iHub: Your home office without the nasty 'home' parts
I spent the better part of Summer 2012 doing the Freelance Dance.
It goes a little like this: Alarm goes off at 8:30 a.m. because you’ve promised to have a “real workday” today. You hit snooze. (Depending on your technique, you may repeat this move anywhere from three to a dozen times).
You actually get out of bed somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 a.m., awash with guilt that you once again failed to catch the early worm. There’s no point in make-up, or even proper clothing; you’ve got nowhere to go today.
You make coffee. You finally crack open the laptop around 11 a.m.
You check Twitter and email. By noon you’re distracted by the mailman, the smell of last night’s dinner on the unwashed dishes in the sink, the buzzer on the clothes dryer, the construction going on next door….
And isn’t it time for lunch?
I won’t complete this bleak picture. It’s depressing the heck out of me. On one hand, it was fantastic to be so footloose and fancy-free after 13 years of the highly-regimented teacher’s life. On the other hand… if you’ve ever worked for yourself from home, you understand what a lonely and sombre life it can be.
As we reported a few weeks ago, the iHub co-working space has opened on S. Floyd St. to serve start-ups and the self-employed, the very people who are likely to be working from home (and suffering from the same freelance afflictions I suffered from). When I went to the opening, the place was so crowded it was impossible to get a good feel for the place, so I decided to check it out now that things have settled down.
The iHub space consists of two conference rooms and a large meeting and working space. The workspace houses around fifteen laptop tables, a projector, white boards, a shared printer (that apparently no one can get to work), and a kitchenette.
I popped by this morning just as Idea Mornings was packing up and chatted a bit with one of the first iHub lessees, Richard Meadows of Social Media Concierge. One of the first things he showed off: a dedicated ice-maker in the kitchen. “To keep the beer cold,” he said.
Meadows has been in the space two weeks and says there are five or six of the twenty or so iHub residents who are in the space on a daily basis, like Stacy Servo of New2Lou. The rest come and go.
Just yesterday, someone (he was not at liberty to say) was closing a multi-million dollar deal in the conference room for most of the afternoon.
One of the lessees is a lawyer from Middletown who uses iHub as a place to hang out and work during downtime at the courthouse – it’s better than driving all the way back to Middletown or whittling away an afternoon at Starbucks.
In fact, Meadows says he sees the iHub as “cheaper than what I normally spend a month at coffeeshops.” And if you do the math, he’s totally right.
Some of the higher profile iHub lessees haven’t been around much yet. Phoebe Wood, for example, has been in Europe for the past few weeks. But Meadows says the networking possibilities are golden, and at $80 a month – a steal.
Now that iHub has neared the 20 contract mark, they will be adding lockers and more desks. For double the rent, you’re guaranteed a desk twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.
But right now you can’t have your own, permanent desk space at any price. And for most of us laptop wielders, that’s not a problem. But if you’re a designer or artist who depends on a big desktop machine to power your work, iHub is not the place for you.
Would iHub have been the solution to my work-from-home summertime blues? Probably. It certainly would have filled the social void left by having no co-workers, and it probably would have gotten me out of my pjs a little earlier some days.
But there’s something about having my own desk at Insider Louisville that’s important to me. It’s reassuring to stick stuff in drawers and to make little piles. Lots and lots of little piles. It’s funny how a little bit of office real estate can make you feel like you have a “real” job.