Finding Balance

I have done a terrible job advertising PERCH. The worst part is, I have a degree in advertising... But I'm struggling with work-life balance. A large part of why we moved back to a rural area was so that I could have more time being a mother and spend less time at an office. I actually had that down pretty good until we decided to purchase this property and create PERCH. And it's making me feel like a massive failure.

I believe we can have it all... the dream career, the tight family. But there are more days that I feel like I have to choose between the two than not. And I get angry at myself for feeling like my career needs to be this big shiny thing in order for me to feel successful in life. I really doubt that on my death bed people are going to say, "wow, now that lady was super successful." What I really hope people say is, "wow, she and her husband raised some pretty terrific kids... they really seemed to enjoy life."

I stumbled on this blog entry today and felt the need to share it. I think we could all be reminded a little more that we're worth it. What we do is worth it. Remember the big picture. That's what matters. Give it a read and there's a good chance you'll feel a little better about being a struggling parent.

Phase II begins...

You wouldn't know by standing inside but PERCH was a convenience store for several years before our big renovation. But standing outside, the location's past is very, VERY obvious. However things outside are changing. (goodbye random people stopping for gas!)

I will say that it's been an adventure the last few months. For several weeks during the interior renovation and after, people would stop either at a pump or just outside the door. I've had women sit in their car and wait for me to go out and attend to them. Truck drivers stop for soda or "whatever you have here". And of course people are stopping to simply use the restroom. 

As a writer it's bittersweet. I could write a book about the people who stop here. Although most would come from my imagination and the 60-second conversations I had with them; it would no-doubt be hilarious. Or terrifying. 

Perhaps the most interesting scenario is one that continues today. An older man stops here on Thursdays (I think) in his small pickup, complete with shell and small dog. Some days he paces the parking area with that dog. Other times he parks just outside the building. But he's always waiting for the same person. Usually running late, a mini van or large SUV pulls in and a woman hops out, hands over her kids and drives off, dust in the air. On Sunday afternoons it's the same scenario, although they often stand and visit for awhile. It's no doubt a daughter and father who helps with her children so that she has some "adult" time on the weekends. I have moments of wanting to tell them they can't park here but at the same time, the consistency of their visit is strangely comforting. 

So now my question becomes: once the gas tanks are gone and this property is more obviously in use, will the random visitors stop coming? Will this family find a new meeting place? Or are there some things/some locations in a small town that just attract the occasional visitor?

I guess I'll know the answer(s) soon enough.



You're crazy for moving out of your basement.

Throughout our renovation, people would ask me what a coworking space is, and more importantly, why I would want to trade my sweats for work attire. Why leave my basement when I can get away with doing what I want, when I want at home?

I believe there are people like me in this rural area who love what they do. Who thrive on talking with other people. Being around other ideas. I also believe more people might move back to a rural area if they can get a piece of that urban "togetherness" they have at their current job. 

This article's been around for a while but I think it offers insight into why people who work from home may want to hang up their slippers for an environment geared toward fueling their passion. Take a look at Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces.

So connected yet so disconnected.

Much of my career as a freelance writer is spent staring at a computer screen. When I go home, I spend part of the night staring at my phone screen. And at night, I often end the day by staring at my iPad screen filled with Pinterest ideas. All this staring has me thinking: no wonder it's difficult to get ideas off the ground when everybody's so busy staring at screens!

I started PERCH for a few reasons: 1. I had outgrown our basement, 2. I was tired of only speaking to a dog all day, 3. I believe great ideas and creativity exist in rural Nebraska and I wanted a way to help bring them to the surface.

I've accomplished the first two reasons but this third has me feeling a little overwhelmed. I realize coworking is a fairly new concept in this area. I also realize it can be hard to try something new. So here's the deal: I believe there is good in the world. I believe creativity is bubbling up all over and just needs to be let out. And I believe PERCH is a place where the two can live happily together. So I'm trying an experiment with my pricing structure. From July 1 - August 31 this year, anyone who comes to PERCH to work, be creative or host a meeting can do it on a donation-based pricing scale. Think about what the space is worth to you and pay that price. If it has fueled your ideas, collaboration or work in general, put a price on that. Pay that. Nothing more. 

What do you get for your Pay-What-You-Want time at PERCH? I'll give you WiFi, coffee (or tea or water) and snacks. I'll give you a place to sit, plug in and recharge. Seems like a good deal, right? So come in and try it out for yourself.