Planting just one seed leads to a garden

Hoorah for the 1st blog of our new “garden”.

Let’s start with the basics. I’m Val. If I speak about “we” there is a good chance I’m referring to my brain as a separate entity to my body. It happens a lot, so let’s be up front about it.

In a collaboration of 3 highly talented individuals where there is no pecking order, I figured I’d take the leap of faith and post the first blog (the seed) of what on earth we’re doing all together. It’s the beginning of 3 new lives for Mike, Sarah and I. I like to think of us all sitting in the garden together enjoying a cup of tea and a ray of sunshine sharing our abilities. Like-minded individuals in like-minded spaces (a garden).

I’ve never worked for myself before. Well, I sort of have, but not really relied on my own abilities to generate an income that can support my family, it was more of a hobby before. When you work for someone else it’s so easy to say “if it were my agency I’d do it this way”. Now I find myself asking, “What exactly is ’my way’?” With an ever-growing list of urgent tasks versus important tasks, I decided to skip “my way” and moved straight to “where will I do it from?” – it’s so much more fun shopping than working isn’t it?

Being a start up, the first question is size. I knew I needed space for at least the 3 of us and the ability to have two guests visit at the same time. Kind of like a serviced office space without the service. The city proved no real advantage, I mean, why should I drive all the way from Castle Hill for no real reason? I’ve driven over that bridge (via the M2 carpark) for the last 9 years and if I can avoid forking out $5k a year ON TOLLS ALONE then that in itself makes for a good reason not to be in the city. So Sarah and I looked at Balmain & Glebe in Inner West Sydney – slightly left of centre, yet close enough to town to not feel like you have to go through passport control.

There was quiet & uninspiring down-the-back Rosebery Ave in Balmain, or the funky antique shop on the high street, then two small standard spaces in Ultimo surrounded by the crème de la crème of the industry, and of course the 35 sqm cell in Foveaux Street Surry Hills. With Norwest Business Park not really an attractive option to Mike or Sarah, I was lastly persuaded to see a shortlisted property in Stanmore that I had previously turned down after a phone call with my brother: “what do you want to move to Stanmore for? I don’t think you should move there, what do you think Stanmore says about your company?”. That’s all he said, and for some reason I listened to him. For some reason he turned me off the idea of straying outside of Surry Hills or Balmain. Why was I so hung up on Surry Hills or Balmain? Are they the cool kids on the suburb block? I’ve NEVER been the cool kid on the block that’s for sure. As I drove home, I realised he was wrong. What did he mean exactly? Stanmore’s a nice place only a minute from the city. I mean my brother lives in Redfern.

An old converted ginger beer factory, Stanmore turned out to be the jewel of the inspections. The raw textures, spaciously bright interior and zen environment introduced us to our new home.

So after a week of inspections, we’ve decided on Stanmore. Working through lease negotiations now – what’s included in your outgoings, are the parking spaces additional, can we get a short term lease, when can we move in, what’s the security like and will a projector work on those walls? Oh, what colour should we paint the walls? Dulux here I come. Dulux comes well before Public Liability Insurance.

TIP #1: When you’re collaborating, collaborate with your arms open. We nearly missed out on Stanmore because I’m a stubborn Taurean, or in the words of Vanilla Ice, STOP! COLLABORATE & LISTEN.


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