So you started a side hustle. You work for yourself, and you are really excited. You work in your living room in your pajama’s and nobody is telling you otherwise. You get to make a sandwich with pickles and fresh tuna, get to listen to the new Kanye album full blast, and your commute has been reduced to leaving the sofa to get leftover pound cake.
But then you start getting too comfortable. You notice your room needs sweeping, the Amazon delivery guy is coming soon, and you only have two more episodes of “Game of Thrones” to catch up on.
When I started my gig with my brother out of the house, we were there for six months and it was hard to see the progress we were making. What did we look like to the outside world, did our ideas make sense? I actually made a cardboard chart, pasted some colorful index cards with each of our mini accomplishments, and hung it in our living room. Accomplishments like getting a logo, incorporating our company, getting a bank account, setting up our email servers, getting our website up and running and so on. Those little things I would stamp another index card onto the cardboard as proof we were moving forward.
About 5 months in, we were nearing a breaking point. It was getting harder to quantify our successes and make index cards. So my brother was doing research and found out about networking meetups. A group where entrepreneurs all from different backgrounds meet up and talk about what they were doing.
Mikey, my little brother, found one about 45 minutes away on a Monday night. We were tired and I had no interest in going. I didn’t see the value in listening to some big entrepreneur speak. I thought it was a waste of time. But he pushed and pushed, and I caved so we went. It was in New Brunswick, New Jersey, near Rutgers University. We show up and this big cheese entrepreneur is speaking and talking about success, and tips and all that stuff.
At the end of the speech, the organizers said, “This is a group where we look to help each other. If anybody needs some help with their business, stand up and ask the room.” One woman said she was looking for financing, a man said he had a question about building websites for others. I looked at Mikey and said, “I think I have a question.”
I stand up, look around the room, and said with my big speaking voice, “Hey guys, my brother and I just launched a video production start up. We’re a young company and looking for customers and to build our portfolio. If anybody needs cheap videos, let us know.” Before I could sit down, the whole room jumped on us. They started exchanging with us business cards, asking for our LinkedIn profiles, and asking us about our how we work.
In the corner of my eye, I could see a young blonde college kid smiling at us curiously. After we spoke to everybody, he came over to us and introduced himself as Mason, the community manager of Juicetank, a co-working space in the area. He said, “You guys would be perfect fit for this.”
The next day, we went to check out the space and we loved it. An office to go to, in a large building, coffee, water, events, and mentors. We had no money to spend on this space. But these guys were so interested in helping startups, Charlie Patel especially, that they offered to exchange video work with us for space for a few months until we could afford to pay for this ourselves.
Those four months came and went, and we quickly were able to pay for this space. I moved our location to Asbury Park, New Jersey — and the first thing I did, was move to another space. CoWerks. Ran by Danny Croak and Brett Morgan, this was a small space with an air tight community. They were all friends. And slowly but surely, I got invested into the community of Asbury Park, New Jersey.
I moved to Los Angeles twice. First time I went, I started at WeWork, a global chain of Coworking spaces who leads the industry in this. They’re awesome. I get to WeWork Hollywood and I get involved in another community. I make friends, grab lunches, go to events, (those guys can sure drink), and they connected me to an acting class that was offered in the building. Man, was I in heaven.
Second time I lived in LA, I worked out of WeWork Constellations. What was great about this location it was the bottom floor of the ICM building. ICM is a top 5 talent agency in the world, representing movie stars, athletes, and more. Let’s just say that this showbiz industry element spoke to me.
I came back to New York, and worked out of a space called Spacious. Whenever I travel around the world, I find a new WeWork.
I couldn’t recommend Co-Working spaces more. It’s been the key to my success, how I’ve expanded my brain and how I will continue to grow in the future, wherever cities I work in.
You bounce around different coffee shops. It’s good. You get out of the house, you see other people working, there’s wifi, and good treats when you want to. Good fix for a while.
Then reality kicks in: there’s no printer, there are few outlets to plug your devices into, the only table available is a wobbly one, and if you have a conscious for the establishment: you spent $5 on a coffee and a chocolate chip croissant, and you’re taking a table for 4 hours of work. It’s not fair to you or the establishment.
I’m a huge fan of coworking spaces, I’ve been doing them for years. Here are reasons why they are the best:
- Blazing fast wifi: It’s super annoying going to a cafe and having shaky wifi.
- See Other Entrepreneurs: You can see other entrepreneurs and get feedback on what you’re doing, and give them feedback on what they’re doing.
- Meet The Community: Especially if you move to a new city, and you don’t know anybody but you as a business person needs to do so. Being in a space, a lot of spaces offer free events for the community so you can mingle, and encourage you to give them yourself. Every time I move to a new city, I get into a coworking space and have met some amazing people.
- Cafe: How many hours can you really sit in a cafe with your 4 dollar latte? They’re losing money on you.
- Get Out of the House: I still sometimes have to push myself to get to the coworking space. Is it necessary, can’t I just work from home for today? The answer is always no. I’ll start making sandwiches.
What do you think about co-working spaces? Any good tips, places, or notes?
Let me know in the comments.