Member Profile: Ariana Montanez

Member Profile: Ariana Montanez
 
Where are you from?
I’m from East Los Angeles, California
What’s a fun or interesting fact about where you’re from?
There is a rodeo that happens once a year and is very popular.
 
What is your current occupation?
I’m a UX (User Experience Design) and UI (User Interference Design) for Image Conscious Studios in Boston, Massachusetts. I work on web design for companies that are looking for a site that is more information-based, such as a restaurant.
 
Above is an illustration part of a series created by Ariana for an internal marketing project
 
What are you currently working on that you’re most excited about? 
I’m currently excited about two different projects. The first is a client website for a law firm. The firm truly cares about their clients and the owner is very involved in the community, where he does things like teaching previously incarcerated people. The website will also involve the firm’s ‘rethinking of the law model’, something super cool to be a part of. The second project is an illustration project for the company I work for, Image Conscious Studios. It’s all about me and my travels, but it essentially is for our clients to see how we are inspired and the work we do.
 
Biotech Company website Ariana helped create. Check it out here: f1oncology.com
Why did you choose to work from Prague? 
I was just excited to live anywhere abroad, and heard great things from people who had previously visited Europe. I was looking for a city that had a lot of things to do, had great architecture, and was beautiful.
Why did you choose to work from a coworking space?
I really wanted to be more productive because I can get easily distracted at home, and to leave the house to get work done to truly ‘call it a day’ was what I was looking for. I also wanted to meet more people and felt that joining a workspace would be the best way to do that.
Why did you choose Locus in particular?
The community and all of the events that are offered. I love that Locus is not centered around networking, but about building a sense of community.
 
What best describes the kind of location-independent work you do?  
I’m location-dependent when I’m working back in Boston, but I would say I’m Nomadic until I return home.
Before you joined a coworking space, what were the biggest challenges of doing that kind of work?
Productivity is much lower outside of the workspace, and I can be more productive here. There are a lot of distractions outside of the workspace and working from home makes you feel like hermit because you almost never leave.

How have you overcome those challenges?
Joining Locus because I do not have an office here in Prague.

What is the main benefit you’ve gotten working from Locus (not already mentioned above)?
The events have been great. I’ve gotten some good takeaways from them, such as one of the last events about Happiness with David Papa.
 
What’s the best thing about living and working in Prague, from the perspective of being a location-independent professional?
 I’m very affected by the environment that I’m living and working in, so it’s great to be here in Prague where I appreciate the beauty and architecture.

What is a fun fact about you?
I never read the news. I occasionally listen to NPR’s 5 minute daily summary, and if I’m feeling like it, occasionally part of the Morning Edition, but that’s the extent of it. There’s so much else I’d rather focus on, and I’d rather not spend time learning about the latest negative thing that happened. I do love podcasts though, especially ones that center around specific topics. Some of my favorites are: Two Guys on Your Head (super quick explanations about how our brain works), The Leap (stories about people making radical life changes), and Science Vs (tests different fads or concepts against science, i.e. “True Love”)

If you could use one word to describe Locus, what would it be?
Welcoming!

Member Profile: Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is an entrepreneurial thinker and writer for highexistence.com, a self-improvement website aimed to show people the way to a more enlightened lifestyle with ideas and practices influenced by the ancient philosophy of Buddhism and Stoicism. He grew up in a small village in the countryside of Wales, called Troedyrhiw, and studied film at the University of Glamorgan Atrium in Cardiff. Read on to learn more about Jon’s fascinating work and how he ended up at Locus Workspace in Prague.
 
Why did you come to Prague?
I was living in Amsterdam for a few months and I was very happy there, but my friends and I
took a trip to Prague for a few days and I really liked it here. I really like the architecture and the cobbled streets and the general atmosphere. I thought, Yeah I could live here. I went back to Amsterdam and “coincidentally” met a girl from Prague. She moved home and we started dating. I decided I was going to come to Prague.
What is your current occupation?
I would say my job is entrepreneurial, so I spend a lot of time at the moment doing product design, developing products and courses based around self improvement, philosophy, and spirituality. I am also always looking for ways to market content and reach a wider audience. I write and edit articles, do a little bit of design and copywriting.
 
Check out Jon’s website here

How did you get into this field of work?

