Tag: nevada county

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.

IMG_0609

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.

 

We have expanded our Business Ignitor course from 6 weeks to 8 weeks and registration is now open! Classes start on February 4th and will be held for eight weeks on Thursday nights from 6pm-9pm.

 

In our new Business Ignitor we will include a class on crowd funding and give further information on marketing and finding your ideal client.  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.

The economy has changed a lot in the last five years since we started offering our Business Ignitor, Nevada County’s premier start-up incubator.  We are excited to expand our curriculum and to offer our community access to the latest and cutting-edge concepts in business and entrepreneurship.

According to a study done by Bloomberg Business, just over 80% of all new businesses are out of business within twelve months.  That means 8 out of 10 new business fail within the first year.  In the last quarter of 2015, more than 100 new fictitious business names were filed in Nevada County.

Sierra Commons, Nevada County’s non-profit business education center and coworking space, has helped start-ups in Nevada County succeed with their Business Ignitor course.  We have a proven track record in Nevada County.  More than 65% of Business Ignitor graduates are still in business after their first year.

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.  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 www.sierracommons.org or call 530-265-8443.

yelp300The people of Nevada County, and all small towns, need to start using Yelp.

I love that the people of Nevada County would rather ask a neighbor or browse a local forum for a restaurant recommendation before consulting a website or an app for dining advice. It shows that we have small-town pride, and that we are willing to support our small businesses on a peer-to-peer level. I have enjoyed many nights out based on friends’ recommendations.

With that said, the people of Nevada County really need to start using the mobile app, “Yelp,” on a regular basis to rate local businesses, with accolades, and to make our voices heard about our incredible Nevada County small businesses.

For those who aren’t familiar, Yelp is a mobile app that allows people to review businesses. Yelp uses GPS tracking to ensure that people who wish to make a review have actually been close enough to a business to review it. Many business owners and community members complain about Yelp because they feel like Yelp doesn’t accurately depict the merit of many of the places listed. It’s a fine line to walk. But Yelp is a crowd-sourced website so the crowd makes the call.

I’m imploring our community members to take a more attentive approach to the online health and the online reputations of our local businesses. Apps like Yelp can make a huge difference in our community. When we forego using apps like Yelp, (and other popular apps that are used all over the United States by millions of people), we allow tourists to tell the story about Nevada County and our small businesses.

I’m asking everyone who reads this article to: Check into Yelp for all of our local businesses and post an accurate review.

Many of us are comfortable getting restaurant reviews from our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. That exchange doesn’t have to stop. Our willingness to listen to local recommendations is an asset to local business. But we can’t let outsiders continue to write the conversation about our local stores and restaurants. Using apps like Yelp heeds accurate and friendly community input. We have a local responsibility to stick up for the small businesses we love. All of our local community members should be participating in the online conversation.

Write a Yelp review today.

 

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.

IMAG8422

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.

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.

IMAG8248-1

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.

IMAG8261-1

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.

front view

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.

After five years of service to Sierra Commons, Robert Trent has decided to step aside and pursue new avenues.  Robert was the founder and original Executive Director at Sierra Commons.  He built Sierra Commons from the ground up during a recession and helped to make Sierra Commons a sustainable co-working facility and education center.  “I have been blessed with the opportunity to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in Nevada County and help individuals transform their passion into sustainable enterprises,” Robert said about his time spent at Sierra Commons.  His hard work and dedication to Sierra Commons will always be appreciated and Robert Trent will always remain a friend to the organization and its members.

Robert Trent taking a call on the Sierra Commons tire swing.

Robert Trent taking a call on the Sierra Commons tire swing.

Robert Trent’s resignation comes at a time when Sierra Commons is blossoming and growing.  Robert Trent wrote in a recent press release, “Last August, Sierra Commons celebrated its fifth anniversary.  The non-profit was the first co-working facility in the Sierra Nevada, and one of the few rural co-working organizations in the world.  Sierra Commons, started during the recession, was an experiment to see if western Nevada County could rebuild its economy based on the principles of community, collaboration, and innovation.  The ongoing success of this experiment can be seen in the scores of new businesses and local jobs, the re-imagined careers of laid off workers, the countless “light bulb” moments at classes and community meetings that Sierra Commons continues to be a part of.”

