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Coworking Spotlight: HiView Solutions

HiView Solutions team standing in the SLO HotHouse.

For Miles Hischier, coworking with the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) is a vital part in building a remote business in San Luis Obispo.

Hischier is founder and senior partner at HiView Solutions, a Google Cloud consulting partner that helps organizations improve their remote collaboration tools and technologies. Most of his workday is spent in front of his computer, connecting with coworkers and clients over video calls. Coworking at the HotHouse allows Hischier opportunities to connect in-person with other local entrepreneurs and foster a sense of community that his workdays would otherwise lack.

“There’s a lot of good energy from the other community coworkers,” Hischier said. “Everyone is excited to be around colleagues and replicate that feeling of working at a larger company, but really, we’re all working remote.”

The HotHouse and the CIE first caught Hischier’s attention when he moved to San Luis Obispo in 2016, but as a UC Berkeley graduate with no direct ties to Cal Poly, he was unsure if he would be permitted to utilize CIE resources.

One year later, Hischier learned of the CIE’s community coworking program, and he jumped at the chance to get involved.

“When I found out that there’s a community program that accommodates not only coworkers that are working remotely from San Luis Obispo, but also individuals who are starting businesses, I got real excited,” he said.

Hischier was impressed with the resources offered by the HotHouse. Facilities such as the phone rooms and high-speed internet would prove to be valuable assets in building a business based around remote technology.

His decision to start coworking, however, was ultimately propelled by his desire “to be around other like-minded entrepreneurs.”

The HiView team has now worked out of the HotHouse for nearly two years, and Hischier still looks forward to opportunities that will allow him to connect with the other CIE entrepreneurs — especially during the HotHouse Summer Accelerator.

The HotHouse Summer Accelerator program is an intensive 13-week program designed to help Cal Poly students and recent graduates develop their startup ideas into real, sustainable businesses. Participating teams are provided with $10,000 in capital and given access to expert mentorship, tailored workshops and other CIE resources, including a workspace in the HotHouse.

The accelerator brings a unique energy to the HotHouse that, according to Hischier, encourages and inspires the community coworkers.

“Seeing people stay at the office late at night, white-boarding, thinking about what their business could be in five years — that energy is infectious,” Hischier said. “It always gives us lots of fun ideas.”

San Luis Obispo, said Hischier, has proven to be a hotspot for young talent.

“When I first got here in 2016, I remember getting a lot of questions [about] starting a technology company in San Luis Obispo, but now, four plus years later, it’s very commonplace and seems quite obvious,” Hischier said. “Why not live in a fantastic area that has access to a great university that graduates stellar engineering and business talent?”

HiView hires Cal Poly students as interns or part-time workers, sometimes retaining these young professionals as full-time employees after they graduate. 

Kelly Carroll joined the company during her junior year at Cal Poly when she stumbled across an available position for a Sales Development Representative at HiView.

“The position wasn’t quite what I was looking for, [but] their industry and business model caught my interest,” said Carroll.

She submitted her resume, hoping to speak with a representative about other opportunities at HiView. She met with Hischier and his co-founder Narjit Patel for an interview, where she shared samples of her previous marketing and technical writing work. Hischier and Patel then collaborated with Carroll to create a custom position that was best suited to her skillset.

Carroll worked for HiView as a part-time Marketing Coordinator until she graduated from Cal Poly in June of 2020. Following her graduation, she remained with HiView, working part-time as a contractor until February of 2021, when she was promoted to her current position as a full-time Marketing and Customer Success Specialist.

“At HiView, I feel like my career has been jump-started,” Carroll said. “Working alongside my expert team members at HiView, our colleagues at Google and the industry-leading clients we serve, I learn so much every single day.”

Carroll has gained leadership experience in several realms of business throughout her time at HiView, including marketing, account management, user communications and project management. Her most recent project was spearheading the creation of HiView’s new website.

“It’s been great seeing Kelly’s growth from when she first joined as an intern to now, taking on big projects like overhauling our website [and] running a team of web developers and designers,” Hischier said. “They [were] all reporting into Kelly, who’s only a year out of school, but worked for us 10, 15, 20 hours a week for well over a year before she graduated.”

