Skylight Coworking: A Community in the Making
By: Johanna Warren*
The term coworking was first coined by a prominent American game designer, Bernie DeKoven, in 1995 to describe a group of independent professionals, entrepreneurs, techies, and startups sharing rented desk space where they could have the freedom of working whenever they wanted while still getting the benefit of an open, collaborative community. However, it wasn’t until 10 years later in 2005 that the first coworking space was finally opened by Brad Neuberg in San Francisco in a move that led to an explosion of coworking spaces around the world and completely revolutionized the way we work. There are now close to 2500 coworking spaces worldwide, and every year that number has been growing exponentially. No longer do we have to suffer the confines of a 9-5 desk job or the distractions of a coffee shop or home office. Now we can enjoy the complete freedom of working when we want and how we want at an affordable price with like-minded people that fosters a productive and innovative environment.
It was these core values of collaboration, openness, community, and accessibility that first drew Shannon Coghlan Reiss to the concept of coworking back in 2009 when a personal friend and freelancer suggested that she should check it out. Having always been entrepreneurial minded, Shannon was in the process of starting up her own PR business and had been seeking out freelance graphic designers, web developers, and the like who could potentially help her with her client project load when the time came. Of course, what better place could you go to look for freelancers than a coworking space! Luckily for her, one of the most world-renowned coworking spaces, Indy Hall, was located right here in Philadelphia. From the moment she walked in, she was hooked. Her first job out of college had been at an association management firm where she quickly developed a love for community building and management, a central theme of coworking and particularly Indy Hall.
At that time, Shannon decided she would like nothing more than to open her own coworking business close to home in the suburbs of Philly. She worked tirelessly for 4 years putting together her business plan, saving money, and finding a prime location for a new coworking space, all while continuing to work at her executive office job in addition to operating her PR business. Finally in November of 2012, Shannon opened the doors to Skylight Coworking, her very own professional community, in Phoenixville. Since then, the Skylight community has steadily grown. All of the members come for their own reasons from being unable to work through the distractions at home, to just needing a professional work address, or even just wanting to be part of a professional, working community.
Karen Nickerson, one of Skylight’s newer members, had been looking for a change from her solitary work routine at home and explained, “I started working independently as a freelance designer last year. Having spent many years in a team-oriented corporate atmosphere, I sought an open office environment where I could still engage with other professionals, share experiences and ideas, and put those ideas to work on a daily basis.” Just before joining Skylight, she received a fortune cookie that stated, “A new environment makes all the difference in the world.” She knew she had found the change she had been looking for after joining the Skylight Community, adding that “Skylight Coworking brings all of the best aspects of a working environment together in one upbeat location.” The members love the fact that they can enjoy a friendly, inviting atmosphere while still being productive and innovative.
This ability to share ideas has really been a key aspect of Skylight Coworking and is one of the most valuable benefits that members enjoy. Another member, Pam, who has been a part of the Skylight community for some time now couldn’t be happier, stating that “Skylight Coworking is the catalyst I didn’t know I needed in my life. Having other people to bounce ideas off of or even just grab coffee with is life-changing after working at home for so long.” Like many people who work from home, Pam had fallen into the trap of having too much freedom, as strange as that sounds. Being stuck at home all day – a place that should be considered somewhere to get away from the demands of the office and to relax – makes it difficult to get into a working mind-set, and this was taking a toll on her ability to get things accomplished. Pam explained, “Before Skylight Coworking, I didn’t have to “show up” anywhere, and it showed in my work. Having a coworking space to go to has taught me to take my ideas and work more seriously and I can’t imagine a more valuable service.” Now Pam comes in regularly, so she can work without the distractions of home, and she’s been more productive than ever before. Shannon commented that “What sets Skylight Coworking apart is that it provides a professional space where people can get work done regardless of the community.”
