“It’s not like I was new to business, but I was definitely new to a brick and mortar business…”
I remember the first time I ever said it out loud. It was a little bit chilly and an old friend, his wife (who I didn’t know then but would become my closest girlfriend), my husband and I we’re walking across the parking lot after a late film. We had just come from seeing Marvel‘s Doctor Strange and we we’re starving! Every restaurant nearby had a closed kitchen by this time so we just held our stomachs and instead a conversation around my work started.
I had been working at KIND Healthy Snacks for a few years and had first discovered coworking when I had to host a private work meeting. Starbucks was not going to be private enough so my manager in New York suggested a few alternative ideas.
“Sometimes it just felt like the universe was conspiring against me.”
The first time I walked into one of those locations, I was amazed. Everybody was smiling, yet busy. There was a buzz in the space and the energy just called for a productive day. I left there with so many business cards and even more new friends added on Facebook.
My husband was a business analyst by day and a wedding photographer by night. The night I came back from my first visit, I kept telling my husband to visit and edit there in the evenings. He used to complain about sitting in cafes where it sometimes was noisy, or too cold or simply distracting. He wanted to, but he couldn’t justify an hour long drive into the city out from the suburbs where we lived.
“It was scary saying the words for others to hear and judge.”
“I want to open a space where all the freelancers, hustlers and mompreneurs can finally find a work home in the suburbs without spending a ton of money on rent.” It was scary saying the words for others to hear and judge. I’ve had ideas before but if I say this outloud and don’t follow through, will they think I’m a flake? Or will somebody else build it before I get the courage to act on it? Of course my friends thought it was a great idea. In fact, everybody I would say this to afterwards would agree that the suburbs needed it.
Now I was on a clock. I was on maternity leave and I had to open this up fast. I was excited and motivated. I started looking at different ideal locations and worked on a business proposal. What else do I need to make this a reality? Which should I do first? It’s not like I was new to business, but I was definitely new to a brick and mortar business that fosters entrepreneurship!
We found a few locations but every time I put an offer down, I’d get rejected. “What’s coworking?” they all asked. I did my best to explain, I dug up articles on the future of coworking and the businesses doing great with this model. Nobody wanted to be part of the risk. The idea was too new for them.
“The desire was there but the will was weak.”
My motivation was sinking and every time a rejection would come in, I’d feel my heart break. Sometimes it just felt like the universe was conspiring against me. How could I build a coworking space when nobody will give me a space?
It had been 6 months of rejections and I just didn’t have it in me to keep going. I had just found out I was expecting my fourth baby and the news hit my body hard. I was counting down to the end of my maternity leave now and the start of the next one. The desire was there but the will was weak.
How will I be able to open a coworking business with a job, four kids and my crazy life? I can’t. I just can’t.
“I took the wheel back into my hands and decided I wasn’t going to give up.”
Do you believe in the law of attraction? I do now. I was surrounded by reminders of all the work I had done in the past year. I kept looking back and envisioning what my life would look like if I just did it. I went back to work and was surrounded by conversations around work happiness and finding your calling. Then it happened. I took the wheel back into my hands and decided I wasn’t going to give up. I mean, what’s the worst thing that’ll happen? I’ll get rejected a few hundred more times? So, I’ll just keep learning and changing my approach. I’ll find a way.
A 7-month pregnant me was at work during the day and making site visits in the evenings with her kids. I was sending offers to every location that we could possibly work with. I was willing to start small.
When the large envelope comes in from the university that you’ve applied to, you just know. The smile is ear to ear and you want to scream with joy. That was exactly how it felt when I got the email in May 2017. It wasn’t over, there were checks that needed to be done and signatures that would be required, but i’ll take it! I needed a win after that long ride of rejection.
“He looked up at me with excitement fused with exhaustion.”
The day I signed back the lease was the most exciting day of my life. It started with my husband returning home at midnight from shooting Trevor Noah at an Islamic Relief Event and was trying to sleep so he could go and shoot another wedding the next day. I started to shake him, “I think the baby is coming.” He looked up at me with excitement fused with exhaustion. The midwives arrived and our little baby boy was born exactly an hour after I had woken my husband up. The rest of the night is a blurred memory but the next morning, I was on my feet and my husband was gone to shoot. I got a call from my agent asking if I had received the contract he sent me yesterday. I just couldn’t believe it! I passed all the checks. It’s all mine if I sign it? The baby brought me luck! I know you’re thinking it too.
YES! Of course I immediately signed it – right there on my phone. The big paper version was going to come later but for this my phone scribble was going to be just fine.
That’s how the spacebar adventure began. It took a lot of perseverance and dedication but I just couldn’t give up on my dream.
It’s not easy. Not one bit. There are hundreds of road blocks. You may not have the finances, the time, the resources… but if you’ve got an idea that makes you heart skip a beat and puts a smile on your face without you even realizing it. Just go for it. There are solutions for everything. It’s not worth leaving your dreams unrealized.