It's an intriguing concept: Connect with a complete stranger live online for an hour, specifically for a coworking session that'll keep you both on task.
That's what Focusmate is all about, and it's the brainchild of founder Taylor Jacobson.
Jacobson grew intrigued with productivity and collaboration tools after venturing off the traditional corporate path back in 2010, but kept running into the same limitations: Intermittent accountability, one-sided scheduling tools, and expensive professional support, to name a few.
"The situation became clear: if the community I envisioned was to come to fruition, the onus was on me to build a new solution." Jacobson noted in a 2017 Medium article.
That new solution became Focusmate, the virtual coworking model rooted in evidence-based approaches to productivity and systems of accountability developed by leading executive and leadership coaches.
In a recent internal survey, Focusmate found that 93% of their roughly 12,000 users reported a significant increase in productivity and reduced procrastination.
That's an incredible fact and boost for Jacobson as he continues growing this two-year old company.
We're honored to share exclusive insight into his journey with Focusmate in this month's Tenacity Tales.
Taylor Jacobson, founder of Focusmate, the virtual coworking space changing the way remote workers get more done.
What’s the obstacle that you’ve overcome that you’re most proud of?
The scariest moments were early on when it was just me.
I knew I couldn’t build the product alone, and I was afraid I’d never persuade anyone to join my quest, with little more than an idea.
I had to fight through intense discouragement and self-doubt to keep sharing my vision and trying to recruit a co-founder until I eventually succeeded.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Having joy, play, and connection in my life is necessary for me to be sustainably productive.
I got burned out after a few years of grinding and had to take a step back and change things up, but by then I had already paid the price, having seen my body just quit.
Jacobson getting some work done by utilizing Focusmate.
What’s your best advice to other small business owners?
Sell something people want. Otherwise, you won’t have a business for long.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I start every day with a 50-minute Focusmate session at 7:45am when I do my morning routine.
I try to fit in 4-6 other Focusmate appointments throughout the day to get my “deep work” done, with calls and meetings sprinkled in.
I have a lot of evening meetings, but when I don’t, I try to get out of the house and do something fun and social, like going to a musical improv show or dancing.
Jacobson has his eyes firmly set on monetization and growth for Focusmate in 2019 and beyond.
What’s next for you and Focusmate?
99% of our work lies ahead of us.
The next step is monetizing, to build a sustainable foundation for growth. Our vision is to build the most supportive community on earth and to provide products and services that reach deeply into people’s lives to support them in becoming whoever they want to be.
Want to learn more about Taylor and Focusmate?
Check out the Focusmate website.