Skylight Coworking is one of the few coworking spaces located in the suburbs, which can be entirely different from coworking in the city in some ways. Members have different needs, different budgets, and different reasons for joining a coworking community. But Shannon has showed that she is willing and able to accommodate the various needs of all of her members. Matt Comber, who has been a part-time member almost since the beginning, had originally been on the fence about joining, as much as he needed a space to work. He had tried out a few different working arrangements for a couple years, first working from his home in Phoenixville and then at his parents’ house, but the distractions were too great. Sometime later, his wife saw that Skylight Coworking was opening up on Bridge Street close to home. Matt had never heard of coworking before but stated that “it looked like a place that could work for me.” Shortly after, he stopped in on a Friday afternoon and received a warm welcome from Shannon, who explained to him all about coworking and what she was trying to accomplish. She invited him to come in the following Monday for her “soft launch” for a free day of coworking, which he did and enjoyed!
At that point, Matt started considering how he could make Skylight his permanent office, but there were a couple things that held him back: the need for a private conference space for calls and webinars; the need for a permanent desk where he could set up his equipment; and the cost. He couldn’t afford the full-time membership, but he wanted to be able to make it work and so did Shannon. Just a few weeks later, she announced “punch cards,” allowing people to pay only for the days they came in to work at a discounted rate. For Matt, this was perfect. He could come in as much or as little as he liked at an affordable price, and so far, it’s worked out great. Matt exclaimed, “I love it. Shannon is awesome and the people are interesting and fun, and it gives me just a cool place to hang out and work. I highly recommend it to anyone needing a place to set up shop for as little as a day here and there to full-time.” Since then, Skylight has become even more affordable for its members after dropping the price to just $100 for a full-time membership under a one-size-fits-all package. Since opening in November, Shannon has listened carefully to the needs of her members and has adapted appropriately, allowing both her business and her community to grow. If you haven’t had a chance to try it out for yourself, then stop on by! New faces are always welcome, and the Skylight Coworking members would love to have you join our ever growing community.
If you would like to learn more about Skylight Coworking or try it out for yourself, please contact Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 484-802-2638.
*Johanna Warren is a 2013 graduate of Ursinus College where she double majored in International Relations and French. She worked as an intern at Skylight Coworking for four months and hopes to find full-time employment as a policy or research analyst or administrative assistant in a think tank or non-profit organization before returning to graduate school.
The One Size Fits All Membership
Starting April 1, Skylight Coworking is moving to a One Size Fits All membership model. That’s right, use Skylight as your permanent office, your virtual office, and everything in between. No more punchcards, no more part-time/full-time/lite/lite-plus/etc.
For $100 a month, all members can take advantage of all amenities.
Why? Since Skylight Coworking launched 4 months ago, we’ve listened carefully to the needs of our coworkers and community members. One thing we learned is that coworking in the suburbs is nothing at all like coworking in the city. Our members have vastly different needs, different budgets, and different reasons for coworking. No matter how many options we put on our membership menu, it seems someone always needs something special just for them.
So, we’re making it simple.
$100 a month = Make Your Own Membership
Come part-time, come full-time. Come 5 mornings a week, come only at lunchtime. Spend a week at Skylight and then a week at home. Park yourself here 5 days a week from 9-to-5 , or heck, just use the mailing address if that’s all you need. One thing’s for sure, if you’re paying $100 a month, you’ll get your butt in here to get your money’s worth, and you’ll get a whole bunch of work done while you’re here. And if you were already coming to Skylight as a full-time or part-time member, then congratulations – you’re about to save a lot of dough.
What’s the catch? Look, I’m always chasing after you guys to find out if you’re coming back next month and then I have to wrestle you for your credit card. Starting April 1, we’re moving to a recurring billing model. On the 1st of each month, you’ll be billed $100 automatically. (You have to fill out some really simple paperwork* to make this happen, but I promise it’s not too painful). You can still cancel your membership at any time with no penalty. But let’s face it, this will make things a whole lot easier on both of us.
Think of it like a gym membership for your business.