Read more about Jon’s journey here

A couple of years ago, I started my own blog while living in Wales with my parents. Just for some fun, I thought I would write an article on meditation. I posted it on reddit and the article got a couple hundred upvotes. The next day, I received a message from Marijn Schirp, the co-owner of highexistence.com, asking if they could share my article on his website. We continued to talk over the next few months and eventually he asked me if I would like to be an editor of highexistence.com. I decided to take the opportunity. At that time, there was one other editor of the site and the co-owner decided it would be a good idea to use this as a test. He said if you guys could double the revenue of the website’s monthly sales, we will give you shares in the website and keep running it, but if you fail, then we will just sell it. Thankfully, we hit the goal we set out for.
Has this field of work been a passion of yours all along?I believe that everybody has certain core values based on their personality type and they need to do work that uses those core values. It doesn’t necessarily matter specifically what type of work that is. I knew I needed to do something creative, to have a creative job. I’ve always done art and I did my degree in film and specialized in script writing. I never thought that I would be a blogger, but I did want to be a writer. With the job that I have now, I get to make films, write scripts, develop ideas, sketch, etc. It’s a nice all around, jack of all trades position.
What are you currently working on?
30 Challenges to Enlightenment
Right now, we are working on our first ever Kickstarter course. Highexistence.com has been around for nine years or so, but we didn’t start selling products until two years ago. We released our first major product, which we spent over six months working on, a year ago. The course is called 30 Challenges to Enlightenment and it is a spiritual obstacle course. We give people 30 day challenges, which include meditation, fasting, compassion and so on to help them become more enlightened versions of themselves over a period of time. The course was very successful; over two thousand people have taken it. Some people are averse to the notion of spirituality, because they associate it with being a hippie or just “whoo whoo” nonsense. To change this association, we decided to create a new course through the filter of Stoicism, a Western version of Buddhism. We are going to create a Kickstarter course called, The Stoic Obstacle Course. It will be comprised of a journal, an accountability group for people to hold each other accountable, and a progress chart.
What part do you play in these projects or products?
I am more of the concept, ideas character. I bring the rough building blocks and my coworkers help refine and strategize the next steps. What motivates me, simply, is just that I like being creative. For me it is intrinsically enjoyable to make something, and even more enjoyable to make something useful.
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
The main project I am very proud of is our 30 Challenges to Enlightenment Course. We had a small team and we took some risks that worked out.
How did you get into coworking?
When I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I didn’t find any decent cafes to work in and someone suggested that I use a coworking space. I did some searching and found Punspace, a coworking space in Chiang Mai and ended up loving it. One of the curses of creativity is that it is associated with low conscientiousness which means that you get distracted easily. It makes sense, because when you are creative, you are constantly thinking outside of the box and joining random ideas together. If you need to sit down and work solidly on something for an extended period of time, it is easy to get distracted in a place like a cafe.

How has coworking impacted your work (work style, projects, networking)?
We recently had a sale on highexistence.com and just working here, at Locus, allowed me to put in a lot more productive hours that I wouldn’t have been able to do at a cafe. The sale only lasted a few days, so I didn’t mind over working. Having the freedom to leave the office late at night and the availability of fast internet was really helpful. Also, I really like being able to leave my work in the office after stepping out. I think coworking spaces allow you to have this boundary between your work and nonwork life.
Why did you choose Locus?Two weeks ago I moved ten minutes away from Locus, so I looked it up online, saw the five star reviews
and here I am.
What is your favorite part about working at Locus?
I think that the people who work here are really friendly, welcoming, relaxed and helpful.
There’s a nice balance between being super productive and not being productive at all. The atmosphere
in Locus is productive and efficient, but warm at the same time.
What is a fun fact about you?
For some reason, I can remember everybody’s eye color, even if it is one person I met for five seconds, one month ago.
If you could use one word to describe Locus, what would it be?
Friendly

Member Profile: Beth Green

Beth Green is a freelance writer and cherished member of Locus Workspace. She comes from the western United States and has been living overseas since 2003. We wanted to find out a little more about Beth’s journey – as a traveler, a writer, and an avid participant of National Novel Writing Month. Read on to learn more about Beth’s passion for writing, her take on Locus Workspace, and the impact National Novel Writing Month (and writing in general) has had on her life.
What is your occupation?
I am a freelance writer and most of my clients come to me for copy writing, copy editing, or proofreading. I also do some consulting for small businesses. I really enjoy doing a variety of projects, ranging from writing brochures to grants to proofreading academic papers. Basically, if it has to do with words, in English, I try to help.
How did you get into this field?

I trained as a print journalist. I worked at a newspaper before I moved abroad. I actually taught English as a Second Language for about ten years. Teaching, however, takes a lot of energy. I started getting burned out and saw that I wasn’t benefiting my students. Then I decided to take the skills from journalism and teaching and channel them into communications.

