After many years of running 45royale from top-secret, undisclosed remote locations, we decided to finally bite the bullet and get ourselves our own office space! It took us a few months of looking around, but we’ve set up shop on the top floor of an old building in beautiful downtown Canton, GA. Our office sits perched upon the top floor of the same building that houses The Downtown Kitchen, a local Canton restaurant/bar/landmark. The easiest way to get to our “penthouse” space is via the street entrance, which leads to a not-so-quick elevator ride up to the third floor. We have plenty of space, beautiful 100 year old brick walls, and 12 foot ceilings that really fit the aesthetic we were looking for. But I know what you’re thinking: "This all sounds great, but do you really need the overhead that comes along with having an office?". We hear you, dear reader. We’ll try to make sense of it as the story unfolds.
In the beginning…
When we first formed 45royale, we both felt lucky to be able to work for ourselves from the comfort of our own homes. After years of working for “the man” and sitting in some of the nation’s worst traffic, it felt great to roll out of bed and get to work without all the rigamarole. Early on, the only things we needed to run 45 smoothly were our phones, computers and caffeine. We were living the dream! No commute, no pointless conversations with that guy from Accounting that always talked sports in the elevator, no germ infestations from the people at work whose kid’s brought home the swine flu—none of that. Since most of our clients were in other states, it didn’t matter that we didn’t have an actual office. We could be just as productive as other firms with occasional visits to each other’s homes and screen-sharing via iChat. Things were great. Or so they seemed.
Needing to try something new
Although working from home was fantastic, we noticed a few drawbacks beginning to surface after our second full year at home. Probably the biggest issue that we both faced was that there was little separation between work life and home life. It seemed like we were constantly “on”. We’re not the type of people that ever truly shut off, but over time, we noticed our personal batteries slowly losing their charge. We also found that it was becoming harder and harder to find daily inspiration since we never left our homes. It’s seems strange, but after a few years working from home you forget how much you miss simple day-to-day human interaction. Although we talked to each other and clients all day via phone, email, and IM, it just wasn’t the same as being able to share a laugh or collaborate on something in person. But even with all of these drawbacks, it was still really hard to justify the added expense an office would bring. We debated on the topic for many months, but after crunching all the numbers and discussing all the intangibles, it was clear that the timing was right and we were ready for a change.
Our goals for the office
Over the past three years we’ve been fortunate to work with some great companies from all over the world. We wouldn’t trade our clients or the experience for anything. However, with the exception of a client or two, we really haven’t done that much work with local companies. Most people think this is strange, and believe us, we know—it’s just the way things worked out. Since one of our goals for 2009 was to get more involved with the web community (and local community as well), we’re really looking forward to the opportunity of forming relationships with a more local client base. This is probably the most significant factor in our decision to get an office in Downtown Canton. Having a home base of operations gives us a chance to get involved with locally, host open houses with business owners or setup meet-ups with other Atlanta-based designers and developers. After it’s all said and done, that’s the really exciting part of all this and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes from this new community focus. It’s more than just new business leads for us, it’s about giving back and trying to spread the word about web standards, good design, and great customer service.
Excited for the future
We’re extremely glad we made the move and can’t wait to see how everything plays out around us. We’re still getting used to the routine and new location, but we’ve been lucky to have fantastic families, friends and clients that have shown great patience and excitement for us during this transition. In the long run, we’re hopeful that this new space will breed new opportunities, not only for 45royale, but for the local business and web communities around us. Since moving in to the new office space we’ve already been welcomed by our neighbors and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for 45. If you’re ever in the area, please feel free to stop by and say hello. We promise we won’t bite, and neither will our newest team member (she’s a big softy).
P.S. We’re working on a short office video too and we hope to have that up soon. We’ll keep you posted!