It’s Easier to Work From Home

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It’s easier to work from home.

It is. When you’re facing an hour or more a day in traffic to get downtown to your office, trying to avoid frequent “hey do you have a sec (30 minutes) interruptions, or seeking a quiet, focused environment, working from home is an excellent choice. Whether your boss gave you the ok or you work for yourself, the perks of working from your couch are pretty incredible. Some of the most productive days happen away from the office.

There’s a “however.” Most people hit the “however” wall after working from home regularly or exclusively for more than a few weeks. New Vesselers are always telling us that if working from home is the EXCEPTION to the rule, it’s amazing! Best day ever! But when it becomes the rule, it quickly becomes draining. Vessel has been able to serve hundreds of people over the years who have hit this wall.

Here’s what some of our Vesselers have said about why working at Vessel is such a great thing.

“I have more uninterrupted work time at Vessel. I’m more likely to focus on my assignments rather than clean the bathroom, pet the dogs, or mindlessly rummage around in the kitchen cabinets looking for chocolate.” (we have chocolate at Vessel, so, there’s that) 

“I am more productive, feel more creative, more focused, and produce work faster at Vessel than anywhere else I have worked.”

“I think I would have gotten fatigued a long time ago with working from home every day.  It worked for a few months, but working at Vessel has helped me sustain this remote working gig in a more enduring way.”

“I’ve made new friends, and working at Vessel has helped me stay passionate about my creative and career endeavors. It has also made me, a remote worker, feel more connected with this city even though my job is based out of a different location. One of the main things I missed when I moved and started working from home was the camaraderie and friendships that I had in the office, and Vessel has helped me to fill the void with lots of fun and interesting people who do similar interesting and creative work.”

There’s also this guy who we’ve never met. We appreciate his honesty about mental health and how coworking helped.  

Come try us out one day. It’s free. You have nothing to lose. If you work for someone who you think might be supportive of you working at Vessel–and who might even pay for it, send them this letter that includes Vessel’s specs and even more testimonials.

We love providing a community for those who want community and quiet for those who want quiet. If you want to participate in a fun lunch or holiday party every so often, we’ve got that and we’ll pull up a chair for you. If you just want to put your headphones on, sit in the back, and crank, man…that’s our bread and butter. You can grab a cup of coffee and a snack and post up for a few hours of uninterrupted work time…and when you want to be around humans again and watch one of the March Madness games, there’ll always be a couple people on the couch in front of the TV with their laptops.

Book a tour and free day on this quick form.

See you this week?

A Letter to You, The Employer

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Dear Employer,

We’ve noticed over the past year or so that our amenities and quiet, focused culture has become a haven particularly for remote workers or folks who want to get away from their local Austin office a day or two a week to get things done. If you were sent a link to this letter, you probably have an employee who is interested in working at our space. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to convince you to let ‘em. Here’s our resume:

  • Our space is locked 24/7 and only members and staff have keys to get in.
  • 100 up/100 down wifi with Ethernet ports and electrical outlets at every desk.
  • Free Cuvee coffee and snacks. Less time away getting fuel = more time working
  • Conference room for 8 with TV and whiteboard is free for members
  • Private phone booths mean employees can take client calls with ease.
  • 250+ space free parking lot. Less parking stress means happier employees. Especially in Austin.
  • The room is quiet and focused every day, but there’s always social stuff to look forward to.

Convinced? Sign up here. Still curious? Here’s what our members have to say:

“Everyone at Vessel is focused so you feel motivated to work.”

“Vessel is a great network of wonderful people and a truly inspiring space.”

“I have more uninterrupted work time at Vessel. I’m more likely to focus on my assignments rather than clean the bathroom, pet the dogs, or mindlessly rummage around in the kitchen cabinets looking for chocolate.” (we have chocolate at Vessel, so, there’s that)

“My employer is very happy with how much work I have been able to get done since starting at Vessel. I have been able to take on more work outside of the current sprint. My QA department is having a hard time keeping up and constantly tell me to slow down or take a day off.”

“I am more productive, feel more creative, more focused, and produce work faster at Vessel than anywhere else I have worked.”

“My boss notices a higher positivity, and I have a more innovative and rejuvenated attitude toward my work.”

“My employer likes that I’m available for client meetings in a professional atmosphere.”

“I think I would have gotten fatigued a long time ago with working from home every day.  It worked for a few months, but working at Vessel has helped me sustain this remote working gig in a more enduring way.”

“I don’t work as late into the evening, so I spend time with family rather than pulling my hair out to meet deadlines. I feel more productive because I get dressed and interact with people.”

“Vessel better allows me to separate work and home. When I get home after a day at Vessel, I really feel like I am done with work for the day.”

