She was tired of New York City. So Campbell McKellar, who worked for a Manhattan real estate firm, got her boss's blessing to work remotely for a few months from the scenic landscape of northern Maine. She was happy and more productive than ever. That's when it hit her: Working remotely doesn't have to be all pajamas and couches. In late 2010, she started Loosecubes, a service that matches restless mobile workers with office workspace in locations all over the world, from Paris to Savannah, Georgia. It currently boasts a network in 347 cities across 47 countries. But before getting the company off the ground, McKellar faced the same problem she was trying to solve. She says the solution became the most valuable investment in her company so far. Here, she talks to Inc.com's Nicole Carter.
What was the best money you have spent on your company?
It was $150 on a co-working membership. After my amazing trip to Maine, I decided to start the company. But then it was back to the same issue I had before. I spent very, very long days working in my apartment in sweat pants. My boyfriend would leave me in the morning, return at night, and I would be in exactly the same place on the couch. I needed to get out. Then a friend told me about a co-working place called New Work City. It's basically a shared office space in SoHo. The membership, at the time, cost me about $150.
Why was it crucial to your business?
It's really the community of people there. I learned so much from them that I otherwise might not have known. The environment and people were really open and willing to share.
So what kinds of things did you learn?
Well, the first day I was there, I learned how to use Twitter. Now, Loosecubes has a pretty robust Twitter presence, and I love using it. I also met a woman who did PR for a music business, and she gave me some advice on how to best approach getting press for my business. My first media mentions came directly from my connections and friends at New Work City. There was another guy who had a Facebook application, and he taught me the Facebook API. I had never heard of that before. I learned all of these things and made a group of friends that were going through the same journey as me. They were all starting their own businesses.
It wasn't competitive at all?
Not at all. It was like, if someone didn't know how to do something, we all tried to help. We had our ups and downs, but there was always someone there to talk to.
How long were you there?
It was about a year. And by the end of the time, around December last year, I had brought on about five other people. They joined New Work City with me, and we basically ran the company from the place. They have meeting spaces, so we could brainstorm or check in. It just really made us feel more productive. Now we have our own offices, but I'm not sure we would be where we are now without those memberships.