A Call for European Indieworkers

The weekend from October 18th to 20th 2019 has been very special for me and not only because I improved my Portuguese skills, tasted delicious Bacalhau and drank the best Port Wine. The main attraction was of course meeting the amazing people at the Porto Indieworker Bootcamp. It felt so special and I am so thankful for the new connections I was honored to make, that after over three years of a pause from heavily blogging (Hey, I was an IronbloggerHH), I am writing my first event blogpost on a fresh blog.

A huge thank you to all of you!

I am grateful for the invitation from Tania, founder of the CRU Coworking Space in Porto and organizer of the 3-Day Bootcamp for freelancers and solopreneurs from Porto, around Portugal and Europe. There were talks, panels, workshops, music and just a fantastic atmosphere in the city of Porto to network while having amazing food (@Miguel: adorei a Cathedral do Frango) and again Port Wine (No, you should not drink it like red wine) and even the rare strawberry tree liquor (Obrigado Rita e um abraço para o seu pai).

What the Porto Indieworker Bootcamp did to me

But the most impressive part was to realize , that across Europe from Istanbul to Porto, from Brussels to Athens, a vibrant creative community works on projects. Projects for peace and sustainability are changing the way we work and how we as human beings want to live.

That I am part of this family since 10 years as a Coworker at the betahaus Hamburg and now Berlin literally fills my eyes with tears of joy, because coworking definitely changed my life and the way I work. This feeling was so intense during the Porto Indieworker Bootcamp, that I decided to work on a european-wide project with different Creative Hubs, Coworking Spaces and the Indieworkers I have met. So let me explain.

Coworking as an action for a strong family

Being an Indieworker is a road full of risks to your own limits of strength and a delicate balance between being broke and living the perfect creative life. For me as a career coach it is of course my calling to help Indieworkers to master this balance. One answer to realize this, is to search inside yourself and to get a clear view of how you really want to work and which inner dialogues you are holding you back to achieve this. Lieza Dessein gave the perfect speech on that the second day, saying: "You have to nurture your own ecosystem as a Freelancer."

Especially for all the Indieworkers: blaiming the outside world for not helping you is like complaining about the weather, you can’t change it anyway. You have to move and go to Istanbul or Porto to enjoy the sun. You have to come up with your own solutions. The last ten years I was working with and for the community of different spaces in Germany as a mentor and coach. More than often I listened and learned from the incredible talented people I met. With questions on my mind like how to build a strong community. The highlight was definitely the "How to be a Hub Superhero" workshop in June 2017 at betahaus Berlin. Commissioned by the European Creative Hubs Network, with funding from the EU and the British Council with 35 partners and Hub Managers from all over Europe. It was an intense experience for me as a coach and let also to the invitation as a speaker to Porto.

One of the most inspiring ideas I listened to during the bootcamp was from Vassilis, who has build the creative hub and collective bios in Athens for the last 20 (!) years and who is also Director of the European Creative Hubs Network.  He said:"A community is evolving through continuous improvement but in the end you have to grow with people. You know you're there, when you have a big, strong family." This really stuck with me and since I'm part of a coworking family, I would love to dive into the topic of collaboration design and coworking rituals even deeper.

Another amazing quote came from Joana Carvalho, Hub Manager at Dinamo10 in Viana de Castelo, Portugal. She explained her point of view what coworking is, saying: "Coworking is not about a place, Coworking is an action." This is so beautiful, let's build ideas to strengthen the family and let's create action. I think it's time to think about some kind of structure for the coworkers to help them create the success they want, loose their fears and feelings of anxiety. Because when I hold my workshop on Saturday, I listened to many voices from the participants. Theirsorrows and insecurities about their work are similar to any other fear from around the world. It was a motivational sign to connect the dots in between:

Focus: To find the right balance between bread and butter jobs that pay your rent and you heart projects that you need like a fish needs the water to live.

Clarity: It is hard to stop starting new projects with the endless stimulation of your creativity surrounded by a vibrant community of likeminds. You need clarity about the the best ideas for you.

Impact: Even with the impulsive energy of an idea volcano, you need to train your impact muscle, sometimes you only have one shot, raise your chances to be more effective.

Leadership: Especially as a Hub Manager you need to be sensitive about hiring new employees to your coreteam. Who is a fit to your team and the community? How can you as the leader of your space develop an instinct to create the perfect team?

Invitation and Obrigado

My special interest and calling as a coachpreneur and coworker is to find the right answers to these questions. Of course I can’t find these answers only on my own, nor can’t I create the solutions on my own for this large family. Fortunately I found a deeply inspiring Cofounder in Tuğçe Akbulut, who is a Creative Entrepreneur at Cross Change in Istanbul, and who also attended the Indieworker Bootcamp as a speaker.

We are in contact since then and our idea volcanoes are erupting.At the moment we are in the founding phase for a project on collaboration design and coworking rituals with various partners across Europe, meaning Athens, Berlin, Istanbul and Porto. Hell yeah stay tuned. Muito Obrigado Tânia, Daniel, Nina, Julija, Mónica and Miguel for organizing this event, inviting these lovely people and creating this delicate atmosphere. Let's see where it grows. Of course I am back in 2020. Promised.