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News & Updates

Gratitude & Growth in 2019

As someone who spends a lot of time being introspective, the end of the year typically brings with it many feelings all at once. There’s a lot of worry—did I do all I could this year? Did I work hard enough? Be a good enough friend? Achieve the goals I set out to? There’s also a lot of excitement when it comes to looking ahead—a new year means 365 new chances to do more, to be better, to make the life I’m living align more with the life I dream of. 

But one of the biggest emotions (and one that I don’t think gets talked about enough) is the feeling of being grateful. 

Gratitude gets pushed aside a lot in our ever hustling, perpetually burnt-out culture. Especially when it comes to freelancers. We’re so busy striving to go further, that we don’t spend enough time noticing the moments where we’re thriving exactly where we are.

I know for me, becoming a member at Indy Hall was one of the things that absolutely turned my year around in all the right ways, and I’ve been so grateful for the opportunities, the connections, and the incredible moments I’ve been able to have here. 

This is why, for the first post of our December blog series, I thought it would be important to check in with some other folks around the Hall who are really feeling the gratitude vibes about their own experiences here as we head into 2020. 

Here’s what they had to say…

“This Place and The People” from Meg N.

I moved to Philly from San Francisco and Indy Hall is everything wonderful about technology and community from the mid-2000s in the Bay Area. 

I love that people are welcoming, respectful, helpful, and weird. I love that the online discussions run the gamut and more than justify a membership. 

I didn’t understand why someone would pay for digital only–until I forked over the change and realized I should have done it months ago. I mean to come in more, and enjoy being here whenever I do, even if I just sit in the corner and type on my computer and smile shyly at faces I recognize but don’t yet know.

Indy Hall is the perfect blend of scrappy and organized, welcoming without too much structure. You really can make it whatever you need it to be, which is exactly what we need in a time when everything from coffee shops to corporate coworking spaces have hard edges and uncomfortable seats. They look great but don’t make you want to stick around. 

Indy Hall is the place where you can cozy up with a cup of tea, have a beer, or just get some work done with the buzz of community encouraging you to do the thing that only you can do.
I am truly grateful for this place and the people here and the fact that Indy Hall exists.”

“Helping Me Grow” from Fred P.

I have been an Indy Hall member for about a year and a half and it has been a wonderful experience. I own a digital marketing agency in Bucks County and I try and come to IH once or twice a month. I enjoy the atmosphere and I have met many interesting people in a variety of careers. Alex, Adam and Anaia are incredible and I was made to feel at home from my very first visit.
I changed careers at age 60 to start my business, FZP Digital and I feel very accepted by the younger people at Indy Hall. As a matter of fact, I chose to work at Indy Hall because of the diversity of my fellow coworkers. I always feel invigorated when I come to my Philly office, since I am Philly born and raised.
Thank you Indy Hall for being there for me and helping me grow my business and making new connections.

Know Your Value

As evident by these stories from fellow members, Indy Hall has been a huge part of what makes folks really feel the gratitude for where they are at in their careers, myself included. 

Being here has made me grateful on levels I don’t think that early 2019 me could have imagined. Being in a space that respects and uplifts my work, and a place that has helped me understand and fully appreciate my own value has been one of the absolute highlights of my year. I can’t imagine where I’d be had I not found this amazing community this year.
And so if you are thinking about making gratitude a priority and becoming a member here in 2020, take heart.

To put a twist on one of my favorite J.K. Rowling quotes, whether you come to us by our space on Market Street or our community online, Indy Hall is always here to welcome you home

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Share your best tips for fellow independents!

Hi there!

I’m Hannah and after 6 years of admiring Indy Hall from the outside, I finally became a member this fall.

Someone in the coworking space asked me “What brings you to Indy Hall?” and I said “What brings anyone to Indy Hall?” But a few hours later, I was still thinking about that question, and my answer, and I have come up with a more coherent attempt at tackling that subject.

A restless soul and a passion for community.

I’m here to learn, and want to contribute too.

