Here’s the conundrum: You’ve got a brilliant business idea but no time to develop it because you’re working full-time. Quit your day job and you’ll have no money. But do nothing about your brainwave and you’ll always wonder “What if..?” So, what’s the solution?
A growing number of budding business tycoons have discovered that there is a half-way house: becoming a ‘Weekend-preneur’. For them, Friday evening marks the end of their work week – but it’s also the start of their work weekend. Yes, that’s right – they work up to seven days a week.
“People’s immediate reaction when I tell them I work seven days a week is ‘Are you crazy?’” says weekend co-worker Bruna De Palo. “But when I explain that I absolutely love working on my business and this timetable is a way to build momentum fast, they begin to see it’s not so crazy after all.
I also remind them that I have flexibility – for example, I can enjoy a late breakfast at home, or take a break for lunch with friends, and that makes my busy working life much more enjoyable. Plus I still have my evenings free to do other things I enjoy. It’s the best way I’ve found to fast-track progress with my business, whilst retaining the security of keeping my full-time job, which I also enjoy.”
Bruna De Palo, life coach
But weekend-preneurs are only human – and even the most driven and dedicated may struggle to work at home on Saturdays and Sundays, when the distractions are even greater than during the week (think friends tempting you to join them for lunch, a shopping trip or art gallery visit). This explains why quiet, calm co-working spaces that are open at weekends – such as Rentadesk, which offers a special ‘Weekender’ package – are becoming increasingly popular.
So, do you have what it takes to be a weekend-preneur? And what are the advantages of joining a co-working community? We spoke to Bruna and her fellow ‘co-working weekender’ Jana Straiton about why they decided to work on Saturdays and Sundays, and how their routine pans out in practice…
Jana Straiton is the founder of Pad Stylist, a website connecting homeowners with trusted and affordable interior designers.
When will we find you at Rentadesk?
I’m here every Saturday and Sunday, working on Pad Stylist. Typically I arrive between 10 and 11am and leave between 6 and 7pm. From Monday to Friday I work elsewhere as a Marketing Manager.
Wow – working every day of the week must be hard. How do you do it?
Honestly? I feel passionate about what I do, so it doesn’t feel like a chore. I enjoy it, so spending my weekend doing this is enjoyable. And I still get some down-time at weekends. I normally have a breakfast with my husband in the morning before I come to Rentadesk, and after work I often meet friends for drinks or dinner. It can be tough when you work every day of the week; your loved ones need to fit around your routine. Luckily my support system is amazing – understanding, super-flexible and happy to work around my crazy schedule!
What made you look for a co-working space?
I found working from home really hard. I was constantly distracted by chores, TV, making lunch… Once, I found myself organizing a bookshelf! I found I can stay more focused when I work at Rentadesk. I have certainly made a lot more progress with my business since I have started coming here.
Was it hard to find co-working offices that are open at weekends?
Really hard! I did a lot of research and although there are a lot of co-working spaces around now – especially in Farringdon, where I live – very few are open on Saturday and Sunday. I also liked the fact that Rentadesk offers a reduced price for ‘Weekenders’ like me, who come in off-peak. Rentadesk understands its audience and offers different flexible packages to fit every freelancer or entrepreneur, at every stage of our journey. And it was great to feel that weekend co-working really is a ‘thing’ – it’s not just me! There is a real community here and it’s nice not to be the only person in an empty office.
So, you arrive at Rentadesk on Saturday morning. What’s the first thing you do?
I choose my desk for the day. Weekends are a bit quieter, so you can pick any desk you want. It depends on the mood or type of work I need to do on the day. I can either hide in one of the smaller offices or stay in the open area. It’s great to have the variety of different nooks, each with a different vibe.
Do you listen to music on your headphones when you’re in the office?
Yes, I like listing to music when I work. It helps me concentrate. I love Spotify – my favourite playlists for working at the moment are ‘Sunday jazz’, ‘Your coffee break’, ‘Piano in the background’, and ‘Decompression’. There are so many great playlists to choose from, you can never get bored of Spotify.
Do you say hello to the other Weekenders?
Yes I do. There aren’t many of us around so it’s fairly peaceful though. I got to know Bruna [see interview below], who joined Rentadesk at the same time as I did. It’s been so nice to share my experiences with someone who is going through the same challenge as me. And Bruna is a life coach, so a quick chat with her over a coffee during our afternoon break is especially energizing! As a founder of a startup, you often find yourself going through many ups and downs, sometimes you are excited and pumped up, the other times you feel like giving up. Having others around me who are facing similar challenges is a helpful soundboard and keep things in perspective.
