Mind Your Business - Get your company’s taxes in order now!

[Update: This course has been postponed so that it may be added to a larger educational effort in the near future! Stay tuned here for details.]

Taxes. Few words so consistently strike fear and confusion into the hearts of so many business owners.

It’s March, and if you’re like many others out there, you’re not looking forward to April. With a little extra education and preparation, however, getting yourself and your business through tax season can be relatively painless, and can even save you a bunch of money.

Join us for a quick but comprehensive run-through of everything you need to know to ensure you’re tax compliant and keeping your taxes as low as possible. We’ll be meeting two consecutive Sunday evenings to go over everything together. 

Taxes aren’t awesome, but they get a lot easier when your’e well equipped to tackle them. Let’s do that together!

The Format

Each workshop should be a mixture of free-style discussion, Q&A and lab exercise. The workshops will begin with a general explanation and group discussion of the topics. A series of Q&A will follow and then the workshop would complete the actionable objective of the day.

WORKSHOP #1 : “Taxes and You”
Sunday, March 20th - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

  1. Annual Compliance 
    1. Personal Income Tax   
  2. Things Other than Income Tax 
    1. Sales and Use Tax 
    2. FICA (Social Security and Medicare)
    3. Self-Employment Tax 
    4. Franchise Tax 
    5. Annual Fees 
    6. NYC – Commercial Rent Tax 
    7. W-9 Information Return 
    8. W-2 Information Return 
    9. 1099 Information Return 

WORKSHOP #2 : “Tax Returns”
Sunday, March 27th - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

  1. Annual Compliance
    1. Corporate Income Tax Return
    2. Partnership Tax Return
    3. Sales Tax Returns
    4. Unemployment Tax Returns  
  2. Quarterly Compliance
    1. Quarterly Sales Tax Returns 
    2. Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments 
    3. Quarterly Employment Tax Returns 
    4. Quarterly Unemployment Tax Returns

About the Instructor

Cameron Keng is a tax accountant with prior experience in major accounting firms such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and EisnerAmper. He specializes in industries such as real estate, technology and financial institutions. He provides consulting services for businesses of various sizes.

What do you say? Time to get yourself equipped to defeat taxes once and for all?

Yes! I am ready to vanquish my taxes! »

Monday, March 7, 2011   ()

Meet Our New Sponsor, BlackBerry! (And Join us Wednesday for a Special Event!)

Rolling along! As we enter our third month of NWCU goodness, we’re excited to announce BlackBerry as our new sponsor! They join Google & Pearson in helping make it possible for us to host some of the best produced Meetup groups in the city. 

When we started NWCU, we knew there were opportunities to create real, healthy relationships between sponsoring organizations and our member groups, but after actually talking with some of the people at these companies and learning more about the ways we can work together, the possibilities really started to gel.

BlackBerry’s got all sorts of great platforms and products that people can use to build cool things. Working together, we’ll be focusing on letting people know how to make use of those tools to build new stuff and grow their businesses.

And we’re not wasting any time…

Join us this Wednesday morning for a special event! 

BlackBerry is doing a national tour themed around using mobile technology to “do more with less.” The featured New York speaker will be Ramon Ray, who has been speaking and organizing for a long time. 

The event is for morning birds, running from 8:00am until 11:45am.

RSVP and learn more about that event here: http://u.nwc.co/fS1YjO

This is just a starting point. We’re hoping to do a lot more cool stuff with Blackberry, Google, Pearson, and a couple of other great partners soon. 

More announcements coming soon!

Monday, March 7, 2011   ()

Wanted: One Team of Brilliant World-Changers.

NWC has always been first and foremost about addressing the needs of a growing group of people who, despite being able to work anywhere, didn’t have anywhere that was designed to fit their needs.

The Venn Diagram of our membership overlaps heavily, but not completely, with the circles of startups and of people developing new technology. This balance has allowed for a healthy mix of people within the same fields sharing expertise, as well as people from diverse backgrounds helping each other fill in blanks on projects.

