Sharing of good and not so good experiences is a great way to learn. Openness and curiosity enrich our understanding making us more aware, more productive and leads to continuous personal and professional growth. We all want to keep growing, right?
Community is not just about you or about me, it’s about the collective us.
Whether you seek a business community such as Suite Spotte’s Go-To-Grow community, or a community of fitness or wine enthusiasts, find a group that empowers you to be the best you can be. Such a community will fill you with energy, joy, and give you the confidence to grow far beyond what you ever imagined.
Make the wise choice. Choose community and go far together.
Suite Spotte was fortunate to have local high school interns work at Suite Spotte this summer. Lyons Township High School intern, Joanna, shares her experience at Suite Spotte. Thanks Joanna! We miss you already!
Suite Spotter Mike Bash shares interviewing tips with Summer Interns.
When I first heard about Suite Spotte, I had no idea what coworking was, and had little experience with business in general. Over the course of my few weeks at Suite Spotte, I learned so much about entrepreneurship, coworking environments, and business itself.
I really feel fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to work in a space like Suite Spotte, not only because of the rapidly growing coworking market, but because of the diversity of the people here.
I did get the chance to sit down and talk with a few Suite Spotters, and it was so interesting to see the similarities and differences between people. I really got a sense of the people who come here and why they come here. I found it super interesting and motivating to see so many different people in so many different businesses and fields working in such a collaborative environment.
The main project that I worked on here at Suite Spotte was developing ideas for an online membership site and researching coworking management software. If I’m being honest, some of the work could be tedious at times, but other parts were extremely exciting, and overall I found the experience very valuable.
It allowed me to take steps out of my comfort zone, discover how I can leverage certain aspects of my personality into strengths, and see how well I work on a single project both in a group and individually. The skills that I learned while working at Suite Spotte are skills that I can apply to high school, college, and beyond, and I’m very thankful for that.
Suite Spotte is a really special place. It fosters creativity, productivity and learning, as well as an amazing sense of community and collaboration. I’m so grateful to have been a part of it!
As we get ready to kick off RUSH WEEK at Suite Spotte, fellow coworker Mike Bash of Silcon-Valley-based start up, Eversight, shares his decision to become a Suite Spotte member with Morgan Searles of Patch.com. Check out what Mike has to say here.
Thanks Mike and Morgan for helping to spread the word!
Free Rush Week Coworking Trial Sept. 21-25 at Suite Spotte, in partnership with the La Grange Business Association.
A guest post by Amber Dewey Schultz
I first heard about Suite Spotte at a winter holiday party for my children’s school.
All of us parents were attempting to mingle as only parents of very young children do – in between wiping noses, changing diapers, and rescuing our children who had climbed too high and couldn’t find their way back down.
While chatting with one mother, my ears perked up when she mentioned something about working with her team.
A team? Wow. I had just begun my social media marketing business earlier that year, and only in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d have a team.
I had to know more about her and her success. We chatted as we could, as the children spun and zipped around us. The more she talked, the more I wanted to be a part of this community of entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Western Chicago Suburbs that she seemed to be a part of.
And that’s when I first heard the words “Suite Spotte”.
She told me that her friend Sue had opened a coworking space in La Grange, and entrepreneurs go there to work and collaborate. The new idea of working from a coworking space instead of my home office held so many possibilities for me. I had to learn more immediately.
Not to waste any time, I filled out a “Book a Tour” form on the Suite Spotte website the next day, making what I think was one of the best decisions so far for my business.
Since then, I’ve become a regular at Suite Spotte, taking advantage of every bit of the collaboration and community that I can. All that I’ve learned and experienced could hardly be included in a single post, but I will break the biggest benefits up into three main categories…
When I arranged for my first Day Pass, I was expecting everyone to be heads-down working, typing furiously or sitting in with a phone glued to their ear, in their own little world.
It couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are moments where the only sounds in Suite Spotte are the click-click-clicks that indicate that deadlines loom, usually there is a quiet buzz of conversation happening somewhere in the space. People sharing ideas or asking advice. One member telling another that she referred a client his way. A laugh over a miscommunication. (Did she say eyeliner or highlighter?) Without the hierarchy and drama of a typical one-business space, it is office culture at its best.
