The nice thing about my job is that I can do it anywhere, including my home. The problem with that is we home school our kids, so doing my job at home is not always. . . productive.

So, years ago, we agreed I would always have an office somewhere. For the last six years, I had a quiet little desk in a quiet little building for a quiet little price. Sometimes, it was so quiet, I had to go to a coffee shop for a little noise and activity.

When we moved to Orlando, I knew I would need to rebuild my entire network, and I would need to find a new place to work. The odds of finding the same setup as before would be virtually impossible (anyone know where I can rent a desk inside a web hosting company for $150 a month?).

So I decide to look for a co-working space.

Turns out, you can’t swing a dead cat in Orlando without hitting a co-working space.

Not that we’re spoiled for co-working spaces, but apparently, swinging a dead cat is frowned upon here.

After a quick Google search revealed six possibilities, I check out two spaces during my first week in town:

  • Colab is a small, plucky upstart right at the heart of downtown. At 37 N. Orange Ave., it’s on the first block of Orlando’s center. So if you want to be in the middle of it all, this is it. Rent is $99 for 10 days a month or $200 for 20 days, 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. I don’t need 24/7 access, but I like to work until 6 sometimes to miss most of rush hour traffic. That’s a problem.
  • Effin Amazing is less of a co-working space, and more of desks available inside a marketing analytics firm.It’s even about six blocks east of the Orlando City SC professional soccer team. Owner Dan McGaw loans out desks to creative types for as much or as little as they need, and he only asks for donations. It’s quite the bargain if you only need a desk a few times a month, and Dan’s  effin’ cool. The office is right next to an MMA training gym where Dan is both a member and service provider. I nearly stake my claim here, but I decide to do a little more checking first.
The front area at Canvs. The plaques on the wall are their sponsor partners.
The front area at Canvs. The plaques on the wall are their sponsor partners.

A week later, I  check out Canvs, at 101 S. Garland (take exit 82B off I-4 and go north). It’s about 2 blocks from Colab and another co-working space, Catalyst, on S. Orange.

Total price is $250 per month, and I get a community desk, which means some usurper’s going to be sitting in my favorite spot tomorrow.

Parking is $1/hour across the street, unless I sign up for a parking pass for $80/month. I could get one of the private lots two blocks away for $75 a month, but for $5 more, I can walk to the office in 30 seconds.

(I may be cheap, but I ain’t walk-two-tenths-of-a-mile-in-100-degrees cheap!)

The community tables at Canvs. That's my computer on the right.
The community tables at Canvs. That’s my computer on the right.

I’ve met three very interesting people, and am building my network. As it turns out, I even have two degrees of separation between Canvs’ executive director, Donna Mackenzie: her mother-in-law was my wife’s piano teacher in Syracuse, Indiana.

So far, I’ve met a digital media consultant and a Python programmer, and I’ve already been looking around for coffee shops and meeting places.

Over the next two weeks, I’ll look for additional networking opportunities and meeting with marketing agencies in the area to discuss contracting and content marketing opportunities.

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