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.

Come write at Locus for NaNoWriMo on Sundays in November!

By Beth Green

“Um, why?”

That’s the question I hear most frequently about NaNoWriMo, the month-long challenge to write a novel in a month.
The implication is: Why try to write a whole novel in a month? Aren’t novels, you know, hard?

The question is usually accompanied by a blank, blinking stare as the other person wonders, belatedly, what kind of madness they’ve run across.

But that’s okay because National Novel Writing Month is one of these challenges that is, by design, a little extreme.
Like an all-weekend coding challenge, a vertical terrain race though mud, a bid to cook the world’s largest omelet, a challenge to drink a beer at the closest hospoda to each of Prague’s metro stations—NaNoWriMo is meant to help you push your own boundaries. Find your extreme, and hit it.

NaNoWriMo is here! I'll be hosting Write-ins (with official swag, yeah!) in Prague at Locus Workspace. Please join if…

Geplaatst door Beth Green Writes op Donderdag 1 november 2018

NaNoWriMo presumes that every one of us—and yes, gentle reader, that means you too!—possesses the tools we need to write a novel in the 30 days from November first to 30th. For the purpose of the challenge, a novel is defined as 50,000 words, an average of 1,667 per day.

That’s the why of NaNoWriMo, at least for me. It’s a place to believe in yourself, to believe you can reach that distant target and show it who is boss. (You’re the boss, if I’m not making myself clear).

If you’ve been to Locus on Saturdays, you might have heard the pleasant tap-tap-tap of the keyboards of the Prague Writers Group at their usual critique-free write ins. (They write from 9 to 5 with a break for lunch; all are welcome). And in November, thanks to Will Bennis’ continued support of our challenge and our big, wordy dreams, we’ll also be adding to our word courts on Sundays (in the big conference room, from 9 to 5, MeetUp links below). Locus Workspace is an official NaNoWriMo Come Write In location for the 2019 challenge.

Join us in November and find out your reason why!

About NaNoWriMo

Started by a group of friends in San Francisco in 1999, NaNoWriMo now has more than 400,000 participants each year. Each November the main 50,000-word-goal challenge is held, and smaller challenges take place throughout the year. All challenges are free to join. Sign up at nanowrimo.org.

About the Locus Write Ins

When: Every Sunday (Nov. 3, 10, 17, and 24) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Where: Locus big meeting room

Cost: Free

Organizers: Beth Green, Sonya Lano, Sarah Shaw

Planning to come? Let us know on MeetUp:

Locus’s Guide to Prague’s Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets in Prague 2019 - Best Time

On Sunday, December 1st, Locus is organizing a get together to explore the Christmas Markets of Prague (learn more and register to attend).

That seems like a perfect reason to write a blog post about Prague’s amazing Christmas Markets!

Do you want to visit them? Here are a couple of reasons why your answer should be YES.

There is no doubt that Prague is one of the most beautiful European destinations all year round, the Christmas period is no exception. Winter brings some magic into the city when everything is covered with lights, (ideally) snow and the aroma of the Czech Christmas treats makes it the perfect magical wintertime location. The famous Prague’s Christmas Market is the best place to go to experience the atmosphere, hang out with friends and family or do some last-minute gift shopping for the loved ones. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tourist or if you’re already established in Prague; the Christmas Market is a popular place for both visitors and locals and is definitely a MUST DO activity if you are in town. After the official Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the markets will be open until the 6th of January, which gives you plenty of time to visit. If you’re still in doubt or would like to know what’s in it for you, here are some reasons and tips on why you should visit Prague’s Christmas Markets this year.

  1. Best place indeed

The Christmas Market in Prague has been voted among Europe’s top 10. Despite a drop in its rating, Prague’s Christmas Market is still beating Europe’s most popular travel destinations such as London or Paris. The medieval atmosphere and familiar feel are the elements that bring people in. Nothing seems to be better than getting cozy in the old streets of the beautiful city.

  1. Go local

Tourism in Prague is massive, and Christmas time is no exception. People from all over the world come here to experience the city and markets, so it can get crowded. No worries! There are plenty of smaller, local Christmas markets where you can treat yourself and experience the amazing atmosphere to the fullest. You can find those at Náměstí Míru or Tylovo náměstí close to I.P. Pavlova Metro stop). Also, just around the corner from Locus Workspace, you will find the market at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad where you can experience the cool, hip vibe of the Vinohrady neighborhood.

  1. #yummy

Treats are an inseparable part of the ‘Christmas Market’ experience. If you stroll around, you will find plenty of traditional gingerbread, mulled wine (svařák), spit-roasted ham, sausages, eggnog, Trdlo (“traditional” Czech dessert that appeared on the Czech scene in the early 2000s) and all kinds of Christmas cookies. If you’re living in the Czech Republic, you know that traditional Czech cuisine is far from vegetarian/vegan-friendly. Lucky for you, there will be healthy alternatives to traditional local holiday favorites and many food stalls will be serving healthy fare. So, go find your favorite and, “Dobrou chuť!”

  1. What else is going on?

There’s definitely more to Prague’s Christmas Markets than just eating (although we love that). Rich cultural programs will be accompanying the visitors with performances from both local and international artists, children’s workshops and plays for both children and adults. The stalls will be selling different Czech products which might make the perfect present for your loved ones. Look for some Christmas ornaments, wooden toys, glassware, scented candles, jewelry and gingerbread products.

  1. Time to talk

What about some chatting over mulled wine? Christmas is one of those times when nobody wants to be alone and there is a need to have good company. We’ve got you covered. As noted at the start of this blog, on Sunday, December 1st, Locus Workspace will host a get-together Meetup event for everyone who wants to have a walk around the Christmas Markets in Prague, have some goodies and spend time with individuals from all over the world. Let’s share each other’s stories and learn how Christmas is celebrated in your country. We meet at 3 PM at the Statue of Saint Wenceslas. Are we going to see you there?