2. Ideas and Inspiration
Suite Spotte is never short of well-timed ideas and advice. If ever I have a question, no matter how basic it might be, other members are willing to give me not only an answer, but more ideas to expand upon my original idea, resources, or even a helping hand. I often leave Suite Spotte at the end of the day with my head swimming not only with thoughts of work I need to do, but also inspiration to make my business even better.
And because all of the members have different backgrounds and experience, I’ve been able to expand my vision and see a problem from angles that I never expected. I’ve found this to be especially true during the Entrepreneurial Masterminds, which are members-only lunches every Wednesday where one of the attendees is put in the “hot seat” and can either share something happening within their business, ask for advice, or show off a tool that has brought them success. Every week, even if I’m not in the “hot seat”, the ideas push me to take my business further and think further. Which inevitably leads to…
Working out of Suite Spotte has certainly set my business in the right direction. It has offered not just a space to work and focus, but the inspiration (and occasionally referrals!) necessary to grow. With this growth, I have even put together a small virtual team with whom I collaborate, checking that dream off my list.
I know that my business wouldn’t be as successful today if I had never found this coworking space.
Now I’m no longer an outsider looking in on an exclusive club of entrepreneurs in the Western Suburbs. I am a part of this exciting and thriving community. And I couldn’t be happier.
Amber Dewey Schultz, founder of Clique Social + Design, helps service-based entrepreneurs and small business owners convey their message, connect with their fans, and drive sales through strategic social media. Known for her innovative marketing strategies, Amber has used social media to amplify online launches, design passive income streams, and grow raving audiences for local and national clients.
When not busily working and collaborating at Suite Spotte, you can find her on kid-friendly adventures around the Western Suburbs with her husband Ryan and two children, Vivienne and Milo.
Collaboration (or “collab” as we call it here at Suite Spotte) is where true magic happens. People with different talents and different perspectives seek a common goal, which happens often in a coworking space. The collaborative whole is much better than each of its respective parts because each person contributes to the group like a jigsaw puzzle – each individual is incredibly integral to the sum of its parts.
When you have a team of people that works remotely, communication can often become an obstacle. As small business technology focuses on more entrepreneurial problems, it has acknowledged this and responded with tools that help break down the barriers to communication between team members and facilitate team growth.
Here are a few collaboration tools that we love:
Project Management Tools
Founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-engineer Justin Rosenstein, Asana enables teamwork without email. Each team gets a workspace, which contains projects, and projects contain tasks.
Tasks can include notes, comments, attachments and tags. Users can follow tasks and get project updates to their inboxes. The application is free for up to 15 people with endless amounts of tasks. Premium plans exist for larger organizations.
Trello is a free system that uses a webpage format called a “board” to create lists for your project. The lists are broken up into cards that can be dragged between lists.
The cards can have pictures, files, hyperlinks and checklists. You can color-code cards for better organization. The progress meter lets you keep real-time track of your project’s progress. It’s a really great tool for visual people with its drag-and-drop style.
Slack is like a project management and chat tool all in one. Separate your chats by projects or by people. You can name rooms for various clients or functions within your company. Slack eliminates the need for email with the ability to attach documents right within the interface.
Employees can use this platform via web, desktop or mobile to chat with their colleagues, share documents and set statuses. Because it’s now owned by Microsoft, you can even integrate it with SharePoint.
Cloud Storage Tools
Dropbox is a must have for every business owner. Store and share articles, videos and more from any device, from anywhere. You can share your folders with an unlimited number of people, and that folder will show up in that person’s folder list. Best of all, Dropbox is free initially, with higher storage plans starting at $9.99/month.
Google Docs is free, and better yet, it integrates with your Gmail and your Google Calendar. You can make changes directly onto the documents without having to download them first, and others that you have given viewing permission to can see your documents in real time.
What tools do you use to collaborate with your team? Share them below!