Why I opened a luxury co-working space

by | Dec 11, 2016

My career transition to a co-working space entrepreneur

My path to opening a co-working space and becoming an entrepreneur was convoluted! After 20 years  in a corporate career, I thought I had seen every type of office environment possible: working in the confined intimacy of a cubicle or in the vast horizon of the open space, experiencing the splendour and misery of the flex desk and the aridity of the paper free environment. Ultimately, it was moving to a post-industrial commune outside Brussels that did it for me. It was the last straw. The feeling of deep rejection I was experiencing was more related to disillusionment about the corporate career path, than reverse commuting. That became symbolic for going backwards.

I just couldn’t stomach it any more.

Co-working espace

Chester&Fields -Study

Corporate disillusionment

Read: Why women really leave. It's not complicated 

I couldn’t project myself in the future and sign up for objectives that were supposed to be SMART  but were becoming less attainable each year. I was feeling pressured, fooled and cornered in a function I didn’t want to be in. It was even more frustrating that the same demands were not made of my male counterpart. Although less qualified than me in some areas (but earning the same salary) the expectations of his performance seemed to be considerably lower.

[Tweet "One day, I realized that I didn’t trust the system anymore."] I was a woman, two years short of fifty and I had lost faith. Did I want to depend on the goodwill of an ever-changing board of directors for the remaining 17 years of my career? Praying each year that I would make it to the next? Concerned that I would not be cast aside?

Read: Why female entrepreneurs need to develop a growth mindset

Co-working space entrepreneur

chester-and-fields

Don’t misunderstand me. I enjoyed corporate life for many years. But at a certain point that stopped. And I am not the only one. [Tweet "Many people are questioning a system where women have a different expiration date than men."]

A period of sociological analysis coincided with my decision that I was no longer cut out for corporate life.  I began to realize how much our age is close to the thirties in many aspects.  I saw that we are on the brink of a societal change and the general context is very grim indeed.  The emergence of  the collaborative economy is changing the way we work and sharing a workplace or a desk will become a normal practice in our professional life in a near future.

[Tweet "It was during this process of pulling together all these different threads that I found my passion."]

Be the change you want to see I the world

I saw that I wanted to be part of that change and make it not just great, but splendid!  Because what do people need in times of uncertainty? A touch of security, luxury and security. Because they deserve it! And because that will make them not only happier, but even more productive.

Suddenly, I envisioned a haven for all solo-preneurs, self-employed entrepreneurs and freelancers. A place where they could experience all the services and benefits of a corporate environment with the flexibility and independence of a co-working space. With my deep experience of every type of office set-up, I knew that I wanted to open my own co-working space.

 

co-working space

Chester&Fields - The Board Room

Read: The real reason women become entrepreneurs

And so Chester&Fields  was born in the Montgomery area of Brussels. My goal was to create a place where I would want to work.  The perfect venue, which would be an ideal setting for a brand or a business. A place where co-workers would be pleased to come to work, network and meet. A cosy, beautiful and efficient place where I could be my best self and be my most creative and efficient.

With a touch of humour and a bit of fun at the end of the day of course. An Italian cocktail from the bar trolley by instance…

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Nathalie Broos Contributor
Nathalie is Managing Partner at Chester&Fields, The Brussels based Coworking Boutique. Nathalie has a diversified academic background and after 20 years in business development she decided in 2016 switch from corporate life to entrepreneur. Tapping into workplace trends, she created Chester&Fields an upscale co-working space to provide a tasteful haven for freelance and small businesses to enjoy the benefits of corporate life while remaining flexible and independent. She believe's that the emergence of collaborative economy will change the way we work and that sharing a workplace or a desk will become a normal practice in our professional life in a near future. Nathalie wanted to make that workplace an up-scale venue with all the amenities usually reserved for corporate environment and to enable any solo preneur to benefit from a an inspiring surrounding.

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