TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Quotes From Icons That Will Definitely Inspire You

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Let this be a year of inspirations

With 2015 right around the corner, that means new goals, new challenges, new opportunities and new milestones await. Here are 10 great quotes from successful entrepreneurs to inspire you to come out swinging in 2015, whether that involves growing a current business or starting a new venture.

1. I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. — Donald Trump

No successful entrepreneur starts something with the goal of being mildly successful, especially not Donald Trump. If you truly believe that you have an amazing idea or think you can expand your business, then go for it. The “go big or go home” mentality has worked very well for many — will you be next?

Related: 50 Inspirational Entrepreneurial Quotes

2. Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough. — Mark Zukerberg

Sometimes, windows of opportunity don’t remain open for too long. If you have an idea or see an opportunity, strike and move fast. It is impossible to tiptoe along and avoid all mistakes or pitfalls. Those that wait, or move slow due to being over-cautious will sometimes miss out.

Facebook was struggling with monetization when the majority of its user base became mobile, but its team moved fast and now the company is beating Wall Street’s expectations.

3. When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity. Thinking simply and clearly is hard to do. — Richard Branson

Look how most successful startups get off the ground. The companies set specific milestones that must be met in order for the concept to advance to the next stage. The longer it takes to hit each milestone, the greater the odds of the startup failing.

Don’t make things harder than they need to be in the beginning.

4. Going from PayPal, I thought: ‘Well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?’ Not from the perspective, ‘What’s the best way to make money?’ — Elon Musk

When your product or service impacts people and changes the way we do things, it can be extremely rewarding. The best ideas always come from truly passionate individuals that started their company because they wanted to solve a problem. Musk recently decided to allow other companies to use Tesla Motors’ patents — because he feels it will benefit the world, not his net worth.

5. To get GoPro started, I moved back in with my parents and went to work seven days a week, 20 hours a day. I wrote off my personal life to make headway on it. — Nick Woodman

You have to be willing to make sacrifices, and in Woodman’s case those sacrifices paid off big on June 26 of this year when his company went public — he even got to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock market.

6. You always hear the phrase, ‘money doesn’t buy you happiness.’ But I always in the back of my mind figured a lot of money will buy you a little bit of happiness. But it’s not really true. — Sergey Brin

If you were a diehard baseball fan and you were presented with the following two options, which one would you pick?

  • Start a Major League Baseball blog that allowed you to travel around the country and watch baseball games all day. Business revenue potential: $350,000 a year.
  • Open a sewage treatment plant that required you to literally work with crap all day. Business revenue potential: $850,000 a year.

I would hope the first one would appeal to you much more. There is nothing more rewarding than doing something you absolutely love.

Related: 10 Brilliant Quotes From Warren Buffett, America’s Second-Richest Person

7. Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession. — Mark Cuban

You have to love what you do and become completely obsessive with every aspect of your business. If not, you will get burnt out quickly, leading to failure. Nobody is going to care about your company more than you, so be prepared to set the bar high and work harder and longer than anyone else. The only way you will remain sane is by enjoying every minute of it.

8. If you’re competitor focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer focused allows you to be more pioneering. — Jeff Bezos

Keeping your sights set on your competition will actually slow your growth. Constantly watching them takes your focus away from the one thing that is responsible for your success — your customer. Put all of your energy into creating happy customers and you won’t have to worry about the competition because they will be behind you.

9. Don’t be threatened by people smarter than you. — Howard Schultz

I love speaking with people that are smarter than I am. Anyone who truly believes that they are the know-all authority within their industry is delusional. Every entrepreneur has strengths, weaknesses and room to grow. Embrace every opportunity to speak with fellow entrepreneurs that are smarter, more established and more successful. That is priceless education.

10. Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles. — Steve Jobs

This couldn’t be any more accurate. My online marketing company works with established companies as well as startups. At first, they all want the same thing: more website traffic. Well, more traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more sales and revenue. Focusing on quality traffic over quantity always produces better results. Less is often more.

