Coworking for the "Digital Nomad"
I’ve made the coworking rounds.
I first started working out of my house like any other digital worker. Waking up, feeling proud that you have the luxury of working in your pajama pants in bed until noon. At noon, you upgrade to workout pants and head to your sofa. This lasted a good seven days before I realized I gained 3 kilos and hadn’t talked to another human being.
:::Enter coworking space:::
I actually only discovered the coworking space concept in Chicago 2014. There was A TON. But once I found a good one, I was in love. You’re surrounded by PEOPLE, dogs even! There’s even tequila tasting events on the rooftop on Friday nights.
But I’m not talking about Chicago. I’m talking about Mexico.
When I moved to Mexico City in 2017, I started working from home, again. I didn’t want to go into a coworking space and humiliate myself with my bad Spanish.
Flash forward to one year later. My Spanish is GOOD! I look into coworking spaces. They are just as expensive as coworking spaces in Chicago, wtf!
I start working from cafes. This is a step up. I don’t have access to a refrigerator full of food. I can talk to the bartistas and obvious freelancers.
I have an idea to start a coworking group, not a space, but a group. I start it with my good friend Denver. We create the company while he’s crashing at our house because his house is full of gas leeks after the major earthquake. The idea is for people to work together from different cafes around Mexico City. We’ll be able to network with our group, have “coworkers,” all while checking out the best cafes in the city. We brainstorm and decide on a name. Denver creates the logo. I design the website. By the next morning, a company is born.
Over the following six months, we realize we don’t have the time to get this thing going. He’s traveling the world, and I’m swamped with my company.
I look again into coworking spaces. I find WeWork on Insurgentes 601 in Napoles. I can buy a hot desk membership for 3,000MXN pesos and it’s only a 10 minute walk from my place. I’m in.
I try to find my place. I drink the free coffee, the free beer, go to their ping pong tournaments, but never really find the sense of community I’m looking for.
Six months later I cancel. On the cancellation page they offer me 50% off my membership. WTF!
But then I found something I could get into… something I’ve never even thought of myself! It’s called Coffice, and it’s a coworking cafe. You can pay for the hour, for 3 hours, or for the entire day, while getting free coffee, tea, and discounts on food.
I decide to ask the owner if I can host a coworking and happy hour event. She says yes. WALLAH, it’s a success! A coworking community is born right in Roma Norte.
However, shortly after, I moved.
:::Insert Puerto Vallarta:::
I moved to Puerto Vallarta 2019. I noticed there were a ton of remote workers, but there was no nucleus. There was one Facebook group that hadn’t had a post in years, and one coworking space that always sat empty. Immediately, I began a Puerto Vallarta Digital Nomad group and began bi-monthly meetups.
Our first Happy Hour at a beachfront hotel in Amapas was a huge success. About 20 nomads showed up, eager to meet other younger remote workers (not the older crowd that normally take over these kind of events). Our second Happy Hour at a riverfront bar was an even bigger success. I would say close to 30-35 young nomads showed up. All I know is I kept having to drag over more tables and chairs.
Needless to say, there is a huge community of people here in Puerto Vallarta that are working from their homes and local coffee shops in and around downtown. Most live here year-round, and many leave for the summer, to visit family back home or to travel, working from wherever there is a strong Wifi connection. They almost always come back, normally to live, because Puerto Vallarta has that affect on people.
I’m excited for this group. I believe we can keep building this community, bringing people together for collaboration or to keep each other company while working from the sometimes lonely world of the internet.