Robert explains his decision to leave the board by saying, “After five years of serving on the Board of Directors at Sierra Commons I have decided to switch gears and focus on building new businesses from the ground up and offering private business consulting services.  I plan on staying involved with the Sierra Commons community as a co-working member, mentor, and volunteer.”

The current Sierra Commons Board of Directors is a dedicated and diverse board of business professional and non-profit leaders.  Robert Trent notes, “The board, along with Sierra Commons members, volunteers, and the greater business community are working together to ensure that the organization continues to serve individuals and our community.”

We thank Robert for all he has given to Sierra Commons these past five years.  We wish him success on his future endeavors.

I recently showed a potential new member around the Sierra Commons office. She liked our facility and enjoyed the people. She was excited to have some free conference room time each month, a benefit to all of our members. But, like with many people who aren’t familiar with Sierra Commons or co-working, she wondered, “Why don’t all these people just work from home?”
Lower floor at Sierra Commons

Lower floor at Sierra Commons

It’s an interesting question but it is easily answered. A co-working space is more than just a desk or an office space in a building somewhere. When you are part of a co-working facility, you are a part of a community. For many entrepreneurs and independent contractors, having co-workers improves productivity and helps the bottom line. Additionally, having a group of people to turn to and bounce ideas off of can be a priceless tool when working as an independent contractor, a freelancer or as someone who works for a company remotely.
Working alone can be hard for a lot of people. For one thing, it can be very expensive to try to work from home. There are a lot of start up costs involved and utilities can become more than a person bargained for. It is also difficult to remain focused when working on one’s own, especially when working at one’s home. Work and ideas can stagnate, causing a person to work below their potential. It is easy to blur the lines between work and home activities and many people find themselves taking care of home chores during the day and then working late into the evening on work activities, making it harder to maintain a work-life balance.
Collaboration at Sierra Commons

Collaboration at Sierra Commons

Working alone can be very lonely. It’s nice to be a part of office potlucks and water cooler chitchat. Having co-workers helps to break up the day into a sensible workflow. Having a place to work helps to free up your free time. With co-working, you can work independently but you don’t have to work alone.

Sierra Commons is offering our signature six-week course to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams of launching and growing their business. Known as the “Business Ignitor Course” the course consists of six 3 hour evening sessions starting Thursday September 18th at 6:00 pm at the Sierra Commons office located at 792 Searls Ave, Suite A in Nevada City. More than a business-plan workshop, the course brings together a group of motivated entrepreneurs and guides them through all of the steps needed to create a thriving enterprise.

Sierra Commons Classroom

Sierra Commons Classroom

This will be the sixth time that Sierra Commons has offered their Business Ignitor Course but the first time that it will be held in the evening. Building on the success of previous Business Ignitor Courses, the curriculum has been refined and tailored to serve our unique business community. As an additional perk, Sierra Commons is providing three months of free membership at their co-working facility to top performing graduates.  Sierra Commons will continue mentoring and housing these graduates to further increase their business success rate.

The Ignitor course was important to me for filling in the business-related gaps in my knowledge,” says Nick Santos, Ignitor graduate and current Sierra Commons member. “As the Executive Director of Environmental Consumer, a nonprofit that enables real, measurable reductions in environmental impact, I could manage the technical and organizational side. With the Business Ignitor course, I learned a better way to track clients and to think about business information.”

Mixer at Sierra Commons

Mixer at Sierra Commons

Whether someone is hoping to start a new business, or is looking for a way to revitalize an on-going project, the Business Ignitor is a great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs. It is also a wonderful way for struggling business owners to receive the mentoring and collaboration needed to make a business thrive. The course’s approach is action-based and covers topics including business planning, market analysis, marketing strategies, finance, budgeting, web, business law and more.  Course faculty are seasoned professionals who teach weekly classes, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to each topic.  Students also meet with mentors for special one-on-one sessions and for group discussions. Small businesses benefit from collaborative entrepreneurship and Sierra Commons offers exactly that.

Sierra Commons serves the community in a variety of ways. For membership, class enrollment, to rent the conference room or to get more information, please call the Sierra Commons at (530) 265-8443 or email info@sierracommons.org.

 

Tim Murray describes his art and business Spirit Dance. His three dimensional energy healers are hand-crafted here in Nevada County. Tim can be reached at murraytim_@hotmail.com or phone him at 530-265-515 .

Watch live streaming video from sierracommons at livestream.com