Name: Mark Rosen
Name of business: PLUGIN workspace
Describe what you do/sell/serve: PLUGIN workspace is a shared office designed specifically for people who do not have a conventional place to work. As more and more workers either become remote employees or choose to become freelance, self-employed or participate in the entrepreneurial economy, they are discovering that working in repurposed locations such as home or coffee shops or the library simply do not offer the right combination of safe Internet, professional work environment and business community. The PLUGIN workspace offers fast secure Internet, modern open layout desks, ergonomic desk chairs, private phone, conference rooms, a business community to connect with and even exceptional locally roasted coffee.
What sets you apart from similar businesses? The goal of PLUGIN workspace is to build a community of workers, small-business owners and entrepreneurial-minded people who recognize the advantages of a collaborative business environment. PLUGIN workspace also creates opportunities for the self-employed to co-brand with PLUGIN workspace and promote themselves to a larger and more engaged audience. For example, PLUGIN workspace regularly offers its members the chance to host events and talks and will publicize them through our digital and social media channels both to members and the broader community
What made you want to open this type of business? After successes both in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds, I was seeking dynamic professional engagement which reflected both my professional and lifestyle values. I am keenly aware of the advantages and challenges of working at home, having found and grown and sold a business, as well as being self-employed; all of which offered me a unique vision for what a suburban shared office could be and how it and its members could thrive together.
Why did you decide to open your business in Highland Park? Downtown Highland Park is very unique as compared to the north suburbs of Chicago. It has a traditional, walkable downtown with a range of food and retail choices combined with plentiful parking. It offers a home worker a dramatic change from his or her residential neighborhood or driving to a strip mall. It also serves the downtown worker living in the north suburbs by creating a viable workspace alternative to avoid time-consuming and inefficient commuting.
Why did you pick this specific location? Our suite has a fantastic open feeling with floor-to-ceiling windows along our longest wall. It creates perfectly the physical space to house an open collaborative environment. It also conveniently sits a few feet away from the Highland Park Metra Train Station and a few minutes from the expressway. And the building has underground parking.
What obstacles did you find when you started? Our biggest challenge is making people aware of an entirely new way to work and helping to educate them on how getting out of the isolation of their home office is both healthy and productive. Since most people have never had an option like PLUGIN, they are not quite sure how to decide to join our community. We are learning how to communicate a vision and how it can help people build their businesses.
What mistakes did you make? Starting a business is the process of making decisions every day without really knowing if they were good or not. The trick is to not put yourself out of business with any of them — so far so good. I'm sure I will have a different answer in a year.
What did you do right? Taking action to create my vision, instead of just talking about it.
What advice would you give to someone else looking to open a business in Highland Park? Take the time to understand the community and its unique dynamics.
What are your hours/address/phone number/website:
The PLUGIN workspace is available to our members 24/7
1770 1st Street Suite 200A Highland Park 60035
312.493.7129 (Mark Rosen's cellphone)