 

Was writing a passion of yours all along?
Since I was maybe eight years old, I knew I would be a writer. After I moved overseas, I kept a travel blog pretty faithfully for about six years, and that was also the first niche for me as a freelance writer. I don’t do that kind of writing so much now.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am working with a grant writer in the US, helping her with research and editing grant documents, which has been rewarding. I have other clients and projects, but some have to remain private. I also have an ongoing relationship with the First Medical Faculty at Charles University. I review papers for a group of research scientists before they send them out to journals. I should also remember to say I have been lucky enough to get business by word of mouth through Locus and assisted several Locus members with their projects. Thanks, guys!
What is a fun fact about you?
I have the cutest cat in Prague (pictured below). Her name is Nymeria (character from Game of Thrones).
Bonus fact: I grew up on a sailboat.
 
How did you get into coworking?
Well, I’ve lived in Prague twice. I came back the second time for my husband’s job, and it was a bit rushed. We slept on a friend’s floor for a couple months before we had our own housing. Needless to say, her apartment was not the best working environment, so I looked into workspaces right away. During that first year back in Prague, I kept full-time Locus membership. Now I am a virtual member, but it is nice to be able to switch memberships since my work flow tends to change depending on the season. I like that the space is here when I need it.
Why did you choose Locus Workspace?
I joined Locus in 2013. There were two clear choices for me at the time (both of which I found online), but I liked that Locus seemed more geared towards English speakers. When I toured the space, everyone was really friendly.
What is your favorite part about working at Locus?
I really like meeting people and that the space is clean and well-lit, the desks and chairs are comfortable, and there’s a kitchen. I feel like it removes all the stress that can come from working in a café (like the power plug problem, the wifi connection problem, etc.).
If you could use one word to describe Locus, what would it be?

Welcoming.

 

On Writing and National Novel Writing Month

 

What motivates you to write?
This is the eternal question for a lot of writers and it is not easy to answer. Though I’ve been writing since childhood, I didn’t see myself as a fiction writer for a long time. Just about the same time I started NaNoWriMo, I started writing fiction. Writing a story that is long and completely from your own inspiration is really daunting, especially at the beginning. This is one of the reasons I like NaNoWriMo, because the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month pushes you and gives you a space to experiment with this long-form, imaginative writing.
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
Most of my fiction projects are crime fiction – mystery, thrillers, suspense. A big theme I tend towards is cross-culture topics, not necessarily having to do with borders but also people who are outside of their norm and trying to survive in an environment they are not comfortable in. For example, I have a story about an inept assassin that was published in an anthology earlier this year and it is about this woman who tries to do a job she really is not suited for.
 
Interested in Beth’s work? Take a peak at her anthology here.
When and why did you start being involved in NaNoWriMo events?
I’ve been attempting NaNoWriMo since 2003, and with each attempt I became more convinced I could actually do it. I think if you got a group of ten people together and asked them if they ever thought about writing a novel, probably all of them would say yes. Everybody has an idea for a novel or screenplay or some sort of story that they would like to tell and so of course I had that too. NaNoWriMo gave me a space to experiment. Not all of my projects from NaNoWriMo have been spectacular, but all of them helped me learn something, either about myself or about writing.
What has been your favorite/most impactful experience during NaNoWriMo?
I moved to China in 2006, where I lived in a town with few foreigners in it. Because NaNoWriMo is web-based, I was able to connect with other people, both foreigners and Chinese who were English speakers. After two months of living there, I was a little bit lonely and so it was really nice for me to meet other people that shared passion for writing with me. We all went to Starbucks, something familiar, and got together to write novels. It was really nice to know that I could find something I enjoyed in Prague, in the United States, anywhere. I think that is something very cool about NaNoWriMo, that no matter where you are in the world, you can find other people who share your interests.
What advice would you give to people who are interested in NaNoWriMo or writing in general?
A lot people get hung up on the rules of NaNoWriMo – the idea is that you are supposed to sign up and write 50,000 words in a month. A lot of people look at that, and think, Oh my goodness I am never going to write 50,000 words. But, I think that you need to approach it as guidelines rather than rules and I think those people with self-doubt about writing that many words should look at it more like an opportunity to write more than they would have without the challenge. Maybe you won’t write 50,000 words, but if you get to 10,000, that is 10,000 more words than you would have written otherwise. For example, my goal this month is to get to the end of the story arc and if I happen to write 50,000 words along the way, that’s great. So to me, NaNoWriMo is a self-improvement exercise as well as a creative exercise.
Want to hear more from Beth? Read her blog post on NaNoWriMo here.

