I have been working out of coffee shops for the last 8 years, with more frequency over the last 5 years, and I can tell you that there are great things about a coffee shop office and a lot of not so great things. Eight years ago I was in finance with a nice corporate office but I found that meeting and working out of a coffee shop was sometimes easier and more productive. At a coffee shop I didn’t have employees and co-workers constantly knocking on my door, I wasn’t surrounded by boring corporate furnishings, and it gave me the flexibility to work anywhere. I started dreaming of the day that I didn’t need a stuffy corporate office, that I could be a business jet setter, working from any coffee shop in any part of the world, and so my business Get Smart Web was born!
Fast forward five years, Get Smart Web is humming and business is great, but that idea of working from anywhere in the world turns into working from home and meeting clients in coffee shops. The business jet setter never has the time or the desire to leave the house. And that coffee shop office, what a nightmare! It is always crowded, noisy, and there is no privacy. Time for an office again.
Looking for office space for a small business is horribly disheartening, you either have to go into a large executive office lease structure like a Regus or into the world of commercial leasing. I have nothing against Regus, and to be honest I haven’t looked at them for years now, but when I did look at them I found it to be too corporate. Walking in just sucked the creativity right out of me, the offices I could afford were small, and I was trading home isolation for executive suite isolation. Being in a space like that would give my business more validity, a big corporate building to drive up to, great conference rooms, and a nice lady sitting at the front to greet people but it all came at a cost – stuffy corporate isolation. So I looked at leasing an office that I could make my own, also known as sign your life away for the next millennium. Okay, I am exaggerating but you get the drift – to lease office space they want a long term commitment and if you want it to look good you have to pay a lot more monthly or pay for it out of your pocket.
The cost and hassle of having my own office made me start thinking about shared office space. I saw many complimentary and non-complimentary businesses going in together on leasing commercial space, and a lot of them had cool spaces. What a great idea, go in with other business owners and split the cost making it more affordable to lease and design the best space possible. I started talking to people about going in on a space together and I found that what I wanted was not necessarily what they wanted. So I would need to compromise, I can do that. I would need to compromise for up to 5 years, I can’t do that I am already married.
Time to just bite the bullet and get my own space, then I hear about coworking spaces. I do some research and find that this coworking thing is about working in a collaborative community. I can work in an open workspace with other professionals and creatives, I can work in an office, or use their meeting rooms only. I can pay monthly or hourly for use of the space with little or no paperwork. Now this is the ticket. The only problem, there is always a catch, there isn’t one near my home.
I can drive 30 minutes to an hour to reach the closest coworking space that I would enjoy working in. That means entering the road rage commuter world, no thank you. I can wait for a coworking space to be opened in my area or I can create one of my own. I decided to create one of my own and so the idea of Get Smart WorkSpaces was born!
Starting mid 2011 I have been researching and dreaming about this coworking space and now in 2013 it will be realized. It has been a long journey from inception to fruition and I am going to tell you more about that in the coming posts but it has been one that I am happy to take. I am excited to see how all of this comes together and if what I envision a creative, productive, and collaborative space to be translates to the north county San Diego community.