How procrastination got me to build a business

Today marks the day that my new venture Davis Coworking has officially been open for 1 week and I would like to take a moment to explain why I started Davis Coworking and reflect on all the progress that was made since its inception two months ago.

Roughly two years into my Phd I realized that there was this big idea bubbling inside my brain that wanted to come out, I told my brain that focussing on this idea was not a good plan since attending to brain ideas is much more fun than finishing existing projects (my Phd) so I put a lid on it.

Repeatedly.

After moving from WI to CA and writing infinite TO DO lists (those lists are aptly named after me) I finished my Phd three years later.

Yay! Sigh of relief, I can finally take the lid off my idea planning brain area!

Womp womp. Queue sad trombone:

The Idea was still there, but now that I had somewhat infinite time (disclaimer: I continue to have a part time position at the university) the path seemed a little more real. Everything that was holding me back was now, all of a sudden, an actual option and it felt a lot more daunting.

*I’m gonna kick Idea into reality!*

Many months passed, and beside a pretty cool, although very minimalist, TO DO list, I was not actually making any progress towards making my Idea real. Instead I was busy baking bread, building furniture, tending to the garden. You know, literally the garden variety procrastinations.

At first I blamed it on post PhD exhaustion, but after 6 months I had to face reality. Maybe it was time for me to find a Job. Jobs can be fun right? Almost everyone I know has had at least one of those, so there must be something to it, right? To be fair, I had been able to avoid having a real job for the first 35 years of my life, so this was going to get tricky.

As it turns out, it is really hard to find a job when in reality you want to make a job. So on February 24, after a long conversation with my man, and right before falling asleep I wrote a note to myself:

The next morning I checked out two local coworking spaces and after seeing both, it suddenly dawned on me: I should start my own coworking space!

It would make total sense; I love the start up scene (case in point, in college I majored in Science & Innovation management, I go to Tech Crunch Disrupt and Machine Learning conference for funzies), I love bringing people together, I love supporting mission driven companies, I can build some of the furniture myself (see earlier procrastinations), and maybe I can build an environment that will help me tackle the barriers that kept me from making progress on Idea.

Couple days before signing the lease (March 21st)

One month later, on March 25, I sign the lease to a 2300 sqft office space. I must be crazy. How am I going to explain to friends and family that my Neuroscience Phd was really an excellent preparation for me to run a successful coworking space. It’s not, and I have no idea what I am doing…

So I learn.

So many pocket holes

I learn about negotiating a lease, repairing ceiling tiles, setting up an LLC, getting a local business permit, setting up a business bank account, going on the roof to fix the HVAC system, creating a website that can accept payments, effective marketing, keeping track of accounting, doing market research, moving furniture, staying on budget, driving pickup trucks around town to pickup furniture and wood, lots of wood, building six 8–12ft tables, managing a soft opening, determine pricing, follow leads, ensure fire safety, hosting an opening event, getting in the newspaper, creating signage. But most importantly on how to get it all ready in time for the opening that you planned when nothing was clear yet.

Davis Coworking is open!

And thats where I am now. Davis Coworking has been officially open for one full week. Since its inception I have learned so so much, and I have worked so hard, with so much enjoyment. In reality I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It seems like being in school for the better part of 35 years really did help me open a coworking space. I was able to realize what I knew and what I still needed to learn.

All in all, months of untethered procrastination caused me to build Davis Coworking. Which in itself is procrastination from Idea, but at least I was able to build myself a (currently unpaid) job. Now all I have to do is learn how to make Davis Coworking a success, by building an environment of entrepreneurship, collaborations and learning so that I can allow Idea to naturally flourish into reality.

I can not wait.

First public event at Davis Coworking

Would you like to do work at Davis Coworking? Find more information at: www.davis-coworking.com.