I opened Creative Coworking six years ago, out of personal necessity. I’m what you might call an accidental entrepreneur.

With the downturn in the economy in 2009, the company I was working for closed its doors. I started freelancing from home, which seemed great for a while. Then it started to become harder and harder for me to concentrate. I also felt lonely; I missed having coworkers. So, I started looking for a better place to work. When I realized that there weren’t any coworking options in Evanston, I decided to open one.

A lot of people in town hadn’t even heard the word coworking when CC first opened. When I went to networking events to promote my space, I had to explain the whole coworking concept before I could get around to telling people where we were located or any details about membership.

Now, six years later, coworking is a growing trend; some might even call it a movement. There are coworking spaces popping up in every neighborhood. Why work from home all the time, feeling isolated and unmotivated, or from a coffee shop or café, where you feel obligated to buy something every two hours? Becoming a full-time or part-time member of a coworking space can fill in everything that’s missing for you.

My Downtown Evanston location is holding its own, with an average of 100 members using the space on a monthly basis. So, I’m working on opening a second location in Edgewater at the historic Colvin House (Sheridan/Thorndale). We hope to open our doors by the end of the summer, when the renovation is complete.

At Creative Coworking, we believe in providing a community atmosphere, not just a basic shared office. Our signature event is a bi-monthly Art & Wine Night. It functions as a social mixer for our members, while the open house aspect of the event highlights our local art gallery for the enjoyment of the whole community.

Creative Networking, a monthly event for women in business, has been running for two years. We have a speaker each month, often pulled from the membership of our space. Attendees are a mix of members and nonmembers. Women who attend regularly feel as though they’ve found their tribe—a group of like-minded women who can offer support and help them to grow their business. Much like attendees feel when they come to a meeting of Women Belong.

~ Angela Valavanis, Founder, Creative Coworking

 

Content provided by Women Belong member Angela Valavanis

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