Come Write at the NaNoWriMo Write-Ins in November!

You don’t have to write alone! Come to the NaNoWriMo write-ins on Nov. 12 and 19!
byPhoto by StockSnap via Pixabay w/ CCO license

By Beth Green

The first time I experienced the spirit of coworking was about 14 years ago, right here in Prague. Someone I knew had roped me into this crazy challenge—we were setting out to each finish a novel in a month by writing 1,667 words a day.

Now of course I, like many of you, had always dreamed that one day I’d write a novel. But was “one day” really turning into “today?” And a novel in a month? Preposterous!
The first few days of the challenge, I pounded away on my keyboard dutifully. The words started to accumulate. The story started to take shape. But as work and life intervened over the course of the first week of November, my drive started to wane. I was ready to quit the challenge. The goal was to write 50,000 words—and I was about 45,000 away. But my friend convinced me to come to a meeting she was holding—a “Write-in,” saying she’d re-energize me and my story.
Nervous, and quite skeptical, I entered the small café in Nove Mesto my friend had chosen. I was late (people, I’m always late) and so a lot of writers were there before me. Laptops and notebooks were spread everywhere and beer mugs and wine glasses filled in the rest of the space. I chose a chair, pulled up the manuscript I was working on and stared at the blank screen like usual.
But instead of being alone at home where the voice of my “inner editor” could taunt me by pointing out that my rough draft was really, you know, ROUGH, I was in a place where everyone seemed to blissfully ignoring their own self doubts. They were typing and scribbling furiously, all trying to create something out of nothing. (Well, except the guy at the end of the table. He was drinking beer and hitting on the waitress by telling her he was a Writer. You know, that guy.) And soon, I was in The Zone too—writing pages and pages of my new draft. Ideas came more easily and what the folks at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) call the “plot bunnies” were all working in my favor.
Since then, I’ve attended NaNoWriMo Write-ins in countries around the world, in noisy coffee shops in Hong Kong and China, weird basement restaurants in Thailand and, of course, right here in the comfortable meeting rooms of Locus Workspace.
Locus NaNoWriMo Write-in 2016
Photos by Beth Green
This November, I’d like to invite the other members of Locus to join me, the Prague Writers Group, and NaNoWriMoers from around the city to come to Write-ins at Locus and tap into that creative coworking spirit together.
Though writing is generally a solitary activity, Write-ins (and the NaNoWriMo community online) help make it a shared endeavor.

The goal of the Write-ins is to simply write. Show up, put your fingers on the keyboard or your pen on the paper and let your creativity do the rest. At the beginning of the meeting you can state goals for the session, if that helps you. I’ll also bring donuts and NaNoWriMo stickers for the people who get there early, so there’s also that. 😎

Check it out! I got some writer goodies to pass out at our Write Ins next month! #nanoprep #NaNoWriMo17 #amwriting pic.twitter.com/q3TSNS6Oar

— Beth Green (@Bethverde) October 26, 2017

Though we’re holding these Write-ins for NaNoWriMoers to get closer to their goals of writing 50,000 words in November, the time is open for any Locus member who wants to come and write or work on another creative project in solidarity with the writers.
When: Sunday Nov. 12 and Sunday Nov. 19 from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. each day.
Where: Locus big meeting room
Cost: Free
Let me know you’re coming at one of the event links:
November 12th:
November 19th:
What is NaNoWriMo? Learn more at nanowrimo.org

The C in Coworking Space Also Stands for Community

We’re excited to be “syndicating” a blog post from Robin Terrell’s amazing blog on the future of work (with a particular emphasis on the location-independent variety): The Global Mobile Worker. This post in particular was meaningful to us because it’s about the meaning of community, and in particular the community Robin found (and helped create! – Thanks, Robin!) at Locus.

Along with creating this blog and being a member of Locus, Robin is a Berkeley-educated lawyer, a writer (her book, Two Broke Chicasa travelogue about her adventures traveling around Central & South America, Mexico, and Cuba with her partner–is available on Amazon), a technology / startup junkie, a proud Amazon employee.

