Tag: coworking

I recently traveled to Sacramento.  I love the foothills but it’s nice to have a change in pace.  I had a lot of work I had committed to and needed to spend the morning being professional and productive.  Even though I’m a huge fan of coworking and love it, I thought about spending my morning in a coffee shop trying to get work done.

 

I was only going to be in town for the day and I was only going to need to work for a few hours.  I thought to myself, “sure, a coffee shop might be fine”, hoping that the wi-fi would be reliable and the clientele would be respectful.  Instead, I found The Trade, a coworking-space-coffee-shop located on K Street in midtown Sacramento.  For me, it was a perfect happy medium.

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I’m glad I chose coworking.  I was able to get a cup of tea and sit down to a friendly and professional workspace.  I met a few wonderful people while coworking and I got the work done that needed to get done.

If you are ever visiting Nevada County and thinking about spending the day in a coffee shop or restaurant trying to get work done, consider instead spending the day at Sierra Commons.  Coworking can offer the best of both worlds—a friendly atmosphere and a wonderful place to work.

 

Sierra Commons will be offering our next Business Ignitor, Nevada County’s premier start-up incubator, starting on February 4th, 2016.  Registration is now open and, for the first time, Sierra Commons is able to offer scholarships to qualified individuals. Nevada County’s Small Business Education Center, has received a generous donation from the Nevada City Rotary Club and a matching donation from an anonymous donor in order to provide two scholarships to Nevada County’s premier start-up incubator, Sierra Commons’ Business Ignitor.

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The Business Ignitor includes eight weeks of coursework, materials, business mentoring, as well as three months free membership to Sierra Commons’ coworking space, located in Nevada City.  The course covers everything from accounting and law, to marketing and non-traditional funding such as crowd-sourcing.  It is designed to make sure that when the course is completed, the students have the confidence and knowledge to succeed in starting and running a viable business.

“Three of the key objectives of Rotary are affirming the value of each vocation, uplifting youth and young adults, and dignifying both as opportunities to serve society,” says David Bunje, President of the Nevada City Rotary Club. “Business Ignitor courses have already made a significant impact benefiting the rich mix of enterprises in Nevada County, and the Rotary Club of Nevada City is very excited to support additional young adults who seek to channel their creativity toward being a positive, productive participant in the business life of the community.”

Sierra Commons has expanded the scope of the Business Ignitor to include a class on crowd funding and to give further information on marketing and finding your ideal client.  The class covers a wide variety of topics and is suitable for people who are looking to start a business or solo venture and for those who are currently running a small business.

Sierra Commons has been a resource for small businesses in Nevada County for over six years and 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.  Sierra Commons is currently taking applications for scholarships.  The application deadline for scholarship opportunities is February 1st, 2016.  If you would like to sign up for the Business Ignitor or to learn more about the scholarship program, visit the Sierra Commons website at www.sierracommons.org or call 530-265-8443.

Starting on Thursday, January 14th and running through Sunday, January 17th, the South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL) presents the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City and Grass Valley.  For any outdoor enthusiast, environmental activist, or inhabitant of planet earth, the Wild and Scenic Film Festival provides a weekend of non-stop fun and education for all in attendance.  There is something for everyone—movies, music, beer, wine, food, art, and more.

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The festival always provides entertainment for a great weekend.  Sierra Commons’ members will often meet up at different locations to talk about the films, get a bite to eat, and give reviews.

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Sierra Commons, Nevada County’s coworking space, is open Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm and offers day-use rates for locals and for out-of-towners looking to get a jump start on their weekend but still needing to get work done.  We have high-speed internet and all the coffee you can drink.  Join our community for a productive work day before heading to the festival.

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.

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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.

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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.

Eligibility 
All contest entries made to Sierra Commons via social media in response to the January 2015 library display, are included in the drawings. The drawings are open to U.S. citizens residing in the 50 states of the U.S. or District of Columbia. Entrants must be 18 or older or have a designated guardian to claim the prize. All current Sustaining Members of Sierra Commons are automatically included. This contest is sponsored by Sierra Commons. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void wherever prohibited or restricted by law. Taxes are the responsibility of the winner(s). Winner(s) must complete a W9 form prior to claiming prize(s).

How to Enter 
No purchase or contribution is necessary. You may enter this contest by liking Sierra Commons on Facebook, by posting a picture of Sierra commons with the #sierracommons, by emailing info@sierracommons.org or be mail to Sierra Commons, 792A Searls Ave, Nevada City, CA 95959. Mail-in entries must include your full name, complete mailing address, phone number with area code, and an email address. No other method of entry will be accepted. Mail-in entries must be received no later than two days prior to the prize drawing. Contest begins January 2nd and ends on January 31st, 2015. All drawings will be held on February 4th.  Exact times and dates of drawings within that time period are subject to change. Limit two entries per person. Incomplete entries are void.

