Among the many struggles entrepreneurs face, especially ones working alone or in a small group, is when to bite the bullet and invest in an office space. In my case, I waited about 3 years before I got a small office in South Miami. As someone who had been used to working from home, getting an office was a great move. On a basic level, it gave me a reason to leave the house every day (let's be honest - sweatpants don't look great in public). But it was also an ideal place to meet with clients and have a separation between my work and home.
A few months ago, Melanie Fernandez and Alexa Pineiro, of House of Lilac and Blanc Events, respectively, were shopping around for a space. I referred them to my building and they became tenants on my floor. It was wonderful having friends and fellow creatives close by - we would bounce ideas off of each other and get feedback when we needed it. When I saw them outgrowing their space I decided I would take the plunge and ask them to take the relationship to the next level, so I did. "Would you guys want to move in together?"
On a practical level, sharing an office is great. You can upgrade to a bigger space, have someone get your mail when you are gone and split basic costs like phone and internet service. However, there are other reasons that far surpass the practical ones. There is someone to who can give you feedback, help motivate you, and give you ideas you may have not thought of before. On a social level, it is nice to come to an office every day and have someone to chat with about the latest episode of "True Detective" or "Game of Thrones."
The idea of shared workspaces has been gaining a lot of traction lately. The Miami Herald ran an article last week highlighting the dozens of new shared workspace concepts that have been cropping up all over town, fueled by the large amounts of entrepreneurs in the workforce. The article cites a by the U.S. Government Accountability office which found "that the sector of workers who don’t have traditional full-time jobs increased to 40.4 percent of the workforce in 2010, up from 35.3 percent in 2006, and the researchers believe the share of independent workers is even larger today."
During our first week in the new office, Melanie suggested we have a weekly "motivation meeting." Over lunch, the three of us shared some recent successes, but also talked about areas where we were feeling unsure and needed some help. By the end of the meeting, we each had a list of things we wanted to accomplish by the next meeting. One of my goals (fueled by Melanie's own experiences) was to blog once a week. Since our meeting last Thursday I have blogged once, and I will have someone to answer to if I start to slack off!