Related: 13 Movie Quotes to Push You to Excel at the Entrepreneurial Mindset

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Documentaries Every Entrepreneur Should Watch on Netflix Now

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Burt's Buzz poster. Everyday Pictures

As the new year sets in, bookmark these entrepreneurial, inspiring films now. Make it a truly motivating year

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

After Thanksgiving dinner, as the food-coma sets in and you suddenly realize the need to capture your extended family’s attention—or, let’s face it, you need a little “me time”—here are five films you should stream on Netflix.

1) Burt’s Buzz:

This film chronicles the humble beginnings of Burt’s Bees‘ namesake and co-founder Burt Shavitz and his Machiavellian struggle with co-founder Roxanne Quimby.

2) Inequality for All:

Former secretary of labor Robert Reich, with a little help from entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, explains the increasing problem of income inequality in America and its implications for our economy.

3) Happy:

Scientists, researchers, and thought leaders explain the latest information surrounding happiness (and reveal why your vast salary isn’t making you much happier).

4) Somm:

For all the winos out there, Somm follows the lives of a few folks compromising time, relationships, and other goals to study for and hopefully pass the Master Sommelier Exam.

5) 20 Feet From Stardom:

With interviews from music’s biggest stars, 20 Feet From Stardom unpacks the lives of backup singers and their immense contribution to the hits we all know and love.

TIME Careers & Workplace

What You Can Learn From 8 Kid Millionaires

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These teenagers have a thing or two to share with aspiring entrepreneurs, both young and old

There’s no age limit when it comes to being a millionaire these days, and a handful of kids have struck it rich well before they can legally vote. They’re small business owners, inventors and entrepreneurs. I started as an entrepreneur when I was around 11 years old with my first candy stand, which grew to four candy stands, but that was nothing compared to some of these kids!

There’s is no age limit, either, when it comes to learning from others. These impressive kids learned from their own failures early in life but determined to keep going and to do it better the next time around. If you haven’t made your first million yet, the teen next door might actually be able to teach you something.

Check out these eight kids who made a million, or more, and what you can learn from their success:

1. Evan of EvanTube

With the help of his dad, this 8-year-old launched his own YouTube channel, titled EvanTube, and rakes in about $1.3 million each year. He reviews toys, talks about things that other kids his age are into, and he’s secured an audience that will grow with him. There are quite a few YouTube millionaires, so if you have the charisma to pull it off, it’s a free avenue for creating your own brand. Unfortunately, few entrepreneurs have the cuteness factor of Evan on their side.

Related: Young Millionaires: How These Entrepreneurs Under 30 Are Changing the World

2. Christian Owens

His motivator was Steve Jobs, and that’s how Owens made his first million at the age of 16. He got his own PC computer as an adolescent (soon followed by a Mac) and taught himself web design in middle school. By the age of 14, he’d started his own design company. Founder of Mac Bundle Box, he negotiated with developers and manufacturers to offer simple, discounted packages for his customers. The lesson? Follow your passions, claim your mentors and find a way to give people what they want for less.

3. Adam Hildreth

When he was just 14, Hildreth got together with friends to create Dubit—a social networking site. It was wildly popular in the UK and by his sixteenth birthday he had nearly $3.7 million in the bank. He then moved on to developing Crisp, which is a software company that helps protects kids from online predators. There’s nothing wrong with jumping on a trending bandwagon, but if you want continued success then find a way to branch out from it and innovate.

4. Cameron Johnson

Johnson was asked by his parents to develop invitation cards for a neighborhood party when he was 11. The guests adored the cards and started paying him to craft their own personal use cards. He founded “Cheers and Tears” by 14, then Cameron moved on to online advertising and software development. By high school, his monthly income was around $400,000. The lesson? Do everything well and don’t be afraid to try new things (or industries).

5. Geoff, Dave, and Catherine Cook

These dynamic siblings are behind, “MyYearbook,” a (still) popular social media site that’s based on where you went to school. These kids had just moved to a new school and wanted to make new friends, so an online yearbook seemed like the perfect place to start. This was before Facebook was a household name. The lesson? Sometimes nepotism works, and if you find a disparity in the market, you can be the one to fill it.

