This is a guest post by Hygge resident, Meg Seitz. Meg is a force of nature. She gets shit done and does it well. I want to be her when I grow up. You can read more about Meg here.
Right around this time last year, I was on the verge of losing it.
I started my company earlier that year, so I’d been working for myself for nine or ten months. I worked home alone plenty of days. I cut my gym membership to save cash, but that only meant that I found myself in my apartment complex’s gym at 11:07 a.m. alone or working alongside someone’s dad visiting from Rochester. I emptied the dishwasher to avoid the intellectual discomfort of editing a tough piece. I had snuggled into almost every coffee shop in every corner of Charlotte. I’d trusted strangers with my computer while I went to the bathroom, praying they hadn’t cut and run with my laptop in those 30 seconds I was gone.
“I just needed to go to the bathroom,” I pictured myself telling the police.
I felt so damn lonely.
This wasn’t what owning my own business ever looked like in my imagination.
Almost when I thought I was going to lose it from the professional loneliness, I saw a post about Hygge on Instagram. It looked totally normal with coffee and farmer tables and plants and bold black, white and yellow. From the pictures, it felt like me.
Within 24 hours of seeing that post, I messaged Hygge’s Founder Garrett Tichy on Twitter. I wanted to see Hygge. I took a seven-minute tour of the place with him, and then told him I’d be back the next day to try out the space.
I remember that next morning really well. I woke up with some place to be.
I put on real clothes. I packed my lunch. I packed my computer and my notebooks and folders. And I went to Hygge to work.
It wasn’t even lunch before I told Garrett that I was in — I wanted to join Hygge.
In the year since I’ve worked from Hygge, my business has grown, I’ve grown, I feel 110 percent better about the idea of being able to own my own business and not go completely insane working alone.
There have also been some greater — more fun — learnings, too, from the coworking lifestyle. Things that have literally changed how I show up now in every single thing that I do.
I’m watching more television.
In the years leading up to my Hygge decision, I was chin deep in business school, so I’d cut cable to save time and money which meant that I’d fallen out of not just television watching, but television talking.
I’d been slowly coming back to it, catching up on some shows that I wanted to see during those two long, fast years of graduate school, but I remember one day at Hygge, I overheard a couple people I didn’t know talking about a show.
“Hey, I watch that show,” I thought to myself.
“Hey I watch that show,” I said out loud to them.
In that moment, I had friends. I had friends again. Friends who talked television.
I left there that day, and I went home to watch the episode they were talking about that I hadn’t yet seen.
The next day, I had something to talk about with someone who wasn’t related to me. I hadn’t experienced that in a while, and there’s something magical about watching the same thing and then talking to people with totally different takes on it.
I guess that’s water cooler chat. For me, it was cultural collaboration.
I have a sounding board.
When I launched my life as a member of Hygge, I was one of their first members which meant I ran into the same handful of people all the time. I loved the consistency. I loved the familiarity.
Even more so, I loved building professional rapport with new people who were doing work that was similar to me in one way or another. Which meant that we could sit and talk or I could bounce an idea off someone while walking in the front door or pouring coffee.
I have a place to meet clients.
There are only so many times that I can ask a client (or a potential client) to meet me at Starbucks on East and then curse the sky when I pull into that parking lot and there’s no spot for me — and, I fear, no place for my client.
Now, they meet me at Hygge. Done. It’s more professional and more fun; it’s easier; it’s more accessible. And because Charlotte is Charlotte, they most likely see someone else in Hygge whom they recognize. Networking. Boom.
A hidden truth — Hygge is always vibing, and I get a lot of energy from that, which means I can get a client vibing and we stand a really good chance of creating something awesome.
I’m eating more donuts.
An all-Hygge-member-Basecamp-message dropping news that there are Duck Donuts in the kitchen? I tell ya — moths to a flame.
I work on a lot of different virtual teams — some are here in Charlotte; some are all over the world. Makes coming together tough. Makes coming together even just for two minutes tough.
But, ya know, as much as we’d like to think it’s about the donuts, it’s not. It’s about the fact that like mom calling “dinner,” there’s nothing like donuts that brings everyone out from behind their screens to one common place —splitting donuts, taking full donuts, debating about donuts.
I willingly crawl out from behind my computer screen for one of those donuts for a lot of different reasons.
I’m laughing more.
I know this sounds like an Ovaltine commercial or a college brochure, but I hang around Hygge enough to know people well enough to have stories or inside jokes or just roll our eyes together about the same thing.
There’s funny stuff that happens here. There are funny people here. There are happy people here. And I am laughing more now than I was a year ago — if anything, because of the people here.
I’m super grateful to Hygge for that reason.
I love what I do, but last year, I was starting to struggle with how I could do what I wanted to do and not feel like a total island. In that sense, coworking helped me to build my business in a lot of different ways.