Entrepreneur Motivation: Yeah, Ya’ Can
It was a year ago this week that we took the keys to our new office space and started creating our vision of a coworking space in Huntington. It has been a successful year that has certainly come with its ups and downs. Because we view our story as a positive one, we want to share it in hopes of offering some entrepreneur motivation to others.
The night we first talked about starting our own coworking space, my 19 years of industry experience analyzed the concept in about 3 seconds. We have no money, we have no credit to get money or to sign a lease, and most importantly, I already have a job and don’t have the time for this.
What I did know is that the coworking industry is busting at the seems, Huntington is a huge market, and I would love the freedom to build something with my vision. So I humored myself and went through the exercise of creating our business. Here is what we discovered.
1. Banks Will Lend You Money with a Personal Guarantee.
Do you believe in your product? Are you hungry enough, educated enough and disciplined enough to make it work? If the answer in yes, then perhaps this is worth the risk. Be ambitious, stay disciplined and don’t let your emotions get to you. If the situation is wrong, walk away.
2. Start Small.
We knew that we would not be able to sign a multiyear lease in a “A Class” building, so we found a smaller building with a shorter lease. But make no mistake, we were not going to settle for a location that was going to take away from our model. We were disciplined enough to wait till we found exactly what we were looking for. This set us back about 6 months, but this discipline is what is making our venture successful. Eventually, we found a waterfront building with spectacular views that was empty for 3 years. We sat with the broker and the owner and explained our vision in a professional manner. This is important because building owners want to see their tenants succeed. They do not want the hassle of chasing rent checks and watching us destroy their building.
3. Build Your Reputation Now.
Even if you don’t know what your future holds, lay the foundation of your reputation now. This is important!! Call it luck, call it great networking. It turns out that I have known the building owner’s broker for almost my entire life. He knew that I am a good person with a professional background. It turns out that I know upstanding people that have worked for the owner of the building. They were able to vouch for me. Understand the importance of reputation. Leasing this building with no money or credit didn’t just happen. Through my history and our professionalism, we proved that we were worthy of taking this space and turning it into our vision. The owner knew that we weren’t strangers without vision. I point this out because the success of Colony Workplaces started 45 years ago. It started when I broke my back doing a summer job at 16 years old, working for the family that owns the building. It started when the broker saw me as a polite 8 year old and watched me grow up. It started when my sister worked for the owner and proved that I came from a great family. Don’t be a jerk now, it will ruin your future. I am confident that without my 45 year relationships and reputation, Colony Workplaces would not exist.
Fast forward to today, I aligned myself with a business partner that presented himself in the same way. Understand that your reputation is key to your success. I made the decision to surround myself with likeminded people, which has benefitted both of us. Entrepreneur motivation like this as to be taken into consideration.
So now we have the location to build our coworking space; it’s official, we are all in. With no money to hire a web designer, construction crew or to buy furniture, we knew that it was up to us.
I used my knowledge to build our website and launch our social media platforms. My industry background helped me layout the space with the best balance of office space, meeting rooms and coworking space. Bill used his background to manage what little money we had as well as his background in construction to make sure the work we were doing was to code.
Here is where we really demonstrated our dedication. Family, friends and fun went on the back burner while we hunkered down to personally build Colony Workplaces. We painted, knocked walls down and even built some of our own furniture. We gave up vacation time, spending money and time with our family to create our own company. 7 days a week, sometimes at 4am, sometimes a 11pm. If we weren’t doing the construction, we were working on the website, going to networking events or handing out flyers. If you want to start your own business, be prepared for a lot of the same.
A year has gone by. We reached profitability, are paying down our loans and have even taken on more space in the building. We are still working super long hours, but have regained some of our family time, met up with friends more often and made time for fun.
You might think that you don’t have what it takes to start your own business, but if Colony Workplaces managed to come to fruition, I assure you that, with the same hard work, discipline and the use of your knowledge, you can do it.
Work hard and have fun. If you are ready to get started, contact us for a free trial in our space.
If you need a little more entrepreneur motivation, start here: entrepreneur.