Most of our members have been individuals and small teams. Our primary workspace is an open environment, which allows for more interaction throughout the day and increases the chances of serendipitous collisions

A Special Spot for A Special Team

For our new space, we allocated one private room that could be used exclusively by a team of 3 to 4 people. 

This team would occupy one end of our membership spectrum, representing the subset of the members of our community who are building growth startups and require dedicated space.

The ideal team wouldn’t just be in need of an office space; there are plenty of places in the city to go for that. On top of the space, they’d be looking to take advantage of working in the same space as a bustling community of independent workers— people who could provide expertise, diverse perspectives, contract help, or even get hired as new employees or partners. 

Unlike our standard memberships, we’re exerting some control over who gets to use this space— because we only get to have one, and their chemistry with the rest of the community is critically important. The ideal team is one that makes the community better by being a part of it.

Graduates

We originally allocated the space with one team in mind - Perpetually. Darrell Silver, a longtime member, friend and advisor who was the first person to help us finance our new space, is the founder of Perpetually, whose core team is composed of former NWC members Darrell met while working in our original space.

Perpetually’s team and their needs outgrew our space before we could even open our doors. They’re kicking ass. 

Our most recent resident, LooseCubes, has followed a similar path. Hiring several NWC members to head up the engineering of their new site, LooseCubes was in a matter of months doubling and tripling their staff size and leasing a big beautiful space of their own in Dumbo.

Your Turn

Now, our space is available starting March 1st. If you have a promising young startup and think your team would benefit from housing yourselves at NWC, let us know now. We’ll be happy to show you around and get your thoughts.

About the Space

The room comfortably houses up to 4 people with room leftover for some basic storage or peripherals. High ceilings and an 8 foot tall window make for a spacious feel. The cost of the space includes full-time memberships with special privileges, including 24/7 access and keys to both NWC and the office space. 

This is in addition to all of the amenities everyone at NWC enjoys, from speedy internet to printing/faxing/copying/scanning, free coffee, use of the open areas and soft seating, and of course the chance to hang out with some remarkable people every day.

Pricing varies by the number of members on your team and their space needs. 

Ready?

Locating your company in our space is a tremendous opportunity, as our previous teams have proven. 

If you’re interested and would like to come by to take a look, contact us! We’re looking forward to getting to know you and your fine partners and friends.

Cheers, 
Tony

info at nwc.co / (212) 226-1585

Saturday, February 19, 2011 — 6 notes   ()

Underdogs

Photo on 2011-01-18 at 23.18

I find myself alone in the space again tonight, which is up there with Saturday mornings and showers as being among the best times to contemplate. And write blog posts.

I’m sitting on the most comfortable couch in the space which, despite its new brown cover, is still referred to as the “blue couch.”

I took this couch with me when I moved out of House 2.0, the birthplace of Jelly- the East Coast’s first coworking community.

I’ve slept on this couch in two different locations now. I first coworked on this couch almost four years ago. So did countless brilliant, successful people

From this couch, I can view most of New Work City’s space. Last week, while on a long phone call, I managed to identify no less than a dozen things that needed fixing or improving. A newly installed sprinkler line that needed painting. An egregiously uneven part of the floor. An open pipe randomly sticking out of a wall that need only be painted green to look like something straight out of Super Mario Bros. 

I’m damn proud of the space we put together. For something we had just a few months and a nonexistent budget to put together, the place looks amazingly awesome. But details like these are enough to drive one mad. If New Work City were in the business of selling pristine workspace, it probably would.

Luckily, that’s not what this place is about. For all the attention that goes into the “space” part of a coworking space, it’s really just a medium that allows people to gather and get the things they really want: Collaboration. Inspiration. Friends. Productivity. Coziness.

Nobody likes chicken. What makes chicken great is how you prepare it. 

Improvements, of course, must always be made. Complacency is death. We’re going to keep iterating on NWC and making it better and better forever. 

But when we make those improvements, we’re making them together, one bit at a time, as we are able. When somebody finds a good deal on something we need, we get it. When someone’s moving and they have a nice spare futon, we grab it.

