Member Spotlight | Emily Tu, Designer

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Being your own boss has its rewards but it can be a really tough journey emotionally, mentally and financially. Coworking spaces all over the world embrace this journey and those courageous enough to take it, offering support, commraderie, collaboration and more along the way. At Lokaal we’re extremely proud of our members who follow their dream of doing and being something more. We celebrate their courage and entrepreneurship as colleagues who’ve taken this journey ourselves and know its even harder to do on your own.

Today on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the amazing women all around us who’ve embraced entrepreneurship. Lokaal member and talented designer Emily Tu is one of those individuals who inspires with the (not so) simple act of working for herself. A graphic designer and art director, Emily has blazed the trail for years honing her craft for the creation of publications, identities, packaging and websites with hard earned clients like the University of Toronto and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. We asked her a few questions about her journey…

Lokkal: What motivated you to work for yourself?

Emily: “After working for other designers for several years, I really wanted the autonomy to realize my own vision and work on the kinds of projects that interested me.”

Lokaal: “What’s your biggest struggle being self employed and what do you do to overcome it?”

Emily: “I'd love to be able to spend more of my time designing and less of it on the actual business side of things, like quoting, pitching, invoicing, etc. Juggling all of those things can be challenging when you're a sole proprietor and there's definitely a bit of a learning curve when it comes to running a business, especially if you're like me and come from a purely creative background. I try to set aside some time first thing in the morning for administrative type stuff, so I can focus on design the rest of the day.”

Lokaal: “What do you like most about coming to work in Lokaal?"“

Emily: “While I also work out of my home studio during the week, it can get pretty socially isolating day in, day out. So it's nice to have a beautiful, bright, creative and community-oriented space to come to when I need a change of scenery and to connect with other entrepreneurs and freelancers. The coffee is great too!”

Lokaal: “What is the one most important piece of advice you’d give a good friend embarking on the journey of working for “Myself Inc” ?”

Emily: “Even with a ton of hard work, it could take a while for things to pick up, so make sure you're mentally and financially prepared.”

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Why a Coworking Space is Important to The Local Community & Economy

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Anyone who works from home or despises their daily commute has no doubt thought about the merit of getting a small inexpensive office near home where they can focus and be productive. If you have not heard of coworking spaces by now, you have been hiding in your shell too long! Coworking is rapidly proliferating the urban centres worldwide, with a wide array sizes and offerings for their members ranging from grunge creative spaces to what feels more like a country club setting. What does this new way of working mean to the communities they inhabit?