Related: These Siblings Are Cooking Up America’s First Meatless Butcher Shop

6. Farrhad Acidwalla

In between attending school in Mumbai, India, this 16-year-old is the founder of Rockstah Media. It’s a comprehensive marketing agency boasting 20 employees around the world. “My team is the backbone of my company,” says Acidwalla. The lesson? Everyone has the same hours in the day, so if even those with limitations (like being a kid) can grow a company like this, so can you.

7. Emil Motycka

What started as a lawn mowing business when he was nine turned into Motycka Enterprises by the time he was 18. In order to keep up with all the demands of a teenager, he works the graveyard shift and says, “I sleep four hours a night on average” and call it sleep for the week. That amount of sleep might not be the best advice, but perseverance, and being willing to do what it takes to get the work done, can certainly get you to his level.

8. Ryan of “Ryan’s Barkery”

One of the handful of kids featured on “Shark Tank,” as an elementary school kid, Ryan raked in $25,000 for 25 percent of his business. Now Ryan is 12 years old, and is the young entrepreneur and founder of a dog treat bakery. He is building his business in an industry (pet pampering) that’s recession-proof. The lesson? Find your own niche, it’s there waiting for you.

Think you’re beyond the age limit to make a million? Think again. Experience and maturity come with their own benefits.

Related: 5 Young Millionaires Instigating Innovation

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

6 Things You Should Definitely Do Before New Year’s Eve

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Don’t forget to do the following before you unplug

startupcollective

Question: What is one thing entrepreneurs forget to automate, systemize, or build processes around before they shut down for holidays?

Finances

“Before you take off, ensure that the finances of your business are handled, including paying employees, accepting automated payments from clients, handing pay failures and paying your own invoices. By automating, you won’t return to an empty bank account and overdue bills.” — Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

Time Management

“Entrepreneurs and business owners don’t plan on not being busy. Holidays are meant for friends and family, and although we need to see business boom, you can still plan to focus on your social time without the distractions of a phone, tablet or laptop. Plan your days to be carefree, and “budget” time to check in with work — not the other way around.” — Grant Gordon, Solomon Consulting Group

Holiday Shipping and Returns

“Clearly communicating holiday shipping and return information before shutting down is crucial to customer conversions and satisfaction. You can do this in several ways. Your can use language such as, “final day to order to receive by Christmas” on product descriptions and shipping pages. You can also set up an email autoresponder for the emails typically associated with customer questions.” — Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

Customer Support

“You can’t assume that your customers aren’t working just because you’ve taken off for the holidays. You can’t even assume that your customers celebrate the same holidays that you do. So make sure your customers can at least get a basic level of assistance while you’re away. Even writing up fixes for the most common problems they might encounter is a step in the right direction.” — Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

Proper Notifications

“Make sure you clearly communicate to people that you’ll be out of office, whether it’s through an email autoresponder or a message you post on your Facebook page. As long as you take the due diligence to announce your impending shut down, your customers and partners will be mostly satisfied with their inability to reach you. ” — Andy Karuza, SpotSurvey

Team Vacation Tracking

“Because our teammates have different dates they are taking off during the holidays, we wanted to be respectful of everyone’s days off. So, we had everyone update the company calendar with the dates they will be available and unavailable during the holidays.” — Nanxi Liu, Enplug

This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

TIME Careers & Workplace

16 Productivity Tools Nobody Can Live Without

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The list includes Google Docs to WordPress to Zapier

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

Productivity is the name of the game for entrepreneurs. The good news is that there are thousands of amazing software applications out there, designed to make your life easier. The bad news is that you don’t have time to try thousands of software applications. Which ones are worth your time?

In this post, we’ll take a look at 16 software applications that I use almost every day — and discuss why you should too.

