Turns Out The Future of the Office Isn’t an Office at All

think big coworking

This past week I made a business move that to me embodies a great deal of the change that’s gone on in business over the last few years.

I’ve owned my own business for twenty-years now and in some fashion have operated pretty much like most traditional small businesses. Sure I’ve been online longer than most, and I’ve never actually met my bookkeeper face to face, but I’ve also had an office with desks and chairs and printers and coffee pots and conference tables and servers and trash cans and supply closets and all the trappings of a standard office.

As my organization has grown over the years so too has my need for space and stuff to fill up space.

But a funny thing started to happen on the way to growth and change. As we moved things to the cloud we needed less physical stuff. As technology got better we needed fewer in-person meetings. As our reach expanded nationally and then globally we started to employ technology and engage talent wherever we found it.

My last office space – and by last I mean both the most recent and last I suspect I will rent – was just over 3,000 square feet and while my team is currently seven people on average the “office” was used by 1.75 of them on any given day. Between work from home staff, virtual staff and my current travel schedule, an office no longer makes sense.

I believe this is the case for most every business these days as well.

I interviewed Jason Fried, co-founder of Basecamp and author of REMOTE, for the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast recently and he shared this view as well. While Basecamp has an office in Chicago, their staff is spread around the globe.

Fried contends that their posture on remote work has allowed them to attract elite talent that would not have considered coming on board otherwise. Even Chicago-based staff members rarely come into the office unless collaboration is made easier by doing so.

One of my daughters works for Buffer, and while they maintain a small space in San Francisco, most of their staff works remotely. From what I’ve witnessed through my daughter’s experience Buffer has a stronger internal culture than any company I’ve worked with that maintains and internal staff and office.

Instead of an office they choose to invest in all hands meetings in exotic places around the globe. (I get a little jealous each time she tells me where they are going next.)

It’s funny but when I started my business almost three decades ago, “I’m going into business for myself,” kind of meant, “I can’t find a job,” and a home based business was sort of not really a business.

Today everyone wants to start a business, and the ultimate business model is an online business you can run while the kids rumble all around you throughout the day.

For now, I’ve taken what I think is the perfect hybrid step for my business.

I’ve rented 150 square feet of private space in a co-working space in Kansas City called Think Big Coworking.

The reason I call this the perfect hybrid is that it provides us with many of the benefits of a physical space on an as needed basis and also supplements many of the things we either weren’t able to offer staff or doing so would have been far too much work for a small group.

For example, we now have access to the latest video conferencing technology and small and large meeting rooms when we need them. We now have a sound proof recording booth for podcasts, interviews and webinars. We have access to over, 20,000 square feet of flexible seating, lounge seating, nook seating and yes game room seating. (Did I mention we no longer have to maintain or clean any of this!)

We have a full kitchen, coffee bar (free Red Bull anyone?) and snack shop. We have printers, a copy center and a mail center.

But perhaps equally as significant, we have a community of like-minded business owners and smart hustlers all around us. We have access to service providers who we will come to know on a personal level.

My staff members are energized by the fact that there’s a vibrant culture that exists in the space that’s greater than the work they do for us. They have built-in networking, learning and development opportunities that come to them every week.

Obviously, I’m not the first person to promote the virtues of co-working space, but they are often associated with startups only. I believe there’s now a tremendous opportunity for co-working communities to attract and serve more mature businesses that have begun to see the value of this mindset.

As business continues to evolve, I think community space is the future of work and the new office as we’ll come to know it.

5 Online Assets That Are Worth Your Time

You know you need online assets, but which ones are really worth your time? I asked myself this question as I prepared to launch my company, HipHire, which is a new platform that connects companies with quality part-time candidates using a unique matching system.

While HipHire’s concept and our platform are new, the way we get in front of our best customer probably feels familiar to you. Skim through this list and you’ll see that we use opt-in offers, blogging, social media and more. You’re likely already doing most of these things to market your own products and services.

But is it working?

In the tech startup world, being able to launch and gain traction quickly is hugely important. To make sure I was spending time on the online assets that were truly worth it, I did a combination of hypothesizing, testing, tweaking, and testing some more. This process led to rapid adjustments when things weren’t working, which meant more efficiency and better success in the end.

If you’ve ever wondered if your online assets were worth the time you’re putting in to them, here’s how to start testing.

Landing Pages with Specific Opt-ins

landingpagesHipHire has two main business segments—companies looking to hire and candidates seeking part-time jobs. Instead of creating one opt-in offer for each audience, we created multiple opt-ins, each with their own specific landing page.

For example,

  • Our landing page for the Founders Club targets an elite group of Kansas City businesses who benefit from choosing HipHire early.
  • Our landing page for candidates seeking part-time summer jobs speaks directly to the needs of that particular job candidate subset.
  • We even created a landing page and opt-in offer specifically for you (yep, you!). Knowing what we do about the readers of this blog, we created something you’d find useful.

This focused approach makes readers feel you’re speaking directly to them. We tested a lot, and as we’ve fine-tuned this niche marketing, we’ve seen greater conversions.

Blog Content and Community


photo credit: pexels.com

In the months leading up to our launch, we provided information for job candidates and companies looking to hire. Even though our platform hadn’t launched yet, we kept in touch and kept people coming back to the site.

With the blog, as with everything else, I tested. I kept a close eye on analytics. When something didn’t work or when we found a vein that engaged people, we rebuilt the editorial calendar based on that knowledge. Being willing to change gears saves time and money by shifting energy from non-productive actions into profitable directions.

Social Media—Personalized

Social media

photo credit: pexels.com

Social media is about real connection.

I learned this lesson by trying to grow my number of Twitter followers. I followed 100 businesses in my target market each day. I had ditched using automated responses, so when somebody began following me back, I found relevant information about the person or company to create a personalized reply. I got creative, taking a picture of a handwritten note or making a video.

One person wanted to Skype to learn what I was doing because they were impressed that they received a custom message from me. This blew me away. The simplest level of communication and nobody is doing it? That strategy started adding 50 followers a week, but it wasn’t just numbers. Twitter became about real engagement and connection.

Personalizing each tweet may not be scalable, but focusing on quality personal connections makes a difference.

Mobile Ease


photo credit: pexels.com

Our target market lives on mobile devices. We needed to go beyond mobile accessibility for the HipHire platform. We needed mobile ease.

One of the ways we did that was to show HipHire users that we can really deliver before asking them to set up a profile. We streamlined the profile process: type in a few key details (name and the like), then click, click, click, submit.

Making sure your site views correctly on a phone is pretty standard, but have you made your process simple for mobile users?

Visual Content


photo credit: pexels.com

People want to know what the product looks like. They want to visualize themselves using it. That was a challenge for HipHire in the beginning because we started building awareness for the service before our platform was live. We got over this hurdle by providing “sneak peeks” throughout the process.

Since our audience was likely to be mobile, we showed mobile screenshots. This use of visual content demonstrated how clean and simple the process really is and helped build excitement as we neared our live launch.

To make your online assets really worth your time, focus on three Cs: customize, connect, and (when testing shows you should) change.

What tweak to online assets has been the biggest change maker for you?



Brian Kearns is an entrepreneur and the founder of HipHire. He’s passionate about connecting employers and workers who share a vision of the ideal workplace culture. He believes that the key to finding quality part-time people is through a better employee fit.

How to Get Paid for Everything You Do

Far too often I see business owners and entrepreneurs just getting started that simply don’t value what they do enough because they don’t have the validation that comes with landing high-paying clients. In short, in an effort to gain some…

Read More