26th May 2016
As a startup (and a social creature), I found isolation as one of the hardest struggles to personally overcome on a daily basis. Working from home meant it was easy to substitute co-workers for your pets and let reality TV slowly kill off your brain cells. Early mornings meant 10am starts, and long lunch breaks would eat into valuable work time.
It’s so easy to become accustomed to this lifestyle, but luckily for me, I started to hate it very quickly. I soon started trialling working from libraries, cafes and finally, the option of “co-sharing” came about. As nice as it was to be out of the house, I never quite found the right fit at these spaces. I then seriously started to consider the aspect of renting my own office… but the one thing I loved about the co-sharing spaces was being around so many like-minded people, not to mention the free morning teas which were amazing!
A couple of weeks after trialling several spaces, I had a monthly meet up with one of the entrepreneur communities that I am a part of, The League of Extraordinary Women, and there I got chatting to Maeva. I had previously met Maeva back in March, when she was working in the beauty industry, and now, 2 months later shes helping run the world at The League of Extraordinary Women. Anyhow, she briefly mentioned a co-working space that she was working from with the League in Southbank, and then coincidentally, when I got home that night, the same place was mentioned in the ever-so-entertaining “Like Minded Bitches Who Like to Drink Wine” Facebook page, and it was offering a free trial. Boom, the universe had spoken, where do I sign up?!
A couple of weeks later, I decided to make my first day at One Roof a Friday, that way if I didn’t like it or found it too intimidating I could reassess over the weekend.
Day 1: Friday: Feels a bit like walking into a classroom.
I was a little nervous when walking in and had no idea what to expect, but I straight away recognised the co-founder, Sheree, from their Instagram account.
She was on a call but told me to settle in and that she would be back shortly. I unpacked and looked around at all the amazing decor, the cute little offices and creative nooks around the place. It was love at first sight.
Maeva was in too, and when she came to say hello she told me there’s a (George Clooney) coffee machine in the kitchen and a little chill out area upstairs. I was so excited.
A few minutes later Sheree came to give me the 411. The area upstairs had bean bags and big comfy couches… hrmm the perfect place for a nap! Sheree was so inspiring, even after just 10 minutes of hearing about her story, I was seriously hooked on One Roof.
I was soon introduced to Tonielle, who runs her own graphic design business For Good, and she just recently took the leap into the startup world… oh my god, someone that understands me! We spent the whole day working opposite each other, bouncing ideas and just getting along really well.
3 cups of coffee later, I had definitely made use of George and day one was a success.
Day 2: Monday
On Monday I didn’t get to go into One Roof as I had client meetings in the Eastern Suburbs. I decided to make it a ‘work from home’ day and may have caught up on the latest ep of Game of Thrones. Oh Hodor :'(
Day 3: Tuesday
Tuesday morning was the Leagues Meetup in May, and it meant a 5am wake-up call as I had to be at One Roof by 7am. Laura Poole from One Giant Mind was the curator and gave a lovely introduction to mediation and the benefits it has for people (and especially stressed out people). We even did a 15 minute session, in which I went into a deep sleep. 5am wake ups just aren’t as easy as they used to be.
“We cannot solve our problem with the same level of thinking that created them”
Another new friend whom I met only 3 or so weeks ago, Luciana from Colours of Brazil, decided to come and check out One Roof today. She’s currently on a similar journey that I was going through at the early stages of 2aT, so it’s nice to be able to offer what guidance I can.
Anyhow, it was triple shot latte time and Sheree recommended a little coffee shop called “Code Black Coffee” which has been my favourite discovery this side of the bridge so far!
Today got really interesting when Sheryl, CEO of the League, came to say hi. We had a quick intro with one another and decided to do coffee in the arvo. I have looked up to women like Sheryl for quite some time so the idea of having coffee with her was dumbfounding.
It was so refreshing to hear Sheryl’s story. To hear about her struggles was actually a breath of fresh air (in a nice way). It is just so easy to get caught up with how a business can look on Instagram that you forget that they too are actually regular people working hard to live their dream.
On a side note – she also recommended Tim Ferris podcasts, so I must get on that soon.
Another few hours of work and I could not wait to get home to my bed tonight.
Day 4 Wednesday: Late start, late finish.
Today I really struggled to get out of bed, this new routine was giving my body a little bit of a shock. Luckily I managed to arrive in the car-park at exactly 10am, just in time for the early bird discount – well done me.
This morning I was really in the zone, working away and getting heaps of shit done…
At around 1pm, Sheree asked if I was joining MasterMind.. ‘arghh sure, but what is that exactly?’… “It’s basically a casual session to chat and help each other out with challenges we might be facing, really chill”…
Off to the nap area, we went! Upstairs I met Samantha who is starting a nutrition business and Jo who runs a Pilates and nutrition business. Luciana and her business partner joined as well, and Sheree curated. The girls’ challenges ranged from needing article topics, to how to get clothes imported to Australia. It was really interesting to hear the different obstacles we all had to overcome – this has probably been my fave event thus far at the roof.
