After quitting my job, I used to work at home for a long time. At first it felt convenient. Working in Your Pajamas. Save on commuting time and have lunch closer than across the corner down the street. I did this for more than a year.
I’m not sorry for quiting my convenient day job, there is a freeing feeling when you move to work for yourself and realize you’ve got a business you need to develop.
After a while though it became hard, I realized changing from home to an office environment is actually a good thing, but I had no office to go to. You see where this post is going…right?
– You need to go out of your house!
– You need to get to see other people!
– You need to get to KNOW more people for your networking!
– You need to hear feedback on your ideas and work you do!
All that is missing when working alone at home.
If you disagree with all those, STOP reading right here.
If you agree, Tweet for others!
Solving the problem
Co-working spaces and incubators are two entities that solve this problem, each has it’s benefits, suitable for your time frame and your budget.
CO-working spaces split into 2 types as well, package oriented and place oriented. While with the package you get some added services such as printing services, mail in address and coffee, a place oriented co-working space can actually be just a coffee shop popular among other entrepreneurs. So you buy your coffee and get free Internet access.
Incubators are usually free. It’s a place where you sit and work on your start up. Of course, there are no free meals, It’s free but you usually pay with giving away some of the company’s equity.
CO-working spaces are rent by hour/week/month – Co working spaces are not free, but can be almost free. It really depends on the services they offer.
A co-working space can even be a coffee shop as said, so you get free Wifi and a place to work but pay for the coffee. A good deal!
A cost for a co-working space which gives added services can vary and really depends on the country it’s established at, and where it’s placed around town. So, instead of giving you a single number, here are some examples so you can get a feel for the costs.
The service I’m talking about here is a single day pass to a hot desk in a co working space.
The Sync – Bangkok Thailand – 450 Baht/day (~$14/day)
XinDanwei – Shanghai China – 99 RMB/day (~$15.5/day)
Yuan Fen Flow – Beijing China – Small Purchase at the “The Flow Cafe” located inside the space
2. Commitment & Time
When Choosing between these 2 options your time frame should be in mind. Going into an incubator program (sometimes referred to as accelerator), usually requires a commitment of 1-6 months. You will be accelerated but you are expected to be fully committed to the process and make the best of it. After all, the incubator invests its time and sometimes money in you.
Co working space – Co working spaces have a loose schedule. You are not committed to anybody but yourself (or your other team members). You are not expected to show up at a particular time, and the idea is simply to create a comfortable place to work when you feel like it. SO come and go whenever you like.
Also, you can keep going there as much as you like, it’s not a set program with a set time.
The great benefit incubators have is that they accelerate you. It’s part of their agenda to help you, and therefore they will make their best effort. They will consult you what to do, introduce you to investors and give you different workshops and lecture from people who’ve already done it and you can learn from. They do this because they invested in your company.
The story with co-working spaces is quite different. There is no official guidance and if there is, you need to pay for it. BUT…look around…there are all these other entrepreneurs working around you. They are great people to get a feedback from and even to get introduced to their connections or investors.
Incubators – for the services an incubator is giving an equity is taken and the amount changes from one to another. although public information is hard to find, the rule of thumb is 4-10% equity. “China Accelerator” give the following details on their website about their acceleration program, for their services and funding (RMB 10k for each person in the program + RMB 10k for the companys marketing expenses, business development expenses) they take 4-8% of equity.
Co-work – co working spaces do not take equity for services, as usually you pay for the additional services needed.
Incubators are there for your success , this is why they bring in their network to help as well. They will introduce you to the right professionals to promote your project, and the right investors for you project. This is a valuable advantage to consider.
Co-work – In a co-working space you do your own networking. Its not that whoever runs the place won’t introduce you , but its not a commitment and part of a program. You need to be your own ambassador.
6. Professional Staff
As you probably understood incubators are all about professionalism. So, yea, their staff is suppose to be super professional. I do recommend tough one very important thing. Even if there is a a shiny Incubator who claims to have fabulous record, Check it! check who the professional staff exactly is. it will save you from fraud and help you find the right people to promote your project.
Co-Working spaces also have professional people , it’s just the 1st time you get there you don’t know who is the person you need to ask the right question about your project. So, go around explore, talk to the crowd hanging out there and get to know the people there. Something will come up out of that. Perhaps you’ll find your next partner, Perhaps you’d be lucky and you’lll meet someone important or well connected. They also need a place to work sometime when traveling. don’t you think?!
Please note this regarding the co-working spaces: Go check them out ahead. Usually they give a free trial of a day or more where you can try for your self and sense the atmosphere when working. So keep that in mind and go explore for the co-working space you like.
If you feel completely lost and not sure how and where to start, I’v generted a map of all co-working spaces and incubators in Asia. It’s a crowd sourced map, so I welcome everyone to check and watch it, and more important ,ADD more incubators and co working spaces to the map.
Next, which I’d be super excited and happy about, is if you let others know about the map and TW it, in order to help it grow.