This week from “The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”

Being a startup entrepreneur can be lonely. I know. I have started a business (or three) at my dining room table. Long hours of working hard with no one else around can feel isolating and uninspired. Nowadays, I thank my lucky stars for the amazing colleagues I get to work with at The Life Guidance Center. Just having someone there to bounce things off of or to vent about something helps me to live a more fulfilled life both personally and professionally.

As a Business Coach, I am passionate about helping my clients grow their babies. Hopefully, that means leaving the egg nest (see: dining room) and finding office space. With a fast growing place like Charleston SC, that is not always easy, due mainly to the rising costs of rent.

This week, I got introduced to the concept of co-working space, done right, at Local Works Charleston, an offshoot of Lowcountry Local First. Wikipedia defines “co-working” as not only an open, shared working environment, but a place where there is a social gathering of an independent group of people who share similar values. So what was the different “take” I saw at Local Works? Their emphasis on COMMUNITY.

That all starts with friendly staff like Shari Knight-Gillum and Larry Downey (pictured showing the new article in Charleston Living about their visionary founder Jamee Haley; read it at http://bit.ly/1UXNhw4.) Larry’s title is Community Manager, which he said has dual meaning: To manage the community of folks who rent space at Local Works (called “members”), as well to help manage the organization’s relations with the Charleston locale. He is very good at what he does and goes about it in a humble way. “Folks that come in here want to be a part of a community”, he emphasized.

My time spent with Larry touring the space included many fascinating discoveries and people… the captivating tables created by Perrin Wordworking out of sunken 100-year old cypress trees… the community kitchen countertop from Fisher Recycling made of leftover glass from Charleston candlemaker Rewined (repurposed wine bottles to candles to countertops; can you say “recycling squared”?)… and how about the farm fresh eggs from Lowcountry Street Grocery available in the office fridge to any member by an honor system? Sunny side up please!

I bumped into talented fellow playwright David Lee Nelson and Ginny Deerin, the dynamic social entrepreneur and former mayoral candidate (she is heading up the new Lowcountry Lowline park.) I saw many other creatives, non-profits and all-around cool entrepreneurs happily working away (future blog on them.)

So what does it take to become a member of Local Works Charleston? Just a $150 bucks a month to start. From a coaching perspective, I tell myself that is a good deal. Want to learn more, become part of a co-working community? Visit www.localworkscharleston.org or ping Larry at: larry@lowcountrylocalfirst.org. Be sure to tell him to show you the eggs.

The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is a weekly 500-word blog article on LinkedIn by Thomas Heath, CLC that explores the world of business from an entrepreneur’s perspective. Its goal is to educate, enlighten and get conversations started. Join him with a Share or Comment, he loves to respond.

#localworks #lowcountrylocalfirst #rewindcandles #thomasheathclc

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