The freelance economy continues to grow in prominence, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that, by 2025, roughly 40 percent of America’s workers will self-identify as freelancers or contractors. With such a rapidly growing population, the traditional coffee shop workplace may no longer be enough to meet professionals’ needs. Co-working serves as the ultimate win-win solution for those tired of the nomadic workplace and yearning for personal connection. New Orleans’s top workplaces offer the perfect example of what an ideal co-working environment could look like.
Typically used to identify a techie concept still in its initial stages, the term ‘beta’ takes on a whole new meaning when applied to co-working. The moniker of choice for a prominent New Orleans workspace, Beta provides all the essentials for entrepreneurs still lacking the necessary funding for full office rentals, but in a professional and creative atmosphere that fosters a true sense of community. The impressive co-working site offers several meeting spaces, as well as such extras as a gym, a pool and easy access to Merchant, one of the area’s most popular cafes. Access to all these costs $495 per month or $45 per day. As the Times-Picayune points out, Beta’s emphasis on the entrepreneurial spirit combined with the maintenance of Louisiana’s heart and soul truly encompasses the “new New Orleans.”
Today’s programmers and web designers require and deserve inspiring workplaces — a necessity Dojo is proud to provide. Anchored by mobile developer WebDevrs, Dojo serves as a safe space for freelancers and entrepreneurs tired of drifting from one coffee shop to the next. Despite its decidedly professional setting on the 16th floor of the New Orleans Exchange Center, Dojo is nothing if not welcoming to all kinds of freelance professionals, from mobile development newbies to seasoned start-up whizzes. It’s $125 a month, BYOD workspace deal offers an affordable alternative to pricier New Orleans co-working spaces. This makes Dojo the perfect environment for any self-sufficient entrepreneur who can run their business with Quickbooks for Mac and an iPad.
Conceived by entrepreneurs themselves, Entrepreneurs’ Row is a 30,000 foot space that serves as a conference center and loft-like workspace for startups and individuals around the city. Sean Cummings created the space with a focus on clustering likeminded entrepreneurs to build their businesses together and fuel the local economy in New Orleans. Right in the heart of downtown, Entrepreneurs’ Row is home to fast growing companies, many of which are internationally recognized, that prefer to keep roots in New Orleans.
With just over three years under its belt, the well-known coworking space Launch Pad has already made a splash in the city. The space occupies multiple areas throughout the IP Building, providing a collaborative workspace for a community of entrepreneurs, creative professionals and freelancers. Members of the coworking space as well as fans might be in store for even more growth in the near future. Launch Pad Co-founder Chris Schultz created a Neighborland campaign, urging neighbors to support the plan to transform the building into a world-class arts and entrepreneurship hub. He explained, “New Orleans is at its core a cultural mecca – and this project is designed to inspire the next generation of creative leaders in all areas – art, design, fashion, culinary – we can together build a vibrant community that fosters the connections between art and entrepreneurship and paints a vivid picture for visitors of how the city is fostering that creativity and investing in its talent.”
Solo or co-op professionals focused on social causes may struggle to find like-minded individuals with whom they can consort in shared workspaces. Fortunately, in New Orleans, Propeller has stepped in to fill this vital niche. Although Propeller welcomes business professionals with open arms, its founders hold a special soft spot for those dedicated to making the world a better place. The goal is to foster a sense of community and, in doing so, allow workspace users the opportunity to then give back to that community. And with two of Propeller’s entrepreneurs having earned the CodeMakrs Super Challenge Innovation Award for an app that enhances New Orleans residents’ park experiences, the co-working facility is clearly accomplishing its community-oriented goals.
Co-working locations hold an unfortunate stereotype as beneficial, but ultimately drab locales. With its historical setting and impressive 30 foot ceiling, the Icehouse effortlessly destroys such expectations. As Hongkiat points out, the location serves as more than a simple daytime work center — it also plays host to a wide array of social functions, including political gatherings and entertainment nights. Such offerings cost Icehouse entrepreneurs $500 per month, but many would say the networking opportunities are well worth the fee.
About the author: Dana Hudson is a New York native and small business consultant with a penchant for social media strategy.