Coffee shops were always too hip for me, unlike my college roommates who contemplated life and siphoned the murky liquid through their veins on a regular basis, I would get stage fright when the barista would ask for my order. I was pretty sure coffee shop naivety was something I could sustain my whole life, until I realized my need for social interaction was not being met in the virtual workspace nor my home office. My freelance friends had been telling me for years that the right coffee house could be the perfect workplace, they told me how they could sit for hours sipping lattes, accessing free wi-fi and mingling with individuals not confined to a 9-5 lifestyle. My coffee shop naivety was about to become a thing of the past, but first I had to find the “right” shop.
I began my quest for Rhyme & Reason Design’s Orlando office at Panera. Now I realize Panera is not exactly a quaint coffee shop, but it does offer free wi-fi, a revolving door of people and a wide array of beverages, pastries and food. Not to mention, if I had stage fright at the counter, there was always soup and salad. My days at Panera started off great, the staff had no problem with me setting up shop at a corner booth, the revolving door brought interaction and a way for me to make small talk about Rhyme & Reason and I noticed my productivity levels were positively affected by the change in pace. I was so comfortable in my new workplace that I thought my quest would begin and end at my local Panera. Unfortunately, my zeal for passing out Rhyme & Reason Design business cards to anyone who spoke to me, including customers and employees ended up being a poor decision when the manager called to ask me on a date. Even though I politely turned him down, ordering a latte was never the same again.
My next stop was to an independent coffee shop where the chairs were comfy, the vanilla lattes were fantastic, the wi-fi was free and the staff was friendly but, unlikely to be looking for a Friday night date. I settled in to the squishy chair at the front of the shop and three months later I still haven’t left. My barista, Emily knows my drink and has it ready before I can even order it, the “regulars” ask about Rhyme & Reason’s progress and are the first to reference us to their clients and those individuals who randomly stop by for a cup, usually leave with a Rhyme & Reason Design card and an interest in our services.
My quest for the right coffee shop to house Rhyme & Reason Design taught me that entrepreneurs are more likely to frequent independent businesses, if you have a computer on your lap at least one stranger a day will ask what you do and business cards should be handed out regularly but, at your own risk. At some point I will have to relinquish my comfy chair, but until then, goldilocks has found her coffee house.