Does it make for the most coherent, unified interior design? Hell no.

Does it make this place something that’s truly ours? Hell yes.

This place is beautiful not in spite of its little flaws and imperfections, but because of them. 

Because it makes the place real. 

Nothing was commissioned, ordered brand new in a giant purchase order as part of a giant budget. When you sit in a chair at a desk, you don’t worry that you’re going to scratch it. You settle in and feel comfortable getting right to work.

I recently got to visit a coworking space in another city that had the exact furniture I had dreamed of buying for NWC 2.0. It was super modern, with bright, bold colors, and high-quality materials.

I didn’t like it. Maybe I was rationalizing, but it all just seemed too nice

If I won the lottery and had tons of cash, I’d make a lot of improvements— but if the place started to feel less like our collective work spot and more like a rich guy’s fantasy, I don’t know that the same kind of amazing people would want to keep coming.

The imperfections and secondhand furniture act as a fantastic filter. If someone’s priorities are focused on the quality of the stuff over the quality of the people, they likely belong elsewhere. 

If the Jets play the Patriots, I’m rooting for the Jets every time. 

The bleachers are more fun than the fifty yard line.

Below deck is more fun than above deck.

And the people on the blue couch are nothing but smiles.

Friday, January 21, 2011 — 22 notes   ()

Do people talk to each other at NWC? Also, how bad is Tony’s camerawork?

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Free is awesome, until it’s not

Free is awesome. It’s especially useful to the many folks, myself included, who are rather short on cash at the moment.

As most everyone has come to realize at one point or another in their lives, however, free always comes with some sort of strings attached.

In TV, free means commercials. In live music, a free show means you’re not guaranteed to hear anything worth more than the price of admission. This is especially true of comedy shows in the Village. 

In software, free means it might not be around forever, quality is not guaranteed, and it might not feature the support you’d like. 

The same is true of many other things.

Yesterday, the founder of NY Nightowls, Allan Grinstein, announced that they would begin charging for their upcoming late night coworking events. Each Tuesday event will cost $12. Previously, the events were free.

This is an experiment, initiated for several reasons. I don’t run Night Owls, but I did participate in some discussions leading up to this decision.

The move sparked some very spirited discussions, ones which I believe is important and relevant to many of us who are trying to value our time and the things we build. This discussion got me thinking about the role “free” plays in our lives and our businesses, and the inherent issues with anything that is free.


The Problems With Free

1. FREE IS FLEETING

Allan and Amber Rae (who helped Allan get NYNO started) have together run NYNO every Tuesday, without exception, for 28 consecutive weeks. Allan has a full-time job and has been doing this purely out of his own willpower. If NYNO stays free, then its consistent existence is completely dependent on whether Allan and Amber are willing and able to continue running it.

They could move out of town. They could get sick. They might just decide that they don’t want to stay up until four in the morning every Tuesday anymore. 

As a free group, NYNO is wholly dependent on the willingness of its organizers to continue donating their time to make it happen. That might last a while, but it certainly won’t last forever.

What happens to a group like this when it continues on this path for a while? The best example I could conjure is NYNO’s daylight-bathed close cousin, Jelly.

Jelly was started in 2006 by Amit Gupta and Luke Crawford, two entrepreneurs who at the time had a big apartment and nowhere to go to hang out with other people while doing their work. 

So they simply invited everyone, once every other Thursday, to come over and work in their apartment. A shockingly simple idea turned out to be a huge hit, one which landed Jelly in a wide variety of mass media and sparked a global movement of local Jellies.

What’s happened to Jelly since then? It chugged along well with the original organizers for over two years, mostly organized singlehandedly by Amit, who personally and faithfully wrote emails each week (it grew to a weekly event) and cleaned up his apartment before and after guests arrived. 

Eventually, he moved out of town. In his wake, he left myself and our mutual friend Darrell Silver in charge. Darrell and I took turns over the ensuing two years keeping Jelly going. It was a little bit of work to maintain, but it was well worth the trouble— Jelly, after all, was my introduction to the world of coworking, something which has changed my life tremendously.