Tell us more about Pad Stylist…
Pad Stylist is an online platform connecting trusted professional interior designers with homeowners - simply and affordably. Pad Stylist’s mission is to make great interior design accessible to everyone, because everyone deserves a home they love. The UK is a country obsessed by home improvements and interiors – yet only a fraction of households use a professional interior design service. The main reason is cost - current interior design services are too expensive! Homeowners also find the traditional interior design process confusing. Pad Stylist can simplify the design process and by sharing the workload between designers, homeowners and Pad Stylist, it can reduce the cost structure. This means we make interior design services accessible to all, whilst ensuring designers can still build a profitable business.
What is your long-term plan?
Currently, I consider myself to be a ‘hobby-preneur’. Some of my friends are training for marathons, others are travelling, hiking or mountain climbing, which are their hobbies. Well, I’m spending my time building this business, that’s my hobby. In my regular job I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing people and great brands. So I have learned a lot about brand building, product marketing, offline communication, digital marketing, market research and commercials. I’m now looking to utilize my experience in my new business venture.
Would you recommend the Rentadesk ‘Co-working Weekender’ package to other people in a similar situation to you?
I already do! Very few people are in a position to give up their day job completely to pursue a new business idea, so in the meantime weekend co-working can be the perfect solution.
Bruna De Palo is a professional Life Coach & NLP Practitioner and Public Speaker.
When do you use Rentadesk?
You’ll find me at the office from 10am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday, working on building my business. I sometimes come in during the evening on weekdays. The rest of the time I work as Partnerships & Engagement Manager at CharityJob, a jobs website for people working in the charity sector.
That’s impressive! You must be really dedicated.
Yes, at the moment I am literally only working, as there’s so much work to do behind the scenes, so I spend all my time at Rentadesk. Once things settles down, I’ll work less hours, maybe in the evening so I can spend time outside with the daylight!
Why did you choose Rentadesk?
At first I tried working at home and in libraries and cafes – but I noticed I wasted a lot time. I couldn’t be productive or concentrate properly. I also needed a place where I could meet like-minded people and feel safe, not worrying about my stuff if I needed to pop to the bathroom or out for some air. Rentadesk provides exactly what I need: the freedom to come in during evenings and weekends and work in a very pleasant, comfortable and calm atmosphere. There are so many personal touches around the place too. For example, I love the Rentadesk library members can borrow books from. And the kitchen equipment is better than in my own home! I especially like the Nutri-bullet. It’s good to see people making healthy smoothies for themselves.
Did you look at other co-working offices but find they weren't open at weekends?
I looked for a weekend co-working space online, but it was never clear if they were open at the weekend. To find out this information I had to phone them and I was disappointed by their lack of clarity or understanding that this sort of detail is really important to some of us! Rentadesk was clear and immediately gave me the impression to be customer-focused.
What is the first thing you do on arrival at Rentadesk?
I choose a desk, set up my computer, grab a glass of water, put my headphones in and I’m ready to go. I mainly listen to classical music and jazz. In terms of creature comforts, I usually bring savoury snacks, like crisps or hummus with crackers.
Do you always sit at the same desk?
No, I like to change. Sometimes I prefer the intimacy of the little room, sometimes I go on the upper floor and take a huge area as I need a lot of space to spread out all my paperwork. I tend to stay far from the entrance and kitchen if there are other people around as I get easily distracted and know I’ll want to chat!
Do you speak to the other Weekenders?
Yes, I like to have a chat with them once in a while, although at the moment I am massively concentrated on what I have to do, so I’m a bit less sociable than usual. But I always say hello. Having a friendly relationship with the other Rentadeskers makes the whole experience of weekend working much more pleasant. There’s a feeling that we’re all in the same boat and understand why we’re here on a Saturday or Sunday, when everyone else is out having fun!
What drives you to work on your business at weekends?
My desire to succeed. There’s nothing else in my mind now, and since my commitment is already bringing good results, I am massively motivated. Honestly, there’s no other place where I’d like to be on weekends now. Soon there will be time for rest, but now it’s time to work hard.
What is your long-term plan?
I’m lucky in that I love my day job as well as my own business, so as much as possible I’ll try to do both for the time being. At some point it will become natural to step back, but I am not in a rush for that. At present my two jobs as a life coach and Partnerships Manager fit well together so there is no problem for now.
Would you recommend the Rentadesk ‘Weekender co-working’ package to other people in a similar situation to you?
Yes, definitely! Weekend co-working is the perfect solution if you’re using your days off to build your business, but you want to keep your home as a place for rest and relaxation. When I was working from home I wasn’t able to separate work time from rest, resulting in a horrible confusion, fatigue and frustration. Since I started working at Rentadesk I’ve found I think much more clarity and have reached all the goals I’ve set myself. My productivity increased exponentially. I am always happy to go in to Rentadesk and I miss it when I can’t!
The Rentadesk co-working community helps freelancers, independent workers, and entrepreneurs work on their projects in a friendly, inspirational environment, surrounded by like-minded individuals.
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This Blog entry was written by Tanya de Grunwald. Tanya is a freelance journalist based in London. She is a long-standing member of Rentadesk and the founder of careers blog Graduate Fog.