A community can only benefit those it can reach, so I want to help expand that reach.

I’ve been collecting interviews and stories from people who have made their careers outside of the traditional employer-employee model. With these stories, I’m helping put together a new physical zine that focuses on the many alternative ways that people make careers for themselves.

The first edition of this zine will be released at the Philly Freelance Fest in January!

After the event, our plan is to distribute the zine around the city, specifically reaching outside of the usual tech-industry hangouts. Our hope is that people who may be on the cusp of entrepreneurship or going solo can discover it and the stories inside, and be inspired to try their own thing too.

A feature I want to include in the zine are entertaining/useful lists for and by real independent workers.

For example:

  • A “mixtape” track list of songs/tunes you listen to for productivity (and accompanying Spotify playlist online)
  • A hand-drawn map of places in Philly that independents recommend for getting work done outside of the home or office environment. (Bonus points if you’re an illustrator who wants to be involved with this part of the project…HMU.)

This is where we need your help!

If this sounds neat to you, please contribute as little as 3 minutes of your time to fill out this quick survey. Your answers could improve the way someone else in the community has a successful, productive day!

Here is the link to the survey:

Thanks in advance for the contributions!

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A Space for Stories

Welcome to our November 2019 blog series, where we’re highlighting some of Indy Hall’s micro-communities! These are just a sampling of the various and vibrant smaller communities that exist within the larger Indy Hall family. Some of them take place entirely online, some of them only in person, and a mix, too. 

This week we will be highlighting Indy Hall’s thriving writing community!

Writing Opened the Door

As a storyteller, one of my favorite things to do is to make connections. I love to look at life and plot outlines much in the same way. This lead to that, which resulted in this… you get the idea. And when I look back at how I got involved with Indy Hall in the first place, the connection is clear. It was because of writing. 

It all started with a tweet back in March. Indy Hall member and literary agent Eric Smith tweeted about a publishing workshop that would be taking place here through Philly writing organization BlueStoop. Up until that point, I didn’t really know much about Indy Hall beside the fact that it was a coworking place that existed. But from the minute I walked past the JURRASIC PARK “Welcome to Indy Hall” sign, I could tell… this was a place where creative magic could happen. 

That writing workshop, which was specific to YA authors like myself, was merely the first plot point in what has become an incredible journey. I’ve come to find that not only was IH a hub for workshops to help writers flourish, it was also somewhere that provided invaluable resources to writers across the Philly region.

Sending the Elevator Down

That very same agent I mentioned, Eric, also happens to be the organizer behind a group called Penn’s Landing, through which he hosts semi-monthly meet-ups known affectionately as “brain picks”.

It is no secret that those trying to break into the publishing industry face a lot of rejection and hardship, with marginalized writers facing even more challenges. Eric’s events here at the Hall seek to give an industry insider’s insight and pull back the curtain so that writers can ask their burning questions. When asked about why he started them, he said… 

“I started doing them when my wife and I had moved to Virginia, and then again when we were living in Michigan. An agent friend of mine, Beth Phelan, does them regularly in NYC, as a way to help making publishing more accessible. Because it isn’t, it’s a tough business to get direct answers about. No one was really there to give me the answers I needed when I was trying to break into the industry and work on my writing, so this lets me do that for other people. And here in Philly!”

Having attended two of these events, I can attest to what an invaluable experience each of them has been. As a querying writer who has written draft after draft and still feels like I might never make it, being able to talk casually with someone who is part of the industry gives me a hope that’s so intense, it fills my whole heart. And when I asked Eric to sum up his hope for the future of publishing, it sounded to me a lot like an attitude I see reflected throughout Indy Hall as a whole. 

“Keep opening up doors, and sending the elevator down.” 

Making Room for Words

Most recently on the Indy Hall writing scene has been the presence of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) of which I’m one of the regional organizers. The event takes place during the month of November and encourages participants to try and write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. 

Every Friday night in November, our group has taken over the gallery to participate in word sprints (productivity bursts done as a group to see how much you can write in a set amount of time) and encourage one another to our work in progress novels.

