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! 

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.

 

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.

Member Profile Pauline Menage

Check out Pauline’s website: http://paulinemenage.com

Where are you from?
I am from France.
What’s a fun or interesting fact about where you’re from?
I lived in Bordeaux for the last few years and it was a 30-minute drive to the beach, so I would take strolls on the beach frequently. 

What do you do?

I am a software engineer, a freelancer who creates websites for clients, and a trainer who mentors and teaches students on-site or remotely in software. I help these students learn the technique of coding or how to create websites; usually, these students are enrolled in a 6-month course.

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

This week, October 9, I am working on a 4-day boot camp for students in Asia, specifically India, the Philippines, and Singapore; I’m excited to work outside of France. I am also currently creating a website for townhall, or city hall, in France by creating a directory to assist the elderly to locate a nurse that is closest to them.

Why did you choose to work from Prague?

I did not choose Prague for a particular reason, I just wanted to move away from France. I had heard Prague was an amazing place, so I decided to have a trial period of 3 months and decided to stay.

Why did you choose to work from a coworking space?

I chose a coworking space to meet new people because I was alone in a new city. I wanted to make friends and it’s also a better work environment than sitting in my room because I feel more productive while watching other’s work rather than being tempted to watch a tv show instead.

Why did you choose Locus in particular?

When I was looking online for a coworking space, reviews said that Locus was the best for a small cozy workspace. I decided to get a membership at Locus on the first day because other people invited me to lunch with them and I decided Locus was the place for me.

What describes the kind of location-independent work you do?
I am a stable freelancer. Which means that I have a business that can be done from my laptop in any locations and that I am based out of Prague with annual work trips that last two months maximum.  
Before you joined a coworking space, what were the biggest challenges of doing that kind of work?

Actually, I was still working on-site before I joined Locus so I did not have many challenges. Locus is my first remote location and it’s great.

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

Making friends has been working out, it’s a big benefit, for me, when working at a coworking space. Another benefit is being able to network with other members at Locus. For example, I had some problems with a project and a fellow Locus member helped me, they were able to freelance with me for this project. It was a challenge for me because I don’t want to bother people, so when I needed help and had to ask, it was amazing being able to ask for help and get it. It helped me get over the freelancer stereotype of being completely independent and have the ability to ask for help when I need it,

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

The city is beautiful, it is nice to be able to take a break and walk around the city. For me, that is super important when looking for a spot to work. I also like that there are so many technical events about coding through Meetup. I was able to see interesting conferences and network with like-minded professionals, in this sense, the community is very active.

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

I will be going to Cape Town for 8 weeks. The company I will be joining is called Hacker Paradise. Hacker Paradise organizes trips for remote workers. The trips usually last anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks and can be in any city in the world. The goal of Hacker Paradise is to prepare everything, so they put together accommodation and reserve a coworking space, a sim card and build a community. By being part of this experience, I can work on personal projects but also build a community through events and side trips. On this specific trip, one of the side trips that we will be doing as a community is a safari, which will be fun. The main concept of this organization is for freelancers and the like to be able to work and travel at the same time while not feeling alone, by having a group of people to join you. 

What is a fun fact about you?
One fun fact, or weird fact, about me is that I used to snail race as a child.

Intern Profile: Rebecca Cerka

Hello Everyone! My name is Rebecca; however, you are more than welcome to call me Becca. I have been living and attending university in Prague for a little over a year now and I am loving every minute of it. Some of my hobbies would include rock climbing, camping and café visits.

Hometown: Bellingham, WA, USA

Fun fact about hometown: Bellingham has its own city flag that represents the Bellingham Bay, Mt. Baker and the people who live there.

Occupation: Intern @ Locus Workspace/Student

Field of study: International Relations and Diplomacy

Why did you decide to study International Relations and Diplomacy?
After graduating from Western Washington University, I decided to continue my studies and earn a master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. What better way to understand International Relations than traveling all over the world and understanding the plethora of other cultures? I decided to study this particular area because when I start my career, I want everyone from every background to feel welcome and comfortable while working in a collaborative environment. There is still a lot of misunderstanding and discrimination in the world, my goal is to change the misconceptions and allow growth and positivism.

Did you already have an idea of what a coworking space was before you joined Locus?
I did not know that much about coworking spaces before I joined Locus. However, now that I have tried it, I do not know if I could ever go back to using a regular office!

Why did you decide to be an intern at Locus?
I decided to work at Locus because it embodies that type of work I would like to be involved in for the rest of my life. I love to work with people and getting to learn new skills is just a bonus opportunity. By working at Locus, I will have the pleasure of getting to know new people and hopefully help them achieve some of their goals.

What are some of your goals for this internship?
Some of the goals I have set for myself during this internship is to meet as many people as possible from a variety of different backgrounds. Another goal of mine is to gain further knowledge in the world of event planning and to help everyone network while building friendships in the process.

What kind of responsibilities do you have as a community manager?
My main responsibilities as a community manager will be to update the community, members and the public, on social media sites regarding Locus events that are happening; events that give everyone the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals while having a fun time. The last key responsibility as a community manager is making sure everyone I encounter is having a great experience and that they have everything they need in order to succeed.