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.

 

Locus Workspace is for Sale – Update

As many of you know, Locus Workspace was put up for sale in March, partly due to the COVID-19 crisis, but largely due to my own decision to move on from the coworking industry.

As many of you also know, there was a buyer who made an offer that I accepted and showed enough interest to pay a non-refundable deposit.

Unfortunately after several months of mostly waiting for legal contracts, and for reasons I do not fully understand, the buyer pulled out and Locus is once again on the market.

Along with just announcing the unfortunate news, the purpose of this blog post is to give a brief overview of what’s next for Locus and Locus members and about what is for sale for those who might be interested in buying.

UPDATE FOR MEMBERS AND POTENTIAL MEMBERS: How will this affect your membership

For people who have been members of Locus since its early days, you’re likely aware that this may not affect your membership in a noticeable way at all, except for the unavoidable psychological uncertainty that comes from not being sure what will happen. That said, there is unavoidable uncertainty associated with not being sure who if anyone will buy Locus. If Locus doesn’t find a promising buyer by the end of September, we will begin a 3-month process of closing the space, so that Locus would be completely closed for business by the Christmas holiday. I do not expect that to happen, but it is a real possibility. If that did happen, all prepayments for long-term memberships would be pro-rated to the date Locus would no longer be usable and the remaining amounts returned to the members’ accounts. Ideally there will be at least 2.5 months from the time the closing is announced until the space would no longer be open for business. At minimum, there would be one month’s notice.

Information for Potential Buyers

Some Reasons to Buy

  • It’s a great price (I’m leaving the business for personal reasons and believe it’s a great deal for the right kind of buyer). Don’t hesitate to ask about price and financials if you might be interested. But please only serious inquiries.
  • It’s the longest-running coworking space in the Czech Republic with a stellar reputation and a broad online presence.
  • I will transfer all domain names and social media pages and groups, including URLs. Some of the URLs have presumable value as the coworking concept has grown exponentially since I purchased them (coworkstation.com and coworkingplace.com among others, along with Locus’s own functional domain names). For social media groups, Locus manages several Prague Meetup Groups with more than 1,000 members.
  • The sale includes extensive physical assets needed for running a coworking space: desks, chairs, lamps, data projectors, filing cabinets, etc.
  • I will make every effort to transfer all knowledge and resources for running the space, including extensive protocols for managing the space (though after the sale I will expect reasonable remuneration for my time).
  • There are currently two full-time interns with Erasmus fellowships and a part-time paid experienced community manager who are expected to remain at Locus during the transfer of ownership and into the first few months, assuming the sale process can proceed over a reasonable time period.
  • While Locus was hard-hit by COVID-19, membership and net profits have increased monthly since the initial lock-down in March, despite the fact that summer months are traditionally the slowest of the year. I expect the positive trend to continue strongly in September and October, as there tends to be a large increase in membership after the summer holiday season.
  • If you want to enter or expand in the coworking industry, Locus is a great way to get started.
  • While I would expect the negative impact of COVID to continue for several months, I also expect improved long-term prospects for coworking  in general as companies seek to promote remote work and flexible office space as a direct consequence of COVID.
  • Locus is profitable and unless things change can pay a reasonable living wage for a working owner/manager.
  • There is meaningful potential for increased net profits for an experienced event manager, sales person, or business manager without extensive change from the current model.

Some Reasons NOT to Buy

  • COVID-19 remains impactful and unpredictable, and it’s difficult to know how the coworking business will be affected in the short-term and in the long-term future. If you are looking for an investment without any risk, this is not the investment for you.
  • Unless you plan to be an owner manager for at least the first year, or to use this space as a springboard for learning or expansion without expectation of profit, the potential profit margin is not investment-grade, in my opinion: only people who want to be involved in running a community-oriented coworking space should see this as an opportunity.

Some Reasons to Buy or Not to Buy Depending on You

  • I started a coworking business because I wanted to do something that had community value and not primarily for a social business (meaning one that adds value to the human condition and not just for profitability) and one of the main reasons I am selling rather than just closing down is because I do not want to see Locus die when it continues to have a lot of value for members. While I also believe it’s a good investment for the right buyer, I am not at all interested in selling it to the wrong buyer.
    • With that in mind, if you are looking to immediately pivot to a different kind of business or even a different model of coworking so that current members will likely want to look elsewhere, you are not the right candidate.
    • You’ll also be buying from a person who started a business with social good in mind and who continues to be committed to those values, which can be confirmed with inquiry from long-time members of the space, which means you can count on a kind of honesty and direct communication in the sales process that often would not be provided.
  • Locus is an English language space with members from more than 20 countries, including about 35% Czech members. If you’re looking for a Czech-language-only space, you would not get the value from buying Locus that it mainly has to offer. If you’re looking for an international community with a strong Czech presence as well, Locus could be ideal.

If you are seriously interested in entering the community-oriented coworking industry and would like more information about financials or anything else, or just to have a conversation about the opportunity, do not hesitate to contact me:

will@locusworkspace.com

Will Bennis, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO, Locus Workspace

Community Manager profile: Polina Skryl

 

Hello Everyone!
I’m flattered to introduce myself to everyone as a new community manager at Locus Workspace. My name is Polina. I am currently working on my bachelor’s degree in the field of Economics and Management. I’ve been living in Prague for 6 years now, so hopefully, I can consider myself a local. 🙂

Hometown:  
Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine

Fun fact about hometown: Kryvyi Rih, which literally translates to “Crooked Horn,” is a city of regional importance that is located in the Dnipropetrovsk region which is in the Central-Eastern part of the country. It is actually the longest city in Europe; the distance between the Terni district and Ingulec district is about 126 kilometers and the population of the city is about 660,000.

