Joel Hauer – founder of WeCo Sydney

Joel Hauer has the middle name Amigo, which is fortunate as he’s passionate new business and new connections. Originally from Bondi, he’s travelled to locations like Argentina, Guatemala, Vietnam and even throughout Alaska. Now living in his hometown of Sydney, he’s past career choices placed him as a Commerce Marketing graduate working in Advertising as a Digital Producer. As you may tell, these two things are not related, which is a common trend in his career experiences, and passion for kick-starting new ideas. His recent venture involved him in bioplastic @UnOil, and outdoor coworking @UnOffice. You can find him on twitter at @JoelAmigoHauer or keep up to date with new start-up coworking space @WeCoSyd

 It’s very important for independent workers, and entrepreneurs to have a creative space to make their ideas a reality.

Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen? 

I founded WeCo as I think it’s very important for independent workers, and entrepreneurs to have a creative space to make their ideas a reality. I decided to take the plunge as I love the idea of collaboration, and wanted to build a strong community of passionate entrepreneurs in the Eastern Suburbs, and give people access to an affordable office environment where they’re able to collaborate with like-minded people. If you’re interested to check it out, come to our next open day

How do you make money? (please explain your business model)

The business makes money by hiring out desk space. Through the model of activity based work stations, people can choose from permanent desks, hot-desks or casual seating or even meeting rooms. The model is different to a serviced office as we offer casual day rates, bulk day rates, and monthly rates which are transferable to friends or coworkers if needed. This is an office environment where everything is included, free unlimited internet, free coffee, use of the kitchen, outdoor courtyard, bike storage, shower facilities close by. My goal for WeCo is to also be able to provide an activity packed workplace, with daily mentoring, weekly workshops and classes with trained speakers, monthly meet-ups, BBQ’s, casual events, and build collaboration into the community from the start. Our next workshop is on Public speaking for Pitches, limited to 10 people so get in quick

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?

I’m working hard on the events part of WeCo, as I feel as an education provider, I’ll be doing my part in providing direction for the start-up community. I want everyone to be able to up-skill at an affordable price, being taught by the best in the industry. I’d say that I’m most excited about collaborating with other coworking space owners to join forces for a larger scale model.

 How do you make ideas happen?

I find that if you have a positive outlook, and assume people’s intent is also positive, it’s very easy to collaborate and work with others. I find that my best ideas come throughout strong conversations, bouncing ideas off one and other, and never resting on the successes or failures of the past. Most of your first idea’s aren’t the most refined, so I find it’s best to do your own brainstorming in-between group catch-ups, as you’ll have a lot more to offer when you next meet.

What does your typical day look like? 

As of now, most of my time is doing bits and pieces to get the coworking space, and website up and running. My days mostly writing emails, and quick chatty phone calls, writing feedback, and preparing for upcoming events at WeCo.

WeCo coworking space

WeCo Coworking Space in Sydney

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

I have found that it’s easy to step on people’s feet metaphorically, as the market in Sydney can be small. Although this is my feeling, I know it to be an assumption, as I feel that the only way to move forward as an industry is through collaborating with others.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

I ask myself every morning as I wake up – ‘What can I do today to improve my business, health and love tomorrow’?

I don’t know if it’s a big enough idea, but it’s something I’ve tried to do lately. It’s a question I ask myself every morning as I wake up – ‘What can I do today to improve my business, health and love tomorrow’? Then I answer it, and reward myself with a coffee. I guess it’s a good morning ritual to mentally prepare yourself for the day.

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment? 

I think commonwealth bank has got the workplace environment perfectly sorted, which is something I’m passionate about. They have invested a lot of time and money into providing their employees with a productive, yet versatile activity based workplace – so for a bank I’d say good on ‘em.

What about internationally?

I feel that the coworking model that WeWork has built in NYC is very strong, although I don’t know their secret sauce, as I’ve never visited there, I’d expect it to be a really fun and productive place to work. They’ve expanded from 1 floor to 7 buildings in 2 years, and have over 2000 coworkers in their membership base.

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

I think there’s a certain gap that needs to be filled by pro-active social entrepreneurs.

I believe that ground-roots business is the best place to start in proactively inspiring people to change their actions in a positive way. Affecting social change can come in many different ways, and as ‘business’ is usually seen as a profit over person type of equation, I think there’s a certain gap that needs to be filled by pro-active social entrepreneurs. I especially like projects like projects like GreenTeethOrg which is an Environmentally Friendly Toothbrush Subscription Service done my friend Dane Murray.   

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers?

www.awwwards.com – a website for website lovers

www.launchrock.com – a website for an awesome landing page, great to test the market for a new business idea, product or service

www.podio.com – fantastic project management software for absolutely any use

 Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter? 

 @matbeeche – from Shoestring media, always got some great start-up news to follow

@HannahDeMilta – always got some interesting news about what’s happening in Sydney

@donmacca – great to follow for social innovators & not-for-profit venture updates

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

If someone is looking for a great space to work from in Sydney, only 6 minutes by train to Martin Place, then we’d be happy to have new coworkers at WeCo. I’m also looking for an intern to help approach speakers and develop workshop agenda’s. Someone who can help make the community at WeCo awesome, so if that’s you, then you should get in touch via email joel(at)weco.com.au

Our readers are smart, creative, talented and good-looking. Here’s your chance to ask them anything.

Have you seen Searching for Sugarman yet? If not, do. 

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

 A bit off the cuff, but my favorite restaurant is a Turkish restaurant in Surry Hills called Eric’s, you have to try the Iskender Kebab, as it’s to die for.

We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?

I could offer 1 week free coworking at WeCo!

Make sure you sign-up to join our amazing community for Australians making ideas happen.

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