About Kate

 

I’m a scrappy, southern marketer loving the west coast and all things related to branding, marketing, startups, mobile, and technology. Art, music, and pop culture fuel me. I love Twitter, finding viral videos first, dresses, and design thinking. See what inspires mehere and please reach out and say “hi!”

Anything written in this blog is strictly my opinion and not the opinion of my employer.

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Tuesday
Mar102009

STS Meeting Tonight, 7-9p

If you're in the local tech scene, you should check out the Seattle Tech Startup meeting tonight. It's from 7-9p at the Douglas Forum at the Executive Education Center, University of Washington.  Four startups will be talking about their ventures.  Click here for more info.

Tuesday
Mar102009

Free Resume Printing today at FedEx Office (Kinko's) 

Go get some extra copies of your resume today.  It's free all day at all FedEx Office locations.  Click here to find a location near you.

Monday
Mar092009

Office Space for Seattle Startups II: Virtual Offices & Other Options

So your business is growing, and you need more space and/or privacy than a home office, coffee shop or co-working space can provide. What are the options?

Again, I'm not a fan of signing up for more responsibility than you need, and I love solutions that include cheap or free furniture unless you've been in business for years. Most of these solutions come with at least a 3-month commitment, so be sure that you're ready to sign the dotted line. If you're not, see yesterday's blog post for other solutions, namely Seattle's co-working spaces.

  • ActivSpace

    If you need affordable space, this is the way to go. For the same price as a co-working space, you can have your very own, private ActivSpace. They have six locations around the Seattle area.

    The spaces are like artist studios which in my opinion is perfect for most tech startups. Seattle startup, PopShops, no longer needed their ActivSpace in December, so I rented it from them for several months. I highly recommend it. 

    Pros: Easy parking, great locations, affordable, pet-friendly, 30-day notice to vacate, and you can do anything you want with the space.

    Cons: There are a lot of artists around... which is cool until they have band practice.  If you're looking for something posh and impressive, this is not for you.  Locate the restroom before you sign your lease.  Ours was down two stories and a long hallway which could be irritating after too many cups of coffee.

  • Virtual Offices at Regus

    This space is great if you need to look very official but only need the office a day or two each month. You get a mailing address, local phone number, mail collection, a shared receptionist (who will answer your phone as you wish), and the use of a very nice private office and kitchen. You pay according to the number of days (or half days) that you want the office per month. Most places range from 16- 40 hours per month.

    They have many convenient locations to choose from in downtown Seattle: Two Union Square, Columbia Tower, two locations on 5th, and one on Dexter Ave in South Lake Union. Virtual office plans start at $99/month with a 3 month commitment. Part and full time offices are available. Pricing depends on availability and office size.

    Pros: **The really great thing about this place is that they will accommodate you as your business grows. If you start with a virtual office, they can upgrade you to a full-time, dedicated office. When you outgrow your small full-time office, they can upgrade you to an office that accommodates more people. They provide furniture, and you can add your own personal flair.

    Cons: Offices with windows or a decent view are very pricey. Actually, all the offices are pretty pricey, but the the included services may add value for you. Also, there's a lot of fluorescent lighting going on  which I'm not a huge fan of.

  • Ask Your Network & Craigslist

    If you need a little square footage for yourself and maybe two others, ask other startups if they have room to share.  Entrepreneurs always like to help each other out, and this is a way to find very affordable space.  If you're on the Seattle Tech Startup mailing list, ask if anyone has any space.  Otherwise shoot an email out to your contacts and check Craigslist.  Use these same resources if you're looking for office furniture on the cheap.
  • Northwest Work Lofts (3131 Western Avenue, Suite 423) - I haven't personally visited this space, and I find pricing really hard to find on their website, but it looks like a nice place. 

Have I left anything out?  If so, please leave me a comment!

Thursday
Mar052009

Office Space for Seattle Startups I: Dirt Cheap & Co-Working

As far as office space goes, I've done it all. I've worked from home, coffee shops, a business incubator, and a small ActivSpace. I've also toured co-working spaces and virtual offices around Seattle. This city has a lot of options for startups looking for a place to work.

I'm going to start with the least expensive, most creative solutions and work my way up. In my book, keeping operating costs down is the name of the game, so don't daydream yourself into something larger or more luxurious than you need!

Free & Dirt Cheap Spaces

  • Your Garage or Home Office- Use your own furniture, equipment, and phone lines, and bunker down to get that startup running. There's not really a cheaper office solution unless you have amazing friends with free real estate. (Please hook me up if this is the case.)

    Considerations: Barking pets, friends and family members who think you are always available (you don't have a real job, right?), the tendency to work all the time, lack of socialization, and the guy weed-eating outside your window every Wednesday

  • Coffee shops- There's at least two on every city block in Seattle. You can work and enjoy your latte art at the same time. Frequent the same spots, and you'll definitely make friends with other entrepreneurs.

    Considerations: Free wifi (shame on you, Starbucks), proximity to power outlets, table availability, noise level, cost and quality of coffee

Co-Working in Seattle

  • Giraffe Labs (620 Alaskan Way)- For $100/month + $50 setup fee, you've got a place to call "office", and you'll be surrounded by other engineers, artists, and software developers. You can upgrade to $150/mo for 24/7 access. The people there are super nice, and supposedly you can find cheap parking if you look for it.

    Considerations: If you need a permanent desk or phone line, the options below are probably a little better.

  • StartPad (811 First Avenue, Suite 480)- Choose from a monthly desk setup (24/7 access for $300/mo/person) or a private office ($550/mo/person). You'll have access to Internet, phone, fax, color laser, shared kitchen and more.

    Considerations: Go try it out for a day to see if it's the right fit. If you're more of an artist than a developer, Office Nomads may be a better fit. Also, you may not get an email response to your inquiry (I had this experience), so just show up for your visit.

  • Office Nomads (Second Floor of 1617 Boylston Ave, Seattle, WA 98122)- Get a permanent desk for $475 a month. The office space and staff are super hip and friendly. You can even bring your dog to work and rent conference rooms. They have all the perks of StartPad plus couches in case you need a nap in the middle of the day. It might take a few extra minutes, but you can probably find street parking- especially after 10 or so.

    Considerations: Maybe I'm a little too Type-A, but this space seems like it could be a little too laid back. Go try it out for yourself. On the upside, you'd have great lunch options and cool people to hang out with.

Tomorrow I'll talk about virtual offices, ways to squat on other startups' extra space, and other doable options.

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