Coworking has helped shape Carroll’s career at HiView. The HotHouse offers an environment that, according to Carroll, invites collaboration and hard work.

“The friendliness and entrepreneurial spirit of the people working within the HotHouse is inspiring,” Carroll said. “It provides a great in-person working environment that is often missed by remote teams.”

Coworking has similarly shaped Hischier’s startup experience, providing a space in which he can work to grow his company.

“I cannot recommend [coworking] enough for a new entrepreneur,” Hischier said. “If you’re starting a business in San Luis Obispo, I would say the first thing you should do — form your company and then join the HotHouse.”

For more information on coworking or to learn how you can cowork with us, visit https://cie.calpoly.edu/coworking/.

3D Printing for Airplane Pilots in the HotHouse Annex

RAO Ideas Aviation Headset Holders

Ryan O’Toole founded his business RAO Ideas at just 15 years old. While flying in his pilot father’s airplane a few years ago, O’Toole noticed that smaller airplanes weren’t equipped with storage for the expensive headsets needed when flying. That’s when he set out to design and 3D-print a headset holder for his father, who shared the product with others in the flying community. 

RAO Ideas has since developed into a fully functioning business with various headset holder designs available through both their website and the wholesale market. Its current base of operations: the HotHouse Annex.

The HotHouse Annex provides local entrepreneurs, small businesses and remote employees with a professional coworking space that encourages productivity and collaboration. Along with dedicated office spaces, conference rooms and kitchen amenities, the Annex offers coworkers a manufacturing lab fully equipped for product development.

“It’s a great space to induce that workflow,” O’Toole said of the Annex. “Everyone in there has a similar entrepreneurial mindset, and I definitely like that. It gets the brain juices flowing.”

O’Toole, who is currently a freshman at Cal Poly, hadn’t always planned to continue RAO Ideas into college. The 3D printers he uses to create his headset holders, in addition to the packaging materials used to ship his products, wouldn’t exactly fit in his dorm room. But the Annex was the perfect solution.

“I was thinking about seeing if I could get my parents or a friend back home to ship orders for me, but I really couldn’t figure it out,” O’Toole explained. “Then I found the CIE… I reached out and got pointed towards the Annex, found a space here and so far it’s been great.”

The practicality of the Annex is what originally appealed to O’Toole. The Higuera Street location is easily accessible and its manufacturing space allows O’Toole greater creative freedom in how he creates and produces his headset holders. 

It’s the people, however, that have quickly become O’Toole’s favorite aspect of coworking at the Annex.

“Everybody here is super nice, and it’s just a great workspace and environment,” O’Toole said. “I’ve met nothing but amazing, innovative people at the HotHouse.”

The young entrepreneur plans to continue building his business throughout his college years, with hopes to branch out from aviation headset holders and pursue new innovations. Coworking at the Annex is an integral facet of that plan.

“As long as my business is going strong, I’m planning to stay [at the Annex] at least until I’ve graduated from Cal Poly,” O’Toole said. “And maybe even after that. I really don’t know where my business is going to take me next.”

Find out how you can start coworking at one of the CIE’s coworking locations today at https://cie.calpoly.edu/coworking/

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Why Your Company Should Start Coworking

Several people working on their laptops at desks in the SLO HotHouse.

Coworking is evolving the modern way of work and will continue to do so even as the economy picks up again. While self-employed entrepreneurs have been opting to work in coworking spaces rather than their kitchen table for some time, small businesses and large companies are starting to see the benefits, too. From accessing a larger pool of knowledge to helping your employees work in an office space safely, here are the top reasons your company should consider utilizing coworking spaces like the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) SLO HotHouse and HotHouse Annex.

Make Teleworking Work

While office spaces can begin reopening, telework is still being encouraged and office functions can’t fully revert to the way they once were. Although people love autonomy at work, however, too much of it, like when working from home, can paralyze productivity. 

That’s why employees need somewhere to do their job remotely that has more structure, like in a coworking space. 

“I really like having the separation of work and home,” Lindsey McConaghy, founder of Monde PR, says of her experience with coworking. “I feel like my productivity went through the roof.”

