Are we really co-working?

Why do you hear about co-working everywhere ?

There is a boom in the co-working industry, no doubt about that. Nice, large, comfy offices to share with other entrepreneurs, freelancers, start-uppers. A whole bunch of events, conferences, trainings organized to help us develop our skills and also connect with others. And then serendipity does its thing, we create new connections, new inspirations, new ideas. Sometimes these ideas lead to new products or services. Sometimes to internal process improvements. Sometimes to new clients. Often to new connections.

But is that enough? Is that the future of coworking spaces?

My first company grew rapidly from 1 to 15 people, in 3 years time. We started off working from home, then squatting in cafes, then renting larger meeting rooms so we could work together (thank you Bird Office!). My company didn’t have the money for its own office at day 1.

Very quickly, we understood that it wasn’t sustainable. So we starting squatting in coworking spaces (hopefully they all offer to test them for free during one-day ?). So we tested the Brussels coworking ecosystem. Some nicer than others. More space. More light. More design interiors. More events. Central location. Good places for drinks & food in the neighbourhood.

PeterLily's team - Christmas dinner event
PeterLily’s team – Christmas dinner event

In parallel, we also started visiting our own potential spaces, ranging from 100 m² to 500 m². We knew we needed at least 100 m² for today. But renting contracts are for 3 years ad minimum. So we needed to make growth hypothesis for the coming 3 years (at least!). And choosing a space for 50 employees and thousands of visitors is not the same as choosing one for 15 people. And of course, you pay immediately for your 50 people, even though you won’t need it before a couple of years.

A coworking space was our best option. Flexible in time. Flexible in space. And full of connection & interaction potential.

What if co-working was more than just the workspace?

As a young entrepreneur, primarily a psychologist, leading alone my company, I wasn’t only looking for a nice place to work for my teams. I also needed help in all my support activities (accounting, payroll, tax, corporate law, etc.).

When I started I knew nothing about accounting, balance sheets, salary & tax optimization, business & financial planning. I’m still no specialist today and will probably never become one. So I have to rely on my accountant, my tax specialist, my lawyer, my payroll administration specialist, my insurance broker, my communication agency, and on a whole bunch of others support specialists. All located in a different place.

So imagine a place where I could combine an enjoyable place to work, large spaces, meetings rooms, a babyfoot, good coffee & cookies, connections & interactions with other entrepreneurs, AND all support services in house!

It didn’t seem like a crazy idea. With the rise of coworking spaces in Brussels, I thought it would be easy to find.

Well…no. Not at all.

So, as one of my fellow entrepreneurs told me 10 years ago “Being an entrepreneur is solving problems and selling solutions”, we created it! And Manistal was born.

So, what is Manistal ?

Manistal is the new generation of coworking. Besides offering a nice place to work, we also help you with all your support activities (accounting, tax, financial planning, payroll, RH, marketing, communication) so you can focus on what you do best.

Manistal coworking space at Avenue Louise, Brussels

And on top, we have great freshly brewed coffee and homemade cookies every Monday.

Our motto is : “You take care of your business. We take care of you.”

Come see for yourself ! We will be participating to the Belgian coworking week from Oct 22 to Oct 26, 2018. Free access to our space by registering here.

Looking forward to meeting you soon!

Categories: Coworking, Entrepreneur

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