September 2018 will mark five years that this blog and my other projects like SocialWest and Calgary By Bike have become my full time job(s). I realized the other day that this makes Mike’s Bloggity Blog Inc. the longest full time job I’ve ever had. That’s both incredibly cool, but also terrifying. Seriously. I still don’t really know what I’m doing. But I’m happy and the CRA is happy, so what more could I ask for?
This past summer, I’ve been thinking about the blog, social media and my career a lot. It’s funny, a lot of people get the five-year itch to change things up, but I didn’t think that would happen when you are basically doing what you want to do every day for a living, But after a lot of long-walks, bike rides and chats with my friends, I realized that I needed to change things up.
One of those things was to finally get out of my home office, much to the chagrin of Mindy, our cat. I love working from home. I love my home, I love how sunny it is, I love that I have free and easy access to my bathroom and yes, I love being able to have kitty cuddles with Mindy on demand.
But as I get closer to five years of owning my own business, I decided I needed to recognize the things that were maybe holding me back. And that’s probably my comfort in being home. I often joke that I’m an introvert trapped in an extrovert’s career. I guess by society’s standards, I’m pretty social, but it often feels like work and given the choice between being social and staying home and watching Park and Recreation on repeat, I’ll always choose the second one.
But while it might feel good, it’s likely not the right decision for me. As a business, I have to keep pushing myself. And as silly as that might seem, that means pushing myself out of my house, into an office. The potential benefits of an office, especially in a co-working space are numerous for me.
When I first left my job as a producer at Breakfast Television, I signed up for a coworking space right away. I think I was terrified that being self-employed made me look lazy. So I could combat that by getting an office. Lazy people don’t have offices, or so I thought. But after a few months, I looked at my business and realized that having a desk for forty hours a week didn’t make sense. So I decided to work from home and figure out other solutions.
I can’t work from coffee shops. They are too noisy and the idea of having to leave your stuff to go to the bathroom is annoying. (You’ll notice that many of my business decisions are based around the bathroom and my cat.) Some of the places I’ve enjoyed working over the years include The +15 of 8th Avenue Place. I worked there so much, some people learned that’s where they could basically always find me and would stop by. I also took advantage of ATB’s Entrepreneur Centres, which offer free office space, even if you aren’t a client of ATB. I’ve also taken advantage of the free and strong wifi at the Calgary Public Library, with Central Memorial Library being my favourite. The patio at Last Best Brewing was another one of my favourites.
So back to those benefits of getting a desk: First, it gives me something to do and since I’m paying for it, I’m going to do it. When you work from home, especially in the summer, it can be really easy to convince yourself that you don’t have to work that day, and instead you hit up the nearest beercade. But, according to the bank, my mortgage doesn’t pay itself, so I need to work. A lot. So part of the motivation of me renting a desk is that it will force me to get out of the house and go somewhere to work, because I’m paying for it. And I hate wasting money. I guess it’s sorta like the gym in that way, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.
The other reason was because I really don’t know that many small businesses in Calgary. I’ll defend them to my dying day, I’ll hold events for them, and I’ll support them with every penny I have, but do I know many of them? No, not really. That’s the trappings of working from home for five years, you don’t meet anyone and when you’re an entrepreneur meeting people who might be going through the same highs and lows as you is crucial.
The last reason is pretty selfish, but what do you expect from someone who names a company after himself and makes money off of his own opinions. I think I wanted to get out of the house so people would get to know me better, so that they would get to know that I’m a real person. That I’m a nice, albeit passionate person. When I was home for five years, often hiding (purposely or not) behind my keyboard, it’s easy for people to make up their mind about me before they’ve even met me. I remember last year, I did this event where I basically gave a bit of a five minute monologue. Afterwards, a few people walked up and said the same thing: “I had no idea you were funny.” Now, I’m not like Michelle Wolf funny, but I like to tell jokes and consider myself witty. So I took note when people said to me that they didn’t know that about me. It set me on a path of self-reflection. I know we shouldn’t put too much weight into what strangers think about us, but as a small business, it’s often crucial that you help navigate those perceptions of you and your business. So I’m hoping getting out from behind my computer will help people see me in a different light. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that I just want people to think I’m funny dammit.
— Mike Morrison (@mikesbloggity) August 7, 2018
So with all those thoughts swirling around in my head, I made the decision to rent a desk at a coworking space called Work Nicer. My reasons for choosing this specific one were pretty simple. It’s nice and close to my house and on the bike path, but far enough away that it already feels like I’m going to work. The other reason is that they have a system called Floating Desks, which basically lets me move around between their locations. I think this will help me meet more people but also ensure that I don’t get bored sitting in the same place.
It’s only been two days and I’ve been enjoying it so far.
Although, if I’m being honest, I do miss Mindy and my bathroom.