P2P exchange stories: Sharing, thriving and laughing together!

Running a coworking space is creative and socially engaging work, but it is not uncommon for owners or community managers to experience a feeling of “solitude” while they run their daily operations. Thinking constantly about how to do the best for the community, as well as striving to satisfy the majority of people at your space takes a lot of improvisation and consumes lots of energy. People who join coworking spaces do not often realize that keeping everybody happy is really hard work!

The minute Stone Soup became a member of the European Creative Hubs Network we became part of a larger family of hubs and space owners, and we were able to start connecting and exchanging know-how and experiences. We were recently very lucky to participate in the P2P programme exchange and spend 5 days in Malaga, the city that Spanish actor Antonio Banderas was born, and we would like to share with you the highlights of our trip!

We connected

Meeting TLR Stone Soup

When I met Ben Kolp founder of The Living Room coworking in Malaga, we immediately clicked, and our communication and thoughts on the improvement of our coworking spaces were honest and deep. Our interaction made me soon realize that visiting the TLR was the best choice we could have made, as our communities and values are very much alike, and we could validate our successes and reconsider our weak points.

We had new experiences

Coworking space

Our tour in Malaga started with a delicious culinary experience of freshly made tapas and local red wine. We were also amazed with the city’s infrastructure, a small Andalusian city of 500.000 residents, Malaga has a big Technology Park that attracts global companies and has a vivid digital nomad scene. We visited both locations of The Living Room, Soho and Alameda, and it was interesting to observe why certain people would prefer the one to the other. We spent our days working at both locations, having meetings with the community, discussing synergies, and helping one another to advance our plans, and avoid making common mistakes.

What we learned

coworking spaceAt the end of the week, we co-hosted an event at TLR’s Soho location. We invited George Carey-Simos to talk about communication in the digital age. George is a digital strategist, consultant, and co-founder & COO of wersm.com. At the core of his talk was the idea that in our online communication we often take the easy way out, and we often fail to connect because we fail to “speak human”. We also often forget to listen to what others have to say. In an over-automated, hypertargeted, analytic world, we neglect the human nature of interaction, and we forget how to be ourselves, how to be authentic. As inspiring as his talk was for the online world, we also learned that as space operators we need at times to encourage members of our communities to be more human (!) and learn to enjoy the social interaction that can be found in coworking environments.

Being authentic is the start, and the baseline for improving ourselves, our brands, and ultimately to share, thrive and laugh together.

We would like to express our gratitude to the ECHN and the Creative Flip project for making this exchange possible. We hope that our synergies will add value to the project, and we can’t wait for the next enriching expedition!

 

Written by

Olga Paraskevopoulou

Managing partner of Stone Soup

Contact olga@stonesoup.io

 

In union there is strength

Hey! Do you know the slack community ”Freelance Athens“? If you are a freelancer in Athens you should definitely go check it out! It is an initiative started by two digital nomads, Kim Gillick and Lucy Xu, based in Athens and its aim is to give the freelancers of Athens a nice, tight and functional online community to turn to when they are in need of some support!

Recently, we hosted their first event: “Staying Social as a Freelancer” here at Stone Soup. At the event, Kim and a very active nomad, Nathan Sudds, shared some useful insights and experiences relevant to Athens freelancers, helping the community to expand beyond an online-only presence! It’s been a successful and well organised event moderated and facilitated by Karolina Sieler, who recently joined the Freelance Athens’ team remotely.

Who is Karolina?

Karolina is from Poland and she has 6 years of experience as a teacher and a public speaker in England and Scotland. She used to be a university lecturer and – occasionally – a speaker at conferences all over Europe, until she realised she was craving a new challenge. After exploring new professional options for a bit, she initiated her first business by setting up a community for entrepreneurs, start-up owners and freelancers in London, called FBIZZ Freelancers Hub. She spent 2 years running events for the community, inviting speakers and facilitating panel discussions. She used the community’s platform as a ground for creating a business blog while she took her first steps as a freelancer. Two years ago, she decided to start a new chapter in her life and become a digital nomad.

Being a digital nomad: dreaming it vs living it

“My vision was to start from London and spend 5 years there, then go to Hong Kong for another 5 years, then New York etc. I was dreaming about living the big city life but only after a year and a half in London I realised it wasn’t right for me. Therefore, I decided to keep my work life in London and explore my opportunities in different places, including Athens.”

Being a freelancer may become frustrating and lonely. The reason Karolina appreciates Athens so much is for the vibrant city life that gives you the opportunity to build deep connections with local people, as well as, with other expats. This is the main reason she seeks for opportunities to engage and comes back whenever she is able to.

Karolina’s business and vision

Over the years, she has finally figured out the ideal business model that makes her happy and at the same time supports her financially. Karolina has built her own online platform supporting law students in the UK called 1stClassLLB. She creates online courses and runs a YouTube channel.

Both in London and in Athens, she tried at the beginning to work from home. She soon realised that she was missing the sense of belonging to a community or organisation. She was set out to find a coworking home and to be able to share workspace, initiate activities with other coworkers and potentially work on a common cause. 

Karolina drops occasionally by Stone Soup and has joined Kim and Lucy, to fulfil their common vision, that is to unite the Freelance Athens community both online and offline.  “I am very satisfied with my decision to work from here. Ever since I started I feel part of a big family, plus I witness myself being more productive!” 

The first conference & General Assembly of the European Creative Hubs Network

The European Creative Hubs Network was a 2 year-long project (2016-2018) partially funded by the European Union. The project’s main goal was to unite creative hubs across Europe by forming bridges of communication and collaboration amongst creatives, entrepreneurs and freelancers from different sectors who could share their experience, exchange knowledge and explore possibilities of cooperation.

In Autumn 2018, while the project was coming to an end, the Network that emerged from ECHN started planning their next steps. In order to continue with their vision of bringing together creatives and entrepreneurs across Europe the Network decided to hοld its 1st Conference and General Assembly in Athens, Greece on 11th-13th April 2019. It will be the first official community meeting and the election of the Steering Committee.

At Stone Soup, we are very excited to take part in this initiative and we look forward in meeting everybody in person. It’ll be a great chance for networking and talking about ECHN’s progress and future steps as a newly founded collaborative organization.

Save the date and stay tuned for more info about the event and registration that will be announced soon!

Rails Girls in Athens!

Rails Girls was created in 2010 in Finland and has grown rapidly in over 90 cities worldwide. Since 2015 Rails Girls organize events also in Athens, and the next one will take place on May 4th and 5th at The Hub Events.

The goal of the event is to familiarize women of all ages with programming and motivate them to dive into the magical world of Ruby on Rails. During the two-day workshop, participants will develop a web application on the Ruby-on-Rails framework and will have guidance from experienced coaches. They will also be able to attend talks related to programming and hear the experiences of other women in the field of Information Technology.

The 3rd Rails Girls Athens is organized by volunteers and is supported by Visa, Skroutz.gr, PwC Greece and Accenture, as well as, Workable, eproductions, SlashData, Agile Actors, e-food.gr and Funkmartini.

The participation is free. You only need to apply here and to bring your own laptop.

For more details about the philosophy of Rails Girls and the event program, visit the official website.

See you at the Rails Girls!