“I’ve made new friends, and working at Vessel has helped me stay passionate about my creative and career endeavors. It has also made me, a remote worker, feel more connected with this city even though my job is based out of a different location. One of the main things I missed when I moved and started working from home was the camaraderie and friendships that I had in the office, and Vessel has helped me to fill the void with lots of fun and interesting people who do similar interesting and creative work.”

 “I like that Vessel is the kind of place where I can just sit and work. A lot of coworking spaces in Austin want you to get involved with networking events and I find that really annoying. The parking is fantastic and it’s also less than 3 miles from where I live so I barely have a commute. This has given me a lot more time in the day to do the stuff I enjoy.”

“The internet is faster and more reliable compared to coffee shops and my house. Having ready-made fresh coffee, drinks, and snacks also makes it easy to take breaks and replenish my energy with ease. Another perk of Vessel is how meeting other creative professionals in Austin enables you to sharpen your own skills, learn more, and network.”

So. At the very least we’d love to give your employee a free tour and trial day. Hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Vessel Coworking

Publishing Content on the Web: Three Friendly Tips

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“Web users tend to act like sharks: They have to keep moving, or they’ll die.”

This quote is from Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug, and I like it both because I (ruefully!) relate to it and because it reminds me what to keep in mind when I’m preparing content for the web. It also explains why features like infinite scroll and reading recommendations have become successful in current UX trends.

I’m the digital media editor for World Literature Today, and in our little literary world that means I’m in charge of our content management and web development. It means on one day I’m creating articles on the website, and the next day I’m editing code on the PHP template that dictates the output of those articles.

As the website has grown, I’ve learned a lot about scaling the database and strategically planning each new content idea to assure the technical solution is also the most agreeable to how people read online. The following are some solid pro tips I feel I’ve gleaned from these experiences, and I hope that they’re also helpful for you. Who is this post for? Web editors, content managers, or anyone who’s publishing content online and wants to increase social traffic, retain visitors, and improve their SEO.

 

1. Use Open Graph Tags

Open Graph tags are one of my new favorite things on the web. Truly. When a website is using Open Graph tags, it assures that Facebook posts pull in the right title, image, and description for social sharing, and it’s how Twitter displays URLs as “cards” or previews with titles, images and descriptions, instead of, you know, an unsightly long URL.

Here’s a Twitter example that show how it creates a preview:

If you’re using WordPress I recommend the Yoast SEO plugin. You can enable Open Graph metadata for several social media networks, and exert some control over how a link to your homepage is displayed on Facebook. For Drupal users, the Metatag module has a feature called Metatag: OpenGraph. You’ll have very granular control and can even define tags for article author, audio, video, and more.

Spiffing up your Open Graph tags is a great way to improve social media sharing and look like a total pro online.

 

2. Use Tags and Taxonomies

Once you’ve got someone reading an article on your site, keeping that reader depends on the UX and what “read more” options you have. If you’re using tags on your website’s articles/posts, be specific and accurate. For example, while I did mention sharks in this post, it wouldn’t be accurate to tag the post with “sharks.” Shark enthusiasts will be sorely disappointed.

If you serve a lot of content on a frequent publishing schedule, I recommend using a variety of content types and perhaps connected taxonomies too. From a developer’s standpoint, when you store these clearly defined content types and taxonomies in your database you also unleash the power to recommend accurately related content for your readers, and you also enable them to navigate your website in the way they prefer.

For example, World Literature Today uses authors, genres, and tags so readers are able to read more by a certain author, more fiction, or more stories on a certain topic.

I love being clever with website taxonomy, because it enables the reader to browse and experience content in the way that makes the most sense for them. It enables people to “go down the rabbit hole” on your website, which assures you’ve really got them hooked.

 

3. Write your content with SEO in mind

Search Engine Optimization and content marketing overlap more than you’d think. SEO thinks about the way search engines index your site, and content marketing thinks about the way people view your site. The good news is that optimizing your website for SEO and content marketing calls for many overlapping approaches.

If your page’s title, description, hyperlinks, and body text are rich with accurate keywords, you improve your SEO ranking, and also assure the content you’re publishing is consistently relevant to your audience.

Content marketing also means carrying out a consistent publishing schedule and that jives well with search engines—they like fresh dynamic content. With readers expecting lots of good, new content, and search engines expecting the same, you’ll have a website that’s frequently indexed and heartily followed by readers.

 

Jen Rickard Blair (www.jenblairdesign.com) is a graphic designer and front-end web developer. She works remotely as the digital media editor for World Literature Today magazine and is occasionally available for freelance graphic design. Jen likes working at Vessel Coworking because of the Cuvee coffee, friendly folks, and delightfully fast wifi.

