Createscape is an Austin coworking space that owner founder Keller Davis created particularly for artistic freelancers and independent contractors like himself. Founded in June 2014, Createscape’s presence in Austin is only growing. In the last six months, they expanded twice, making more room for individuals or small businesses to work and create.
We talked to Davis about what is making Createscape attractive to people working in the gig economy and why coworking space newbies are often pleasantly surprised by what they encounter when they first experience the shared working environment.
What compelled you to open an Austin coworking space?
I’m a video producer and I spent years wanting an office space like the one we’ve built with Createscape. People who are in the situation I was in are great prospective coworkers. Createscape especially caters to professionals who work in creative industries such as film, design and writing. However we have a diverse community of people who work in all kinds of fields who enjoy being around other creatives.
The main service we offer is memberships — general areas and designated desks — to our space that give 24/7 access to our facilities to work, create and collaborate. Additionally we offer meeting room spaces and private offices.
How do freelancers tend to use your space?
Some of our freelancers come in at all hours of the day or night. They might jump into the call room for a video conference call, work in the main spaces to get a lot done, have lunch at one of the outdoor picnic tables, and then have a meeting with a client in the conference room that they can reserve.
What do they usually need from your coworking space to succeed?
Freelancers need an affordable workspace with high speed internet, flexibility with work hours, and focused work environments to be productive.
They often need different types of work environments depending on their style or mood. So, we have a lot of common areas apart from the designated desks to provide differences in environment, aesthetics and lighting — including stand-up desks and countertop seating, work tables and comfortable lounges and chairs.
Besides that, quiet workspaces and lots of power outlets are all great basic tools.
What’s the solopreneur community like in Austin?
We have a lot of small businesses in Austin that are run by one or two individuals, and it’s amazing to see the ideas and drive that come out of this city. We have had nearly 200 unique members in our 3 years and everyone is doing something completely different. It’s a lot of fun to hear about all the different projects, and we are proud to play a role in entrepreneurs building things from the ground up.
Why is the gig economy so appealing? I think the biggest draw of the gig economy is how flexible it is, and this flexibility can be a big factor in developing skills on your own time and growing in a field you’re passionate in.
The gig economy seems like a great opportunity to jump into a new field easily and advance yourself when it would otherwise be tough to get a foot in the door.
What do you see freelancers in Austin doing to attract more clients?
Some in our community are hosting workshops to present their skills and knowledge to possible new clientele. Others are making pitches and presentations, drafting proposals or networking with other coworkers in the space.
Does Createscape have networking events?
A few weeks ago we hosted a workshop/talk for members about growing your business leads and it was helpful to a number of the attendees to get a better grasp on the psychological side of sales.
And we do have social events for our community. A number of collaborations have formed and people have hired each other through these connections.
What are some ways the freelancers in your coworking space have teamed up?
We have had numerous examples of work being outsourced to other coworkers here. We have had short films go into production where an actor at the space has been brought on as a lead, another person was hired to edit and another coworker produced.
In another instance, a small startup here found a copywriter in the space, as well as a graphic designer, marketing expert, and video production company.
What are some of unexpected benefits to freelancers of joining a coworking space?
Friendships can form where you least expect it. Through working together as well as our events that we host, we have had a number of people connect and become friends in their time here.
Additionally, they attend events that would not otherwise have explored on their own and discover new things.
What are your users most surprised by when they start sharing the space?
They are most surprised by how quiet it can be at certain hours of the day as a lot of people are focused on their work at hand. They also find it surprising how many different types of professions we house under one roof and how members come from all parts of the world. There is often a misconception about coworking that the environment might be “too” trendy or messy or loud.
How can independent contractors can get the most out of a coworking space?
Independent contractors should keep in mind that they often get a discount on their monthly rate by signing up for commitment terms longer than just month to month. Often this commitment helps them focus on the long term of their business activities more than they otherwise would.