Julianne Becker: On Jumping From Freelancing Into Coliving And Coworking

We recently got to speak with the talented Julianne Becker from Climb Glean, which is a village just outside of Berlin, Germany and the co-founder of Echo Living a coworking project and social business called Coconat which stands for community and concentrated work in nature.

We met at the mighty Coworking Europe, which is definitely one of the reasons that Freelancers Week exists. How did you get involved with that?

I got involved with coworking when I moved to Berlin.  I had no idea what coworking was.

I had been looking for a job for a very long time. I saw two jobs offered by DeskWanted and DeskMag, I decided I would apply for both because they were mini-jobs.

That gave me a crash course in coworking. Right after I retired from my previous field and I started writing for DeskMag and did a lot of writing and researching on coworking.

I visited coworking spaces in Berlin and shortly after that Berlin hosted the second European Coworking Conference.

We were a co-host so I was heavily involved in organizing the event there. It also gave me a crash course in bar camps and other alternative conference methods.

I then co-hosted the unconference at Coworking Europe for the first time in 2011.

I’d a lot of fun and kept doing it. All of this experience helped me develop the idea of a co-living space in the countryside to give people a break from the city and where they could be productive with other people who also wanted to be able to concentrate on their work projects.

Our theme this year is Freelancers Assemble, which is about people getting together.

When people get together there is a friction and energy that happens. Why is that important?

When I was first researching about coworking and people there was some statistic that said 90% of people are more productive when they are around other people.

I completely understood that because at that point I had been freelancing and working from home.

Then I realized if I’d spent two days in my apartment without speaking to other people that I would have trouble speaking to someone verbally as opposed to typing.

I also saw a movie about a writer who went to the cabin in the woods alone.

The guy had a mental breakdown because most people need to speak with other people to be able to be productive and feel healthy.

For the 10% of people who can be at home alone and work well that is fine, but if the majority of the population want to be productive they need to be around other people.

Being able to take a break, talk to others about what they are working on as well as other topics allow them to be much more productive.

What do you think stops people from going to coworking spaces? Do you think it is fear based or more to do with the cost?

Being able to go to a coworking space does require a bit of money, so if you are just getting started it could very well be economically out of your ability.

The people who you find in the coworking spaces are usually more established as freelancers than people just getting started.

In my area, which is rural, the people around here can have issues making a lot of money freelancing, so that can definitely be a hurdle.

I think the other way it stops people is that they have not experienced in a way where they see the benefit. Some people spend a lot of time and money making their perfect home office so they end up being determined to work there.

It can take a while for them to really evaluate if they are able to be productive there or not. I think it is something that has to be tried for them to see that working with people actually is better.

You can hear from Julianne Becker at The Col-Liv Summit in Paris in September and Coworking Europe in November in Amsterdam.

Bernie Mitchell
Bernie Mitchell
#EFWeek Team

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