You Won’t Do It

Those are the exact words that Liz uttered when she proposed that she would quit her job to start Link, one of Austin’s first coworking spaces. As entrepreneurs, we’ve all heard it before. The naysayers, disbelievers, pessimists; they’re the fuel that burns a fire in our belly and pushes us to prove them wrong. And that’s exactly what Liz did. She quit her cushy, corporate job and set out to create one of the first few coworking spaces in Austin.

I met Liz while she was moderating a Girls Get Sh!t Done panel. She spoke candidly of enjoying all aspects of negotiations and I could tell she meant every word of it. Her strong presence and no bullshit attitude demands respect, but what drew me most to her was her entrepreneur story that we all are familiar with. She set out to solve a problem that she saw and dealt with on a daily basis. Progress in technology allows us to work anywhere but common, public spaces had not kept up. Rather than pile into cafes, restaurants and book shops with their many distractions, Liz creates a space meant for work and productivity. She states, “it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters what you need.”

The Grown Up Working Space


As we sit talking at a community desk in the middle of Link, Liz jokes about how she takes less offense now about Link being coined as “the grown up working space.” The title fits as the very first thing I noticed when I walked in was that there were people of all different ages, gender and professions. Some spaces concentrate on different communities whether it be tech, arts, or life stages (whether that be the company or person). Link concentrates on efficiency and people with a “get shit done” attitude.

Coworking Made For Productivity

When you walk through the front door, the wisping of the white noise machine greets you. It’s quiet enough to concentrate without the eerily ringing of silence. The whole wall of Link is lined with tall windows opening up to a sprawling green area with mature trees and a nature pond. It’s an open floor plan with sections thoughtfully broken up with different seating and atmosphere. I chose to sit midway down at a large table with head lamps, multiple outlets and ergonomic chairs. I love being able to work on my own without distraction but still be amongst people. On the other far end I see a group of people chatting with light music and a candle in the background. Whether you’re wanting to isolate yourself or chat with others, it’s simple enough to find the right fit all within one open space.

Liz started out like most entrepreneurs with an idea. Sometimes it’s hard to see a founder’s story and relate, as their accomplishments overshadow the hard work involved. She is now leading the largest coworking conference in the world ( and expanded Link into over 25,000 sq ft of coworking space. Take comfort in knowing that everything offered, whether in space or in resources, is thoughtfully planned out from someone who just had an idea and wanted a better solution.

Who Should Join?

Hidden in the Village shopping center off Anderson Lane, Link has the beautiful park-like feel but is just a quick hop over to restaurants and shops. It’s an easy option for people looking for something close by who are in the North Austin area and offers a range of spaces for those who just want a space during work hours, 24/7 access or office space for their team. People often say that every coworking space is different so don’t just try one and strike coworking off your list of what’s for you.


Good Design is Good Business

Some people work at a place because it’s affordable, others because of the community. Then there are those who look for inspiration amongst their surroundings. East Side Collective is a beautiful warehouse space on East Cesar Chavez that was started by three designers/architects. Jared, Tim and Javier have all shared spaces with each other in the past but always had the space  taken from them in the end. Therefore, they were adamant on finding a warehouse space in Austin for their teams. In their search, they came across an old Pepsi factory. This was 5 years ago when East Austin wasn’t as developed as it is today. They knew that building a concrete warehouse would be costly and too large of a project to take on.  So in 2015, East Side Collective was born.

Creative Hotspot

Every creative has their go to place when they need inspiration. Whether it be a beautiful library in Porto that inspired JK Rowling for Harry Potter or the bustle of Venice Beach for Scott Neustadter that inspired 500 Days of Summers. We all know the frustration of creative block. It can be discouraging and time consuming to wrack at our brains but yet be unproductive. That’s why places like East Side Collective is so essential to Austin’s ecosystem of coworking spaces.