Selection of Winner(s) 
Winner(s) will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received by the deadline dates above. Prize drawing will be conducted by Sierra Commons. Winner(s) will be announced on our Facebook page. Winner(s) need not be present to win. Winner(s) may be notified electronically, by telephone and/or be email within 24 hours of drawing. Every reasonable attempt will be made to award the prize. If after every reasonable effort has been exerted (three (3) attempts over 30 days) to award the prize but the potential winner(s) cannot be reached after 30 days from first notification attempt, or the potential winner(s) has refused to accept the prize, or if entrant is found to be ineligible, or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, the prize will be forfeited and become the property of Sierra Commons.

Odds of Winning 
Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received. Entry constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use winner(s)’ names, hometowns, and likenesses for publicity purposes without additional compensation. Winner(s) will be notified electronically, by telephone and/or e-mail.

Limit of Entry 
Limit two entries per person for the entire entry period. Multiple entries, if discovered, will be disqualified. By entering, entrants acknowledge compliance with these official rules including all eligibility requirements. Sierra Commons is not responsible for failures in technology such as but not limited to: technical malfunctions, lost/delayed data transmission, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, line failures of any telephone network, computer equipment, software, inability to access any website or online service, or any other error or malfunction, or late, lost, incorrect or inaccurate transcription of entry information, or for any human error, or misdirected entries. Entry materials that have been tampered with or altered are void. Proof of emailing and/or mailing does not constitute proof of delivery.

Prizes 
One drawing will be held. All prizes are non-transferable. Prize value varies based on prize. Prizes are not redeemable for cash. All taxes on the prizes, including but not limited to federal, state and local income and sales taxes, and any expense not covered herein (including but not limited to expenses related to the use of the prize) are the responsibility of the winners.

 

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.

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“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.

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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.

Sierra Commons along with the City of Nevada City is teaming up with SARTA, the Sacramento Regional Technical Alliance, to bring the Epic Beer and Geeks event to Nevada County on Thursday November 20th 6pm-8pm to be held at ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City.  Thursday’s event in Nevada City is being held in conjunction with four other locations in Northern California including Sacramento, Folsom, Davis and Roseville and will connect local entrepreneurs, hackers, techies, computer nerds and small business owners throughout the Northern California region.  The event is a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week and the public is invited to participate.

ol' Republic Brewery is located on Argall Way in Nevada City

ol’ Republic Brewery is located on Argall Way in Nevada City

“Nevada City is thrilled to serve as a host city for the Epic Beers and Geeks networking event in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week,” say Mark Prestwich, City Manager for Nevada City. “We are home to incredible technology talent in this region and hope budding entrepreneurs, technology professionals, and others will participate in this tremendous and cost-free opportunity.”  The City of Nevada City issued a proclamation at the City Council meeting on November 12th celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week and acknowledging Sierra Commons for the organization’s dedication to connecting and engaging technology entrepreneurs in our community.

The Epic Beer and Geeks event is a casual mixer designed to help techies around the region connect, learn, and engage.  The event is designed to foster comradery and to help connect the Nevada County tech community to the greater tech community in the Sacramento region and in Northern California.

“This event is going to be fun but it additionally gives our local talent the opportunity to connect and network with other professionals on a regional level,” says Hilary Hodge of Sierra Commons.   “We have a lot of tech savvy people who live and work in our county.  Teaming up with SARTA for Thursday’s Beer and Geeks event gives Nevada County an opportunity to showcase our talent.”  A representative from SARTA will be at the event.  The event will include video conferencing with the other events and locations.  For more information contact Sierra Commons at (530) 265-8443 or info@sierracommons.org.

There are no good jobs in Nevada County!” How often have you heard this?

At Sierra Commons, we hear this comment a lot. Members of the skilled and/or educated work force in Nevada County have found that it is easy to become frustrated with the lack of employment opportunities in our community. Many of the locally available jobs are in the service or tourist industry and don’t use trade skills, advanced skills and/or a college education. Some folks have started to diversify their scope of work to make extra money. Some people have taken on two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Frustrated by unfulfilling jobs, many people are turning to freelancing and contract work, as well as entrepreneurship and starting their own businesses. For many people frustrated with the local economy, Sierra Commons is a beacon of hope. Sierra Commons creates good jobs in Nevada County and we keep good employees local.

