Co-working community looking to take root in Encinitas


When Jenelle Zingg started working from home after being laid off a few years ago, she quickly realized telecommuting wasn’t for her.

“I found myself going crazy looking at the houseplants, looking at my dog, looking at the dishes,” said Zingg, a Cardiff resident. “Everything was a distraction. I needed people. I’m a people person.”

That’s when Zingg discovered co-working — shared spaces where entrepreneurs, freelancers and other independent workers pay a fee to share a workspace and benefit from working in each other’s presence.

“I decided I was done being vulnerable to the market,” said Zingg, who is program director of Del Mar Community Connections. “I wanted to be able to follow my own passion, which is people and community.”

Zingg had always been around others. She grew up running a bed-and-breakfast with her mother and sister in Wisconsin.

“We got to meet people from all over the world,” she recalled. “Now I kind of thrive on it. I love meeting new people.”

With a goal of eventually establishing a co-working community, Zingg created a Meetup Group called The Collectiv Encinitas two years ago. Until now, the group has been meeting at various places to talk about social media, marketing and other business-related topics.

“Everybody comes together to lift each other up, to provide encouragement and shared resources,” she said.

With a core group in place and a following of 120 people, Zingg is set to open a co-working community in coastal Encinitas at the start of the New Year. Although a location has yet to be announced, The Collectiv Encinitas will be a place where independent professionals can collaborate, connect and build a community.

“The idea is that those conversations that happen over the water cooler or around the coffee machine are key,” Zingg explained. “I’ve talked to people who have actually been at a co-working community together, working on their own projects, and ended up starting businesses together. The sky’s the limit.”

Co-working spaces are popping up across the country and around the world.

In fact, more than 160,000 people worldwide are members of more than 3,000 co-working spaces, according to a recent report by and Emergent Research, which is up from just 20,000 workers in 500 spaces in 2010.

“People who are working independently are doing so for a reason,” Zingg said. “They want a certain lifestyle. They want flexibility in their schedule. It really is about a work-life balance.

“But just because people work independently doesn’t mean they need to work alone.”

Zingg is looking at spaces that range between 2,000 and 5,000 square feet just west or east of Interstate 5 in Encinitas. She is also recruiting members, with memberships ranging from $40-$400, depending on the level of access and amenities.

“I’m a natural connector. When I meet people, I want to introduce them to other people,” Zingg said. “So at 37, I feel like I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. It’s awesome.”

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