For the sake of your company’s efficiency, as well as the sanity and safety of your employees, there needs to be a balance of structure and flexibility for telework. Rather than having employees work from home, coworking spaces can provide them with flexibility in their workday backed by the structure and routine of coming into an office.

Plus, coworking can allow your employees to begin working in a structured office space again even if the reopening process doesn’t allow you to safely bring the whole team back into your main office space.

Greater Access to Knowledge

There are countless potential employees beyond your company’s backyard, but not all of them are willing to uproot their lives and move hundreds or thousands of miles to work for you —  that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get the job. 

Coworking spaces are the best way to benefit your business with access to a larger pool of employees while accommodating those who would love to work for you from the comfort of their home location.

However, this doesn’t mean coworking spaces are reserved for distant remote workers; they can also allow you to bring more local knowledge onto your team if you want to expand the company beyond your main office’s capacity. 

Efficient Finances

When it comes to running a business, especially now, saving money is a no-brainer. Luckily, coworking spaces can help with that. 

Coworking can save you from paying to relocate employees and cuts costs in case of expansion by allowing you to have employees in a structured office space without the need to transition to a larger building. You can take advantage of monthly membership plans, like at the HotHouse and HotHouse Annex, rather than renting out expensive, long-term office space.

Plus, although it seems cost-efficient (i.e. free) to let employees work from home, that can cause lower productivity, thus a financial loss from inefficiency; coworking spaces keep productivity and returns on capital investment high. 

For Paula Mathias Fryer, the SLO Partners program director, coworking at the HotHouse allows her team, under the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, to have a workspace best suited for them without causing massive changes for the Office of Education, as “It was really important for [her team] to be in the heart of the business community.” 

Community Building

It’s important to note that coworking spaces aren’t just beneficial to employers to keep employees on track; a massive part of working in an office space is the community. As many people who have worked from home will tell you, it can feel isolating to spend days without interaction from colleagues. 

“While working from home has its benefits, I think the biggest thing that’s missing is feeling like there are people who you can look to for help along the way,” CEO of Wayve Sierra Scolaro says of why she coworks in the HotHouse Annex. 

Coworking spaces give employees access to like-minded people and a feeling of camaraderie. Plus, having the option to socialize, rather than feeling forced to do so in a traditional single-company office space, allows employees to take advantage of networking at a pace that works best for them.

Innovation and Intrapreneurship

The great thing about a coworking space is its innovative atmosphere. Coworking spaces are often full of entrepreneurs and innovators with a wide array of skills. When your employees are able to work in an energetic, interdisciplinary community of coworkers, they will gain heightened motivation, access to strong professional relationships and the opportunity to learn new skills. By networking beyond the scope of one’s own company, employees can become intrapreneurs, helping your company grow and innovate from within.

“Coworking allows me to be around other people who are up to great things in their lives,” Founder of Buddhi Boxx Alisa Reynolds says. “The ebb and flow and exchange of energy between myself and others has helped me come up with some of the best ideas I’ve ever had.”

In the HotHouse and HotHouse Annex, coworkers are bound to benefit from the hustle and bustle inside. These spaces are San Luis Obispo’s entrepreneurial hubs, housing startups, freelancers, teams from local businesses, world travelers and beyond. There is always something to be learned, someone to learn from and the opportunity for your employee to grow their network. 

Coworking helps your company grow by enabling employees, whether within 30 miles or 3,000 miles, to have an enhanced way of work. Find out more about coworking with us at https://cie.calpoly.edu/coworking/.

 

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Coworking in the SLO HotHouse | SLO Partners

For Paula Mathias Fryer, coworking at the HotHouse is the link between bettering her business and building a community. As the program director for SLO Partners, an organization dedicated to re-educating people for career changes, Fryer says its important to be in a location like downtown San Luis Obispo.

“The reason why I have an office here at the HotHouse is because, while I am an employee of the SLO County Office of Education, their offices are quite far away,” Fryer explained. “It was really important for me to be in the heart of the business community.”

