The First Three Months: Co-Working

The second floor.
Earlier this year, our dear friend and colleague Corinne McKay wrote about her experience at her new co-working space, and a few days after reading that post, Judy heard about a brand-new co-working space in downtown Las Vegas, which opened in February. Read on for her experience.

My desk for the day.
Both Dagy and I love working at home. It's nice and quiet, we have lovely pets, we have all our stuff, and it's a very short commute. I worked as an in-house translation department manager for years, and from my noisy (yet lovely) cubicle I occasionally yearned for peace and quiet. Now I have it, and while I do miss some of my awesome co-workers, I have a lot of contact with others during the day -- interpreting assignments, business and friend lunches, networking events, etc. Still, when I heard about the opening of Work In Progress, I had to check it out.

Zoe, the office dog.
I feel in love the first time I went -- think big, open spaces in a minimalist design with lots of light, nice amenities and cool people. I joined the very first week. The space is occupied mostly by techies, and after working in e-commerce for years (where I managed the Spanish-language website), I actually needed a big dose of tech in my life. I really "get" programmers and other high tech folks and enjoy working and hanging out with them. I was pretty sure I was going to be the only translator and only person without a Mac in the space, and that's very certainly turned out to be true.

In general, I am a huge supporter of the revitalization of downtown Vegas, which needs a lot of help, but is getting there with the help and financial prowess of a small, but very powerful and dedicated group of people led by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh (who might one day remember my name). I used to hang out in downtown Vegas years before any of the Downtown Project folks even registered Vegas on their mental map, and trust me, in the 90s, it wasn't cool. Nor safe. And it's still not safe in many places, but I digress. I had heard about another co-working space in the suburbs, where I live, but I feel very connected to downtown, so it wasn't a hard choice.

Ideas welcome.
Technically, I don't need an office. Our translation clients live all over the world, and all work is done electronically. If we meet, it's for lunches and dinners or for meetings at their offices. For my interpreting work, I also go to the clients' offices. However, I was just so drawn to being part of a downtown community and I really wanted to support Work In Progress (WIP), so I became one of its earliest members. In addition, I have to admit that I'd become somewhat complacent on my networking, and in January of this year, I made  a promise to make more of an effort to meet people outside my circle who do not yet know we exist and thus wouldn't think of us for a project. I am happy to report that WIP has been a great networking opportunity, and that I've met plenty of lovely people I wouldn't otherwise meet. And the set-up -- having to walk up to people to say hello -- really forces me out of my comfort zone, which is a great thing. My laptop sticker with my company name has also come in quite handy, as several folks have pointed it out and we've started a conversation that way.
The first floor, a bit dark for me.

Even though it's much easier to work from my well-appointed home office, I've made a commitment to drive to downtown every Friday and work from there, and I've had a ton of fun. I've met fantastic people full of great entrepreneurial ideas from all walks of life, and in just a few months, we've really started building a great community. WIP has done a great job at organizing all kinds of cool events, including a speaker series, mentor hours, happy hours and other events. I've been talking to the WIP folks to give a presentation to my fellow entrepreneurs about how to market to non-English speakers, so that should be fun. Even though I don't have a Mac and don't speak any programming languages, I feel that I belong.
Our new outdoor area.

In terms of cost, I chose the lowest level of membership at $50/month (a bargain!), which gives me access to the office's lower level, which is not nearly as cool as the upper level (and much darker, which I don't like). Thus, I pay $15 every time I go to upgrade to the second floor, which features a full kitchen with all kinds of free stuff. All this is a very good deal, as it's roughly equivalent to my monthly smartphone bill, yet this is significantly more useful. I consider this fee my monthly membership fee to get access to a fun and influential group of people whose company I am really enjoying. For $250/month, I could have permanent access to the second floor, and for $450/month, I would get a permanent desk, which I don't need. However, I might consider changing my membership at some point in the future. 

What about you, dear translation and interpreting colleagues? Have you thought about getting a co-working space or some other type of office? We'd love to hear from you.


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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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