I met Lisa Mac back when I was looking for a photographer to collaborate with on some styled in situ art photos for an online art gallery I used to run. One time, I think I dropped Amy Porterfield’s name as someone I’d been listening to recently, and we were business buddies ever since.

We started coworking about once a week. In case you aren’t familiar with this coworking thing, it basically just means people who normally work alone – in a home office, coffee shop, etc – work on their own stuff in the same place instead. Eventually, more people joined us on what became semi-official Wednesday coworking afternoons.

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In December, Lisa asked me if I’d help her accomplish a dream she’d had for quite some time – to turn her awesome little (but actually big) photography studio into an official coworking space. I ran some numbers, we talked potential and possibilities, and I decided that I was in.

So what goes into launching something like Studio688?

As the strategic partner in the venture, my role was to take Lisa’s vision and turn it into something actionable. According to her, that’s something I’m pretty darn good at! Lisa would be the first to tell  you that, while super creative, she’s a bit all over the place when it comes to doing things with any sort of system or process.

We talked a lot about what the community could look like. We asked specific people for their advice and thoughts on the matter… and not just everyone! It’s important that you choose who you seek advice from very wisely or you risk getting off track, getting discouraged, or getting a big head, all of which are dangerous.

We developed a clear vision and pricing structure. Basically, we hashed this out over a number of weeks, going back and forth about what was actually doable in the budget and time we could allocate to the venture. I’m not sure how to explain in detail how this happens, because it’s something I just do naturally… but somehow Lisa’s creative vision was distilled into a viable business venture. She can explain what I did for her very well though, so hit her up for an explanation if you want to know more!

While I was working on the finer points of Studio688’s positioning, core message, and website design, my partner in crime suddenly decided to test the waters and posted our coworking membership opportunity to a Facebook group – and the emails flooded in. We held an emergency all-day powwow to refine the copy I’d written for the site and finalize the design. People were looking for details, and we didn’t even have a website up yet!

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While I panicked a tiny little bit at first, it worked out well because it forced my hand to give us the green light to launch. I like to have all my ducks in a row, while Lisa is a bit more willing to figure it out as she goes. So together, it works out pretty well.

Our membership package is designed for the creative entrepreneur who’s ready to have the right tools and the right environment to grow their business. Members enjoy a dedicated desk or workspace, free use of the 2,000 sq. ft. studio once a month,  all the photo and video equipment needed to create fantastic visuals for their brand anytime, snacks, great local coffee, and free workshop tickets. They also get to work around and with a carefully selected group of creatives.

We give all the tours to potential members together because we’ve decided all our members should fit a certain vibe. We look at it like this: working at Studio688 should feel like you’re part of the best little creative agency in town, except everyone still gets to be their own boss. We’ve even started collaborating on projects and events – and we’ll do even more neato things like that in the future (so keep your eyes peeled)!

We launched just a few months ago and already have some pretty amazing members. We had an incredibly fun Open House party that was supported by so many in Memphis – from the food to the local music, it was just a fantastic night. Others have used our space for some memorable events of their own. We’re slowly but surely working towards being the center for creatives in Memphis. Things are moving so quickly, I can’t wait to see where we are in six months!

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If you want to follow along with all the creative people doing cool stuff in the same place at Studio688, visit the website at www.studio688memphis.com or follow us on Instagram @studio688 or LIKE Studio88 on Facebook. You won’t be disappointed!

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Entrepreneurs and community builders work with me to do great things through design and marketing. Creative strategist and accidental author are job titles I go by sometimes.

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