What happens before April 1? You keep your current membership package until then. If your current package expires after March 1 but before April 1, you get the rest of March for free (ifyou complete my really simple paperwork*). If you’re a current punchcard holder, you can keep your punchcard until it’s all used up and then we’ll get you onto the $100 One Size Fits All Membership after that. Or you can apply the value of your remaining punches toward your first $100 month.
Sound fair? I thought so.
Don’t like it? Call me. We’ll figure it out.
The One Size Fits All Membership Amenities:
Automatic recurring monthly billing on the 1st of every month
Use of office space and shared desks - up to 5 days per week, available Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm
Bridge Street mailing address
Wireless printer and scanner
Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Microwave
Cool downtown Phoenixville location
Enthusiastic, motivated, like-minded coworkers
Some of our members are keyholders. Keyholders are members in trust. They’ve been coming to Skylight Coworking loyally and they help me take care of the space. They’ve earned my trust. If you feel you’ve earned my trust enough to be a keyholder and are willing to take some of the responsibilities of being a keyholder (such as: you can’t forget to lock the doors if you’re the last person to leave; you need to make sure there’s water in the coffee maker; and you’ll talk to potential clients who walk through the front door about why Skylight Coworking if so freaking awesome), then talk to me.
The next time you come in, mosey on over to me and ask for the really simple paperwork*. Then hand me your credit card. We’ll get you all squared away. Once you’re all squared away, I can announce this package to the Phoenixville entrepreneurial and freelancing community and surrounding neighborhoods, and we can start sharing our coworking space with many more very cool members like yourselves!
*I can email you the really simple paperwork if you prefer to complete it on your computer and email it back, I’m fond of paperless transactions too!
We are: Freelancers, Telecommuters, Start-Ups. We like: Entrepreneurship, Technology, Creativity, Collaboration. We share: Workspace, Enthusiasm, Friendship, Knowledge. We’re coworking in Phoenixville. Want to join us?
Instead of working at home, members of Skylight Coworking work separately… together. We have the option to work anywhere we want, but we prefer not to be alone. Some of us come here just to work, but most of us come here to be around other people while we work.
The atmosphere at Skylight Coworking is casual but professional. We are driven by enthusiasm for our work and a desire to help each other. When we start talking, creativity and productivity happens. Being next to each other while we work hard keeps us all working hard. And sometimes, we play hard too.
We’re at 214 Bridge Street in downtown Phoenixville PA. That’s just 20 minutes from the King of Prussia Mall, 40 minutes from downtown Philadelphia, and 20 minutes from The Main Line.
Want to know more? Simply email email@example.com or call Shannon at 484-802-2638.
Skylight Coworking is a collaborative coworking environment. We offer shared desks, office space, and semi-private conference areas for independent workers who require a professional environment as well as camaraderie and friendships during the workday. Our businesses include technology workers, creative freelancers, and innovative entrepreneurs who are bold enough to operate independently but crave a friendly, collaborative workspace.
We are: Shannon, Matt, Pam, Bruce, Jason, David, Joe, Pat, Beth, Donna, Julie, Lori, Glenn, Bob, and Ami. We also include Kirk, Matthew, Ray, Dave, Chris, Doug, Clint, and Kevin. The only thing missing is… you?
Our very awesome workspace is located at 214 Bridge Street in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. We operate in a cool downtown environment among many popular restaurants, bars, pubs, galleries, shops, spas, and recreation areas. If you are interested in hanging out with the smart folks at Skylight Coworking, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share the coworking love and “Like” Skylight Coworking on Facebook for updates on networking events, freelance job opportunities, and our recent accomplishments. For a list of upcoming member activities and events, please join our Meet-Up Page at www.meetup.com/skylightcoworking. We look forward to connecting with you on the social network ;)
Exclusive Meeting Space:
Rental negotiable based on hours, dates, and numbers of attendees. Call for a proposal.
