I started my first business over 24 years ago and as a consultant and speaker, I have always worked from home. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have worked from my car, airplanes, coffee shops, the lobby of hotels, and occasionally in my home office. Our team has been between 8 and 18 people, but we have all worked from our homes across multiple states. We thought about renting office space but there was always the dilemma of those who had kids to care for or how to include those who were scattered in other states, so we stayed remote. After all, we started the digital agency side of our business with 5 stay-at-home-moms, so it was a challenge to try and find a place that would suit us all.
Client Calls and Chalupas
Today, many of my client calls take place today via video. Whether it’s Zoom Meetings or GoToMeetings, we use video a lot. I’ve been on these calls in airports and lots of coffee shops, but the craziest place I held a client video call was in front of a Taco Bell. I got stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it back home in time to get on the call in my office, so I remember hearing that Taco Bell had good WIFI so I ducked into their parking lot and got close enough to log in. With my laptop balanced on my dashboard, the call went great and I got a Chicken Chalupa out of it!
UPS, Deer, and Crazy Chiweenies
When I am in my home office, I have 3 crazy dogs who “work” with me (miniature dachshund-chihuahua mix. Yep…take the two breeds that bark the most and create the DOG OF FRANKENWIENIE… BRILLIANT). We live in the foothills where herds of deer stroll by daily, along with a curious fox and several squirrels who love to torment, so needless to say the pack of Chiweenies bark A LOT! Lately, it seems they bark the loudest at the most inopportune times. Like when I am interviewing a guest on LIVE VIDEO and the UPS delivery driver decides he needs to ring the doorbell …TWICE, to let me know he needed my signature on a package! The dogs went WILD… for about 20 minutes as I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening!
I had to ask the guest I was interviewing, to elaborate on his last point while I grabbed the door so the dogs would stop.
WARNING! Lilly’s Coming
On Wednesdays, our cleaning crew comes, and they know to give me an estimated time of arrival because I will need to load up the dogs and evacuate or sequester myself and them into my office so they don’t bark and nip at anyone’s ankles. I usually take them on a walk, go to a dog park or sometimes I load them in the car and we will go park in front of the grocery store or Taco Bell, so I can jump on their Wi-Fi and get work done.
Today is one such Wednesday. I had just gotten into the groove after a late-morning meeting and I got the warning that Lilly was coming! It’s like a tornado drill. Sirens blare, people scramble, and wiener dogs go flying…into the car. I drove down to the coffee shop near my home and ordered a smoothie. Why not? I’ll sit and sip my smoothie and continue to be productive. Except that it was 10 ‘til 4 and I got the “We close in 10 minutes” warning from the barista as soon as I ordered.
Loneliness and Power Shortage
Our team has talked about the challenges of working from home for years. The constant interruptions. The friends and family members who assume you don’t work since you are at home all day, and the loneliness. Even though we are online or on calls most of the day, we miss seeing each other and collaborating on the work we are doing. There is just something about working around other people that inspires new ideas and better work.
We have worked in every local coffee shop in the Denver metro area. We love the coffee and great snacks, but there was one thing they all lacked… POWER OUTLETS! You’ve experienced it before. You find a great table, but there are no outlets close enough. You keep an eagle eye on the people near the outlets, who look like they should be wrapping up soon to swoop in, but they linger for hours. I’ve even tried bringing power strips to allow 8 power-hungry people to plug in but when you have cords draped across the coffee shop floor, it gets a bit dangerous.
We talked about and even visited several coworking spaces in Denver, but none seem to have the “vibe” we were looking for. Either that or the parking was so crazy hard to find, that our stress levels were up before we started working.
And as Plato said,
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” or as we say, “If you need an awesome workspace… build it!”
That is when we the idea I had been cooking for almost 7 years came to a boil. It was time. The birth of The Village Workspace!
[Catch our next post about the labor pains and mini-breakdowns that have happened to bring this to reality.]