This past Monday night was tough. Earlier in the day I had made yet another large withdrawal from my savings account, as I renovate each room in my downtown Phoenix coworking space. Seeing yet another receipt depleting from the money I have saved for years had impacted me emotionally more than I anticipated. Now, as I laid restless in bed, I wondered to myself, was it really all worth it, to spend such a high percentage of my net worth renovating a building to start a business which is largely new to me. Pensive, I began deeply analyzing the reasons in which I started a new coworking space, Coworking on 15th Ave in Phoenix.
1. Needed a work-space I would actually want to work at
New to Phoenix in March of 2011, I quickly found an affordable office near Camelback and 7th St. My enthusiasm for the office space quickly deteriorated as I realized my fellow companies that occupied the building were rough, bottom-feeder type businesses. Worse, they were unfriendly and within a few months I found myself wanting out. Experience in my life has taught me to be a buyer, not a renter and within a month I started working out of my home and looking at office spaces in the evening. Six months later I found the perfect building on 15th avenue, and three months later I took possession.
Now as owner of my own office space in Phoenix I wanted the opposite type of workplace than the one I had worked at previously. I wanted a place where I respected and was interested in what my office mates did for a living. I wanted a fun place where you could put in a solid days work, and then relax with your colleagues toward the end of the day. I wanted to create a place where people could ride their bike to work, wear sandals and tee-shirts in the office, chat with a colleague over coffee, cook a brat at lunch on a grill, and then enjoy a cold cerveza with a fellow coworker while the sun goes down. That’s how I modeled my business and that is what Coworking on 15th Ave is.
2. Wanted to be better acquainted with the Phoenix small business scene
There is so much talent in the Phoenix entrepreneurial market, and I wanted to become more familiar with this diverse group of people. From meeting people at local coffee shops and startup events, I found such passionate small businesses that all have a story to tell and similar needs in regards to office space, networking, healthy living and more. It excites me that everyday now I get calls and emails from people in fields I didn’t even know existed such as naturopathic physicians, sustainability consultants, etc. I love getting to know these entrepreneurs and the interesting fields they represent.
3. Desired to be part of the overall trend of making Phoenix a safe, intelligent, bike-friendly, artistic, startup-friendly kind of town
Phoenix is blowing up. For those that don’t know this, well, now you know. Phoenix is doing progressive things such as becoming more bike friendly and a bicycle sharing program is actually expanding here. Even the highly congested W. Indian School Road is adding a bike lane where most bikers would previously have shuddered at the thought of biking. Art is huge in Phoenix, and the street murals on 15th Ave and 16th St. are a major part of this scene. Coworking on 15th ave is all about this. From the local Copper Star coffee we drink in the morning to the Stardust building supplies we install at night, we’re all about buying local, and supporting the neighborhood community. We just renovated our outdoor wall and will have a mural done early next year and are likely to be a hub for the local bicycle sharing program in the near future.
And now, back to my life savings
Now more relaxed, I slumped back a little on the bed, understanding that while my savings account is definitely losing its zeros, I know it is all going for a good cause. My investment in coworking will result in something that will be bigger than myself and will positively influence the downtown Phoenix entrepreneurial community. With that thought I pulled the sheet over my head, rolled over, and slept like a baby.