Three years ago, today, my husband, Tim and I were putting the final touches on our first location, The Muse Rooms NoHo and getting ready to show off our new business to family, friends and potential new members. That night at the opening party of our mere 2000 sq. ft space, we had our first member sign up and we were so excited. We were on top of the world that night, nothing was going to get in our way!
Then, the weeks went by and we were averaging a couple members a month. It was daunting, terrifying and soul crushing. We hung on tight. We had built it, they had to come! Or so goes that saying, thanks Costner :) We did everything we could. I stumbled around Google AdWords and printed flyers, postcards and stalked every coffee shop patron in town. "Why would you spend $12 here, when you can spend $8 with us?" We were broke, out of funding and killing ourselves. We propped open the front door and borrowed a chalkboard from our neighbor's kids, so we could write up a big sign for passersby, trying to coax them into coming inside and looking around. We enticed them with cookies, punch, sales and deals. Then, finally we were saved by a TV show looking to shoot a re-enactment in our space and they were paying enough to breathe life back into us and our coworking space. Our attitude changed, we got another member and another and by May, we weren't getting paid, but our bills were.
By summer, Los Angeles Coworking was exploding around us, so we decided to open location two. Strike while the irons hot or at least luke warm.
We opened The Muse Rooms Burbank November 29th, 2016. It was beautiful, amazing, nearly killed us, but it was awesome! The marketing song and dance started all over, no chalkboard this time, but dang if Burbank isn't a different animal. We joined the chamber, reached out to everyone in the industry we knew. We had tripled our bills and needed to jiggity jam on a whole new level, it was mind boggling. And we did it! At this point we had a few kind souls stepping up to help with the day to day. Finding our rhythm between NoHo and Burbank was nuts, we were like contortionist, bending and moving with all our business needs to keep up with the new changes. They called us, Le Cirque de Coworking......Ok, they didn't, but I wished they would have. Things got better, and we weren't getting paid, but our bills were.
So, we did the obvious thing a smart business owner does when they are stretched thin, tired, making a bus ride fare in profit, and look ten years older than they are, we decided to relax, catch up and ......NO WE DIDN'T. We took the opportunity to expand even more! We returned to our NoHo location and went from 2000 sq. ft. to almost 5000 sq. ft. which took our total sq. footage to almost 13000. We added offices, dedicated desks, another kitchen and more open space. We worked day and night.
The marketing song and dance started over and we were relearning everything we thought we knew. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve questioned our sanity, but most importantly, we got it done. It took much longer and like a good juggler, we still had two other locations up in the air and we couldn't drop them, so we focused and got it done.
Tim and I have taken risks, put our necks out on the chopping block the whole entire time and we wouldn't change a thing, except maybe nearly killing ourselves. Which is why we are now taking a minute to breathe before digging back in. We are better students with a much heftier tuition and like most in this country, our parents aren't helping. So, we try, we study, we think outside the box and on occasion we both think about location number three. It's the shadow that stands waiting just on the other side of the door. We can see it, and for now we're cool, we're happy and we look forward to not only paying the bills, but to getting paid.