The warehouse turned coworking space has a minimalist yet grand feel.  Upon walking in, I quickly noticed the bright white walls, tall ceilings and open floor plan in the two story, loft style office. As you’ll notice in the photos and immediately upon approaching the building, the full front of the office is solid glass; inviting in natural light. How the office is designed, there isn’t too much need for interior lights. The front “lobby” of the space is lined with bookshelves of magazines and books relevant to all things design. You can chill up front and bask in the natural light or climb to the top loft and hole up to get some work done.

Growing East Austin

The building is across the way from Atmosphere Coworking. There’s a friendly community that promotes collaboration amongst the two spaces which I’m always a fan of. East Side Collective is situated in the Holly neighborhood. The area “is an up and coming neighborhood whose residents are trying to dispel the image of east Austin as being rundown and crime-infested” as the Austin Texas Insider explains.  As the city continues to grow, it makes sense that businesses are venturing East of downtown where property costs are lower. East Austin Collective is a nice addition to the area. It’s a beautiful space but yet not intrusive to it’s quickly gentrifying neighborhood.


Who Should Join?

Majority of East Austin Collective’s community consists of designers and architects who concentrate more on the structural side of design. Although you can’t pinpoint it exactly, you can immediately tell there’s a difference in environment. Rather than people in hoodies chugging coffee, there’s a calm air with an openness to creativity. Whether you’re looking for a permanent place to bring your team or just a day escape to find that inner creativity, take a day out of your week to try it out. You won’t regret it!

A Familiar Face

Keep Austin Weird. Shop Local. It’s how Austinites think and it’s what makes us what we are. This is also what makes Austin Coworking a great resource for newcomers as it’s overwhelming to learn and identify what works best. Austin is great at creating that local feel with a particular niche. The only problem is that it requires you to invest time in getting to know your community.

To every mom and pop shop, there’s always that mega store that will consistently deliver the same quality and experience no matter where you’re at. I remember walking down Las Ramblas in Barcelona and joked, “it smells like Subway.” Right as I said that, I turned around and lo and behold, there was a Subway. The exact same smell. The exact same feel and I can only assume, the exact same taste. This is what franchises do best. That is what WeWork has been able to do; create the same quality and experience but yet still shine in bringing in the feel of the community.

WeWork started in 2008 and was originally called Green Desk. Little did the founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey know, that WeWork would become the most valuable startup in NYC in 2015. WeWork’s mission is turning “me” into “we” and credits community as their catalyst.

I think every coworking has the “danger” of being less productive over time as you get to know more people but I think WeWork Congress has an interesting vibe. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time to get to know the community here and my perspective is biased but I found working in the main lobby of WeWork Congress to be quite refreshing. The community is friendly and will say hello but gets the clue when you’re busy. Each community will differ depending on the type of entrepreneurs that work there and you’ll have to check out and test each one to see what fits best.

WeWork now has 5 offices in Austin with the Barton Springs location being the most recent. They do best in attracting newcomers who are overwhelmed with the growing selection of coworking spaces by being the familiar face in town. Every WeWork you walk into, you can expect some of the same traits as the ones you’ve been to in the past: your flavored fruit water, open kitchen and urban feel.

What I specifically like about the WeWork Congress space is that it’s a very convenient location. I typically stay and/or have meetings around downtown. If you have a lot of meetings with people coming from out of town, many choose to stay in downtown. This makes it a great choice to work from. It’s relatively central in downtown so walking to Houndstooth, Capital Factory, or Café Medici is simple and easy.

It wouldn’t make as much sense if you’re just a solo entrepreneur and looking to find a space to work. Unless you know the ins and outs of downtown, it can be a very frustrating place to work from every day. They do have a parking lot but that only adds to the high cost of coworking.

A couple of quick (entrepreneur minded/wallet safe) tips on parking downtown:

  1. Avoid lunch meetings if possible (11am-1pm) as it’s essentially impossible to find parking
  2. If you’re only there for a couple of hours, parking on 6th street is free for the first 2 hours
  3. Some areas of East Austin are free all Monday if you plan to stay for a while and don’t mind the hike