Writing this blog post (the first of what I now hope to be many), I don’t quite know where to begin. Interestingly enough, it was only two and a half years ago I found myself asking that very same question.
Cooped up within the confines of my bedroom office, I had an idea that was inspired by a former work associate/colleague of mine. I met this guy a year or so earlier, as he at the time, was subletting two desks from a company I was working for. Needless to say my time at that place was short-lived, but looking back, seeing him work was probably the most important thing I ever experienced whilst I was there.
This guy was an exceptionally talented web designer and naturally, he had some great clients. I was a big fan of his work and how he carried himself in general. Ultimately, he was someone that took a lot of pride in his work, loved his work and got paid quite well to do it. Day after day, he and his office admin would sit at their desks, separate from us and just work away. Everything they did and or spoke about seemed so much cooler than the mundane SEO work I was doing and I just loved the energy that he brought to the space. I wanted to sit at a desk on that side of the office. I wanted to work for him, with him. I wanted to be running my own business much like his.
It wasn’t long until he moved out and I remember the day he gave notice to the GM. Personally, it was a little sad because I knew I was going to genuinely miss the enthusiasm and level of swag he brought to the office. But also, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the GM who had to take the news. Despite his best efforts in trying to accommodate him over the last couple of months, he was just too cool for the office. I think the GM knew that, so he understood. But at the same time, probably felt old.
Where he was going was interesting. A large client of his had some vacant space above their Fitzroy office and it sounded like a dream. 100 square meters, *high ceilings, *exposed brickwork, *large windows, *timber floors and all for free. No rent. In exchange, I guess the client received a better level of service.
And that’s when it hit me. Sitting in my room, the smell of my mum’s lasagna in the air, I thought of a strategy. What if I offered my services, or some of my services (design, development & or SEO) in exchange for office space?
- Gain a client – tick.
- Get an office – tick.
- Potential referral(s)/more clients – tick.
- “Win, win, win” – Michael Scott, Dunder Mifflin.
It was so simple. 10 minutes later I had a free ad on Gumtree explaining the details of my exchange and 5 days later I’d knocked back around 6 solid offers. 3 on Little Collins St, 1 on Swanston St, 1 in Ascot Vale and 1 in Oakleigh.
It wasn’t that I was ungrateful, but they just weren’t quite what I was after. Besides, I thought if I gave it at least a week, I’d have one of those *requisites.
Early one evening after upping my search for a creative-type space, I received a phone call from someone at b2cloud – never heard of them. Impressed with my ad (and perhaps the initiative I’d shown), the guy on the phone seemed quite keen to get me into this space they had just moved into. Based in Armadale, I knew the area quite well. 20 minutes from home, 15 from the CDB, my sister actually worked just up the road. It all seemed promising. What happened next however, was incredible.
The guy on the phone (I’m terrible with names), directed me to a website to see the space; www, dot bee (as in the letter “B”) two cloud, dot com, dot au. He had to spell it out for me. The page loaded and there it was, the office I had been waiting for; High ceilings, exposed brickwork, large windows and timber floors.
We needed a meeting to discuss this further, “See you Wednesday Luke.”
That meeting couldn’t have gone any better. We got together, instantly had a few laughs and although they weren’t looking for an exchange of services as such, two days later we had negotiated and agreed upon great terms for a 12 month lease. They even had me quote out a project or two in the days following, one of which we landed, just to further validate the “no-brainer” decision on moving into the space.
It was here, in this very space, where my business then started to take off. Work was flowing in and Studio Melbourne was officially born as a web development agency. Tim Larsen joined me 2 months later that ultimately signified I had achieved my goal. I was running that cool business in the corner.
In the months/years that followed I can say this, my time in this space has been nothing short of extraordinary. Personally, professionally, I have been able to grow, develop and refine a very diverse, unique and complimenting skillset, as well as pursue a number of other exciting opportunities that have come my way.
I have met some incredibly talented people and made friendships that will last a lifetime. Without that Gumtree ad and without this space, none of this would have happened.
Tim and I are now set to move offices later this week. Another amazing opportunity awaits us over in South Melbourne and I owe it all to the people that have been around me for the last 2+ years. To b2cloud, I thank you once and for all for giving me the opportunity to sit in your office, learn from you and watch you grow. It has been an absolute pleasure and with this, I leave you, the perfect lasagna recipe:
- Lots of Bolognese sauce – home cooked with or without peas (up to you)
- Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese
- Lasagna Sheets (250-500 grams or so) – yes you can buy this
Cook the Bolognese sauce and when ready, turn off the heat. Boil the lasagna sheets (in water lol) and then when ready, prepare a baking dish.
Coat the base of the baking dish with a small amount of Bolognese sauce. Lay out the bottom layer of Lasagna sheets over the sauce and then again, coat the sheets with Bolognese sauce, spreading it evenly to the edges of the dish. Add an even layer of mozzarella cheese over the sauce and then lay out another layer of Lasagna sheets on top.
From here, it’s a simple matter of repeating the sauce, cheese, and sheet combination a few times more, depending on how tall you’d like the lasagna to be. Note, don’t have too many layers for obvious reasons.
Top the last/remaining pasta sheets with sauce and both Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese, and then bake for around 50 minutes at 180°C. Be sure to cover the top with foil when it’s light golden brown.
When it’s ready, take it out. Cut, serve and enjoy.
Stay in touch fellas and Dwayne, thanks for the cake mate.