Since I quit my job as a Project Manager and left the security of employment to pursue my passion for tennis, fitness and online business, one of my dreams has been to return to the same building I used to work in, but this time around I would have my own office and be my own boss. Recently, my dream came true. Here´s how I did it, and how you can do it too.
I quit my job as a Project Manager to pursue my passion for tennis and fitness, and merge the two in an online tennis destination. As a Project Manager I worked from an amazing place in Arendal, Norway with incredible colleagues, I had an amazing view from my office and I worked alongside inspirational companies that work with media and sports retail. It is also the place where I met my boyfriend (insert heart and dreamy emoji here). I felt like at home here, yet motivated and inspired to do great work each day!
My last day as an employee, I remember having one last look around the office space I shared with a great designer colleague at the communication agency where I used to work. Some day, my dream is to come back here and have my own office, I remember thinking. When that day comes, I will know that I have succeeded at achieving one of many goals in a new life as entrepreneur.
That day came on a Monday. That Monday was two weeks ago. The sun was shining for the first time during the long winter here in Norway. I was so excited! After several months of working from home, I was finally going to move in to my dream office and achieve a personal goal. I was so ready for new impulses!
My office is on the third floor, overlooking a water, a bridge crossing and a rural area of beautiful Arendal. It is the perfect space for me to work towards building Norway´s new tennis website. This is also where I study online to become a personal trainer for sports and general fitness. Achieving the latter international certification as a Personal Trainer is yet another goal I have so that I can incorporate this expertise within the tennis website.
Read more: I will be a Personal Trainer
I´ve only been at my new office for a couple week. Yet everyday I have woken up so excited to get to the office, turn on my laptop, work, mingle, learn, laugh, enjoy and work towards my goals. I love it here.
There are other offices to let in Arendal, at a very reasonable price for entrepreneurs and others starting up businesses. They are very centrally located with great transportation means, parking, cafés. But I knew who I wanted to rent my dream office from, who I wanted to collaborate with. It was the company that owns the building where I dreamt to come back to. The company is Rudy Project, Norway.
I first contacted Rudy Project Norway last year to test a model of their sunglasses that are used by triathletes. I was curious to find out if they are fitted for tennis use and fitness use in general as well. The model was called Noyz Pink Fluo with Multi Laser Blue lens.
There were certain things I did before I reached out to Rudy Project Norway in order to present my desire for renting an office space in their building. I have to say, many of the things listed under, if not all, I do consistantly before I reach out to any potential new partner or company, regardless of what I wish to present to them. It´s about doing your homework, knowing what you want and what you have to bring to the table.
Specifically, the following 5 tips are great to have in the back of your head before going out to get your dream office if you are an entrepreneur:
1. Get creative.
While working from home might have it´s many perks and advantages, switching things up, getting out, socializing and getting different inputs are crucial as an entrepreneur in order to network, to continuously learn and to get out of the comfort of your own home. There might be offers and offices for entrepreneurs to let at a very reasonable price where you live, incubator programs or possibilities for you to share an office in an open landscape. You don´t necessarily need to look for a standard “offices to let” billboard, instead use your network, get the word out there that you are looking for a space at a reasonable price, and get in touch with startup- environments in your community.
2. Define your values and goals.
I want to avocate for a sporty, healthy, social, fun lifestyle that also challenges you. Taking up a sport like tennis checks off all the boxes. From networking and putting myself out there, I knew of a potential partner to rent office space from, that I can associate these values with. For me, it was Rudy Project Norway. I could also associate with their goal of dedication to always find new ways to innovate and provide the best service and guidance to atheletes as well as to “weekend warriors”. My second tip it to seek to find and to commit to partnerships which potentially can inspire and contribute to each other´s businesses.
3. Know your strengths.
Anyone can start a business with a lot of money, my father told me once. The key is to start lean, and bit by bit perfect your product according to the response from the market. As a newly established entrepreneur, you most likely will have very limited financial means. Spending and investing wisely will be a crucial factor to success in the long run. Whilst office space that inspires you and motivates you to do your best work is a wise investment, you should consider the value versus the cost. It doesn´t have to be expensive or big to be presentable and inspirational. If you can´t justify to yourself to invest money in office space, perhaps there are other values that you can provide to those renting out? Do you have a specific area or areas of expertise that can potentially be of interest to a company or individual renting out office space? Are you a skilled IT-person, do you have marketing knowledge or a following of fans? These are resources that potentially can be interesting for a company or individual renting out office space.
4. Do your research.
Find a (positive) common ground that you can use to initiate a dialogue with those who you wish to rent from, that shows insight into their business or background. Has there been positive news lately regarding them? A positive turnover? Do you share their goals and values? Do you have a quality or skill that can be potentially interesting for a collaboration?
In my case, I followed Rudy Project Norway Facebook page and had come to learn of a Norwegian Rudy Project warrior (ambassador) named Viviana that was getting amazing results in triathlon and great PR followed. Rudy Project Norway had also recently become an official sponsor for a highly successful and popular Norwegian TV-program, 71 degrees north/No Boundaries (71 grader nord), a concept that has been sold to several countries. I initiated the dialogue by congratulating them on such positive news. I was genuinely happy on their behalf, also I was genuinely happy to be in touch with the company again.
5. Follow through.
You´ve succeeded at getting a good deal on office space to rent. You´ve achieved your goal of getting your dream office. You move in and continue working towards your dreams. Now it´s time for you to show up at the office, every day if possible, and contribute positively to the office environment. Follow through with what you agreed upon like paying your rent in time or if you´ve offered your services as part of the payment, follow through at the scheduled time and date. Don´t dissapoint.
Regardless of the turn out, give it your best shot at getting your dream office. Do your homework, think things through and follow through. If you do not succceed the first time, try again with a different approach. Work for it. Grinding, being genuine and being yourself is a big part of being an entrepreneur. If I can do it, so can you.
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