 

Pitching Your Story Worshop

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Watch the Video here!

Have you ever wondered why some companies, people and products get featured in the media and some don’t? Learn how to tell your story and get noticed in all of the digital noise. We invited a diverse panel of local journalists, editors and public relations professionals who can answer questions about media relations etiquette, pitching newsworthy stories and more!

The Panel:

Sarah Thurmond – The Executive Editor at Austin Monthly.

Danielle B. Urban – Senior Account Executive in Pierpont Communication’s Austin office.

Tolly Moseley – Writer, co-host of the Austin American-Statesman’s “Statesman Shots”

Omar L. Gallaga – A technology culture writer for the Austin American-Statesman and co-host of “Statesman Shots,” a weekly Austin culture podcast he co-hosts with Tolly Moseley.

Rebekah Epstein – The founder of fifteen media, an agency that works exclusively with PR firms to streamline media relations in a digital era.

Clarisa Ramirez – Founder and Managing Editor at Small Coffee

How To Tell Your Story

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Reagan Pugh_Photo


Reagan Pugh

Reagan Pugh is a professional storyteller through writing and speaking. Currently he helps Kalypso’s  people and clients tell better stories. He also teaches a class on leadership and personal development at Trinity University and Texas State University (housleyprogram.org). Read more of Reagan’s stories and how to contact him for speaking opportunities on his blog!


After the 34th PowerPoint slide I realized I just lost the last person in the audience.

I was teaching a class at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas on the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership and we were reading content off of a screen. It was one of those terrible presentations where you ask people questions about things they don’t even know about yet, but try to place the blame on them for not knowing what the hell you’re talking about. It looks something like this: I would pose a question and then say something like: “I can wait for you to answer – I taught 10th grade English and have plenty of patience.” Then some brave person would fumble for a meaningless response and everyone in the class would feel bad.

When we prepare to communicate to a group of people it’s easy to forget to create something we’d actually enjoy ourselves. Why do we develop terrible lessons, presentations and PowerPoint decks for others when we know we’d cringe at the very same content? Maybe there’s a component of credibility we’re trying to prove – but it never works. In private we dream and hope and believe there must be others out there who have the same passionate echo inside of them, but we turn shy when we get the microphone. We think being open may turn people off. We believe being vulnerable may make us look weak. We worry our ideas only matter to us. So we default to stock images and bullet points. We lose the soul and we run to safety.

I think we do the same thing when we talk about our work and our businesses.

To figure this out, we had a great conversation at Vessel’s Storytelling for Small Businesses Workshop a few weeks ago about what it means to understand deeply who we are, tell that story through our work and find the audience who’s ready to connect with that story. Used to, I believed in the value of stories simply as a salve for bad marketing. If you’re missing a component in your marketing strategy, just tell a story. Add a narrative structure to whatever it is you’re trying to do and things will turn out alright.

But stories don’t equal customer engagement. That’s not the reason we started telling stories in the first place; stories were never intended to provide a solution to a problem. Sure, sometimes they can make things more clear and understandable. Sure, parables and fables are great teaching tools. But at the core of it, deeper than anything else, stories are about connection.

And business – good business – is about connection.

So it only seems natural that we’d engage in an activity that allows us to connect with the right people. The people who need our services. The people who think like we do and want what we want out of life.

But how do you find them? How do you hone your voice so they’ll be attracted?

This gets slippery sometimes. Business owners may believe they’re pandering when they work to understand their audience and speak their audience’s language – like they are selling out to someone else’s desires.

But it’s not pandering, it’s finding your people.

What’s even more important to understand is this: you don’t find your people until you find yourself.

You’ve got to get deep about the motives you have for doing the work you do. You’ve got to get clear about why it makes you come alive. You’ve got to speak a language you’d want to hear and you’ve got to create content, products, services and stories that would hold your interest first. When you do that, you’re not connecting with just anyone, you’re connecting with people you need and with people who need you.

That’s what stories do – they give us a big circus tent to congregate under. A place where people believe in the same magic we do.

There aren’t any rules. Each person and each business has to approach the way they tell their story a bit differently. It’s not the details that really matter – it’s the pursuit of the same truths through our work that really connects us.

So what did we learn together at the storytelling workshop a few weeks ago? I don’t know – maybe a few people felt like they understand how to detangle their website copy. Maybe someone thought about how to ask a question their audience might ask. Perhaps someone is now thinking about how their soul should be part of their work.

Maybe those things happened, or maybe they didn’t. But I can tell you what did happen: several dozen folks got together to wrestle with the big questions about connection and creation and belonging. That’s time well spent. That’s a story in itself. That’s a community I’m interested in being part of.