Entrepreneurs praise boosts from co-working space
Written by Rebecca San Juan on January 8, 2019
Daniel Levine, the 26-year-old brain behind craft ice cream shop Dasher & Crank, credits Büro with giving him a pad from which to launch his career. He’s not alone in praising a co-working space.
Other entrepreneurs across town are singing the same tune, crediting their respective shared offices for providing a place and network that support their careers.
Mr. Levine remembers first pulling up a chair to a communal table at Büro Coconut Grove in the spring of 2016. The 2980 McFarlane Road location is one of five in Miami. The office spans 10,000 square feet and offers at monthly rates a shared worktable for $249, a dedicated station for $449, an enclosed space with a sliding door for $899 and a private office ranging from $1,299 to $2,599.
At the time, Mr. Levine had opened a hospitality consultancy company and realized upon returning to his hometown after seven years that he needed to update his professional contacts.
Mr. Levine said, “I would get up in the morning, get coffee and not be able to watch YouTube videos or mess around. It gave me structure during my aimless wandering time, which wasn’t productive. I also got to meet a lot of great people who were all supportive of me.”
Mr. Levine received some new clients from referrals at Büro and tapped his neighbors for their services to help meet the needs of his customers.
He now works from the Midtown location at 3250 NE First Ave., Suite 305, focusing entirely on Dasher & Crank. Wednesdays are his admin days, an escape from the store.
Mr. Levine said, “If I am in the shop, you have people come in and sell you stuff, people wanting to talk to you, friends or family, or people that have heard the ice cream guy is nice and they want to meet the owner.”
He utilizes community events to practice pitching ideas and receive feedback on flavors.
Mr. Levine said, “I am much more productive working from Büro than from home or my own personal office. I imagine when rubber hits the road opening Dasher number two, spending way more of my time at Büro.”
Sarah Micol Ammendola is another professional who churns out projects better and faster from her co-working space. The US partner, general manager and architect for Effearredi has been working from Carbon Wynwood at 123 NW 23rd St. for about two years and cannot picture herself anywhere else.
“Wynwood is the heart of Miami. From there, I can go anywhere,” Ms. Ammendola said, “It is also convenient for my clients to meet me there instead of picking a place that is traffic barricaded, like Brickell.”
The office camouflages well with the other buildings in Wynwood, with the entrance door at the corner of a wall that boasts artwork of a lady bathed in black and masked in gold. Visitors walk into the reception area and can spot from there two of the six glassed-in private offices. All the spaces are booked, with 10 people on the waiting list. Prices depend on size, ranging from $950 to $1,980 per month.
Standard virtual tenants can have a slice of the Carbon Wynwood experience at $149 monthly with a private address box, call and mail handling. The premium virtual service includes the standard benefits plus the opportunity to work from Carbon Wynwood weekdays with high-speed WiFi, access to meeting rooms and the kitchen with a selection of free treats.
Ms. Ammendola says one selling point is the administrative attention. She doesn’t have to worry about fixing a broken printer, changing cartridges or cleaning the kitchen. Block coordinator and receptionist Adriana Rodriguez handles it all as well as caters to the particular needs of tenants.
Ms. Ammendola said, “She knows me. She knows that if a client comes and I am away she can accommodate the client. She is going to help me.”
Other co-working spaces are catering to industry niches. Contemporary artist Nerissa Balland is working at Yo Space at 294 NE 62nd St. as of June. The Little Haiti location gives tenants – all of them artists – 24/7 access, free parking and gallery space and provides monthly events during which the public can meet the artists and their work. Tenants can take breaks at the recreational station supplied with a vinyl library and pingpong table. Rents start at $456.
Spaces are in demand and, as a result, founder Yuval Ofir reviews candidates’ credentials and meets with them before agreeing to offer them a space. Ms. Balland says she shared her artist bio, portfolio work, social media platforms and website before meeting him.