In order for SLO Partners to run valuable bootcamps, ranging from skill-offerings like software development and precision manufacturing, the team has to be able to efficiently communicate with local businesses on employee demand. Not only does the HotHouse help Fryer be close to businesses, it gives the businesses better access to her.

“If I want to have a meeting, it’s really easy for me to just say, ‘Hey, meet me at the HotHouse,’” she said. “Everybody knows where that is.”

Fryer also said that it can make it easier for those going through her organization’s bootcamps to reach her as well. Plus, by having a designated office space, access to conference rooms and availability of event space, Fryer’s team has several ways to take advantage of the HotHouse for communication needs.

While Fryer loves having the plethora of businesses surrounding the area where she works, she noted that even just within the walls of the HotHouse are tons of businesses and like-minded people, which makes networking easier and the workday more enjoyable. 

“I always promote the HotHouse to people that I find out are looking to start a business or have a home business,” Fryer said. “It can be kind of isolating sometimes when you’re working from home, so this is a great place to not only network with other people that have businesses, but have people that you can talk to, find out about events from or go to the HotHouse workshops with.”

Between the networking opportunities, educational and social events, access to business consultants, and lounge areas, the HotHouse makes for a great alternative to a home office or working from your kitchen table. 

Plus, Fryer appreciates the kitchen amenities and endless free coffee.

“It’s kind of those little things that make you feel like you’re really part of a business community,” she smiled. “I love that about coworking.”

Learn about revamping your work life by coworking with us at https://cie.calpoly.edu/coworking/ and find out more about SLO Partners at https://www.slopartners.org/.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Cowork

Working from home sounds like a breeze until you get distracted by the TV, try to make conference calls from a bustling coffee shop or feel detached from the social workplace. Luckily, there is a happy medium between being a remote worker and having an office job: coworking. Here are the five reasons why you should make the move into a coworking space.

  1. Boosted Productivity

One thing for certain about working from home is that distractions are everywhere. With a sink full of dishes, pets running around and a new season of your favorite Netflix show all just a few steps away from your desk, it can get hard not to focus on your home life over the work on your computer screen. Utilizing a coworking space lets you leave the distractions behind, devote your attention to your job and better set a routine for work hours, undisrupted by home life. 

  1. Heightened Motivation

Another benefit of the bustle of a coworking space is having fellow remote workers around to give you a sense of community, as well as keep you inspired, social, and motivated. Instead of spending hours in the silence of your own living room, seeing what your peers are achieving will motivate you to keep improving yourself and your business. Nothing compares to the energy of an open office space full of hardworking entrepreneurs, innovators, and remote workers to keep you excited about coming to work every day. 

  1. Community Networking

A major bonus about coworking with a diverse, interdisciplinary group of people is having the ability to build your network. Being able to discuss business or brainstorm with your fellow remote workers and local entrepreneurs can lead to partnerships, project ideas, job opportunities or problem-solving tactics. Every so often you might even find yourself needing someone with skills you don’t excel in; through coworking, you can seek help in your community. Luckily, networking happens consistently in a coworking space.

  1. Professional Growth

Coworking spaces often offer meeting rooms, private phone call spaces, a professional office address and more. Instead of meeting or calling clients at your makeshift home office or a coffee shop, you can utilize designated meeting rooms in your coworking space to relay professionalism. Plus, sending and receiving mail at an office building, rather than your home address, can also create a more business-minded feeling. By giving both you and your clients or customers a heightened sense of professionalism throughout all factors of your business, coworking spaces can lead to growth in your work.

  1. Letting Home Be Home

When you work from home, there’s no longer the idea of “bringing your work home;” instead, work becomes home. On top of feeling isolated in your own business bubble, you can begin to feel trapped in your work as well, constantly pressured to sit down at your desk. By moving your work to a coworking space, you can rediscover the beneficial separation of home and job. Creating a designated workspace with a solid routine will keep you productive at work and more relaxed at home, overall improving your quality of both business and life.