Oh, how could I forget? There was another friendly face up there. Sam, from GiveGet. Sam and I had previously only met over exchanged emails and a few Instagram posts, but never in person. She was chatting away about her amazing business concept, about helping entrepreneurs collaborate and get shit done together, and I clicked.. “hang on I know this idea”. I almost hugged her when I realised who she was. It was great, a little example of how small the Melbourne startup community really is.
Wednesday ended with a PR event about ‘how to create engaging content through storytelling that will capture target audiences and land media attention’ which was hosted by Jessica Evans from the Media Institute.
The night started with Wine and Cheese, so it already had my full attention. Jess gave a quick intro about herself and then provided a brief workshop on how we can leverage free PR. Some of the information was so invaluable, stuff that you just cannot Google.
“Brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you’re saying about yourself”
I met a few fellow small business owners at this event. Julie from the founder of Imaginative Events was first. Julie was the type of entrepreneur that I love meeting; she was so full of life and you could really see the spark when she talked about her business. I also briefly met Jessica, the founder of Naked Yoga, which is not about doing yoga in the nude but more so about stripping the practice back to its purest form.
I was having so much fun that I totally forgot about my car. It was parked in the early bird area which meant I had to be out by 6pm, but it was now 9pm – fark…
Day 5 Thursday: My tribe.
Today I decided to have a ‘bring a friend day’ for myself and I asked a good friend of mine/previous co-working buddy, Katie from Look at Media to come and check out the roof. As a photographer, these sorts of things are great in theory, but she actually spends the majority of her time on location so they aren’t as appealing to her as they are to us desk junkies. But, like a true PIC she came down. I even signed her up for the Stand Out Business Series event that The Connection Exchange was hosting in Richmond that night.
I was keen to go to this mainly due to the fact that Sheree was one of the panellists and I was interested to know more about how she was handling the business and what she was doing to make it succeed.
Any way, today myself, Katie and Tonielle went to lunch and worked hard for the rest of the afternoon. That pretty much sums up the day.
After work, we all headed over to the Bridge Hotel in Richmond.
Another great event; it was really chilled out and also really interactive. We heard from Sheree of course, and also from Adam from Mi Goals and Georgia Beatie from Lupe Wines. All very, very different individuals but all accomplishing amazing things.
During the night I had a chat to one of the founders from The iWomen Project, we got to talking about social media and which platforms are best for what industries and the power of social media, I seriously love talking about this stuff so I was right in my element. Katie and I also bonded over food with KP from Datelicious and Renee from Divorce go to Girl who were also gloating over their businesses.
Around 10pm, my bed was calling.
PS Katie loved the space!
Day 6 Friday: Not all good things, have to end.
I decided to include today as the last day of my full week as I missed out on Monday. It has been your average day in the office; there are heaps of people in today, but its actually very quiet. I think we are all just putting our heads down so we don’t have to take as much work home on the weekend. Let’s face it though, a small business never stops but at least we can reduce the amount of stress some times.
So whilst today is not as newsworthy as the others, I did just get back from lunch with Sam who mentioned a few accountants with whom I should get in contact with via GiveGet, and I also had an amazing Mexican beef pie from just around the corner which was delicious.
Sam is now connecting with Luciana, Sheree is fitting out a new office, there are a few new faces around and I’m working endlessly on a website design for beautiful mums and bubs subscription box business and also uploading images for this post (real-time photo below :P)
But as the big hand struck 4:30 the wine got poured, the cheese got served and my laptop got closed. Just when I thought the day was winding down, I managed to fit a little bit of socialising with a few of the other girls I hadn’t yet managed to meet, the lovely Loretta from Lets Meet At who has ingeniously created a website that is all about connecting passionate foodies to meet up and eat locally, could it be any more fitting for Melburnians? Said hi to a couple of other aspiring entrepreneurs. But unfortunately I had to run, the weekend was calling and my brain needed to rest.
For all of 5 hours that is, it’s currently 11:38pm on Friday and I just had to finish this post whilst it was all still fresh in my mind, like I said small businesses just don’t rest, we can’t, it’s not in our nature.
And that’s a wrap. So, what did I take away from my one week at One Roof? Whilst co-sharing is amazing, the main realisation for me, is that small businesses and startups (especially during the early stages) need to be around other like-minded and passionate people. We need support.
I hope you enjoyed not only my first blog post for 2aT, but also a quick recap on a week in the life of a small business.
And a big thank you to Sheree and the One Roof team for having me. I’ll see you Monday.
PS, don’t forget to leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.
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