Project management

1. Asana

You’re a busy person. At times, it all can feel overwhelming. Asana is a cloud-based project management software that helps you keep it together. (Trust me, I’ve tried them all.) Flexibility is built into Asana’s architecture. Each “task”, or “subtask”, can be associated with a larger “project” and “department.” In addition, you can even assign recurring tasks to yourself or team, which makes life so much easier. Stop trying to remember all the things you’re supposed to do and let Asana structure your life.

2. Google Docs

Many entrepreneurs already have a Gmail address, but not every ‘trep knows about the power of Google Docs. By utilizing Google Docs, you can instantly create shareable documents, spreadsheets and presentations that can be updated by any team member with an Internet connection. Take that “track changes”!

Related 13 Business Productivity Apps for the Real-World Entrepreneur

Staffing

3. oDesk & Elance

oDesk and Elance (now in the process of merging) are freelance marketplaces, which allow you to quickly identify, engage and hire freelancers from all over the globe. Need a website developer or content writer? Don’t hire an employee; instead, work with a freelancer. At last count, there were more than 1 million freelance contractors available via these marketplaces.

4. Outsourcing placement services

If you do much hiring of freelancers, you’ve probably considered outsourcing the outsourcing. There are several great services that can help, each with varying business models. For example, Bolton Remote will build your team with vetted, offshore contractors. Another provider, Hubstaff, starts with your project in mind and then matches you with project specialists. Using an outsourcing placement service will save time instead of trying to do the recruiting yourself. These firms typically offer free recruiting and placement services but take a cut of the hourly rate.

Sales & Marketing

5. Google Webmaster Tools

Everyone knows about Google Analytics, but are you using Google Webmaster Tools? As a marketer, I view Webmaster Tools as one of the most important free tools at my disposal. You want to get found on Google, right? Why not listen to what Google is telling you via Webmaster Tools?

6. Google Adwords Keyword Planner

How are your competitors getting found online? Google Adwords Keyword Planner helps you answer this question. The word “Adwords” may give some ‘treps pause, as it sounds like you will have to purchase advertising. Not true. Google has made its Keyword Planner tool available to anyone with a Google account (you must first click through the Adwords entry portal). Use the Adwords Keyword Planner to see what keywords are generating the most search volume in your niche and identify opportunities to capture traffic.

7. WordPress CMS

Sure, all of the hosting companies offer a basic CMS (content management system). But do they offer the flexibility that you need to get found online? Probably not. WordPress is an open-source CMS that you can install, customize and continuously optimize. You will likely need someone with development experience to help with set up, but once the template is installed, you’re probably smart enough to publish content without any assistance.

8. Amazon’s Self-Publishing Tools (Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace, ACX)

Always wanted to be an author but not sure where to start? Have you considered self-publishing? Thanks to Amazon, you can. Kindle Direct Publishing allows you to get the word out via e-books, CreateSpace helps you develop a print edition and ACX is the audio publishing division. I’ve used all three to develop my book.

9. HitTail

Deciding what to blog about can become time consuming. HitTail analyzes the data in your Google Webmaster Tools account and makes recommendations for long-tail words to write about. In addition, HitTail has a network of skilled writers who can create the content for you.

Related 5 Habits of Productivity App Super Users

10. Copyscape

If you outsource any or all of your content writing, you need to make sure your content is original. Paste content into Copyscape’s analyzer tool, and you’ll instantly know whether the content is original.

11. MailChimp

Effective email marketing involves more than occasionally blasting out a newsletter. To build an effective email marketing strategy, you need a tool packed with functionality. MailChimp seems to be the best system out there, offering elegant, intuitive newsletter templates, advanced list segmentation features and marketing automation capabilities.

12. Zoho CRM

If you’re looking for a free CRM system, Zoho is probably the one for you. Why? It comes down to the integration possibilities. For example, Zoho integrates with JotForm and Unbounce simply by adding your API key. This means that within seconds, web leads will automatically be sent to your CRM. Pretty powerful for being free.

