Ola! (My day starts and ends with the Ola cab. So, yeah.) About two months ago, Ingenious Aces (my content development startup) took a big step forward: I rented a co-working space along with my marketing partners. I have learnt more in these 60 odd days than I did in a very long time! For an introvert like me, who is quite skeptic of everything around her, the journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Every experience in life teaches you something. My learning, I hope, will benefit most of you.
Co-working spaces are vibrant and motivating
When I first walked into the office, I was slightly worried. How would I work in a space with other startups? Being a writer, this was a huge concern for me. I decided I would try it out and then make a decision. Believe me, I was astonished! Yes, there was noise but it was energetic. A place full of startups is a place full of enthusiastic, passionate people. The vibe that such an environment carries is simply amazing!
Different startups, different plans, and different businesses but one common problem: moolah. When you know the services you need are being provided in the next cabin and when you know you can’t afford them, what do you do? You go with the oldie but goodie barter system! Everyone needs content today, right? I need marketing but I can’t spend too much on it. So, what do I do? I barter! That’s how we have a solid relationship with our marketing partners.
Bonus: You really can’t put a price on the things you learn from another startup and its experiences.
Always, always have a backup!
This one is very important. You may think someone is the perfect employee during the interview but you can’t pin all your hopes on her. (I say “her” because it was a girl who taught us this bitterly.) A number of phone calls, a live interview, and a mini-orientation later, we were all excited about the “first hire.” On her first day, the enthusiasm went to the roof and then crashed. She did not turn up. She came up with excuses and 3 days later we understood her intentions loud and clear. So, don’t reject everyone else unless the one you hired actually shows up!
What hurt me more than being stranded without a designer (we needed one urgently) was the reaction it brought forth. My marketing partner told me, “My friend has been in business for four years and he says he hasn’t had one good experience with a girl.” I gaped at him while he continued, “Yeah, I am actually not surprised this happened. We have barely ever found girls who are motivated to work at startups. Girls like you are rare.” His words came with bitter facts. I couldn’t retort.
P.S. My first full-time employee is a GIRL. 😉 Hopefully, I will manage to change this image that girls are carrying thanks to one particular category.
Don’t wait until you are bursting with yuhu
This one is particularly for those working at co-working spaces. Our space only has one toilet for each gender. While the women have no problem with it (owing to their scarce population), men have a tough time. So, not waiting until the last minute is prudent. My marketing partner learned that the hard way. The other day he went thrice and each time, it was occupied. His frustration was hilarious for an onlooker, but I am sure he was in a very sorry state. He ended up using the girls’ bathroom! 😀
Being answerable increases productivity
I have noticed that when I am working solitary, I am slightly more relaxed and prone to taking it easy. When I know I am answerable to someone, there is no room for error. Being the boss, this becomes a more serious issue because you want to set an example. You want your employees to follow your footsteps and so, you can’t make mistakes. When you make your own tasks public, you can’t get away from them. So, I suggest you include your schedule in the company schedule itself. Treat yourself like an employee. Make a list that everyone can see. Mark it when it is done. You will find your productivity go up without even trying consciously.
A co-working space gets you started, but it is not the answer
Don’t get too comfortable in a co-working space (you actually can’t). In a few months you will feel the need to get your own space. It may get too noisy, the conference room may always be occupied, and little things may get to you. That’s what has started happening to me. It was fun until now but I am starting to comprehend the phrase, “every coin has two sides.” For writers, the noise is a big issue.
Again, it is great economically and to get out of your shell (pay attention, introverts!) but you really can’t hope to stay here for more than a few months.
I would like to round off with some personal advice to the reclusive breed that doesn’t like stepping out: Wear sunblock! The sun is fierce. 😮
My website: www.ingeniousaces.com (under re-construction right now. Please forgive any bugs.)