When mentoring new business start-ups, I’m often asked the unusual question of how I’m set up. The question arises from the mentee asking do they need an office, should they rent space, could they use a spare room?
Recently, I was watching George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and was in awe of the imagination people have in transforming the not-so-obvious into something so workable – a dog house into a studio, a horsebox into a juice bar, a jeep into a cocktail bar, to name but a few.
Though nothing quite as grand as those mentioned above, these have been my working spaces…
Nineteen years ago I started my business and, like many new business start-ups, my dining table was my desk and workable space, packing away each day to allow for meal times and my children’s school homework. Apart from the inconvenience, I quickly outgrew the area, so I had to move and the only place available was a space in our garage.
Though the extra room was ideal and I now had filing cabinets and bookcases at hand, the space was just that - a workable space. I had a window but it looked out onto a fence, not very feng shui!
Feeling constrained by the lack of daylight, I knew I had to change my work area for my businesses to grow. I really wasn’t comfortable and I knew this was what was holding me back. My ideal place would have lots of natural light, an open space - the garden maybe? With this in mind I started looking at garden sheds, it certainly was an option. A bespoke cabin back then was well out of my budget and the idea of renting an office went against everything I was trying to do with my business model. So, a shed seemed the ideal, most cost-effective solution.
Traipsing around garden centres looking for the right one was proving more challenging than first thought. I know - a garden shed - how difficult could that be? One large enough to stand up in, long enough to get a desk inside, along with plenty of natural daylight and windows I could open; that’s all I was looking for really! It was like searching for a new home: too small, too dark, wrong shape, too large, too expensive!
Finally on a very cold, wet and dark Sunday, having almost given up the grand idea, I spotted her: standing proud amongst the other sheds, the light gleaming down on her roof, the band playing My Finest Hour, a fanfare and onlookers cheering… ok, so the sun had come out, the sales office radio was on and happy, noisy children were running about – it had then felt like a glorious moment!
Back to reality. ‘She’ was a potting shed, with 12 shiny windows, a stable door and space I’d only dreamt of; she was the one! Potting Shed was coming home with us and her new abode would be at the bottom of the garden under the glorious mighty oak.
A few weeks on, now named ‘The Shed’, (very original I know), she was completely lagged, dry-lined, painted, carpeted and once electrics and telephone line were installed, we were ready to furnish and start work.
Having a dedicated place of work, my own area and in such a delightful spot with oodles of natural daylight and nature all around me, it was, and still is, the most truly wonderful feeling. I have few distractions and can fully focus on nurturing the seeds I’ve planted and seeing them emerge into happy clients, and watch buds develop on the new branches of my business. I am enjoying every day, doing the job I love in ‘The Shed’.
Tell me about your space, how does it make you feel working from there? Maybe you are looking for or designing that place right now; what does it look like? Drop me an email or write a blog and I’d be happy to share it here.