Time Management

13. iPhone Reminders

I formerly had an Android device (even though I have had a MacBook since 2009 – weird, I know). After switching this summer, I quickly realized the power of iPhone “Reminders.” Each time a reminder is due, your iPhone buzzes and displays a pop-up. You can snooze it or mark as completed. In addition, you can set up recurring reminders, which are perfect for remembering to mail estimated quarterly tax payments, renewing subscriptions, running payroll and other things you tend to forget.

14. Google Calendar

You may already use Google Calendar, but are you using it wisely? Here’s a secret: only put stuff on your Google Calendar that will actually happen at that date and time. Use iPhone Reminders to remember things that are not time-sensitive (down to the hour or minute). Following this strategy will help you stay more sane.

Everything Else

15. WeTransfer

Need to send gigantic files (up to 2gb) quickly? Try WeTransfer.com. You don’t even have to create an account. I use it almost every day.

16. Zapier

The average entrepreneur uses dozens of cloud-based software and apps. Zapier connects your online life and helps you build new functionality. The best part about Zapier is that you don’t have to be an API wizard to use it.

With the right tools in place, you’ll find yourself more productive and efficient.

Related The 15 Best Productivity Apps for Getting Things Done

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Tips for Taking Some Real Time Off Before the New Year

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There is never going to be a perfect time to take a break from your business

startupcollective

Question: What’s one tip you’d give a fellow business owner who wants to take some real time off before the new year?

Do It

“If your business can’t run without your presence for a week or two, then you have bigger issues at hand. With that being said, take some time to get refreshed, gain perspective and return to work with a clear head and new ideas. ” — Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids

Book Your Trip Now

“If you want to guarantee your time off, then book your trip now. Put it on the calendar, and make the trip non-negotiable by booking with others. It’s inevitable that something will come up attempting to deter your plans. However, when we commit to others, there’s an accountability that doesn’t exist otherwise. ” — Antonio Neves, THINQACTION

Automate Your Processes

“Want to create a situation where you can leave for good amounts of time? Great! Automate your processes. I don’t just mean turning what is manually done into a digital program — although that helps as well. You need to alter the processes that you are involved in to function when you can’t be there. If your business falls apart with your absence, you need to rethink your strategy.” — Adam Callinan, Beachwood Ventures

Mirror Your Clients

“Take time off when your clients take time off. For a lot of people, this is during Christmas or Thanksgiving because work typically slows for everyone. For most businesses — other then retail — November and December are generally slow periods.” — Phil Chen, Systems Watch

Leave Your Electronic Devices at Home

“Take a brief, electronic-free vacation. Commit to avoiding the Internet, and only use your smartphone for phone calls. Arrange for someone back at the office to handle all responsibilities, and tell them to communicate with you only in extreme emergencies.” — Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

Talk to Your Family First

“I don’t consider spending time with my family at the holidays to be a true vacation — but it can be crucial to healthy family relationships. Before you plan your time off for this time of year, I’d suggest finding out what your family has planned and your obligations to those plans.” — Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

Share the Wealth

“Take the time you need, but before you do, make sure your employees know that you value their hard work as well. Encourage your team to strategically recharge, and make sure you’re providing the means for this.” — Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs

Implement a Good Leadership Structure

“As executives, it’s our responsibility to structure our business, so we can enjoy some form of balance in our lives. This means having the right leadership structure in place beneath us, so we can take some time off without the whole thing falling apart. But, this only applies if your startup is in a good place! If it isn’t, then there’s no vacation or sleep for you until it is.” — Danny Boice, Speek

Do a Trial Run

“Before I go on vacation, I do a trial run. I unplug for a “mini” vacation to test it out. I’ll immediately find out how well I delegated, who needed something from me and what came to a halt when I left. All these problems come to light through trial and error. Do a trial run, fix the issues and then do the real thing. You’ll be able to more comfortably disconnect.” — Phil Dumontet, DASHED

Make Sure Your Clients Feel Supported

“If you have daily interaction with your clients and customers, be sure to make them feel supported, and have a strong backup plan in place just in case. Disconnecting is valuable for your sanity, but it can be really scary for your clients who rely on you regularly. By ensuring that they feel supported and have direction on what to do while you’re out, you’ll be sure to come back to happy clients.” — Erin Blaskie, Next Dev Media

This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

MONEY Work/Life Balance

How to Get Ahead in Business Without Leaving Your Family Behind

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Entrepreneur, husband and dad Sam Bahreini shares the work-life balance strategies that have worked for him.

Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” may have made more grown men cry than any other song: The story of a father who’s too busy working to spend time with his son cuts to our deepest fears as parents.

Even Chapin himself has said that the song scared him to death.

If you have work that you’re personally invested in and a family you want to spend time with, though, there’s naturally going to be tension between the two as they battle for your limited time each day.

I have an amazing wife and three kids, but I also have two businesses to run. In the first couple years running my startup, vacations were rare, and frequently missing family meals tested my marriage and my character as a father.

The tension you feel as a working parent is not necessarily bad—but if you prioritize the wrong things, you may look back on these years with regret.

Thankfully, you are not doomed to the depressing fate of Chapin’s song simply because you have a demanding job. There are practical ways to make sure your schedule reflects your priorities. Here are four strategies that have worked for me:

Communicate with your spouse

One focused conversation about boundaries can create a compass that keeps you on a path to happiness at work and at home.

Sit down and make a “too much, too little” chart together. Write down guidelines for how much time at work is too much, how many missed dinners are too many, what is considered too little time spent on work, etc.

Protecting everyone’s needs starts with setting clear expectations.

Keep family life consistent

This is especially important with young children.

If dinner is family time, you should be a part of it. Likewise, you should be present at kids’ activities.

Too many career advancements at once can ruin family stability and throw your life into chaos.

Don’t justify slipping away by saying you’ll make up for lost time later on. You can’t and you won’t. Invest in your current relationships with your kids so you still have relationships in the future.

Share the burdens and the vision

Help your family see the value in what you do when you’re not at home.

Include your spouse on work trips, for example. Let your partner help you make business decisions and be a sounding board for you.

Let your spouse have the final say

For the most part, these strategies have helped me keep my work-life balance in check. But when all else fails, my wife draws a line I don’t cross.

She reminds me when I’m putting in too many late nights, taking too many calls during family time, or spending too much time on email when I should be with the kids. When I get so focused on work that I start to drift away from my family, she pulls me back in—and I let her.

We often say a good business is “like a family,” but remember that like a family is not the same thing as having a family. No business should replace your actual spouse and kids. It’s good to work hard and push your limits, but don’t go past them.

If you do, you’ll be tired and alone at the finish line, and there will be no one at home to celebrate with you.

Sam Bahreini, a seasoned operations officer and entrepreneur, is co-founder and COO of VoloForce, a company that helps enterprise retail brands understand organization implementation through automation and simplification.

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program.

MONEY Workplace

Why Coworking Is Hot

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These shared workspaces for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other independent workers tend to feel hip, fun, and casual -- but their success is about much more than cool design.

Coworking spaces – where freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other independent workers pay a fee to share a workspace and benefit from working in the presence of one another – are hot. More than 160,000 people worldwide are members of over 3,000 coworking spaces, according to a recent report by DeskMag.com and Emergent Research, up from just 20,000 workers in 500 spaces in 2010.

My colleagues Gretchen Spreitzer and Lyndon Garrett and I set out to understand what draws people to coworking and what accounts for its success. We surveyed members from over 40 coworking spaces around the United States, analyzed the websites of over 100 U.S. coworking spaces, visited a handful of spaces in major U.S. cities, and spent several months as participant observers in one local coworking community in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Given the coolness factor of coworking spaces – especially those that attract members with hip design and high levels of service – we figured that their design had something to do with the success of the phenomenon. But we wondered what other factors drove the success of the coworking model. Several interesting insights emerged.

Coworking fosters personal growth and community building

In his recent book, The Purpose Economy, social entrepreneur Aaron Hurst writes how coworking spaces are a powerful tool for cultivating community among a new class of workers who are driven to organize their professional lives around continuous personal growth, meaningful relationships, and the service of something greater than themselves.