Some folks have already finished their word goals and have been coming for fun, while others are still struggling to reach their word goals. But everyone that has walked through the door has been able to accomplish something new thanks to the incredible creative space that Indy Hall provides. 

Hearing writers say things like, “I got my new personal best word count done at this write in!” is something that gives me so much hope and joy. It reminds me of the feeling that overwhelmed me my first weekend here for that life-changing writer’s workshop. It’s that feeling of, “this is a space where I can tell my story.”

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Welcome to our November 2019 blog series, where each week we’ll be highlighting one of Indy Hall’s micro-communities! These are just a sampling of the various and vibrant smaller communities that exist within the larger Indy Hall family. Some of them take place entirely online, some of them only in person, and a mix, too. 

This week we will be highlighting the community of B-Team, our online and offline comic book club.

B-Team: Origins

When I sat down with the founder of the #comicbookclub channel on the Indy Hall Slack, the first thing I noticed was that Adam kept referring to their group as “The B Team”. At first, I didn’t think too much of it. But then one day as we were grabbing lunch, he kept saying it, and so did the other members of the group. 

Finally, my curiosity overwhelmed me and I was like, “Why do y’all call yourselves the B Team??” 

Adam then proceeded to explain that what started out as a small group who would meet up in the Hall to discuss their love of comics started to grow, they started visiting a comic book shop around the corner as a group.

Apparently, one of the days they walked in together, and one of the employees said, “Wow, you guys are like the A-Team… but like, not that cool… you’re like the B-Team.” And, as any fan of comics or counter-pop cultural movement will tell you, when folks call you weird you embrace that shit. 

Thus the name stuck, and the B-Team was born.

B-Team: First Class 

Since then, the B-Team has flourished, both online and off, as a hub for comic book fans to meet up, share articles, and most importantly, talk about their favorite comics. Sitting down with some of them for lunch that day Adam told me the B-Team origin story was such a delight, even though I had never, up until that point, read a comic in my life. 

I admit that this very thing made me nervous to meet with them. I am a fan of MANY things, and so I am no stranger to certain fandom purists thinking you have to have read every book or seen every movie to even justify being in a space to talk about it. The B-Team proved to be everything but that. 

When expressing to them that I never got into comics as a kid, and felt too much pressure to know everything as an adult, they all were quick to tell me, “No way!” and “You can become a fan at any time and in any way!”. I felt invited into the world of comics from our initial sit down, and I’m not the first person to feel the love.

Fellow Indy Hall member Bon shared that he felt the same way when he first joined up with the B-Team. 

“I’d moved back to Philly about two and half years ago and the B-Team was my first set of new friends shortly after I arrived. I was working remotely with Amazon and didn’t have any other co-workers in the area so it made my daytime hours a bit more bearable.”

B-Team: Legacy

One of the biggest questions I had for members of the group is what makes this group stand out for them. What does the B-Team really mean in the lives of its members? 

Member Edward said of their squad,

“My favorite memory so far is our in-depth reading group around the new X-Men books.  Before they released the translation guide we were all sitting there literally trying to decipher Krakoan. I do not know another group of people I can do that with!”

Meanwhile, group co-founder Adam had this wonderful story to share…

“One of the most powerful memories was during a very early iteration of the B-Team. I lent all of my copies of Watchmen to Rob Epler, a fellow Indy Haller and early B-Team member. I had every issue but one, issue 10, and I told him I’d give him my collected trade paperback for that one. The individual issues are out of print, after all, and I didn’t have any hope or expectation that I would personally commandeer for myself. 

Rob and I bonded over that book. That was basically the currency of our friendship when I joined Indy Hall. It’s how I got to know him, it made me feel valuable to share the comic and introduce him to the medium, and it was a unique and personal example of what Indy Hall could be like for me. So Rob read all the issues, one by one. 

