Stories indexed with the term ‘freelancers’

In it for the Money: Independent Risk

Editor’s note: Nelson’s “In it for the Money” opinion column appears regularly in The Chronicle, roughly around the third Wednesday of the month. At the May 20, 2013 meeting of the Ann Arbor city council, a resolution will appear on the agenda that would establish a task force on “economic development.” This month we asked Nelson to write about a segment of the local economy we think is likely to receive scant attention from that task force: independent workers. [0]

David Erik Nelson Column

David Erik Nelson

In abstract, my monthly column is about money – how money is a way that we signal our values, the way we track our interest, and the trail left by our investments of time and attention.

Last month I wrote about the stuff I do to earn money. This month let’s talk about something I do that can’t conceivably ever earn me a damned dime: The Workantile.

The Workantile is a business-like entity on Main Street in Ann Arbor [1]. In contrast to pretty much any other “business” on Main Street, we sell neither goods nor services.

Our business is maintaining a space where a community of independent workers can sit together and work on their own things. Our space is around 3,000-square-feet, and has lots of rolling tables and chairs (so that the space can be reconfigured in any way that interests the members and serves their ends), as well as a kitchenette, a clean and commodious bathroom, a couple of phonebooth-esque things, a couple of conference rooms, some lockers and bike racks, and an awesome printer/scanner/copier.

We also have half of an ancient, homebrew quadrophonic stereo hooked up to a wifi bridge which, combined with our brick walls, high ceilings, and hardwood floors, means that we have a pretty sweet-ass dance hall sound system, too. [2]

Some of our members work together formally – either for the same employer with home offices in some distant and exotic place (usually California), or on projects of their own devising. But mostly we work separately, tapping away on our keyboards with headphones on.

We work on our own without having to work all alone. It’s nicer than a coffee shop, because there’s no milk-steamer roar, no awkward break-up happening at the next table, and no creepy old dudes leering at your sandaled feet. Our doors lock, so the crazies are limited to those who stay current on their membership dues (i.e., me).

You can go to the bathroom without worrying that someone is going to steal your laptop or rifle your purse. Also, when clients meet you in a coffee shop, they think, “Ugh. I guess this is how we have to do business in the 21st Century.” When clients meet you at Workantile — with our industrious brick walls, antiquey tin ceilings, and huge windows — they think “I can’t believe this gal isn’t charging me more!”

That, my friends, is an excellent thing for your clients to think.

So, to dispense with the hard sell: Come down today (or any other weekday) for a tour and a FREE Day Pass!!! [Full Story]