/ Guest post / Rural coworking for startups: are you prepared?

Rural coworking for startups: are you prepared?

Next to hosting several startup accelerators, the city of Amsterdam is becoming a true startup accelerator itself. Despite this great environment for startups, I’ve decided to take a break from bustling city life.

I got triggered to write this blogpost this article on StartupJuncture about rural coworking – in which they stated that coworking homes, coliving houses and now also rural coworking are getting more popular for online business owners and freelancers around the world.

This blog got posted 4 days before my plane to Geneva would take off from Amsterdam Airport.

The choice for rural coworking

In January 2015 I handed in my resignation at my consulting job. From March on I started to work on my startup part-time (2 days a week) and focused on building the platform, establishing online presence, setting out strategy and performing initial sales activities. When by the end of July my contract at my employer ended, it was really time to get this thing going. But with all the Amsterdam distractions (parties, festivals, friends, drinks in the sun on beautiful terraces) and a pretty drastic decline in income it was quite obvious to me that this wouldn’t work.

I needed to rethink all that happened in the past couple of months, review my work, simply put in a lot of hours and live in a place where I could afford my new “status” as startup founder. Rural Coworking seemed the answer. According to Sharaeble, coworking is a collaborative style of work in which mobile professionals share a common space as well as ideas. Add rural to that, and I would go to a place where I could wind down, focus and get things done.

I rented out my apartment, booked the cheapest ticket out of Amsterdam and looked for a 2 month rental on Airbnb in a 50km radius of the airport. Off we go!

How to pick a location for your rural coworking experience?

If you are thinking about moving abroad to work on your startup or as a freelancer, you should probably ask yourself the following questions. The answers will help you narrow down the choice of locations.

I started my search keeping in mind that all I would need is a bed and Wi-Fi. When I did the above checks, I felt that I wanted to go the mountains where I could do lots of sports, in a place that was relatively easy to reach by public transport and that was quite easy on the budget, yet with enough people around to not feel lonely. I feel comfortable getting around in French or Spanish and one of my additional requirements was sunshine and good weather.

I was mainly thinking about going to Spain or Portugal, but didn’t quite find the right combination of a cheap ticket and affordable accommodation in a nice place. So, I ended up moving to Morzine, a village in the French Alps 1 hour from Geneva. Through AirBnB I booked a room in a shared apartment and EasyJet was so nice to get me there.

I moved to a place not famous for it’s coworking facilities or amount of entrepreneurs. Yet, everywhere I go (coffeeshop, sports classes, running or biking) I kept meeting people that I talk with about my company. Local business owners, freelancers, my new friends and simply the fresh mountain air provide me with new ideas, energy and inspiration.

Pitfalls of running your startup from abroad

Once you’ve decided on a place to go and you’ve got everything booked, you’ve got to go on and do it. This where it gets hard sometimes. I encountered the following issues to a certain extent:

That working abroad in a quiet location is not for everyone, is clear. However, if you’re a even a tiny bit like a digital nomad, you’ll be getting used to your new place soon.

Where would you like to try rural coworking? Let me know and if you have any questions about rural coworking, feel free to reach out!

Sabrina Bos AccessARTThis post was written by Sabrina Bos, Founder of accessART, a global online art platform linking hand-picked artists to young art buyers. Enabling selling & buying art online in a fun, simple and transparant way. @sabrinabos

Photo by Pieter van Marion (creative commons via Flickr)

StartupJuncture welcomes guest authors from the Dutch startup community / ecosystem to publish guest blogs. for more information, send an email to team@startupjuncture.com
  1. kanarikapp says:

    It’s not a start-up, rather a small personal project. And you wonder why Dutch start-up scene is not taken seriously…look at the other jokers at Bali who are spending investor’s money on having a long, blasting holiday 😀

    • Sabrina says:

      re: it’s not a startup… thanks for the challenge, let’s talk again in a couple of months ;)..
      re: long, blasting, holidays – Where would you prefer to start your company from then? Dusty attic, rainy weather?

      • kanarikapp says:

        Well, good luck!
        I mean it’s not about where, but how a team works when they want to be serious and effective product-wise. 😉

        • Sabrina says:

          Fair enough. Thanks for comments/insights.

          One of the risks I mentioned was that it’s easy to get out of touch with your team and market. I’m in this phase of my company that I don’t have a large team on site, but only a developer offshore and a couple of freelancers (that are travelling the world themselves).

          Guess when it’s time to set really big steps – which would indeed mean spending investor’s money, which is currently not the case – you would need a more fixed spot where the team can sit together.

          And I’m very serious. And getting more effective every day 😉

          • kanarikapp says:

            I personally would not give money or trust to a company who’s ceo, sells team, and development team are email/skype buddies. It’s not like outsourcing a logo to a freelancer based anywhere. It’s the whole start-up figuring out the product, customers, and purpose together. “Real” start-ups already struggle with it working 60 hours a week in a room 5×4 meters. In scattered companies, you know their product is a mess by just taking a glance on their website/product, for example. 😀

            So I am curious what happens to those companies when the “coconut milk” runs out. 🙂

  2. mstn says:

    I would like to move to a village on mountains. Many valleys in the Alps are becoming depopulated with negative consequences for locals (e.g. no schools and basic services for few people) as well as for the environment (e.g. frequent floods in urbanized plains are caused also by the fact that today nobody takes care of soil/woods on mountains). Hence, I think that moving there could be a win-win strategy for freelancers like me (e.g. simple life, hiking, nature, freedom) and for local mountain communities (e.g. my taxes go to local municipality, I pay for local services/food, I can offer my skills to local community). Unfortunately, information is often addressed to tourists and not to wannabe residents.

    • Sabrina says:

      Hi there, thanks for your reply! Indeed I think small mountain villages are great for freelancers. You should totally give it a try. Go in inter-season – accommodation prices will be low and will give you the chance to settle in and find your way around. If you need any advice, please feel free to reach out 🙂

  3. Sabrina, I’m one of the editors on StartupJuncture. Normally I would correct minor typo’s without bothering you about it. But this one needs your judgement 🙂

    In the second paragraph: “I got triggered to write this blogpost this article on StartupJuncture…”

    You mean “because of this article”?

    • Sabrina Bos says:

      Hi there! A critical eye is always welcome 😉 strange though, as in my original post on LinkedIn it says: “I got triggered to write this blog post by an article on Startup Juncture not too long ago”. Feel free to correct this mistake, and any others you may find 😉

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