Occupation: I am one of the Community Manager’s at Locus Workspace and a student at CULS in Prague

Field of study: Economics and Management

Why did you decide to work at Locus?

Locus is a perfect balance of productivity and social life. It’s a perfect place whether you want to gain multiple skills in many fields as a community manager or enjoy the benefits of being a member of a coworking space.

What are some of your goals for this job?

I believe that being a Locus community manager will help me get all of the important skills that will serve as a solid base for my future carrier and give me a real-life example for my studies. I’m excited to share my bits of knowledge in multiple spheres as Accounting, Managing, Leadership, Marketing, Organizing and Communication in a professional environment.

What kind of responsibilities do you have as a community manager?

The idea of a coworking space has several main concepts: a pleasant social environment, a productive atmosphere, and comfort. My responsibilities as a community manager are aimed to satisfy members and reach their expectations of coworking place.

Did you already have an idea of what a coworking space was before you joined Locus?

I’ve never experienced a coworking space before, but I’m very glad I now have a chance to get to know Locus with all of its’ benefits.

Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of the year again: time to plan how you will make this next year the best year of your life with some resolutions. However, staying on track and completing those resolutions may seem daunting and near impossible. We have some tips and tricks that will help you be successful.

  1. Be Realistic With Your Goals

Don’t set resolutions that you know will be difficult to maintain like going to the gym every single day all year or cutting out your favorite foods. Instead, plan to go to the gym twice a week, if that seems doable, then feel free to add to the number of times you go or spice up your workout routines. Instead of cutting out your favorite foods, say cakes, try to limit the number of times you eat cake. By setting unattainable goals, you will feel more discouraged and will more likely quit. By setting realistic goals, you will feel successful and be more likely to stay on track.

  1. Make A Plan

After creating and deciding what your attainable goal(s) are for the year, you need to make a plan. Ideally, you will want to plan before New Year’s Eve comes. That way it is goals you have been thinking about for a longer period and will be more motivated to complete. Make a schedule for yourself for when you will focus on this task. For example, “every Tuesday and Thursday morning I will go to the gym,” or “I will only have one piece of cake every other week (or every week),” depending on your schedule. Make sure to put your goals within a timeframe, whether that is a long-term goal or short-term progress. Positive self-talk and thinking, along with negative associatiins with the undesired behavior, may help you reach your goal. “Negative associatiins” does not mean beating yourself up if you slip up on your goals. Just do the best you can and take it step by step.

  1. Remain Determined

Various experts have said that it takes 21 days to make a new habit and six months for it to become ingrained. Whether or not that’s true, good habits  do not just happen. They take determination. So stick with it! Don’t get discouraged if you slip up, try building day by day in 24-hour increments, it will help build that habit.

  1. Don’t Keep It a Secret

A support system is crucial when trying to build up habits. They will help you stay on track and keep you motivated. Choose the people who you find trustworthy and supportive to be in your support circle. Fill these selected people in on your plans and inform them how they can help if you are feeling down in the dumps or unmotivated to continue your groove.

  1. Reward Yourself

This does not mean binge eating chocolate. When you are first starting, it can be difficult to adjust. Plan something that will keep you motivated, something that you can look forward to at the end of the week. Once you start getting in the habit, you can save up these rewards and turn them into even bigger rewards. For example, once a week you can go buy a book and spend a day reading it and then you can save up your rewards and go to a weekend getaway with your significant other or your friends. Again, rewards vary by person but pick something that you don’t normally do but would be able to look forward to doing if you were to complete your steps that week towards your overall resolution.

New Year’s Resolutions are hard, but hopefully these tips will help you achieve your long- or short-term goals for this year. Good luck and have a happy New Year!

Defeat the Winter Hibernation Mood

Winter is a beautiful time of the year; however, it is difficult to get the motivation to work when all you want to do is wrap yourself in a blanket, drink a warm beverage and binge-watch your favorite shows or movies. With winter coming upon us, what should we do to get our work done? Well, here are several tips to help increase your motivation and to trek through these cold months.

  1. Eat Well

It is well known that sugary foods and comfort foods are incredibly delicious. However, during this time of the year, you’ll want to decrease your intake of sugar and carbs because they will make you feel bloated and sluggish. This does not mean cutting carbs out completely! It will just help you stay focused instead of wanting to complete a full, successful, day of work, you will want to curl up into a ball under your desk and sleep!

  1. Stay Healthy

Not only should you decrease the amount of sugar and carbs, but you should also make sure to keep your hands clean and increase your vitamin intake to avoid getting sick. A sick day can make you feel like you are falling behind in work thus making you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, only turning into a vicious cycle. So, take those vitamins, drink lots of water, eat those greens and stay warm!

  1. Remain Social

Being able to network and build relationships with your coworkers will help increase happiness, thus increasing productivity. Now, I am not saying that you always need to come out of your shell. However, push yourself a little extra these next few months because a little bit of companionship can go a long way! Even if your social time is having lunch with coworkers or grabbing a coffee with your friends, it will still help increase your happiness and have an effect on other’s happiness as well.

  1. Be As Active As Possible

While the winter is not well known for being a friend of outdoor activities, try to get in a daily walk around one of the parks that are closest to you. It may be cold, however, the natural lighting helps elevate your mood. During your walk, it helps to take a break from work and come back with a fresh set of eyes and a clear mind. Use this time to meditate on problems or situations you may be having or use the opportunity for a self-care session. It is better to take a break than to burn out quickly, so go out and enjoy the fresh air!

  1. Make SMART Goals

Make realistic goals for yourself. Making Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals will boost your work morale by giving you a feeling of accomplishment. Completing goals will also help you feel more productive. These goals also need to be exciting for you, then you will look forward to accomplishing them.

By using a few of these techniques the winter blues won’t stand a chance! Let’s have a productive winter and get through this together.