Candidly Quarantined- Deskpass's Nicole Vasquez
1) What’s your business?
Deskpass is a multi-city co-working membership that provides affordable, flexible access to over 500 wonderful, diverse workspaces and meeting spaces.
Think of us as the ClassPass for coworking spaces!
We also have a Deskpass Virtual Community that hosts free virtual coworking and professional events daily during quarantine.
2) How did you get the idea to start?
6 years ago I started my first coworking space, so I knew first hand how hard it was to continually be advertising and trying to get new members to join. We created Deskpass as a way for people to easily learn about, and try out, all the great coworking spaces in their area - and most importantly - to help other coworking space owners get free advertising and lead generation from Deskpass to help their businesses grow and thrive.
3) What’s the biggest Challenge of CoVid for your business right now?
Since the 500+ coworking spaces on our network across the nation are temporarily closed, we've allowed our members to pause their membership since they can't use our service. Pretty terrifying that we don't have a service to sell at the moment, right? But we're using this time to deliver value to our members through our Virtual Community, while also revamping our platform to accommodate the influx of coworking that we know will come as soon as workspaces can open again. Everyone is going to want to be coworking after being stuck working from home...and we'll be ready for it! So after the initial challenge of having to adapt our business so rapidly when this all started...the current challenge is being forward-thinking and proactive enough to be able to anticipate what is ahead, and adapt our business accordingly.
4) What’s the biggest opportunity/insight you’re learning through this experience?
Staying positive is not enough, you have to be realistic too. Being realistic means taking action, creating a new service offering, or pivoting your existing services to provide a value in this new, unchartered territory ahead. So rather than just staying positive in order to get through this quarantine without having a breakdown, you have to take action too.
5) What’s a typical day look like for you now working in quarantine? What’s changed the most?
I have a morning routine that I do every morning, no matter how I'm feeling, because a routine provides structure and when the world around us feels so crazy and out of control, your routine can provide a sense of groundedness and control.
My morning routine is: 15 minute meditation, 2 minutes to fill out my gratitude journal (I use the free 5 Minute Journal app), and then 1 quick round of abs/arms/squats to get my energy going.
6) What are some tips or advice that’s helping you through this time?
Stay healthy and active, and make it FUN otherwise you won't do it. Meaning if you don't enjoy a certain kind of exercise then stop doing it and try something else! I'm a dancer, so every week I add a bunch of dance videos ranging from 10-30 minutes to my 'Watch Later' list on YouTube.
Then, throughout the day I take at least 2-3 breaks and do a quick dance video from the list, depending on the amount of time I have at that moment. By the end of the work day I've had at last 60 minutes of exercise already!
7) What’s something people might not necessarily know that’s affecting your business right now?
All of our partner spaces are scrambling to make changes to their workspaces in order to reopen as soon as possible, but in a way that allows people to stay safe while on-site. For example, spacing out all desks to be 6 feet apart and increasing cleaning and sanitation. I hope they can all obtain the funding they need not only to stay open, but to make the changes quickly so they can resume operations asap.
8) Can you share a profound moment that you’ve experienced during quarantine? (Something that scared/surprised etc you)
I think by now we've all had at least 1 awful day during quarantine...mine was on a Sunday about 5 weeks into quarantine. All the feelings came rushing in: fear, sadness, anxiety, grief, and worry. My mind was racing with all the bad things that could happen (getting sick, dying, people I love dying, my business failing, etc). Luckily it was in the evening so I just made myself go to bed to try and sleep it off since for me, a new day always brings me motivation.
The next morning I still felt a heaviness and worry about the unknown. Then ironically, Tim Ferris reposted one of his old podcast episodes about 'Fear Setting' and it changed my life instantly. Fear Setting is where you write down your fears, and the possible results of action or inaction.
You can learn the method quickly via his Ted Talk video here. Now, when I start to feel that weight of fear I do this activity. It's the same as athletes who visualize their success - by visualizing your fears you bring them out of the darkness and create a plan to address them.