Today, however, I’m focusing everything I have on New Work City. Darrell, similarly, has a wildly successful awesome startup of his own

Jelly, sadly, has started to become a more and more infrequent occasion. Without someone immediately ready and willing to donate their time to organizing it, it falls by the wayside. Perhaps it will undergo a resurgence, perhaps not. 

Jelly has always been free, and that’s wonderful. It probably always should be. If Jelly generated revenue, new people could be hired or the thing could be sold to someone else, but as it stands, its existence is in flux.   

2. QUALITY CONTROL

When something is free, people have little right to complain. Freeloaders can’t be choosers. Because something like NYNO is run because people like Allan and Amber feel like doing it, it will only be as good as they want it to be. New features, upgrades, and expansions are all subject to whether or not they feel like doing it. 

By charging, the organizers are compelled to provide something worth paying for. Sub-par service could be punished by unhappy customers, low turnout, or requests for refunds. Free events carry no such motivations. 

3. BARRIERS TO ENTRY

As an un-cool kid in grade school, I was never much of a fan of exclusivity. There are times when it’s called for, but in most cases it’s a sign of insecurity or poor planning.

A well-run group can oftentimes be designed to attract the right people and repel the wrong people. The free version of NYNO had no barriers whatsoever; anyone could show up at the designated time regardless of if they intended to do any work. They could just as easily be there to make a mess, be noisy and disruptive, and steal and break things.  

While this has not been an issue for most, there have been disruptive exceptions. 


Preservation of Community: The Case for Charging

One might argue that charging for NYNO destroys the community that it built over the past six months. I believe the opposite may be true. Indeed, a transition from free to paid is inherently bumpy: When New Work City moved from a free cafe-based club to a membership-based business, the churn was massive.

But charging for something like NYNO increases its ability to cultivate a good community.

How? 

1. DEMAND

Before they started charging, spots at NYNO were “sold out” for months in advance. How much of a community can you have when people can only show up once every few months when they manage to score a spot?

2. RESPECT

People who pay for something have an inherent respect for it— they want to get their money’s worth. A paid service is likely to attract people who are serious, mature, and respectful. 

3. SECURITY

Even a slight barrier drastically increases chances that the people in attendance are there for the right reasons.

4. SUSTAINABILITY

By charging, NYNO decreases the chances it will simply disappear. 

5. EXPANDABILITY

If hundreds of people are hounding spots for late night coworking on Tuesday, what are the odds that more people would like to work on the other 6 nights of the week? Allan and Amber can’t run the show every night, and finding consitent volunteers is difficult if not impossible (believe me, it’s hard enough during regular business hours). Charging puts NYNO in a better position to expand and help more people.


For NWC’s part, the cost of the rent, internet, heat, electricity, bathroom supplies, coffee, cleaning, insurance, and countless other things is nontrivial. I’d love to give space away to everyone forever, and I’ve tried— it doesn’t last. 

As Allan said, this is an experiment. It’s possible that there is a huge demand for late night coworking, but not an actual paying market for it. If that’s the case, then NYNO may likely go back to being free and might one day cease to exist as the organizers move on. 

If, however, it turns out that a great group of people find that they derive enough value out of NYNO that it’s worth twelve bucks, then that group might likely emerge as one which is tight, consistent, respectful, and sustainable. 

I’m looking forward to seeing what transpires.

-Tony

Thursday, November 4, 2010 — 16 notes   ()
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Shiny happy new tables and chairs for classes!!

Shiny happy new tables and chairs for classes!!

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Organizers: Apply for NWC’s New Events Program!

Events have always been an important part of NWC. From the beginning, I wanted NWC to be a place where event organizers could easily gather their members in a low-cost, flexible environment. 

Now that we’re turning NWC into something that’s self-sustaining, it’s time to create some structure around our events programming.

That structure should reinforce and augment NWC’s goals in its own way. 

New Programming Series

We’re building a new programming series, designed to provide an ecosystem for entrepreneurs, freelancers and independent workers to build, learn, and share together.

