Where are you from and how did you end up here in Valencia?
I’m from Alessandria - a small town in the north-west of Italy. I then moved to London and lived there for some time. After living in london, I became a digital nomad. I travelled the north of Europe for five years, working for various companies as a freelancer and then I started up my own company. I decided I wanted to travel more and live in warmer places, so I came here to Valencia and loved it. I thought that I’d stay here till I decided where I wanted to travel to next but Covid got in the way. I can’t leave Valencia right now, but there are worse places in the world to be confined to.
Can you tell me about the business that you run?
I own a digital marketing company. We help companies with web traffic, analytics, SEO and other things. Our client base is mainly for commerce, but we also help different businesses that are having trouble promoting their business online or having trouble finding new clients online.
The nice thing about digital marketing is that you never get bored of it. It’s a pretty dynamic field. Facebook and Google have both completely changed their platforms in the space of three years, which means that every year, there is always something new and something different.
What was your experience working as part of different companies?
I started my career in London. I worked for an English E-commerce company on Liverpool Street selling office supplies - paper, printers, printer ink and that sort of stuff. It was my first proper 9-5 job. At the end of my first week at this job, I thought to myself on the train to work ‘Okay this is my first week. I just need to do this 52 times a year, for 40 years if I’m lucky. Maybe I’ll earn a little more each year... Is that all life is?’.
So I continued working and I learned the job and I was lucky because I was good at what I was doing. In London things move at a fast pace and I ended up being promoted twice in three years. It was good - I learned a lot. However, I always had this issue with how repetitive it was. I like to learn new things, I like to do different things, I like to challenge myself and in a corporate environment you don’t always get the opportunity to challenge yourself. There is always someone telling you ‘You need to do this’, ‘You can earn this much’ and ‘You can’t do that’.
I wanted to find a way that I could create the rules of my own game. The people I was working with, the things I was doing, the place I was working. For me, freedom and control is really important, and working in a corporate environment doesn’t provide me with that.
What would you tell someone who is in a similar position that you were in?
I always knew that from the work I was doing, I only needed a computer to do it. I think now more and more people are realising this.
Have you always used coworking spaces as a freelancer and a business owner?
In my first year, I wasn’t travelling. I worked from my parents house - the room that I grew up in. Then I realised that working in my room and not having to go to an office, I was spending all day in my room. It got a bit crazy sometimes. So when I moved to Valencia, I decided that I wanted to have a place where I could work and a place where I could relax and rest - basically separating the two. I started looking for cowork spaces pretty much straight away.
I have an apartment that is big enough to give me a small office, so sometimes I like to work from home because it can be comfy and you can get up and do what you want - sometimes you also need to be super focused. Mainly, though, I like to work outside away from the house, in a coworking space. There are nice people in cowork spaces and you can have nice chats and go for coffee. It’s much more human than staying home on your own.
Why did you choose Cowork Ruzafa?
I started working here around last September and then I took a break in January. I came back in May, after lockdown had ended. I chose this cowork because I live just around the corner, so it's super nearby. What made me stay here was the nice people and the air conditioning in the summer months - you can’t work if it’s too hot.
Has working in a cowork space had an impact on your work?
My productivity in a coworking space is better than working from home. There are a lot of distractions in the home. Also, looking at other people working gives me a push to work more. Other people give me motivation. I am also an extroverted person. For me, being able to speak to people every once in a while is beneficial. If I stay on my own and work without speaking to anyone, my brain starts to overthink and over analyse things - I go crazy. I like to be able to speak to people to help me make decisions.
Working with a computer, you lose a bit of humanity. When I work for six hours straight with a computer and then try to talk to another human being, I can’t. I need to readapt a bit, which can be tricky. So working here, I’ll stop once in a while and have a chat. It gives my brain some time to relax and be normal.
Are there anything other benefits to coworking spaces?
Well, if you are the type of person that needs a coworking space, you are also likely a person who has moved to Valencia from a different place and you can work independently away from an office. When you move to a new place, one of the most common ways to socialise is by meeting people at work. However, if you don’t work in an office then you may not meet new people. So, by coming to a cowork space, you are likely to meet new people similar to you. You can meet interesting people who become part of your personal life. The idea of a coworking space is having a community of people.
Have you ever found yourself any new clients while working here?
I was actually close to finding a supplier, not a client. There is a girl here who designs logos and websites, and I needed something made. I had a chat with her and she went away and found me a supplier. However, in the end, it didn’t work out between me and the supplier. But here and other coworking spaces are good places to find clients.
Have you made any friends or collaborated on projects with others while working here?
For sure. Uri, the British recruiter. Lydia, the owner. There are also other people that I know outside of the cowork that have started to work here. All of the people here are nice, you can chat with any of them. There is a girl from Australia in the other cowork who is really nice.