Young entrepreneurs exist! Meet our member Cyril

If you believed that business knowledge and tons of years of experience are necessary to run a successful business, you might think differently after reading this post! Meet our member Cyril who set up his own company right after finishing college. Cyril and his team founded Flat, a startup that provides a collaborative software tool for music notation. Keep reading to learn more about how he embarked on this exciting journey!

Where are you from? 

I’m from Nantes, in the Northwest of France. 

What do you do? 

I am a software engineer and I am also the co-founder of a startup called Flat, which is a music notation software.

How did you come up with the idea of setting up this business?

I was not the one who came up with the idea initially. It all started in an event called Startup Weekend in France, in which participants gather with other random people and the goal is to come up with ideas during the weekend. The initial idea was to do a GitHub for music notation. 

Then we had to work on a school project and two of my classmates decided to continue with this idea. At this stage, our idea evolved into creating something like a Google Doc for music notation – the aim was to have multiple individuals being able to work on the same music document all at the same time. That’s something that had never been done before and which would be very challenging technically speaking. 

During our final presentation at school, which was open to the public, we realised that there were several musicians in the audience who were interested in what we were suggesting. And that encouraged us to start the company!

Did you have any business background or have you learnt along the way? 

No, not at all. We were a team of software engineers with no business background whatsoever. At the beginning, it was a bit tough for us because we were a bit out of our comfort zone. Our reasoning was that, as long as we provided a good product, people would just buy it. But then when we weren’t doing great in terms of sales, we started to wonder whether our product was good enough or not, and if further improvements would be needed. 

But of course, we realised that our approach was wrong. That’s when we started to limit the amount of features that were available for free and this little change dramatically increased our sales. At the end of the day, you need to ask people to pay, and it took us some time to realize how important that was. 

Another thing worth mentioning is that when we realised that we were lacking some business skills we got involved in a mentorship program which provided training and resources to entrepreneurs. This was very helpful and allowed us to move forward. 

Being a young entrepreneur, have you had to face any challenges? 

I’d say that it’s particularly tough at the beginning because you work a lot but don’t get many results. During the first 2-3 years we were working very long hours and paying ourselves the minimum wage – or not paying ourselves at all if there wasn’t enough cash. 

What have been your biggest achievements as an entrepreneur? 

One thing that kind of feels like an achievement is that I’ve been working on the music notation engine, which is something that not many people in the world are doing. 

And from a more human perspective, I feel proud to have been able to make employees feel good and to constantly find ways to improve their lives within the company. Even in difficult times when we didn’t have enough cash and couldn’t pay them much, they decided to stay with us because of the work environment. 

Why did you choose to work from Prague and what is the best thing about living and working here? 

When we first started the company, we all had to go back to our parents’ because we didn’t have enough money. So I spent a lot of time in my hometown and started to feel the need to go abroad again. As a student, I had spent a year in Sweden as part of the Erasmus program and I wanted to experience the international atmosphere again. I had heard good things about Prague – it was a very beautiful city, the cost of living wasn’t too expensive and not speaking Czech wasn’t a barrier. So why not? I had the idea in the back of my mind for a year or two and, after visiting Prague for a week in the summer, I really liked it and booked my flight right away to move in next September. 

I couldn’t pick just one thing that I like about living here. The whole city is beautiful (not only the centre), so it’s very nice to walk around. There are lots of green areas. Life is easy. Public transport is great. Food is cheap, beer is good. So it’s a combination of all of them. 

Why did you choose to work from a coworking space?

After a while working from home, I was going crazy. I felt I needed to separate work life and personal life because at the beginning I would do personal stuff in the middle of the day and then check emails when I was out with friends. In my opinion, it’s important that being home means you’re done with the work day. 

Why did you choose Locus in particular and what is the main benefit you’ve gotten working from Locus? 

I had tried another coworking space before Locus, but I felt it was very impersonal, very corporate-oriented. It didn’t feel like home to me. I found out about Locus on Nomad List and now I can say I really like it! The atmosphere is great and people are very nice. There is also a great variety of profiles – there are entrepreneurs but also copywriters, translators… I really appreciate this diversity because if you’re always surrounded by other entrepreneurs who only talk about business stuff, it ends up driving you crazy. It’s nice to be able to speak to people who don’t do the same thing you do. And on top of that, Locus members are very open. I made a lot of friends here and I even met my girlfriend! 

To sum up, if you’re looking for a balance between socialising and working productively, then Locus is the right place for you!

Cyril and other Locus members

What is a fun fact about you? 

I didn’t go to the hairdresser’s during the first lockdown! 

Locus Events are Going Virtual!