Events are pre-arranged in advance, supported by sponsors, and curated. Organizers apply to participate, and accepted events get free use of the space. 

This allows organizers to run their events without having to worry about money or paying for space, while still allowing NWC to run a sustainable operation, funded by sponsors.

The program would start with about 12 events per month, organized into the following categories:

  • "Build" - Hackathon / Workalong
  • "Learn" - Workshop / Class
  • "Share" - Discussion / Speaker Series

The calendar will be updated quarterly, with events rotating in and out based on how well they reinforce our mission. 

Sponsorship & Partnership

To make the programming even more powerful, we’ll work with organizations whose goals and interests are aligned with ours. Sponsors’ contributions to our community will extend beyond cash, as each one will be an active participant in the program.

In addition to program sponsors, we’ll be lining up one or two partners who will help us build out the capabilities we’ll need to properly run the program— event-friendly seating and tables, a better A/V system, and more. Let me know if you or someone you know would be interested.

Apply to Participate

If you’re an event organizer and are interested in participating, we’ve prepared a form for you to fill out below:

Interested Organizers Apply Here!

This is a brand new effort, so we expect to be evolving it quite a bit over the course of the next several weeks and months. Stay tuned for more, and leave questions or comments below!

Friday, October 1, 2010 — 3 notes   ()

New Memberships!

To date, membership levels have been directly associated with how much one needs to make use of the space— 3 days a week or 8 days a month, for example. This is a notion we’re moving away from— membership at NWC is about more than just using the space a certain number of days per month, and the structures should reflect that.

After some number crunching and talking with members, we came up with a way to start that transition. We’re calling it the Citizen Membership, and for $300 per month, you can use the space during normal operating hours as much as you want. 

This is a really, really good deal, and a departure from everything we’ve offered to date. Once we start getting more members coming in at this level, we’ll start getting a better idea of how that affects utilization of the space.

Essentially, we don’t want to put ourselves out of business— so we’ll take 20 members at this level, see what happens, and decide where to go from there.

To keep the barrier to entry as low as possible, we’ll still offer a membership at $100 for people who want to be a part of NWC but don’t need to physically be here more than once in a while.

Here’s how the breakdown would now look:

Resident Membership - $500/month
If you need a place to stake yourself out and work around the clock, this level gets you your own desk and a key. This is available to people we’ve gotten to know well enough to trust with a key to the space.

Citizen Membership - $300/month
Our main membership. Citizens have access to New Work City during regular operating hours, a locker, and use of NWC as business mailing address.

Day Tripper Membership - $100/month
This is a lightweight membership for people who want to be part of the community, but only need to physically come by on occasion. This level includes four days of coworking and the ability to book conference rooms in advance.

Day Pass - $30/day
Unchanged from before, anybody who just needs to come by on a day-to-day basis with no obligations can do so and pay by the day. You’ll be able to work in an available space and make use of huddle rooms and soft seating areas for small meetings and phone calls as available.

In the Works: Night Shift 

We’re working on getting to the point where we can offer a Night Shift for people who work from 7pm until the wee hours of the morning. The success of NY Night Owls every Tuesday has shown that there is a clear need for after-hours coworking, so finding a way to be open for business late into the evening would allow even more people to participate and get their cowork on.

If you’re already a member or on one of our lists, you’ll hear more about this. If you’re specifically interested in after hours membership, fill out the form here: http://nwc.co/nightshift

Still Open to All

We used to have buttons on our site that allowed anyone to sign themselves up for membership. Now, with a bigger space and a lot more people coming in the door, we’re asking that people come and try the space out before deciding to sign up. This ensures that everyone who joins NWC knows what they’re getting into before any money changes hands, so everyone is more likely to be happy.

Talk Talk Talk

Like many things at New Work City right now, this is all very new. If something doesn’t make sense or looks amiss, talk to me. We arrived at these new membership levels because members stepped up and talked to us, and I expect us to keep doing that. With each iteration, we get a little bit awesomer.

If you’re not a member yet, let me know your thoughts too. If you’re interested, come on over! We’ll be here :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010 — 6 notes   ()