Author: bloguser

Spring Time at Sierra Commons – A message from our Executive Director

Spring time at Sierra Commons is one of my favorite times of the year.  We always have new folks coming into the building, old members rejoining after the winter, and the buzz of renewed energy and new ideas around the water cooler.  (Yes, we actually have a water cooler.)

Looking out the windows, one can see that the tire swings and the picnic tables are dappled with sunlight. Many of the members step out of the office and take to the campus to enjoy working outdoors.  We have several outdoor working opportunities and our high speed internet and wi-fi is powerful enough to reach our patios and outdoor tables.

Sierra Commons is getting ready to start our thirteen Business Ignitor course and the spirit of collaboration is in the air. More than once I have seen an incredible idea talked about in the spring become a business venture or partnership by summer. This is the time when great ideas take off.

Soon, we will be having lunches and potlucks on the patio. If you have ever thought about enrolling in the Business Ignitor or joining a coworking space, now is the time to get in on the action.  Join this collaborative and fun community.

First day of class: March 16th, 2017

Proposal due: March 10th, 2017


Please submit (in PDF format) a cover letter and an outline of your business plan or proposal and why you think you should be awarded a scholarship.

Please include (in PDF format) a list of references, current organizational affiliations, and/or any community service projects you have worked on.

Please use the title “scholarship” for your email.

Submit documents to:

This scholarship is open.  Applicants must be in the process of starting a small business, or currently working on a pitch idea, a solo project, or start up.

Please indicate in your cover letter why you are interested in taking Sierra Commons’ Business Ignitor and if you would be interested in pursuing the coursework, even if not awarded a scholarship.

Scholarships will be awarded based on availability. Scholarship amounts may vary based on need.

Class is held on Thursdays 6pm-9pm for 8 weeks. All scholarship recipients are required to attend every class session. If a scholarship recipient misses a class session, they will be required to make the session up or pay back the scholarship.

Sierra Commons, Nevada County’s business education center and coworking space in Nevada City is offering their signature course, their Business Ignitor and registration is now open.  Classes start on March 16th 2017 and will be held for eight weeks on Thursday nights from 6pm-9pm.  Sierra Commons’ Business Ignitor is an 8-week course designed to help entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small business owners start and run a successful business.

The Business Ignitor is taught by a diverse faculty of experts in their field.  Classes include coursework on basic business practices such as accounting and writing a solid business plan.  It additionally offers sections on cutting edge business approaches such as social media micro-targeting and non-traditional funding sources like crowd funding. One on one mentoring is available so that students can ask questions personalized to their particular field. The class covers a wide variety of topics and is suitable for both people who are looking to start a business or solo venture and for those who are currently running a small business.

“This will be the thirteenth time we’ve offered this course to the community.” notes Hilary Hodge, Executive Director.  “We have seen over one hundred people graduate from the Business Ignitor and have helped to start a number of prominent businesses in our community. We know our incubator works and we are proud to continue to offer this valuable service.”

Sierra Commons has been a resource for small businesses in Nevada County for over seven years.  The organization understands the unique and diverse economy of the Sierra Foothills.  Past Ignitor graduates have gone on to start and manage effective businesses in a variety of industries.  Sierra Commons has helped to start successful restaurants, cottage food companies, online marketing businesses, clothing companies, design services, and more.

The per-student fee is $450 and class registration is open now.  Scholarships may be available to qualifying individuals.  If you would like to sign up for the Business Ignitor or learn more visit the Sierra Commons website at or call 530-265-8443.

Sierra Commons, Nevada County’s business education center and coworking space located at 792 A Searls Ave in Nevada City, California is offering their office space for free to evacuees who may need to work in a professional office setting.  As Nevada County continues to support the evacuation effort and care for those displaced by the Oroville Spillway incident, Sierra Commons is opening their doors to evacuees during their regular business hours Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm. Sierra Commons’ coworking space offers desk space in a shared office setting, high-speed internet, printing/faxing capabilities and all-you-can-drink coffee.

“In addition to providing resources for local businesses and entrepreneurs, Sierra Commons mission is to offer our community access to an affordable, comfortable, and professional office setting,” notes Hilary Hodge, Executive Director.  “It was a natural decision for our organization to offer help to those in need.”

Sierra Commons has been a resource for telecommuters, freelancers, and small businesses in Nevada County for over seven years.  The coworking space currently provides desk space for more than twenty members who share the office and workplace.  Using their available conference room and classroom, Sierra Commons can provide a professional work setting for an additional 30 people.

For more information about Sierra Commons visit the website at or call 530-265-8443.

Why work in an office? If you are a freelancer or telecommuter who could work anywhere, why would you want to cowork in an office space? Quite simply, it’s about the people.

Nick Santos and Abe Miessler

At Sierra Commons, many people come for the high speed internet. But they stay for the community.

Most office spaces have desks, internet, coffee, and a kitchen. Sierra Commons has all of those things plus a porch, patio, and tire swing. The tire swing is cool but that’s not why people work here.

Sierra Commons is Nevada County’s best coworking space because some of the best people in the world work here.  From freelancers to scientists, Sierra Commons’ diverse and intelligent community makes it a great place to work.