Online events at Locus Workspace are stronger than ever! One of our top priorities is to keep events alive to maintain our well-known sense of community among our coworking members and add value to their memberships. Locus’ goal is to help freelancers, digital nomads, remote workers and other location-independent professionals be more productive and work better. Despite these challenging times, we wanted to make sure to keep up that spirit, and that’s why we’ve gone virtual!

Keep reading for a full list of all our virtual events…

Virtual

“Focus @ Locus” Group Pomodoro Work Meetup 

Are you more focused and productive when you work alongside friends or colleagues? Then join our daily “Focus @ Locus” virtual meetup and work alongside a small group of other Locus Workspace members while we practice the Pomodoro technique.

How does it work?

At the beginning of each meeting we’ll share our goals for the work session (2-hour session on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 3.5-hour session on Wednesdays). We will work as a group for 25 minutes at a time with a 5 minute break, or 55 minutes with a 5 minute break if you want take every other break, and repeat! At the end of the session, we’ll evaluate whether our goals have been reached.

The Pomodoro technique has helped millions of people to improve their time management, making them more productive and focused. So why not you?

👨‍👧‍👧 Members

📆 Every weekday

🕒 Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri: from 9:00 to 11:00 am; Wednesdays from 9:00 to 12:30 pm

💻 Meeting via Skype and Telegram

How to join? Ask a community manager and you’ll be all set!

 

Czech Conversation Classes 

Would you like to improve your conversational Czech? Then consider joining our online Czech conversation classes along with other international Locus members.

How does it work?

For one hour you will have the chance to practice your speaking skills with a native teacher in a small group with other Locus members. Subjects change every week and are sometimes based on the latest news to keep the content as varied as possible while helping you retain new vocabulary on different topics.

👨‍👧‍👧 Members

📆 Every Friday

🕒 From 2:00 to 3:00 pm

💻 Meeting via Zoom

💰 Try out one class for free. After that, commitment is month by month (participants let everyone know by the start of each calendar month using a shared Google sheet if they’ll miss any – or all – classes for the upcoming month). The hourly rate is 600 Kc + VAT, which is shared among members based on their relative number of committed hours each month. For example, if there is an average of 4 students per class, it would cost you 150 Kc / 60-minute lesson.

How to join? Ask a community manager or send an email to cesky@locusworkspace.com

 

Critique-Free Writing Meetup

Can’t you make yourself sit for a couple of hours to write down a few pages? Do you get distracted easily? Are you facing deadlines and need to work over the weekend as well?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, the Critique-Free Writing Meetup may be just a thing for you. Set up your calendar to “busy” for next Saturday and join this writing meetup. It is meant for everyone who needs to do any kind of a writing activity, e.g. write an article for the newspaper, a blog post, a thesis, an academic paper or even a novel.

At the beginning of the session, the participants introduce themselves briefly, mention what they are currently working on and set goals they want to reach on that day. At the end of session, everybody tries to sum up whether they succeeded in accomplishing the set goals.

Even if the session is running virtually right now, you can feel the sense of community – a group of people working on a similar goal. It motivates you to get things done the sooner the better and help you keep the perseverance in writing.

👨‍👧‍👧 Members & Non-Members

📆 Every Saturday

🕒 From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

💻 Meeting via Facebook

How to join? Register via Meetup HERE (look for the next “Critique-Free Writing Group” meetup) or contact Sonya Lano on Facebook or Messenger to add you to FB Writing Meetup chat group.

 

Prague Writers Group

At a certain stage of the writing process, every author needs some feedback on their work. That is exactly what you can get by joining Prague Writers Group! This group is tailed for writers who are in-process of writing a longer work or novel of any genre. You can submit any piece of work you need a feedback on.

The submission should not exceed 3500 words though and should be done by Thursday evening. It allows other members of the group to have enough time (till Saturday evening) to read it through and give you an objective feedback. Even though you may not always have time to read everyone’s texts through, join anyway!

👨‍👧‍👧 Members & Non-Members

📆 Every Saturday

🕒 From 5:30 to 9:00 pm

💻 Meeting via Skype

How to join? Register via Meetup HERE (look for the next “Prague Writers Group” meetup) or contact Sonya Lano on Facebook or Messenger to add you to the Skype group and give you access to the Dropbox folder.

 

Remember you can always check what’s happening at Locus in the Calendar of Events that you will find on our website.