One of the aims of the coworking movement is to provide people with a safe space where they can be themselves at work. But it also encourages members to explore shared interests with one another and collaborative opportunities that go beyond daily work routines. Grind, for example, a New York-based coworking space that participated in our study, offers tips to its members on how to move beyond their natural comfort zone and meet fellow members.

We also found learning to be a necessary component of what makes coworking a successful model. Member education is an explicit part of the mission of many coworking spaces. We saw spaces supporting member education, member support networks, and access to professional development opportunities and mentorship. Many spaces also host social events like happy hours, networking events, and guest lectures in order to reinforce learning and community building.

The most successful build “just right” communities

That is, just right in that they involve newcomers as much or as little as they want, without any pressure.

Unlike a traditional shared rental office where people largely want a quiet professional space to work without being bothered by others, many coworking spaces curate an experience that allows potential members to try the space and meet other members to see if there is a fit.

But unlike a traditional work organization that does this through the hiring process, coworking has low switching costs for members and doesn’t actually commit them to any aspect of the work experience that is meaningless to them. The result is that coworking gives a non-overbearing sense of belonging to those who want to be part of the community.

Coworking isn’t just for start-ups and freelancers

Although the earliest coworking communities were organized to provide an alternative to coffee shops or working at home to freelancers and entrepreneurs, we learned that coworking spaces are reaching diverse segments of the workforce. We found some spaces catering to writers and artists by emphasizing affordability and an atmosphere of creativity, for example. Others, including some of the most welcoming communities in our sample, attract women entrepreneurs.

But coworking also helps people keep good jobs with conventional employers in cases when, for example, they are forced to move for a spouse’s job change. In fact, 21% of U.S. sites explicitly market to remote workers, and one-third of our survey respondents were employed full-time by some other company. On average, these individuals are spending 65% of their time working from a coworking space.

“We have seen individuals who come in to avoid the commute to their traditional office space,” says Michael Kenny, managing partner of San Diego-based Co-Merge, a space that participated in our study. At Co-Merge, users from Accenture, Groupon, and Citrix are using the space on a regular basis. Co-Merge also has members who remotely work full-time for companies in other major cities such as Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington.

It’s the authentic sense of community where intrinsically motivated people who experience a sense of purpose in their work and thrive together that substantiates the coworking movement. Given these qualities, we expect to see a growing number of flexible workers try coworking — and a growing number of employers embracing coworking as a tool to help their increasingly mobile and flexible workforce to do their best work.

Peter A. Bacevice (@Bacevice) is a researcher with the Center for Positive Organizations (@PositiveOrg) at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (@MichiganRoss) and senior design strategist with the New York office of HLW International (@HLWIntl). Gretchen Spreitzer is the Keith E. and Valerie J. Alessi Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Lyndon Garrett is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

 

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: November 5

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Beyond PTSD: Returning soldiers struggle to recover from the ‘moral injury’ of war.

By Jeff Severns Guntzel in On Being

2. On climate and so many other scientific issues, the way we communicate polarizes audiences. We can do better.

By Paul Voosen in the Chronicle of Higher Education

3. Entrepreneurs and educators need to observe students in school if they want to make real change.

By Alex Hernandez in EdSurge

4. Lifesaving ultrasound technology may soon come to a device the size of an iPhone. The applications for medicine in the developing world are massive.

By Antonio Regalado in MIT Technology Review

5. Many Arab governments are fueling the very extremism they purport to fight and are looking for U.S. cover. Washington should play the long game.

By Michele Dunne and Frederic Wehrey at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Getting Ahead

How to Convince Someone You Admire—but Have Never Met—to Mentor You

New York Public Library
Kyoungil Jeon—Getty Images

A little bit of flattery and a lot of research can get you everywhere, says entrepreneur Travis Steffen.

Five years ago I was living in a cramped three-bedroom apartment in East L.A., trying to build two startups simultaneously with no clue what I was doing and no seed capital. I had very little income, no connections and, frankly, no friends. Nevertheless, I was determined to find a way to become successful.

