My tips on getting your first office

In March of this year I decided to finally get Applingua some office space. Since starting the company in January 2011, I have been travelling around, working pretty much anywhere.

Working from your bedroom, dining room table or at Starbucks may seem glamourous, but when you have client obligations and need to fully concentrate, these places can get frustrating quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the flexibility for a year but eventually I, and Applingua, needed some structure.

Finding an office at first seemed almost impossible. While you will find some properties on websites such as Rightmove, they are mostly long term, high lease, commercial spaces. You’ll also find tonnes of serviced offices.

You’ll find serviced offices pretty much around the world. These cold, soulless places may be good if you’re a team, but on your own the price mounts up quickly. I visited a couple and found them to be the polar opposite of what any web-based start up would be looking for.

I then contacted some commercial estate agents, but they too could only come up with long lease, high service cost places. So what other option do you have?

If you live in a big city, you are likely to be fortunate to have several co-working spaces available. These places are genius: you rent a desk among similar like-minded people and work independently, but share services such as internet and overheads. Mark my words: co-working is going to be the way most people work in 50 years time. It gets people out of the house, into a work environment but gives them the flexibility to manage their own time and work remotely wherever they are in the world.

In a small city like Cardiff however, your co-working options are limited. So I tried something similar.

Searching Google, I made a list of small businesses in the area whose work I respect: designers, web agencies, developers, etc. All businesses that don’t compete with me in any way, but where I knew there’d be people who understood my business. I then emailed them.

My email asked whether they had any space available. Space for two or three desks where I and my first employee could sit. Low and behold, two companies had space! I’ve now moved in with one of them 🙂

Nothing ventured, nothing gained I suppose.


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