April 10, 2014

Coworking and Retainers, Oh My!

I'm realizing how emotionally shut down I was during the job offer from Industrial Company. I played Spider obsessively, didn't have anything to say on the blog, didn't want to talk on the phone. I kept imagining the commute and the environment in their building and was trying to make it work, but also felt surrounded by low-level dread.

Today, my first day of freedom, is beautiful!

Of course, my current company didn't really let me quit. We have a couple of ongoing projects and my ECD made me keep the computer until mine comes in next week. It's nice to have some guaranteed income, but made my exit interview a bit anti-climactic.

You'd think that working remotely for 2-years would feel the same as freelancing, but it feels totally different. When I'd go to networking lunches, I felt like I was cheating my employer by not being at my desk. Now it feels like part of building my business.

So much is happening!

This morning I visited two co-working spaces. One is downtown, the other is in a hipster neighborhood on the east side of town. I'd assumed I would prefer the hipster version, but wanted to check them both out.

Co-working space is a new phenomenon sweeping the world of small business. Instead of being holed up alone in your garage, you can gather in a shared space with all the other garage dwellers. It's an outgrowth of the economic downturn. As so many people tried to figure out creative ways to earn a living, they were working from home. After a couple years they, like me, figured out how much they needed community.

The space downtown does strategic community building. Once a week they do "Wine Down" time. Everyone turns off their devices, gathers together with a glass of wine and talks through what they are working on. They do a 1x week Social Media Sync where you can learn strategic approaches to LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter/etc. TED+Beer: watch a TED talk and discuss. The first week there you get vetted. You get a card and have to get it signed by three other members after you grab coffee or lunch together. Builds community AND screens for Crazy Person. Very smart.

The real selling points for me though are the space: brick walls, clean desks, access to an outdoor deck, and loose tea leaves in addition to "slow coffee". See those desks in the way, way back (as Brex would say), those are the dedicated desks.

THEN I came home and had a phone call. My co-conspirator from our old mother ship landed at Cool Company. They have roots in the agency world with elements of experiential marketing and digital motion graphics. They proposed keeping me on a 20-hour/week retainer with the option for more hours. Which means, pending the dollar/hour amount, that 20-hours could equal my old salary!

I have a call with Go Go Woman's company this afternoon to start doing projects for them. A call with Chicago woman next week to see how to plug me into a few things she's cooking up. AND a meeting tomorrow with Local Agency to see how they might use me going forward. Plus ongoing projects with Mother Ship. Do the math and I already need help!

So, I need to find some freelancers who can handle some of this.
Yikes. I need to figure out a company name and get an S-corp set up ASAP. Fortunately the co-working space has a certified financial planner!

Let the Empire Building begin!


Jack Towe said...

Co-working sounds terrific. And your account gave me an epiphany moment. I've been in a co-working space for the past three years at Loyal Realty, ten blocks from my apartment.
Since moving, my office has become a lounge one floor up, where I sit in great comfort on the Amish glider I gave your Mother--and last month donated to my apartment complex.
I'm still hunting for the corporate notebook I promised you.
The financial planner sounds like a wonderful bonus. Even so, I recommend that you use some of your early loot from freelancing to retain an attorney or CPA in getting you properly incorporated and in line with both Texas and U.S.
laws and tax regulations.

Mizasiwa said...

So so happy for you!!! The ultimate happy begginning for a free lancing career with real meaning! I still find it funny that Liam and I had a business plan to set up a site for free lancers to work from - a lovely space with comfy spaces for business meetings and networking as well as private desks and open plan offices with phones and internet connection - just showing that we are well and truly way way ahead of our timeoh well (shrugs) still happy this has all come out so well for you - you deserve it!!! (Big big hugs!!)

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Jack Towe said...

Ha. Last night your siblings were mauling me about having been a workaholic father.
I notice you haven't written a blog article in a month. Of course, it's not workaholism, it just goes with running your own firm.

Mizasiwa said...

Its been a really long time.. i hope you are all well and the empire has grown.
I miss your writting but undertand - life happens. I have not written a blog post in 3 or more years...
Just hope all is well with you and your family.