 

Any of these sound interesting? Would you like to join our members only events? Then get a VIRTUAL MEMBERSHIP at Locus Workspace and:

  • Become part of the Locus community
  • Participate in our members only events
  • Use the large meeting room 1hr./month for FREE
  • Work from our coworking space 1 day/month for FREE
  • Get member prices for meeting room reservations (both small and large meeting rooms)
  • Possibility of meeting rooms reservations 24/7
  • Use day passes from midnight to midnight any day of the week

See All Benefits

 

Living as a Digital Nomad – Meet our member Fredrik Hagen

Funding his own IT consulting firm enabled Fredrik to leave Norway and discover other parts of the world. He’s been a digital nomad for 3 years now and today he shares his story with us. Want to find out more about the digital nomad lifestyle? Keep reading!

Where are you from?

Oslo, Norway

What’s a fun or interesting fact about where you’re from?

Norway is one of the most open, liberal, democratic, transparent countries in the world. It is a very good place to live. It has beautiful nature and a high standard of living.

What do you do?

I run an IT consulting firm and various start-ups. We combine different areas. We own parts of different start-ups within the health research, education – EdTech – and law sectors. These are our main focuses right now. But at the core, we are a group of people and we do IT consulting.

All I need to do my job is Internet connection, which allows me to work from anywhere in the world.

What are you currently working on that you’re most excited about?

Now I am working mostly on the health start-up. We provide a cloud solution that makes it easier to conduct research for medical purposes. Recently, I have got a big customer in Norway so this tool is going to be used for all the COVID-19 studies in Norway. So that’s very exciting!

Why did you choose to work from Prague?

Because I got tired of the Covid restrictions. Before, I was in Norway and they shut everything down quickly and kept it shut-down. In the beginning, I was in isolation. People in bars and restaurants were separated with Plexiglas. I just got enough of this limited existence.

I was in Bangkok when it all started back in January. I read about the virus and I realised that it is deadly but people die of different things all the time. It has just become so massive. In Norway, there was a big focus on it every day in the news and I knew the Czech Republic was more open in this way. Also, I had been here with a group of friends in July and it was so nice to be somewhere else, where everything felt normal. So I decided to come back for a month and now I am actually considering the possibility of staying longer.

Why did you choose to work from a coworking space?

Just to be a part of a community and see other people every day. I travel alone when I do digital-nomading so it is nice to be in a place with like-minded people.

Why did you choose Locus in particular?

I just did a Google Maps search and Locus was the only coworking space in the Vinohrady area. I came for a one-day trial and I really liked the place. It seemed to me that it had a lot of soul and history. It is kind of different from those mass-produced offices. Cosy is the right word!

What best describes the kind of location-independent work you do?

I am an entrepreneur and have been following a nomadic lifestyle for the past 3 years, which means that I travel while I work. I spent 1 year in Barcelona (Spain), 3 months in Medellin (Colombia), and also travelled to Bangkok (Thailand) and lived around Norway.

Before you joined a coworking space, what were the biggest challenges of doing that kind of work?

I’ve been working from coworking spaces since I became a digital nomad, except for when I’m in Oslo, as we have several offices there. Before that I used to work as a consultant, so I guess I’ve never had to face any challenges and never experienced what it’s like to work from home – that’s just not for me.

What is the main benefit you’ve gotten working from Locus (not already mentioned above)? 

The people there, they’re nice people. There’s a good sense of community and it was a great opportunity to socialize.

What’s the best thing about living and working in Prague, from the perspective of being a location-independent professional?

The cost of living is insanely low, especially compared to Norway. Thanks to that, I can drink a lot of beer, and I’m always sending pictures of all the beers I have to my friends back in Norway. On top of that, the climate at this time of year (September) is really nice – or maybe I’m just being lucky! And finally, it’s a beautiful place, so it’s always nice to walk around after work and see all these amazing buildings.

Any other interesting projects you’re working on that you haven’t mentioned already?

I’ll tell you a bit more about the EdTech startup I’m working on at the moment, which is quite interesting. It focuses on reading exercises for kids, turning reading into a game. We developed an app – Lesemester, which means “Reading Master” –  where kids can read books, gain points, level up and challenge friends. The aim is to increase the amount of reading.

Other than that, we always encourage everyone to think about new things. Whenever someone comes up with an idea that we think is worth trying out, then we put effort to take it off the ground.

What is a fun fact about you?

I’m a very boring person. Just kidding! I jumped off a building in Las Vegas and once I was on the verge of becoming a superstar. When I was younger I made electronic music and two songs were remixed by a DJ from Lillehammer – that’s the town I’m originally from and where the 1994 Winter Olympics took place. So they were released in Sweden as part of a compilation CD but, unfortunately, the company went bankrupt a few weeks after the songs were released and I never made any money from it, just got a copy of the CD.