MANCHESTER, NH – Do you spend so many hours at Starbucks people think you work there?
Do you know the wifi password for every coffee shop in town?
Have you ever been passed over for a contract because you’re “just a freelancer?” (Didn’t expect that question, did you?)
If you said yes to any of those questions it might be time to rethink your workspace.
Working from home may be a cube-dweller’s dream, but it’s not always a good fit for every business.
As a writer and web developer I can work anywhere, but as a digital entrepreneur, I have to think about my professional image.
I need a business address to get morning FedEx deliveries, a conference room to meet with partners and clients, and I need a professional environment that doesn’t include my neighbor’s barking dog, dueling leaf blowers, or shrieking children.
Boston, Woburn, and Nashua all have multiple co-working options for start-ups and freelancers, but here in Manchester most of us are stuck with the choice of the kitchen table or the local coffee shop.
In the center of the business district, tucked between Penuche’s Music Hall and the Gyro Spot is a little piece of freelancer heaven called WBC Office Suites.
Located at 1087 Elm Street, WBC Office Suites offers what they call “community-driven workspace for location-independent workers.”
As a solopreneur, I call it the answer to my prayers.
In addition to standard co-working space amenities such as a private mailbox, receptionist, desk space, wifi, and communal areas, WBC mixes in a bevy of high-end features including:
- Furnished workstations with lockable storage
- Each desk has its own virtual private network
- Multiple modern conference rooms wired for today’s business and sized for almost every need
- A dedicated quiet area
- Access to copier/printer/scanner
- Complimentary coffee & drinks
Greg Cullen, who co-owns the building with his longtime business partner David Bettencourt, says they even have on-site showers. Don’t laugh. This is a great perk for anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter to finish a project or proposal only to find they didn’t have time to run home and clean up before meeting the client.
I know it’s hard to believe all this freelancing goodness is hidden in the heart of the city, but it’s here and it’s at a price that’s on par with your daily Starbucks visit.
Starting at $150 a month, WBC has three membership levels that meet almost every need and budget.
- Workstation Level 1
- Workstation Level 2
Each of these memberships gives you daily deskspace, 24/7 access, and basic amenities.
The Level 1 and Level 2 memberships also include secretarial services, phone system, additional hours of conference room facilities, and your business name in the lobby directory.
And if your needs are more modest, WBC has a $25 a day Drop-In option for people who just need a desk for the day.
If you’re happy working from home but need an affordable, centrally located conference room for meetings and events, WBC has you covered.
They currently have four conference rooms with hourly and daily rates for room rentals.
- Main Conference Room (up to 14 people at a table, 20 people in the room)
- Training Room (up to 10 people)
- 4th Floor Conference Room (up to 8 people)
- Large Banquet Room (up to 60 people)
Conference room rates start at a modest $30 an hour for the 4th-floor conference room and go up to $50 an hour for the main conference room and include complimentary coffee/tea, HD monitors, dedicated high-speed internet and wifi, and individual climate controls. The cost for the large banquet room varies. (Contact WBC for pricing)
If this isn’t enough to bring joy to a weary entrepreneur’s day, WBC is growing. They are nearing the end of upstairs renovations that will double their space and add more office suites, workstations, standing desks, a quiet area, an additional four small conference rooms (2 – 4 people), and a large meeting room.
Cullen says the target completion date is November 1 and based on what I saw when I toured the space last week, it looks very likely the work will be done on schedule.
As the old saying goes, image is everything. Working in public spaces if fine when you’re first starting out, but if you’ve been working from a coffee shop for more than a year it might be time to think about a change. For $5 a day you can enjoy high-speed internet, a professional business address, and the camaraderie that comes with working in a non-competitive office environment. They’ll even supply the coffee.