02 Mar Bye Bye Corporate, Hello Co-Op
There are different types of co-ops in the world: food co-ops, apartment co-ops, and in our case, business co-ops. The sharing economy has been around for over a decade, but it’s amazing how many people still have that “what exactly does that mean” look in their eye when it comes to cooperative businesses. So, we at Hope Creative wanted to break down exactly what it means and why it’s fantastic!
Hope Creative has nine co-op members in addition to a talented team of contractor freelancers. Our business model prioritizes fairness and equity over maximum profits – this is the backbone of what makes co-ops unique. Each member gets a share of the profits and is responsible for contributing by way of ‘sweat equity’ each month dedicated to growing the business and the brand.
While profit sharing is exciting, it’s often not the biggest draw for our talent. In speaking with our team, there are three common themes that pop: flexibility, stability, and teamwork.
The ability to work from wherever and whenever is the number one draw for our co-op members. Emily Joy Johnston, our Marketing, Partnerships and PR Director said that before joining Hope Creative she was overworked and felt…old, ” I had a two-hour commute, low energy dog walks, and no time to fit in a workout. Now, I have the flexibility to work where and when I want, and feel empowered to do the best by my colleagues and clients.” Alaina Gonzalez-White, our Communications Director, worked nights for over 10 years before joining the team, “Hope Creative has given me the opportunity to work on my own terms like no other job I’ve had. The freedom and flexibility to work with such a dynamic team, but on my own workflow has been great.”
Of course with flexibility comes great responsibility. You have to be a self-starter, organized and disciplined. As Brook Lawler, one of our marketing consultants put it, “There is no template or roadmap on how to build a startup or be your own boss, but it sure is an amazing journey that can lead towards a lot of personal growth – if you allow it.”
A healthy work-life balance is what we all want, yet many of us get stuck with a job taking up 80% of our time. Everyone at Hope Creative works tremendously hard and puts in long hours at times, but we also have the freedom to dictate how many clients we each take on and who those clients are. “I never had enough time to focus on being a mother, or to explore my creative spirit” said Elizabeth Stevenson, our Creative Strategy Manager. Now working with Hope Creative, Elizabeth is able to thrive at both.
Leaving corporate American can feel great, like a weight off your shoulders. However, with freedom often comes fear – how am I going to support my family? Co-ops offer a great opportunity for freelancers to continue their personal goals and business objectives, while simultaneously being a part of a team where the wheels are constantly turning. Lisa Solomon, our Client Services Director, found Hope Creative in search of marketing help for her own business. After working with us and understanding our structure, she decided to join our team while still crushing it with her company.
Each member has a primary skill and role, but all of us are tasked with finding and pitching new business. With 10 people growing the business, it takes the stress off any one of us to do it alone. Plus, we’re pitching clients with a diverse team behind us that rivals any traditional marketing company.
Working for yourself, at home (in sweatpants) is great…but it can get a little lonely. Freelancing can lack the mental stimulation of bouncing ideas around and learning from peers. Co-ops offer the ability to be a team again. As Abel Sila, our web developer put it, “In this line of work, you have an opportunity to meet and connect with a lot of people, in your field or not, and some of them may become your friend. It is nice!”
The Hope Creative team is a wonderful, kind, and eclectic bunch. Scattered across the country, each co-op member brings not only their talents, but their hearts and their humor. It’s a joy to work with each person. Separately we are fantastic, but together we are a force.