She said, “He wrote me back and said, ‘I saw your work, if you are interested, let’s look at the space.’ It’s an informal interview process in that way. One, to make sure you are credible and, second, I think it’s about energy, about people, and making sure the space works for you.”
Ms. Balland finds she can fulfill all of her professional needs from Yo Space. She crosses off brainstorming new strategies, graphics for her Instagram posts and other administrative work from her to-do list by 4 p.m. every day.
Yo Space, she says, provides a balance of community and privacy: “There’s a feeling of community with the other artists, but there’s also this intimate feeling of maybe I was home.”
The monthly events open doors for Ms. Balland. She meets new people, every time refining her pitch about her projects, and connects with folks from institutions she never imagined would be interested in her work. Florida International University’s Religious Studies department has invited her to give a talk and the University of Miami is interested in her teaching a workshop.
For other entrepreneurs across town, the best perks about their workspace is the low cost.
Attorney Kaustubh Nadkarni at Nadkarni Law said, “When I was looking for a space, I was speaking with different entrepreneurs like myself, and they all said to keep your overhead as low as possible in the beginning.”
He pays $75 per month at Quantum Offices to use their business address, complimentary valet, free breakfast on Fridays served by the Daily Creative Food Co., mailbox, printer and workstation indoors or outdoors on the terrace overlooking Margaret Pace Park.
The package caters to Mr. Nadkarni and his clients’ needs. He invites clients to meet with him in one of the conference rooms at 1900 N Bayshore Dr. Suite 1A/1B, an area he can access for $30 per hour.
Mr. Nadkarni said, “The more expensive the matter is, the more likely they want to see an attorney face-to-face. From that perspective, it was advantageous for me to be in a virtual space that had a conference room.”
At $199, virtual professional package tenants have a phone line, receptionist services and voicemail. Virtual advanced customers pay $299 for 24/7 access to the center and conference room in addition to the basic and professional package perks. Prices for offices go higher.
And while they are eager to praise their respective co-working spaces, most sources say there is room for improvement, the biggest complaint being limited access.
Ms. Ammendola said, “We have certain times to enter the office which is 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every business day. It is unfortunate that we cannot stay longer and that we cannot go Saturday and Sunday.”
The owner of Carbon Wynwood always stays late when Ms. Ammendola needs to complete an assignment, but she says it can be stressful knowing someone is waiting on you.
Mr. Nadkarni also sees similar opportunities for growth at Quantum Offices. He said, “Virtual tenants at Quantum can work only from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but a lot of time I start working hours before and later.”
He also wishes to see a larger space for virtual tenants, bigger than the two-seat table indoors and the area outdoors.
Mr. Nadkarni adds, “Another thing I wish was included as part of that $75 is taking phone calls from the front desk, which is not available.”
But Mr. Nadkarni does contemplate the idea of staying at Quantum Offices if one of the 20 suites opens up, or investing in a brick and mortar office. He said, “As my revenues increase I do believe I am going to have more clients and more work area that I need. I would like to have a big desktop computer because it is easier for me to see multiple files open, which I can’t do right now. It’s also convenient at the end of the day to leave your files at your office rather than having to haul it every time you come and go.”
Global CoWorking Unconference Conference, or GCUC, an organization that tracks the popularity of coworking spaces across the globe, predicts that shared offices will grow in 2019.
More corporations, the organization notes, are sending their employees to coworking spaces to cut costs on corporate offices. Coworking organizations are expanding into new markets including the likes of Büro, which will see its first branch in Broward County open this year.
Harvard Business Review reported in 2015 that companies can learn a thing or two from coworking spaces to keep their employees happy. They recommend that office spaces promote autonomy, allowing for their staff to feel comfortable to be their “authentic best selves.”
Professionals are picking workplaces that satisfy their individual needs and tastes. They are enjoying their workplace as much as their profession. Mr. Levine said, “I look forward to going to Büro. It’s an escape from my shop.”