Do you have an idea you’d like to build out? Do you want to meet motivated, talented hustlers like yourself? Startup Weekend is the perfect circumstance to build a company—or at least as much as you can build in 54 hours!

What is Startup Weekend? Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of ambitious entrepreneurial minds of various skill sets who are looking to practice and learn the basics of founding and launching a startup venture successfully. It is a unique opportunity to get your startup off the ground, risk free.

Just down the hill from Nevada County, Startup Weekend Sacramento is hosting its next event at Impact Venture Capital’s Downtown campus November 11-13. Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of ambitious entrepreneurial minds of various skill sets who are looking to practice and learn the basics of founding and launching a startup venture successfully. It is a unique opportunity to get a brand new startup off the ground, risk-free. Startup Weekend is for everyone — you don’t need to pitch an idea to participate.  For more information or to register, visit the Startup Sacramento website.

In the Sierra Foothills, the neighboring towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley are among the best places to visit in California for a Halloween getaway. Just a few miles apart from one another, the fall colors in both towns are breath-taking. But, perhaps better than the fall colors, is the wide-variety of sweet treats for a mature audience.

There is wine tasting and a wide variety of micro breweries Nevada City and Grass Valley.  There are also a handful of dive bars to explore.  While the dining in both towns is wonderful, the dessert is amazing. This Halloween, skip dinner and go on a search instead for candy, cakes, and ice cream.

To start, try The Chocolate Shoppe on Broad Street in Nevada City. They have a Port Wine Truffle that melts with slow decadence. For something more whimsical try a classic caramel apple or a candy-covered apple.

Trick or Treat Nevada City

Next, visit Three Forks Bakery and Brewery for your choice of sweet or savory. This incredible restaurant is a local favorite and no one can decide which is better, the beer or the baked goods.  The menu is based on local availability and in-season produce so you never know what you are going to get.


After lunch, perhaps you’ll want to head to Grass Valley to go antiquing or wander the art galleries. While in Grass Valley, stop by Fable for a cup of coffee or Lazy Dog Chocolateria for some chocolate covered espresso beans.


Whatever you decide, a visit to Nevada County is always a sweet time.

Take a hike in Nevada County! Empire Mine State Park offers one of the best hikes in the foothills.  Just an hour from most Sacramento locations, it is one of the great hikes near Sacramento.


Take Highway 49 north into Grass Valley, CA and drive through town for less than a mile before happening upon the main entrance. You can spend time at the State Park Visitor’s Center, stroll the century-old gardens, or hit the trails.


Grass Valley is just a few miles from Nevada City so if you want to get the weekend started early but still need to put in some time with work, drop in to our coworking space in Nevada City during the week for day use. If you are planning a longer stay, we have bulk day rates.


Enjoy your hike!

Are you looking for coworking in Nevada City? High speed internet in Nevada County? Just a really great place to work?

Sierra Commons is Nevada County’s best coworking space. We have some of the best and brightest of Nevada County under our roof. Nevada County’s remote workers and freelancers work at Sierra Commons.  We house Software Engineers, Film Makers, Journalists, Writers, Lobbyists, Copy Editors, Small Business Owners, and more.  Sierra Commons has been a staple of the Nevada County community for 7 years. In 1999, when founded, we were one of the first rural coworking spaces in all of the United States. Now we have partnerships all over Northern California and in the Tahoe/Truckee area.


We are the destination for weekenders from the Bay Area and Sacramento and we offer tourists and locals drop-in rates, day use, high-speed internet, and a fun place to work. Enjoy our beautiful summer patio. Come for the high-speed internet and stay for the community.

We are located in Nevada City on Searls Avenue.  We are next to Wild Mountain Yoga and we are central to Three Forks Bakery and Brewery, Matteo’s Public, Lefty’s Grill, the National Hotel, Broad Street Inn and the Inn Town Campground.

There are a lot of people out there these days marketing themselves as business coaches and charging a lot of money for their support services.  You do not have to attend the first workshop that comes along and you do not have to hire the first coach you meet.  You don’t have to use your friend’s recommendation either.  There is no shortage of coaches and coaching events.

Business Coach

Making the decision to hire someone is important.  It is an investment of your time and money.  Take the time to find the right fit.  Here are some tips:

  1. Find someone you trust. Ideally, find someone in your network who has a good reputation. There are a few certifications for business coaching but it is a fairly unregulated business.  Almost anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a “business coach” or “life coach.” Do your research. Do not hire anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
  2. Identify exactly what you want to gain from having a business coach before hiring one. If you do not have a specific focus or goal in mind, you will likely spend far more time and money than you need to trying to reach an end game.
  3. Read at least one classic business self-help book before spending a lot of money on a coach you may not need. There is a lot of great advice out there.  What you are looking for may already be written down somewhere.
  4. Find someone to be accountable to (besides yourself) before hiring a coach. A lot of folks find that the biggest benefit to having a business coach is having someone to be accountable to. Most of us procrastinate and most of us set goals and timelines and then set them aside.  Team up with a friend, coworker, or colleague and create a structured system for setting goals and checking in.
  5. Be ready to commit fully. Do not hire a coach only to miss appointments and ignore your coach’s advice.  Like most things in life, you will get out of it, what you put into it.  Be ready to dive in, take direction, and stick with it.