We’re excited to be able to share her blog post here…

wordgram-of-cowork
When I first arrived in town I used Meetup to find people who shared common interest. That led me straight to Locus Coworking space. Once in the door, I quickly connected with both the startup community and the writing community, common members of co-working spaces. It has been almost three years now and although I never signed up to co-work at Locus, I realized that I spent time in one of the two spaces at least once a week.
When my new job took me away from Prague for months, my homecoming included reconnecting with my friends at Locus. I write every Saturday with a dedicated group, committed to various forms of media that involve the written word. We have bloggers, and novelists, and game script writers, and PhD students writing a thesis. We come from different countries, different generations, different genders. Our bond is a long-term fascination with words on a page.
It was through Locus that I joined my E-publishing Mastermind group that has single-handedly taken me from talking smack to preparing to upload my first ebook, Two Broke Chicas, a Travel Series, December 26th, just in time for people to use their Christmas gift cards and make their New Year’s Resolution to travel more. Mentor members, like successful sci-fi writer, Bill King, have made my dreams come true.
While plopped on a big fluffy couch to wait for the group to start, I realized how important Locus was to my social life, and sense of being, in Prague. What my virtual membership gave me access to, besides one day a month and access to my e-Publishing Mastermind group, was a community. A place I could belong with people who shared my passion for a flexible work life.

Community = Thrive

Just like we need a Tribe, we need a community. Research found that people who belong to a co-working space report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. This is at least a point higher than the average for employees who do their jobs in regular offices. Read more: Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces
infographic-co-work
Grind, is a growing network of coworking spaces in New York and Chicago. Community manager, Anthony Marinos, shared, “When it comes to cultivating our community at Grind, we’re all about the human element. We consider ourselves as much a hospitality company as we do a workspace provider. Our staff knows all of our members by name and profession, and we’re constantly facilitating introductions between Grindists.”
Research in Forbes magazine showed that entrepreneurs with larger and more diverse networks grow their businesses bigger.Co-working spaces can be a place for women, known for being great communicators and collaborators, who don’t excel at building power networks can find a safe space to start. (Women tend to build deep and narrow networks women-networkwhile men wide and shallow ones.) I’ve added several women to my network from Locus, and started an informal dinner group to encourage young professional women to support each other, over a glass of wine.

Building Intentional Communities

Some experts believe that co-working space should be built more like intentional communities. Example, Brooklyn’s Friends Work Here. Founded by NYC-based Swiss-born designer and entrepreneur Tina Roth-Eisenberg, who’s also behind the international lecture series CreativeMornings (which happens monthly in Prague, but mostly in Czech) and Tattly. The space came as a response to Roth-Eisenberg’s negative experiences in “soulless” coworking places that are more focused on making money than cultivating inspiration among its members.

A Wealth of Human Resources

Locus is how I found my brief dog-sitting gig. I enjoyed several days of pretending to own a dog, forced to take several walks every day, which did wonders for my mental health. I’ve enjoyed people passing through town and people here for the duration, like my friend Sarah who first came when it was Czechslovakia, and still communist. She is at heart a historian, writes historical fiction, and loves talking about the history of this country she calls home, as a well-informed outsider.
It was hysterical and inspiring to sit in on Texas Holdem’ Poker night, where people from around the world turned into ruthless gamblers who might gut you for a pair of Ace. It was motivational to listen to Regina and Mike talk about becoming Courageously Free, and through that relationship I was interviewed for their podcast – which should be out just in time for my book launch.
There were people at Locus doing, looking for, thinking about the exact same things as I was. We all wanted to marry our fascination with social media and our passion for words. I could pick the brains of people who, like me, were inspired by Prague, determined to make their literary dreams come true. We figured out all kinds of ways to make money with words. My critique and Saturday writing buddy, Beth Green, will fix your words for a fee. Which still leaves her time to search for an agent for her first novel, represent on Booklust and @bethverde, and be a Wanderlust columnist at thedisplacednation.com.
My writing group has sustained me, in ways both creatively and emotionally, over noodles and pivo at the Vietnamese restaurant down the street from Locus. We’ve discussed our lives and our loves, U.S. and European politics and the meaning of feminism.
We’ve shared critique groups and book front-cover
launches, like Sonya’s soiree for Under a Caged Sky, held at Locus Slezka, where we toasted with glasses of wine under the skylight, with Prague as the backdrop.

Staying Engaged

partyOnce I’d had that moment of realization, that my co-working space was my community, I started to look around for other ways to participate. Engaged in the social media connection and found easy, fun ways to stay involved. I am looking forward to the Christmas Party catered by Ethnocatering, a social enterprise of migrant women that serves authentic food from Georgia, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Armenian. You can’t find this deliciousness in restaurants. I know, I said it, that bad M word. Well, I must own it because here in Prague, I’m a migrant. A tax paying, law abiding expat seeking shelter and new beginnings.
I know I’m not alone in this revelation and would love you to share your experience of finding community in co-working spaces. Tell us your story in the comment section here at the Global Mobile Worker Project.