Our first featured Suite Spotter is one of our newer members, John Ryan. John was admittedly “stuck” when he first joined the Suite Spotter ranks, but has since found inspiration and collaboration through coworking.
Here, he tells us a little about his experience…
What are three things that surprised you about coworking?
I like to tell people that, going to a coworking space is like this: “Imagine an office you started working in, and you liked the people, and you liked the environment, but then other things always got in the way…things like competition, bad hiring choices, people getting fired, company issues, politics, who carries their weight and who doesn’t, what time people come in and leave for the day, disagreements about priorities — all that stuff, causes conflict in the office – but at a coworking space, all of it is removed, because everyone is working on their own thing. And once you strip away all that stuff, you’re just left with people you get along with and an environment that feels good to get your work done in!
I was really surprised to find that people talk and bounce ideas and challenges off of each other, and it happens more than I expected. It’s one of those things where – you see photos of coworking spaces in cool lofts or wherever and you think “that’s gotta be all people who really are just ‘heads-down’ in their code all day – I bet no one talks” — when in reality, it’s been really easy to get to know people and spontaneously think things through with others around the space.
It’s a diverse group of people…social media expert, web developer, lead generator, researcher, writer, business developer, photographer…and that has been very refreshing!
When has another Spotter helped you in an unexpected way?
There are too many to mention, every day is filled with quick chats with other people that leave you with something to think about, something you can use.
Five minutes ago, I’m passing through the kitchen and I got into a quick conversation about business structure and selling internationally with a spotter named Kathy Doyle – it gave me some things to think about and a place to get clear answers.
Late last week I was stuck in the world of “Which of these methods should I use so that I can run email within the Gmail interface, but have the address use my new website domain” I had literally spent hours reading some of the workarounds and guides – it’s a bit of a tangled mess. Then I see Steve Ryan of RyTech – I know he’s an email guy, so I ask him what he uses – he gave me a two minute explanation, I went with it and had the whole thing wrapped inside of 10 minutes. Great stuff like that happens continuously in the space, if you’re open to it.
What are three things that make you feel most inspired?
I’m inspired by working on my own thing – it’s what gets me up and keeps me moving at a rapid clip throughout the day.
I’m very impacted by my surroundings, and I love being around the trendy space that was created here – I can stand, sit, move around, gaze at art or a fireplace for a minute, or take a quick walk outside. It’s a good source of creativity.
Nature. Which, we don’t have a lot of indoors. Which is why I work hard, so I can spend spring break on the beach in Florida with the kids!
What are three big accomplishments you’ve seen from working out of Suite Spotte?
The biggest one for me, was that it got me ‘unstuck’. I had spent a month or more at home, trying to figure out what I was doing….was I going out on my own or pursuing one of several career opportunities that I was talking with recruiters about? Once I got into the space and had to speak about it, out loud, things really started coming into focus for me within a couple days. Once I had that direction to head in, the productivity followed.
So – it helped me clarify what that business was, then it gave me the space to be productive and finally, it cut out two hours of my commute.
As a result, I’ve found that I can get a lot done, and spend more time on things like meeting my wife for lunch, picking up the kids, or getting some exercise.
What is your daily routine on a day you work out of Suite Spotte?
I usually drop the kids off at school just after 8am, then I head to the gym, for about an hour, and I come straight to the Suite Spotte from there. That gives me a little time to tune in to a podcast and get my thoughts lined up on business for the day. When I arrive, I set up my laptop at an available desk, grab a cup of coffee and then open up Gingko App – where I store my to-do lists for the week and much of my writing. I pick something from the list, throw on some headphones, fire up a Spotify concentration channel and go fast until it’s time to move my car (usually about 4 hours in).
Then I grab some lunch at Noodles or Back Alley Burger (about once a week I’ll eat with a fellow Spotter) and come back, and stay for another 3 hours or so, before it’s time to pick up the kids.
It’s been a very rewarding experience and a very productive environment…working out of the house, has too many distractions. We have a Portuguese Water Dog – and while, they’re cute and all that, he just doesn’t get that I need to stare at my computer screen much of the day – I can almost hear him when he whines, “Why can’t we just go for a walk? Where’s the chew toy? Are you ready to go outside yet?” – What’s nice is, I’m much more likely to take him for a walk now, since I’m getting so much more crossed off my list!
John Ryan has a diverse background ranging from studying public speaking and communication in College, to traveling to 43 countries over three years with a cruise line, to cutting his teeth on internet marketing, starting in the late 90’s as a partner at a small agency. That agency (run out of a garage) grew so fast, that at over a million in revenue in a year, it was time to move out and get a real office space! John moved to back to Chicago in 2004 and joined Infra-Strategy which became Total Attorneys and over the next seven years, headed up marketing as the company broke the seal on the legal lead-generation space and mastered the art of creating business for over 1000 lawfirms at a time. While at Total Attorneys, they rocketed from 6, to over 220 employees, and made the Inc 500 list twice – while John grew out SEO, SEM and Affiliate marketing teams. In 2011 John went to myFootpath, a lead aggregator in the Education Industry and spent the majority of the next three years working with call centers worldwide, growing and improving the marketing and practices. Now John comes to the Suite Spotte as a micropreneur, having recently created Expansive Media LLC, putting years of practice into useful content and helping others get the clients they need to grow. John loves to work efficiently and play often, and is thrilled at the lack of a commute and the freedom to spend more time with his wife Julie, son Cayden and daughter, Lydi-Bug.