Category: Sierra Commons

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 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.

Deadline for applications: February 1st, 2016

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First day of class: February 4th, 2016

Class is held on Thursdays 6pm-9pm for 8 weeks starting on February 4th and ending on March 31st. (No class on March 3rd.)

Please submit (in PDF format) a cover letter and an outline of your business plan or proposal to:

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.

This scholarship is open to students of all ages who are currently in enrolled in classes.  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.

One or two months from now you will be thinking about the goals you set for 2016 and, if you are like most people, you will be wondering where the time went and what you could have done differently to help yourself be more successful. Let Sierra Commons help “Future You” by offering advice to “Present-Day You”: Get together with a community of people who have a drive to succeed. Stay actively involved with a support system and a team of people who keep you accountable.  Dedicate a schedule to allow for setting goals and meeting timelines.  Coworking may offer you the support in a structured environment that you are looking for.

Sierra Commons, Nevada City’s Coworking Space, offers desk rental, membership, classes, workshops, mentoring and a community of fun, determined people who work in a professional environment with a friendly and casual atmosphere.  Come for the high-speed internet.  Stay for the community.  To find out more about coworking, call 530-265-8443 or click here.

What is a Coworking Space?

As one of the world’s few rural coworking offices, we get this question a lot.  It is rare to find a coworking space in a town with a population of just over 3,000 people.  Most coworking spaces are found in large cities.  Coworking in San Francisco and coworking in New York City is quite popular.  Coworking in Nevada County is something some folks might not expect.


A coworking space or, coworking facility, is a brick-and-mortar office space where people come together to work, exchange ideas, and share in a regular professional social environment. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization.  A coworking space offers a common roof for people who want to work with others but who are working as individuals or small groups.

Coworking is a legitimate business model used all over the world to provide structure and resources to independent working professionals. The model is attractive to work-at-home professionals, remote workers, freelancers, and independent contractors. At Sierra Commons we have many members who do off-site or field work such as farming, well-inspection, web design, and real estate appraising, but who need an office in order to complete administrative tasks such as accounting, recordkeeping, marketing, and web management. We have twelve Resident Members at Sierra Commons and over twenty Nomadic members.

Our members’ employment varies widely. Currently at Sierra Commons we have software engineers, IT directors, a travel agent, a real estate agent, copy editors, freelance writers, farmers, a lobbyist and more. Some of our members are self-employed and some of them work remotely for companies located in other cities throughout the world.

With membership, all of our members enjoy a desk rental and use of our facility which includes high-speed internet, printing-faxing-scanning capabilities, and utilities. We have private conference rooms for consultants and coworkers to meet with clients. We provide all of the overhead of a professional business environment for our members, including coffee, paper, lighting, and supplies like pens, staples and toilet paper. Membership is open to the public and available to those seeking office space. For our services, we charge a monthly fee.

Membership costs at Sierra Commons are divided into two categories: Resident Member and Nomadic Member and we also have drop-in rates.  Resident members are people who are typically working 40+ hours each week and who have a designated desk space at Sierra Commons where they can keep their computers and other office equipment as needed at their own workstation. Resident members have their own key code and can access the building 24/7. Nomadic members are those who come and go, usually bringing in their own laptop when they come in. Nomadic members have access to the building during open business hours, Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm. All members can schedule time in our conference rooms as needed and they may use Sierra Commons as their office/business address.


Coworking offers people a community while working in a professional situation that may be individual, remote, and/or sometimes isolating.  As Nevada County’s coworking space, Sierra Commons is dedicated to the health of our economy while maintaining a sense of community.  If you are interested in coworking, please feel free to contact us.

Sierra Commons is excited to announce that we have named Nevada County resident, Hilary Hodge, as their Executive Director. Hilary Hodge is the first Executive Director for Sierra Commons since founder anddirector Robert Trent resigned last year. Hodge has been volunteering with Sierra Commons for the past two years and joined the Board of Directors in March of 2014. Before moving to Nevada County four years ago, Hodge had lived in Sacramento and had sat on the Board of Directors for Sacramento Pride and the California National Organization for Women. Hilary Hodge has nearly 20 years’ experience working for and running non-profit organizations.


“Hilary Hodge has shown her commitment to the Sierra Commons’ mission and to bringing together a diverse population so that each can learn from one another,” says Board President Samantha Hinrichs. “Along with Hilary Hodge, the Sierra Commons staff, faculty, and volunteers will continue to be able to assist the continued growth of our small business community in Nevada County.”

“Hilary Hodge has been a pleasure to work with and a real driver behind the continued success of Sierra Commons”, reveals Coryon Redd, Sierra Commons Board Member. “Her attention to detail and leadership have been a real asset.”

Sierra Commons continues to offer business mentoring, classes, a work-share community and the “Ignitor” course, their signature business incubator and class series. They have a coworking facility where freelancers, contractors and remote workers can rent desk space daily and monthly. Their vibrant coworking campus fosters collaboration, peer-to-peer mentoring, support and camaraderie in a professional environment. Sierra Commons also offers conference room rentals as well as day use services.

“Sierra Commons offers an infrastructure and community that no other facility or work environment in Nevada County can offer,” says Hilary Hodge. “We are a vibrant and fun place to work where the work gets done. I’m looking forward to serving Sierra Commons in a leadership role. As a volunteer and as a board member, I have had the privilege to see Sierra Commons thrive and grow in the past two years. Our coworking facility and our classes offer an incredible resource to our community.” Hilary Hodge adds, “I’m excited to take Sierra Commons to the next level.”

In the next year, the Nevada County public, creative class and business community can look to Sierra Commons for single subject classes, the “Ignitor” course, social events and ongoing support of Nevada County’s small business community.

This is a time of year when it can be particularly difficult to work from home, or in restaurants and cafes. The holidays can be really stressful and, if not, busy and distracting.


The Sierra Commons Campus

At a time when people are running around and constantly planning and cooking and traveling and visiting, I find that I am incredibly thankful that I work at Sierra Commons , that I have an office to go to with interesting and thoughtful people to hang out with.

Even though I had a particularly nice Thanksgiving yesterday, I still looked forward to being able to go into an office and work away from home this morning. As my family ran around, getting ready to go shopping or catch trains, I packed a piece of left over pumpkin pie and headed to Sierra Commons to quietly get a few things done before I join up with my loved ones at Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley this evening.

I heard some great advice today at a workshop in Grass Valley hosted by Score, an organization dedicated to small business, similar to Sierra Commons and based out of Sacramento.  One of the workshop presenters advised business owners to find a buddy and have a conversation or, at the very least, “take yourself out to coffee once a month.”

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Community members come together at Sierra Commons.

Running a business is no easy task. It’s good to have friends to talk to.  Sierra Commons can help.

Do you want to network casually and learn from other members of the business community? Do you need a few business buddies? Do you need a few folks to bounce ideas off of? The Sierra Commons “Lunch and Learn” is open to the public and allows folks to come together for an hour once per month for a casual, low-pressure, participant-driven round table.  We meet every first Thursday of the month from 12noon-1pn at the Sierra Commons Campus: 792 A Searls Ave in Nevada City.

Our next lunch and learn is on November 6th, 2014.

This is a chance to share ideas, brain storm and voice concerns in a relaxed environment. Bring a lunch! Please join us!