Wi-Fi Internet Access
Modern, open office space with desks, tables, chairs
Semi-private conference area with private kitchen
Lounge seating area with laptop trays, additional counter-height seating, and large screen TV/monitor
Wireless printer and scanner
Plenty of electrical outlets to keep your devices charged
Kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, dishwasher, storage area
An awesome community of like-minded professionals who are looking to network and connect
Access to Skylight Coworking Members-Only Events and discounts to open events
Walking distance to numerous restaurants and bars, shops and galleries for socializing or client entertaining
Business mailing address for Recurring Monthly Members (214 Bridge Street, Phoenixville PA 19460)
Permanent desks available upon request for Recurring Monthly Members
1. If you like coworking, do your part to rescue your friends from their cubicles and offices. Spread the word of coworking and share this with your former colleagues: The world is a better place when you control your destiny.
2. Respect the space and give back what you take. We love when you borrow, so please bring back borrowed material so we can keep lending. If you drink a ton of our coffee, that’s cool. We like to see you wired and energized. So every now and then, bring some extra coffee with you so you can see us all jiggety too. Clean up after yourself. You break it, you bought it.
3. Please collaborate with your coworkers as often as possible. You have great ideas, and so do we. Let’s share our ideas and maybe find some new revenue streams along the way. However, if a coworker is having a particularly stressful day and is looking for some alone time, that’s cool Stu. Let’s leave him zen for now, ok? (Not sure if someone wants to talk to you today? See this: http://vimeo.com/6922393)
4. Embrace our differences. We love debates, and we don’t all have to think the same way. But we’re all entitled to our opinions, and no one likes being bullied. We have respect for all the many types of people who enjoy coworking. In other words, don’t be a jerk yo.
2-For-1 Fridays Are Here!
Join us at Skylight Coworking for 2-For-1 Fridays for a limited time only. Bring a friend with you, and the two of you will only pay for one Drop-In Day (That’s $25 for the BOTH of you to cowork at Skylight Coworking in Phoenixville)! Are you already a Member? That’s excellent - YOU can bring a friend for FREE on Fridays. Let’s make Fridays even MORE FUN and MORE PRODUCTIVE at Skylight Coworking by showing our friends how cool it is to cowork! Don’t forget, we open the Beer Fridge at 2:14 pm each and every Friday. Everyone works better with a buzz ;)
Please RSVP on our Meet-Up Page at www.meetup.com/skylightcoworking so we have a general idea of how many additional coworkers to expect on Two For One Fridays. An RSVP is not necessary to attend, just show up. But it does help us plan accordingly.
*The regular one day Drop-In rate is $25 per day per person. On Two For One Fridays, just pay for one Drop-In to get two people a seat at Skylight Coworking. Existing members can bring a friend for free on Two For One Fridays. Skylight Coworking is open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
Shannon Coghlan Reiss
Skylight Coworking. Grab a seat. Get to Work. Ask for Help.
214 Bridge St.
Phoenixville, PA 19460
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We look forward to connecting with you!
To celebrate Worldwide Jelly Week, Skylight Coworking is offering a free day of coworking between the hours of 9:30 am - 4:30 pm on Thursday, January 17 for all freelancers, entrepreneurs, start-up junkies, technology workers, telecommuters, and all other independent professionals who are looking to network, collaborate, and get some work done.
Amenities at Skylight Coworking include shared desk space, free Wi-Fi, a small semi-private conference room, kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, and coffee machine, a comfortable work space and lounge area, and a community of like-minded, smart, and fun independent professionals.
What is Worldwide Jellyweek 2013? Learn here: http://jellyweek.tumblr.com/
To participate in our free coworking day, you must RSVP on our Meet-Up page www.meetup.com/skylightcoworking, so that we can plan accordingly. We look forward to seeing you here!
Well sheesh. How many desks do you need?
Rates? Click here!
Did you know that Skylight Coworking frequently posts pictures and news on our Twitter feed and Facebook pages? Here’s how you can keep up to date with everything happening at Skylight Coworking by using the social web:
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