Whether you are a startup or a freelancer, if you choose to work from home, you must factor in all the distractions that come along with it. From noisy neighbors to unexpected guests, you must bear with all. Many prefer to work at coffee shops, but most coffee shops in Ahmedabad do not have Wi-Fi and play music all day long. Not the best atmosphere to get work done! If you can’t afford a commercial office space fpr yourself, then you must consider coworking spaces!
Coworking spaces allow you to rent or share office spaces, desks, conference rooms and office infrastructure like projectors, internet etc. with other entrepreneurs, startups and freelancers. The Ahmedabad Blog connected with Benjamin Mailian, co-founder at Working Company which is a newly opened coworking space in Ahmedabad. Here’s an excerpt of our interaction with him!
1. Give us a brief about Working Company and its founders
Working company is a coworking community space located off CG Road, near Mithakhali Char Rasta. It has a seating capacity for about 25 people. There are so few platforms in Ahmedabad that allow for creatives and entrepreneurs to interact. We wanted to create a friendly community and a work environment that people would be happy to come to everyday. The idea of the space was Sheryl’s (my wife) and mine. It occurred to us after a chance encounter with a friend in Paris who was running a French coworking space at the time. We instantly fell in love with the concept and decided to make it happen in Ahmedabad. We are very fortunate to have the guidance and help of our close relative Anand Zaveri in this venture.
2. What is the thought process behind establishing a coworking space in Ahmedabad
There are a lot of creatives, remote workers and budding entrepreneurs in Ahmedabad. I am one of them. I have a clean tech startup in the US, and my entire team is overseas. In spite of having a great home office, I couldn’t help feeling cooped up in my apartment. My work-life balance was always precarious at best. Opening a coworking space was a way of ‘scratching my own itch’. We started out conducting coworking events over the last several months. We saw that other people faced the same challenge when working from home or from a lonely office. That was enough to validate our assumption that coworking could thrive in Ahmedabad.
3. How are coworking spaces really different from regular offices?
I think the main difference between a coworking space and a regular office, or a typical business centre is the community of people. That is the #1 value of a coworking space. Where else do you find such diverse skill sets under one roof? Beyond that, having a great interior that is conducive to productivity and social interaction is also essential.
4. Is Working Company unique? If so, in what way?
Working Company is a place that is rooted in sharing and an independent spirit. We steer clear of the corporate humdrum. We looked for weeks at dozens of properties before selecting our current location. We’re on the first floor of a beautiful bungalow with incredible neighbours (Zen Cafe and Artisan’s Cottage). When you come in, you see greenery and wood. Everyone knows who you are and there is a genuine feeling of belonging even though you may be working on your own projects.
5. Describe your target audience
We’re targeting anyone who works from home, anyone who doesn’t have an office, can’t afford one, or doesn’t want the responsibilities of an 11-month lock-in period + 3 months of security deposit. That can be startups, solopreneurs, remote workers, freelancers, writers, designers, architects, and others. People can buy a day pass and then decide if they want to go for longer plan.
6. What kind of impact do you aim to create in the local entrepreneurial community by starting a coworking space?
We hope to create synergy between coworkers. We hope to be a place that enables amazing projects to take shape. I have a personal interest in projects that have a social or environmental impact.
There are very few community-building platforms for professionals in Ahmedabad. Most are usually part of an educational institution. We aim to be accessible to a greater audience of people who may or may not have an institutional affiliation or affinity.
7. What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Coworking is relatively unknown to most people here, so conveying the concept clearly to the right audience is a challenge. Fortunately, a lot of our audience is web savvy, so we can reach out to them easily.
8. What are your future plans? Are you planning to expand your space?
Right now, our plan is to stay small and focus on building a vibrant community.
9. One piece of advice for Amdavadi entrepreneurs
Who are we to give advice? If I must, it would be this:
Be happy 🙂
As the saying goes, ‘Happiness is not on the other side of success’. If you can be happy, then you’ve succeeded. It’s probably not the high octane advice that entrepreneurs would expect, but it’s the only advice that I can safely and humbly offer to everyone.