I’ve always fantasized about making Just Laugh real by having an actual office and employees and whatnot, so this was a surprisingly fun dream to find that I had not only found an office to work out of, but also someone to share it with in our humor writing adventures!
Apparently the “space” that we had found was more of a spare room or two that we’d found in the unused wing of a local hospital that we’d somehow convinced them to let us use for cheap.
For the most part we had the place to ourselves, though occasionally we’d hear doctors and nurses walking by our hallway late at night on their way out to the parking lot.
This became noticeable after being awoken one night overhearing them outside … because apparently I was single, so why wouldn’t I just sleep in this awesome place where I worked into the wee hours of the night to make humor for the masses, anyways?! 😉
Well, the next day i came in to find plastic draped everywhere because our wing was now under construction, and upon confronting the lady with the clipboard in charge, she made it clear that they were ready for us to go so that they could start using our space for actual hospital business again…
I argued that we had a lease, even though it literally had us paying something like $5/month or $50/month whereas the lady claimed that something closer to $5,000/month was what was fair for the space! Eventually the guy who our agreement was with showed up and sided with her, but said that if we really wanted to stay we should make a realistic offer for the space.
At one point he snickered that if we didn’t like the $5,000/month, maybe we could give them a percentage of our gross income, which even he knew sounded ridiculous … but that’s when my co-worker pulled me aside to point something out…
They didn’t actually know what our gross was – they just assumed that it was big because they saw us as this Internet company mooching off of them and not a couple of guys writing humor on the Internet and sleeping in our offices.
So I went back and told him that we’d do it for 1% of our gross, but there had to be some guarantees. Namely, we wanted it locked in for several years and if they wanted to reclaim our current space, they had to find us a better one – possibly over where they had some unused offices that had direct access and didn’t require walking through the hospital to get to them.
The guy snickered again because he thought he was pulling one over on us, whereas in reality we were just barely making enough money to pay for Hot Pockets and server fees and that was about it! We figured that 1% would actually be a decrease from the rent we were already paying, and if things really took off we could still handle it for a couple of years…
So in the end they fell for it and we got to move to an even better office that we stayed in until we were able to bring on two more people full-time. And even though the construction lady was being kind of a bitch, even she admitted that she read our site and thought we were really funny, so that was pretty satisfying, too. 🙂