Coworking at The CIE

Fortunately, coworking through the CIE does all of the above and more for San Luis Obispo remote workers, startups and entrepreneurs. With two unique locations, the CIE provides coworking opportunities for everyone. The HotHouse, located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, is surrounded by coffee shops and restaurants that are great for casual meetings, client dinners or lunch breaks. Just a few minutes away, at 75 Higuera Street, is the HotHouse Annex, a coworking space featuring a hardware lab that is great for product development, prototyping, early-stage manufacturing and lots more. 

Both coworking spaces are accessible 24/7, allowing you to take advantage of your ideal schedule. Plus, we offer a communal kitchen, meeting and phone rooms, event space, lounge area, in-house workshops, and networking events. Coworking out of these CIE locations gives workers a chance to build their local community, learn skills to better their business and network with entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers of all ages and disciplines. 

To learn more on why you should cowork with the CIE and schedule a tour of our vibrant coworking spaces, visit https://cie.calpoly.edu/coworking/.

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You Know You Need to Cowork When…

By: Lauren Arendt

  1. You clean everything in your house before starting your work

Who knew you were such a diligent cleaner? Or is it more likely, you are a diligent procrastinator. Everyone has less motivated days, but when your home is your work and your work is your home, it is easier to blur the lines and get distracted.

  1. You actually aren’t that great at multitasking

You think you can watch TV, complete your work and eat a sandwich at the same time, but that probably doesn’t help your productivity much.

  1. You can’t stop snacking

Are you eating because you’re hungry, or because you’re bored? You may be having more frequent snack-attacks because you can, not because you should.

  1. You have the attention span of a five-year-old

There are five tabs open on your computer and Instagram is up on your phone. You’re probably working for 20 percent of the time and online shopping, scrolling through social media and checking your email for the other 80 percent.

  1. Work is getting in the way of the enjoyment of working from home

Working from home probably sounded so great, but when you were envisioning this greatness, were you considering the actual work? More likely, the vision included sleeping in, wearing pajamas all day and being your own boss to some extent. The actual sitting down, getting your computer out and doing work may not have fit into the work from home fantasy, but it is very much the reality.

  1. Your coworkers have four legs and a tail

Sometimes you just need someone to talk to about work stuff. Not only are second opinions valuable, but also work drama happens, and your four-legged-friends may not be able to level with you the way you need them to.

  1. You wore the same shirt three days in a row

Working from home means you don’t have to shower, right? Wrong. Personal hygiene is important for productivity and professionalism, even if you the only “coworker” you have is your four-legged friend.

  1. You take your work home with you… because your home is your workplace

Sometimes, boundaries can be important. The work-life balance is crucial to mental health but when your work and life happen in the same environment, the lines can blur.

If any (or all) of these points sound like you, it may be time to consider transitioning from the work from home lifestyle to something more concrete. The CIE HotHouse is an option that offers a diverse, energetic community that exists to support your professional goals. You might need to change out of your pajamas, but you’ll be feeling right at home with the space’s top-notch amenities, free coffee and relaxing spaces. Learn how you can sign up today here: https://cie.calpoly.edu/coworking/

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Meet a HotHouse Coworker: Buddhi Boxx

By Dylan Grant

HotHouse coworker Alisa Reynolds has revolutionized the desk to improve wellness while doing office work. Founder of the company Buddhi Boxx, Reynolds invented the world’s first floor-sitting to a standing desk to combat health problems associated with stationary living. Innovative and mindful of holistic wellness in the workplace, Reynold’s attributes some of her best ideas to inspiration drawn from the HotHouse coworking space.

“I don’t think I could do what I do without the interaction that I find in the coworking space,” she said.

The CIE created a community coworking space with the goal of providing an exceptional work environment for entrepreneurs. Local professionals are guaranteed to maximize productivity with access to business consulting and a collaborative atmosphere.

“My reason for coming out of the home office and into the HotHouse coworking space was to be a part of the community that I am serving and that I work with,” said Reynolds. “There’s no reason to be in my house while I’m doing my work instead of interacting with the amazing minds of people in this city.”

Join a community of entrepreneurs in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo by becoming a HotHouse coworker. Any business professional regardless of their affiliation with Cal Poly or a startup is more than welcome. Explore all-inclusive membership amenities and become a coworker. https://cie.calpoly.edu/coworking/

 

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