I had recently attended an entrepreneurship conference and bought a DVD profiling young millionaires. One of the lessons from that DVD was to find a mentor—that is, a person who currently is where you want to be, who can take you under his or her wing and show you the ropes.

I hadn’t really made an effort to network with other entrepreneurs up until that point, so I couldn’t just call one up and ask for an intro. So, I carefully crafted a series of emails and follow-ups to all of the young millionaires profiled in the DVD I was watching!

Not only did I get responses, but I impressed one of them enough to agree to mentor me. This individual guided me when I needed it and eventually granted me access to her incredible network. I have since started, scaled and sold five companies.

The key to my success was simple. I didn’t want to blend into the crowd of others like me who I was certain were going after the very same entrepreneurs, so I set 8 simple rules for myself, as follows:

1. Do your research.

Before you seek out a mentor, know which industry you want to learn about, and in what way. Then, come up with a shortlist of people you’d like to target—and do your research on each. See if you can find their bios online; look for articles written on them; and check out their LinkedIn profiles.

When you do reach out, make sure your research is apparent. This attention to detail will show your prospective mentor that you’re not just blanket emailing a ton of people at once—that you actually want to learn from him or her specifically.

2. Don’t be desperate.

Many people seeking a mentor will resort to begging. They’ll talk about how they don’t know what they’re doing, how their company is failing, or whatever other negatives they think will demonstrate their need for a mentor.

However, just as a bank won’t loan to somebody who’s broke as they don’t want to risk not being paid back, successful people won’t mentor somebody they feel they can’t make an instant impact on as they fear wasting their time.

3. Show that you’re a self-starter.

You need to remember that the best mentors out there will often be the toughest to get.

To give yourself the best chance of success, demonstrate that you’re not starting from complete scratch, that you’ve made it pretty far on your own already.

If you’re an entrepreneur, for example, you’ve might explain that you’ve already got a business plan or spent a significant amount of time getting to know the industry. If you’re a career changer, you might show that you’ve taken some classes on the topic. If you’re looking to climb in the field in which you currently work, you might describe what you’ve done so far.

4. Demonstrate self-confidence.

Successful people were not always successful, but most of them were confident—even early on in their careers or entrepreneurship—in their ability to learn and become successful.

In your communications with your potential mentor, your ability and passion to make things happen needs to be apparent not just in what you say and do, but how you say and do it.

5. Establish specific, low-pressure terms.

Asking a successful entrepreneur, “Will you mentor me?” is akin to a man asking a woman he’s never met to marry him. He’s much more likely to be successful if he instead has a nice conversation and asks if he can call her sometime.

Approach a prospective mentor in the same way.

Don’t flat-out ask them to be your mentor. Instead, let them know that you really respect them and have learned a lot from what they’ve done, and then start with one specific question that shows you’re actively working on building your own empire. Get your first positive response, and then go from there—slowly.

6. Don’t create work for them.

When starting to work with somebody you want to mentor you, make it known that you’re aware how busy they are and how valuable their time is. Then propose something as simple as a 15-minute call once per month when their schedule permits.

7. Showcase your implementation.

There’s nothing more encouraging—and more flattering—to a successful businessperson than someone showing them how much they’ve learned from them, how they’ve implemented it, and the conclusions and next questions they’ve come to as a result.

After you ask your first question or two, don’t even think about asking anything else until you’ve implemented the advice they’ve given you and can show it.

8. Show your gratitude.

By and large, if you’re asking a successful person to give you their valuable time, you need to acknowledge that you understand that they are making sacrifice on your behalf.

While you likely don’t have much to offer them at this point, you can remember to thank your mentor each time you talk. But also show your appreciation in a unique way now and again, perhaps with a gift around the holidays or when they help you with a particularly challenging problem. I prefer something like Edible Arrangements as it shows how thankful you are without sending an inappropriate message.

Travis Steffen is currently the founder of UP (upshare.co) and one of the founders and VCs sharing their insight at MentorMojo, an entrepreneurial e-learning platform. Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.

 

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