We talked about them the morning after he’d read one. When he got to my missing issue, I offered my collected trade, but he said he didn’t need it. He bought the missing issue, read it, bagged and boarded it, and gave it to me.  He completed my collection. I know it wasn’t wildly expensive or extremely rare, but it meant a lot to me.”

To really bring things full circle, after my meeting with the B-Team that day for lunch, Adam came up to me and lent me some comics he thought I might like, the first of which I proceeded to devour when I got home. 

While this was a standout as both my first fond memory with B-Team and the first comic I’d ever read, I have a great feeling that neither will be the last. 

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Welcome to our November 2019 blog series, where each week we’ll be highlighting one of Indy Hall’s micro-communities! These are just a sampling of the various and vibrant smaller communities that exist within the larger Indy Hall family. Some of them take place entirely online, some of them only in person, and a mix, too. 

This week we will be highlighting the community of our Slack channel called #daily-goals!

I dunno about you, but for me, one of the most overwhelming things to look at some days is my task list. With its many items and various categories (plus a complicated color-coding system, because I’m One of Those Virgos) it can become intense and a lot when new things keep popping up and getting added, even as you get the satisfaction of checking other things off. There is something about the joy of being able to mark something as done that just can’t be parallelled.

The only problem is when it comes to my task lists (especially as a freelancer working on my own clock) I’d gotten to a point where keeping track of them was too much. They stopped being useful because I lacked accountability. If I’m my own boss, and I want to take a nap instead of knocking out those tasks, then BOOM- I’m gonna take that nap. 

Daily Goals to the Rescue

I was missing that element of having someone else to keep me honest and feeling responsible for accomplishing those things I said I would do. Enter the Indy Hall slack channel community known as #daily-goals. The premise of the group is simple…

  • Share your daily task list
  • Mark off items as you accomplish them
  • Encourage others to do the same.

From that idea, the channel has grown to be one of the most active in our online community, with members sharing all manner of goals. Items on people’s list can be as small as “make that phone call” or as important as “remember to eat lunch”. Each one is super unique, especially since the folks in our community work in a wide range of industries, from tech to the arts to education.

As people complete their lists, they get high five emoji responses from their fellows, while others who might be getting stuck on a certain item on their list often pop in for a healthy dose of encouragement and accountability.

Make it Your Own

But don’t be fooled by the thought of strict lists and checkmarks. While there are some members who religiously post their list each day, there are others who find themselves inspired just by seeing what others share. One member said,

“Even though I don’t post my list, it’s great to see what everyone else is doing, especially to remind myself to take breaks and find the ebb-and-flow in my own work,” That was something I for one absolutely related to. Some days I make my list and just keep it to myself, but I’ll pop in to watch as others check-off item after item, which spurs me to keep going.”

Another daily-goals-ist John agrees, sharing that “Honestly it changes every day, but not having a set way to post to-dos and progress gives me room to discover new ways to get work done.”

Seeing the different ways in which people share their lists and get creative with how they designate what tasks need to be done keeps me on my toes, and reminds me that sometimes even the smallest of things are worth putting on that list, and honoring that sense of accomplishment when I get it done. Neil, who is also active in the group, summed up this feeling nicely when he said,

“It’s been super to have people who want me to succeed and pass no judgment on what I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve also loved the pleasantly sporadic sprints and explicit encouragement.” 

Near? Check. Far? Check. Wherever you are? Check.

And the best part about this particular micro-community (as with all the other ones we’ll be highlighting this month) is that you don’t need to even physically be in the building to feel the supportive vibes and epic sense of accomplishment. One of our remote members said this of the group,

As a remote member, daily-goals is a great way to be connected to the day-to-day of the Indy Hall community. It’s very satisfying to see how everyone shows up to do their work, even if you’re not literally showing up.

So if you’re looking for a way to check off “be more productive” and “make some new friends” from your own daily list, we definitely recommend checking out this channel on Slack when you sign up for one of our community memberships!

Whether you join us online on the channel or here around the Hall, we’d love to help you show those goals who’s boss.

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