I have a new role! — is that enough of a headline?

So, reader, last week moved at 100 miles an hour.

European Freelancers Week hit 60 + online events including THE BIG one – Coworking and Coliving Conference (CCCSEE) which over 380 people turned up to watch.

You can flick through the CCCSSE live stream here.

We were also setting the up the launch campaign for my new podcast, ‘How to Market Your Coworking Space the Simple Way.’

Oh, and then I posted to Linkedin I’d become Cheif Operating Officer at Velvet.

Wait! You are the what of what Bernie?

Linkedin Madness

When I first got on Linkedin about 100 years ago, I was a little trigger happy with posting profile updates.

Then I got my head around Permission Marketing 2.0 thanks to Brian on Copyblogger.

But this week I added my new COO role and hit ‘update my contacts’ for the first time in years.

100’s of DM’s and messages flooded in.

My name on Linkedin is “Bernie J” and then “Mitchell” so I can tell when people send carpet-bombing or auto responding messages.

It is amazing at how many people I’d not heard from for years wrote a real note.

I love LinkedIn again now.

Having something significant to share

So I usually would not ‘update my contacts’, but this big and it is part of my ever-evolving coworking universe.

You can see the website here, but the main thing to pay attention to is here on the Cowork Tools Website.

Stick with me, and I’ll explain it all.

I’m going to connect ‘find your voice’ with banking in a few moves, ready?

Find your voice and help other people find theirs.

So those of you who have been reading for the last ten years here will know I’m deeply into ‘The 8th Habit‘ book by Stephen Covey.

You will have also watched me dive headfirst into coworking and freelancing.

Our Coworking Assembly is thriving on projects like What if we could all walk to work and local coworking spaces with projects like this.

Wait, Bernie, you COO’d

Ah yes, sorry about that, you see I have to dig it down all the way here.

It is the impostor syndrome kicking in good and hard.

So out of the Coworking Universe, a group of us came up with Cowork.tools.

We sat around and made a list of apps, gadgets and services precise to the everyday problems people in coworking spaces face.

So we have not invented another Tesla.

We have not invented anything mind-blowing; it is more like we’ve made a pile of incredibly useful Google Chrome plugins for people who use that browser.

Or a specifically shaped space for picking up dog phoo in high wind.

And as part of Cowork.tools, I woke up a couple of weeks ago as “Chief Operating Officer” for Velvet in the UK.

So I am COO of a start-up out to challenge PayPal, Transferwise and things like that.


About my job description

So all the papers got signed, checks done and lots of official-looking stamps and e-signatures.

My partner in crime in this is Jeannine who runs the Coworking Assembly and a group of nine coworking spaces in the Netherlands.

Jeannine is also a lawyer, so explains everything in short form English and has me covered.

The minute we are all official, I look at everyone and mumble something about a job description.

They collectively answer: Make if fucking work in the UK! That’s it!

Zero to 20

I’ve gone from being violently all ‘company of one‘ to being part of a team of 20 in a few weeks.

We’ve been working on this for ages, but I’ve only ever met one of these people in their human form!

As it sunk in, I had a mind-bending mini-meltdown about it; I’ve never had so much fucking impostor syndrome flood into my head in one go.

I quickly listened to EVERY Mel Robbins book again – they are all here.

A lot of her stuff is recordings of live one to one coaching sessions with everyday people stuck about everyday things.

I needed to hear

I needed to hear other people get plagued by self-doubt, crippled by fear when an opportunity presents itself.

I needed to hear people have tried something, it went wrong, and then they were ok.

I also needed to hear that it is not just me who is turned off by all the macho, hustle bollox that seems to go with being a ‘start-up’ co-founder.

So what about the 8th habit?

I’ve been reading that book every year for the last fifteen years.

The core message in it is ‘find your voice and help others find theirs’ it is now part of me.

Who knows where I am on the path to finding my voice?

But the help others find theirs bit is firing harder than ever.

Giving people a voice is the backbone of the podcasts Željko and I record here on the Coworking Values Podcast every week.

So what does Velvet do?

What we’ve put together looks like another ‘money thing’, but it is an enablement tool.

As we’ve talked with 100’s, maybe thousands of people who own and work in coworking spaces we’ve met too many people who get blocked starting a business or moving money.

As a straight (ish) married white male homeowner in London, I notice minimal inconvenience in my world.

But nearly anyone else on the gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or even geographical location or IP address scale comes up against roadblocks to building their freelance practice, starting a business or moving money around.

I’ve spent the last decade working non-stop online with people in Europe, Latin America and the USA.

Even for me sending an invoice and getting paid is exhausting.

When we launch our products in a couple of weeks, we’ll be one step nearer to helping people put their energy into their best work to get paid in a few clicks – from anywhere and with anyone.

So what next?

I’m still working here on Engaging People and we’re building the London Coworking Assembly into an online membership site.

There is a lot of work to do for all these projects, but the best thing to happen in the last year is the team of people who showed up here and found a way to make things happen during the COVID crisis.

We’re now going forward together and I can’t wait.

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