Seasoned PDX Entrepreneur Promotes Community Growth With Latest Venture
An interview by Theresa Marie Ferguson: Local Social Media Consultant.
Eric Freeman knew he was an entrepreneur since late grade school. He has early memories of shopping with his mother at a discount grocery and purchasing candies he would later sell at school at a profit. Entrepreneurship is in his blood, as he explained to me during an interview at the stunning new Urban Office Place on SW Macadam, his latest and greatest venture. Eric and I sat in his bright and welcoming office, one of the many aesthetically breathtaking units in the 16,800 square foot space. The coworking space offers a dynamic and fresh take on business incubators in today’s rising wave of entrepreneurship and remote working. We discuss his passion for business, how he manages to stay grounded, and how the community’s professionals and entrepreneurs can propel their businesses to remarkable success utilizing a fantastic space such as Urban Office Place!
TF: When did you become an entrepreneur? Did you always dream of building businesses?
EF: “It’s in my blood, to be honest.” I don’t know that we would allow our kids to sell candies at school for a profit these days, but I had such fun during grade school realizing I could make a profit with that. Thereafter, during junior high, my brother Ross and I began building horse jumps, or “panel jumps”, when we realized that there was a niche market for the product. My father had a woodworking shop on the farm we grew up on, and would help us correct small errors here and there. People would call us and order customized panel jumps, we even painted murals on them by hand. During those early days, we truly learned to work hard, market ourselves, and sell a product that fulfilled a need specific to consumer demand.
TF: What are the pros and cons of managing and leading several dynamic businesses at once, and how many businesses do you currently have?
EF: “I love to work. Having grown up on a farm, I am no stranger to working long hours.” Currently I am operating six businesses. When developing multiple businesses simultaneously, they can certainly have the propensity to take over your life. It is crucial for one to have balance for hobbies, family time, and faith in order to maintain the energy to keep going. I start my days around 5:00-5:30 am, read a bible scripture, go for a run, and read something inspiring before beginning the workday. These things prepare me for the hundreds of things that come my way during the course of a day, and keep me grounded. I am also very much a Type-A personality, and lists are a key component to my organization. I keep lists each day and prioritize what needs to be done, what I must delegate, and which things I need to do myself. The list also helps me keep track of which things I need to further educate myself on so that I can do them better in the future.
TF: How would you describe the culture of the Urban Office, and how does a city like Portland contribute to that culture?
EF: “When I discovered the coworking atmosphere, I was enamored with it. I love community and the growth, support and inspiration it fosters.” People thrive in work environments where they have support and a sense of belonging. The culture we have envisioned and are steadily cultivating at the Urban Office is one of community. A body of any sort is composed of many parts, and those parts become most effective when working together. I believe people are that way too, and people flourish in an environment where they can collaborate, develop ideas, get feedback, and gain inspiration from those around them. The population at Urban Office are thinkers, doers, and innovators. One can only anticipate growth and prosperity to come of their ventures in an environment that provides so much support.
Portland is ready for the coworking revolution. There is a lot of depth to the people in this town. It is a growing community of entrepreneurs, tech and business professionals, creatives and more which are being transplanted in this dynamic market. Coworking spaces are uniquely prepared to meet this growing class of professionals with the support that they need.
TF: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who have visions of success and goals to execute businesses here in Portland? How can the Urban Office contribute to these endeavors?
EF: “Don’t try to reinvent the wheel..” There is no reason to go it alone. With all of the resources available to you, and people willing to contribute to growing ideas, there is a lot of support available for entrepreneurs of today. Urban Office is an environment that encourages the best of all of us to perform and give our all to each day. It ignites the best of your ability, pushing you to bring your A-Game to your projects, while fostering a healthy environment. You can work out, prepare healthy meals, and build collaborative relationships all under one roof.
TF: What do you have in mind for future projects? Are you already working on another business venture?
I am very excited about various events we have scheduled here in the coming months. We have a broad range of events, from social things like happy hours to health and wellness activities, educational speakers and more all with an angle of enrichment for our members. Urban Office is really for businesses of all sorts, and by engaging in these events, people can eliminate large overhead costs, while edifying their businesses in so many ways with all the resources it provides.
EF: The Urban Office team is steadily growing and we have various team members with different strengths and insight to offer while we expand. I am excited about the amazing talent around me each day. You are only as good as the people around you. Sometimes in life, people can begin to feel inadequate, but we must remember that the people surrounding us are really what make us dynamic and strong. Freeman Motor Co, Urban Office, Dealer Consultant Pro, and several of the other businesses I operate would not be where they are today without an outstanding team. The people around me are what keep me going, and I am thrilled about the sense of community Urban Office has come to represent. We have all come together to create something which , in the end, is bigger than any one individual.
Log on the www.urbanofficeplace.com today to schedule your tour, and begin your success story now!