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Sierra Commons is probably best known for its “coworking facility,” an office space where people come together to work, exchange ideas and share in a regular professional social environment. Wikipedia offers a great definition of coworking: “It is style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.” Sierra Commons’ office space and education center is located at 792 A Searls Ave in Nevada City. We offer desk rental and day use, which includes high-speed internet and utilities. We have 20-30 regular members throughout the year and have regular visitors who drop in on a daily basis to our facility to take advantage of our office setting in order to work on a project or meet a looming deadline. We love the energy that both our members and visitors bring to our coworking facility.

In addition to offering a professional work environment for members and visitors, we are also a 501(c)(3) non-profit education center and business incubator. We offer continuing education to the public and to business professionals through classes and workshops. We offer confidential mentoring for sole-proprietors, managers, owners, employees and entrepreneurs who may be struggling with taking their skills or business to the next level, or who simply may need some guidance about a frustrating situation at work or a brush-up on business basics. Our goal is to ensure the local economic health of our community by offering education and support.

Our signature course is our Business Ignitor, a set of business incubator classes that takes entrepreneurs through the steps of creating and sustaining a healthy business, while helping established business owners to take an active role in their business’ stability and momentum. We help people get their businesses out of their garages and on to Main Street. We help people turn the hobbies that they love in to the careers they enjoy. We help people to stay in the careers they want to have and help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.

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Sierra Commons was founded in Nevada County five years ago, during the heart of an economic recession. What emerged was a community icon for a thoughtful and strong local economy. We want to emphasize that Sierra Commons creates good jobs. We create jobs in Nevada County that people want to have, jobs that people are passionate about. It is one thing for someone to do a mechanical job with no real connection to their employment. It is far better to have an employment opportunity where the people involved in a business feel a passion for what they are doing. As Charles Eisenstein writes in his book, Sacred Economics, “Once work has become mechanical, it is in a sense too late — inhuman work might as well be done by machines.” It is not enough to simply create jobs. We must create good jobs that people want to do. Sierra Commons knows how to create good jobs.

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By providing a campus where people can come together, share ideas and get involved in a professional environment, with mentoring and professional services, ongoing education, and incubator classes, Sierra Commons is a pinnacle of economic development in Nevada County. We provide a space for employees who want to live in Nevada County but who work remotely. We provide a professional setting for freelancers, contractors and professionals who need a place to work. Sierra Commons helps start-ups and individual business people to have a space where the utilities and overhead costs are a part of a package deal, cutting down on initial cost of starting a business and allowing for businesses to be more successful in the introduction phases of doing business. Sierra Commons provides the tools for people hoping to start their own successful business. We provide an education center for all levels of business in Nevada County. Sierra Commons is not a typical entrepreneurial resource; we are a collaborative, community-focused economic program and we have a passionate commitment to see Nevada County thrive.

At Sierra Commons, our members often impress us beyond their usual work ethic, innovation and ideas. This past weekend was one of those times. Sierra Commons members Abe Miessler and Hilary Hodge were one of 670 people who participated locally in the 17th Annual Yuba River Cleanup.

Abe Miessler helping to remove blackberries along Wolf Creek

Abe Miessler helping to remove blackberries along Wolf Creek

The Yuba River Cleanup is an annual volunteer event organized by the South Yuba River citizens League, or SYRCL. The event is in conjunction with the Great Sierra River Cleanup sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the annual Coastal Cleanup Day, a state-wide event in California. The collaboration makes the day the largest single-day volunteer event in California. More than 4,000 people volunteered their time to help clean streams, creeks, rivers, meadows and large portions of the California Coastline.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy announced in a press release that their efforts removed 55 tons of trash along Sierra Nevada rivers and watersheds. Our more locally-concentrated efforts were highlighted by SYRCL. SYRCL announced that “volunteers cheerfully removed over 15,946 pounds of trash and 2,000 pounds recyclables from 81 miles of river, creek and lake shoreline at 33 sites within the Yuba River and Bear River watersheds.”

Goldenrod, a native flowering plant threatened by invasive species.

Goldenrod, a native flowering plant threatened by invasive species.

The event focuses on trash removal but it is also an opportunity for conservation and restoration. Our Sierra Commons members, Abe and Hilary, signed up to remove—not trash—but blackberry bushes from a meadow along Wolf Creek. The meadow is an important part of the watershed ecosystem, allowing for safe overflow and absorption during the rainy season. The blackberry bushes inhibit the distribution of water along the meadow and may possibly create water diversions that could damage or destroy sensitive environments. By clearing the blackberries, a non-native invasive species, volunteers made way for the natural flow of water into the meadow.

The group of volunteers.

The group of volunteers.

Way to go Abe Miessler and Hilary Hodge!