Sure, you have a fake internet job, but are your friends real? Or are they cats?
[Chicago] is, also, as I like to point out frequently, one of America's last great NO BULLSHIT zones.
Pomposity, pretentiousness, putting on airs of any kind, douchery and lack of a sense of humor will not get you far in Chicago.
- Anthony Bourdain
I run my own business, I sell things to customers for money, sometimes my time or expertise, sometimes an actual product, and then I pay my mortgage with the profits. What a concept, right?
I've started to tell people I have a "fake internet job" because "entrepreneur" and "tech startup" are totally overloaded words now that have nothing to do with what I do for a living.
It's lonely having a fake internet job. Over the years, it's been incredibly difficult to find people like me. I've put together a small network of friends now, and I've discovered that having a community of friends has unexpected benefits. I almost always have someone I can talk to when I run into a problem that has dealt with it before. Spontaneous collaboration opportunities present themselves to me more and more often. My business has grown in ways I could not have predicted.
And I don't feel alone anymore.
My fake internet job friends are mostly online. We talk on Slack or video chat. It's fine but I want that HERE, in Chicago where we actually live and can shake hands.
This is the City of the Big Shoulders. Our factories fed a nation beef for generations. We raised the entire center of the city one building at a time with hydraulic jacks so the city could drain properly. We invented the skyscraper and reversed the flow of the Chicago river.
You and I, we've carved out our own little fake internet jobs from nothing. We contribute in our own small way to that ethos, but we're completely disconnected from our own city.
Now imagine a community of people like you and me, working together in the same place, getting shit done, making money, making friends, and building a new Chicago on OUR big shoulders.
Right now you're probably sitting in a coffee shop or at your home office, or maybe you're renting a desk from a coworking space.
I rent a coworking space, but we barely know each other. It's because I'm renting a space, not participating in a community. There's no way that spontaneous collaboration will ever happen there. Nothing surprising could ever come out of that place, and it only makes me feel a little less lonely.
I'm done with that. I want people like YOU working next to me. I want to feel like I'm a part of Chicago, not some weirdo outsider with a fake internet job surfing from coffee shop to coffee shop.
About two months ago, I got an email from Monica Guzman. She wanted to meet and talk shop about consulting. So we got together for coffee, and while we were talking she mentioned that as a freelancer, she felt isolated, and that she wanted to be a part of a community. She said that she was trying to start a coworking space, but that really what she wanted was a community, and that the space wasn't that important.
Of course I immediately said I want to help! Because that is exactly how I feel.
So what's next, what's the next step? How do we make this happen?
The next step is for us to meet! You have two options: