Scared Stiff; saved by co-working
The day I decided to start my own business scared the crap out of me. I was going from a beyond comfortable guaranteed income to one where it was a complete unknown. Since I was twelve years old I had worked. Starting out as a paperboy for the Chesterton Tribune was my first step into being a freelancer as I might have delivered newspapers but was responsible for collecting money and delivering the product. I wanted the money for candy, fancy shoes, and anything else a teenager would want. I know that in the past five years if I would have stayed working for “the man” I would be close to having made half million dollars in that short period of time. So why in the world would anyone give up luxury for something less? Actually, I didn’t!
A common question I am asked is are you a self-made millionaire? First, I am not a millionaire and there is a good chance I never will be. Money is not my driving force. At one time it was but I was never “happy”. Yes, money made things financially easier but as I got older (and older) I learned that the struggle is what makes me happy. Making others dreams happen and come true is what makes me happy. The medium and big business we won’t work with. I want to work with those that have a dream of making the world a better place. You could say what has helped is a strong support system from my beautiful wife, friends, and family. They have been there with me for my entire journey. They are what got me off that cliff and gave me the courage to make the proverbial “jump”. I am coming on year five and I can say I am beyond proud of what has already been accomplished and the future is beaming with brightness.
The turning point from going from a startup/freelancer to a full-fledged web and marketing firm that just so happens to do software development was something I had never heard of in the past. This new word was new to Indiana as well. Maybe not as much to the millennial generation but to my generation. That word is “co-working”. It is when a bunch of truly crazy, and amazing, people get together and actually work together. Those in the same industry even work together (just more limited). These individuals share the costs of the co-working “space”.
This space will have one of three core spaces. You will have a desk that you can use that isn’t “rented”. You see there are two types of desks in a co-working space. You have the kind you can rent and one where you take what’s ever available. This would be similar to that of a coffee shop where it is first come, first served. The rented desk is where you can have pictures of family, dedicated second monitors, keyboards, etc. These are the “anchors” of co-working so the co-working space that keep the operation afloat by providing a consistent income to the space. I did say three spaces. The third isn’t available at all spaces but so happen became available while I was at ours. That would be the individual or group of individuals that get a dedicated office space. This is where I see the true growth power of a co-working space.
What is this true growth power that I speak of. To me this is the true power of co-working and if you are fortunate enough to experience your life will be truly amazing in ways that energize you even after you’ve left co-working. This is you get a desk in your co-working space. Either rented or shared. From there you progress to the office. And then you take that ultimate step and you leave (partially) from the co-working space. I say partially as if you have truly embraced co-working your heart and the history of what you’ve accomplished will never leave.
What I see as the perfect journey to becoming a large co-working is:
- You learn about the co-working and decide if it’s right for you (do you like people, do you want to work more efficiently, or do you want to bounce ideas off of people?) If you answer yes to any (or all) of these then co-working is for you.
- Next you get a desk and use it 4-5 days per week. Do this for 4-6 months. Continue to grow yourself, your dream, and start saving.
- Now it’s time to move to that office space (if it’s available – if not continue the last step). Here you start gathering “things” like copiers, monitors, more computers, and even employees. This is the beginning of the end for your co-working. You should not be here more than six months (tops) or you’ve failed – in my book. The reason being is co-working is to prove a point and be with a group of great people. It’s a proving ground to prove your concept. Once I moved into a dedicated office I knew my time there is and should be less, so that others can grow too. If I sat, became complacent, others couldn’t grow. I would be hindering their dream. During this time, you will still participate, only less, your passion for co-working should become stronger and not weaker. This is where you start looking for dedicated office space.
- “The move” is one of the happiest, yet sad days of your life. You are happy for the growth but leaving what helped you get there will make you sad. But rest assured co-working if you truly embraced it will not leave you.
In co-working everyone works on a common goal to better themselves. Your time there if you want to start your own business should not be “forever” as the purpose is to help everyone and when space becomes stops doing that the culture of what co-working is dies. Those that love co-working will push themselves harder so that co-working can grow more. When you leave co-working you will still talk about it to others, the glitter in your eye will brighten when you talk about it, and you will understand the business world in a way that those that never used co-working will ever be able to.
If you have a passion, a love, dream, and a desire to make the world a better place rather than working out of your home this is the “go to” place for the ultimate trial by fire for your business.
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