At Coworkies, we believe coworking is not a place, it’s an activity. While in Paris, we found a work environment paving the way to coworking as a verb: bringing a community together at work and to work. Welcome to Digital Village, the collective of Freelance.
Digital Village, the vision
The “Once upon a time” story of Digital Village started back in 2015 when Bertrand and Romain, the co-founders, realized how hard it is for freelancers to:
- find work opportunities,
- have security at work – in the sense, generate enough income every month to live,
- surround themselves with other freelancers in order to share experiences and also work when they lack some of the skills required to deliver a project.
Strong believers that this could change, they created a brand where everything is about gathering multiple digital competencies, in order to develop each and everyone business.
When members join Digital Village, they become part of a collective, an agency as well as a coworking space.
At the Collective, the idea is simple: stronger together. Digital Village has created an agency of Freelance that work together on:
- Full projects – the professionals involved work from beginning to end in delivering the work.
- Specific missions – meaning they can get involved in a project that already started and deliver part of the digital work needed depending on the clients need.
The great thing about Digital Village is that they were able to gather a wide pool of experts from the digital world in order to be able to work on a vast array of projects. Whether you need consulting, graphic design, web development, content or pictures and videos, there is someone at Digital Village that can jump in and work with and for you.
As a company looking for a freelance, Digital Village is a gem! You do not need to reach out to many people, you have one direct contact that coordinates everything internally just like an agency would do!
Speaking of customers, they are at the center of Digital Village’ value proposition. For them, the collective ensures that:
- the work is done “at cost” – meaning in your budget with no bad surprises
- in a structured way – Digital Village is the legal entity doing the work and redistributing the generated income later on to the different freelance who are involved on the project
- Lastly and as said before, one unique point of contact to facilitate the work on the client side.
As per Freelancers, the Collective brings them access to work as well as a a network of like-minded professionals alongside whom they can learn and grow.
The coworking space
The interesting part of Digital Village lies in how they use the coworking to serve the needs of the collective. Rather than a simple space where you can go and work, Digital Village recruits members to join their coworking space and at the same time, grow their collective. How do they do that? By organizing regular events and meetups such as Hackathons or barcamp, they are able to identify talents and invite them to join the community. People can also apply by themselves on the website to join the collective.
Each new member of the coworking space get access to training opportunities in order to gain new skills and upgrade their own knowledge. Each member of the collective / coworking space has to pay rent to Digital Village BUT their promise is that is won’t cost them more than the price they charge for a day of work. As everyone works more than one day for the Digital Village, it is a fair deal to get access to a cool and open workspace.
Speaking of which, the Parisian space is quite cool! Spread over 2 floors, it combines open workspace at the ground floor where everyone has her/his own desk as well as meeting rooms, communal area and phone booth in the basement in order to mingle with others.
Digital Village key figures
80 Freelancers – 299 projects shipped in 2016 – 1200 sqm – 5 locations in France
It does not stop here
Alongside Freelancers, Digital Village has also attracted another crowd: startups. Hence, Bertrand and Romain founded the startup studio, a network of experts focused on launching projects.
Once startups join Digital Village they get access to:
- Individual coaching from mentors to help members start and scale their businesses,
- a selected network of investors,
- exclusive partners deals,
- a collective of Freelance that can support them in developing their product.
In return, the startups need to give back to the community by helping others if they have the skillset required. They also get the opportunity to register as a freelance in order to work in the collective in case they need to generate income for themselves while sustaining their businesses.
Since its start in 2015, Digital Village encountered a lot of success among the freelance community. Thus, they very naturally grew outside of Paris and are not present in 5 cities around France. Some of them are in the suburb of Paris allowing freelancers to reduce their commuting time. Every member of Digital Village can work from any of the locations in France. Hence making super easy to move around without having to worry about finding a place to work.
Sharing is caring
After running Digital Village for more than 2 years, Bertrand and Romain decided to give back to the community. They wrote a book called “Becoming a Freelance”. In it you find all the info and tips you need to start the right way your new work journey!
A SELFIE WITH…
Agathe who showed us around and shared with us the fascinating story of Digital Village!