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Aug. 7, 2018
This paid piece is sponsored by the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.
At least a couple of times each week, Kim Vanderpoel leaves her home office in Harrisburg and heads to the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.
There, thanks to her co-working membership, she has not just a desk waiting but a network of people ready to support her growing business.
Vanderpoel, owner of social media management and marketing company Fresh Impact, can access gigabit Internet service, a printer and a help desk if she needs IT support.
She can use a conference or meeting room if she’s working with a client or a group. She can pick up her mail or fit in a workout at the fitness center.
She can even fuel with free coffee and popcorn.
“I love the support. I love seeing others,” she said. “When I first started, it would mostly be me and someone else in the co-working area. Now, there are six or seven people in there when I go.”
That personal connection to an expanding network of other entrepreneurs, established business leaders and expert resource providers is key to why co-working is becoming an increasingly popular option at Zeal, with about one dozen entrepreneurs signed up for memberships.
“Simply put, it is a home – a professional workplace they can call their own,” said Thadeus Giedd, Zeal’s client specialist.
“The biggest benefit has to be the on-call business-support individuals and peers. At any point in time, a co-worker can bring a current objective or task at hand to the Zeal staff, and the staff members will help break it down, provide insight, help, direction or outside connection to a helpful resource.”
The area, which is furnished by sponsor Interstate Office Products, can accommodate about 25 memberships to start.
“It’s a professional space where I can meet clients,” said Vanderpoel, who started her business part time almost four years ago and went full time in 2016. She became a co-working member at Zeal about 18 months ago.
A former nurse, the business represented “a huge career shift,” she said. “The hardest transition was that I was working on a team and then working by yourself got really lonely. I love being able to bounce ideas off people.”
At Zeal, which she can access 24 hours a day with her membership, resources are plentiful, she said. She has had help with her financials, been able to teach a class on LinkedIn and had space to host a committee meeting for an upcoming business expo she’s helping plan.
Fresh Impact, which works with clients nationwide, recently held its Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting at Zeal.
“I really want to start doing more trainings, and having the ability to offer training at Zeal is a great option,” Vanderpoel added. “It’s the best of all worlds until I can make the leap to my own office. I can work from home and go out to Zeal. It’s a very affordable option that really does take your business to the next level.”
Co-working memberships are $249 per month. That includes access to member-only events, which provide a broad range of opportunities for developing new skills, and access to Zeal’s network of entrepreneurs in residence, who stand ready to lend advice, expertise and empathy throughout the entrepreneurial journey.
“It is rewarding to belong somewhere you have connection and comfort in the place and with the people, to know there are others in your corner rooting for you and giving support,” Giedd said.
“Also, to think others before them have started as solo dreamers and are now leading companies of large staffs in this same building gives some secondary motivation. There is benefit in knowing others around them are fully dedicated to their entrepreneurial journey and have similar battles and ambitions.”
In addition to co-working space, Zeal offers small office options when entrepreneurs are ready to move up. They’re popular, but there should be some availability later this year.
As for Vanderpoel, her team has grown to four independent contractors, and eventually she envisions moving out of co-working and into an office.
“And Zeal would be the first place I’d look to do that,” she said. “They really want your business to succeed, and they help you find the resources needed to do that.”
Zeal’s co-working space is filling up as entrepreneurs discover its many benefits.