Fine Art by Michelle Micalizzi
(All Rights Reserved)
My muse this week is Francisco Aguirre. Francisco owns The Office Pile.
WHY FRANCISCO QUALIFIES TO BE ONE OF THE 2016 FEARLESS THIRTEEN.
The Office Pile’s website home page states that the space is “Inspirational. Affordable. Energetic. Community Minded. Empowering. Artistic. Hip. Causal. Flexible” I could not have said it better. Recently named one of the top co-working spaces in the world by Symmetry50, this historical space is expertly designed and displays wonderfully bright colored and culturally diverse art by Pablo Luna, Lalo Cota, Emma Garcia, Yucel, Tato Caraveo, Benji Sakoia, Adam Bomb The Artist, Abe Zucca, and Tarva to name just a few. A sample of some of the membership benefits at The Office Pile(TOP) include: office equipment, conference rooms, workshop areas, 24/7 access, high speed internet access, and a mailing address. You can purchase memberships on a drop-in, weekly or monthly basis for yourself or for a team of e4up to five. The space is also ideal for events, larger meetings and parties.
I am impressed with the work that Francisco does with his TOP Foundation. The foundation’s mandate is to “empower, cultivate, and educate culturally diverse entrepreneurs by providing funding, access to capital, office space, and technical assistance during the initial stages of their business development.” TOP Foundation’s programs include: Survivors ‘N Fuego supporting survivors of traumatic events; Entrepreneurs ‘N Fuego, a multi-media broadcast show for entrepreneurs in Arizona that documents the journey of local businessmen and women; SEA MAS: School for Entrepreneurship Advancement/Mentorship Accountability Sustainability that promotes workshop, seminar and training classes; MENTORSHIP through its association with ASU’s School for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Entrepreneurs ‘N Fuego project; a Power Breakfast at TOP every Monday from 8:30-9:30 AM; and supporting local urban artists by exhibiting their work.
The Office Pile is now expanding as they have moved from their original location on 7th Street in Phoenix to a new location in the McCormick Heritage Building on Hayden Blvd. in Scottsdale. I am sure that the new location will be as dynamic and inviting as the first location was!
Francisco was nominated by one of last year’s Fearless 13 and a fellow NAWBO (National Association for Women Business Owners) member, Jackie Waszalek, owner of Splash Printing an Marketing. Thank you Jackie for such a great introduction.
The three biggest things that impress me the most about Francisco are:
- His very active commitment to community.
- His focused and high level of energy.
- His practical get it done one bite at a time approach to managing fear and problem solving.
In a nutshell….
Francisco is a maverick and a way maker. He is the kind of entrepreneur that trusts his gut. Initially he was not quite sure what the 7th Street building would become but by trusting his gut and keeping his ear to the ground, he came up with a “fluke” opportunity and then ran with it. His out-of-the box thinking is an asset to any business owner or organization that aligns themselves with him. Entrepreneurism is actually an art form. Francisco is an artist. As I worked on Francisco’s illustration he was making another mad dash to take advantage of an offer he could not refuse. The opportunity to sell his 7th Street location required that he decide quickly, which required that he move to the new location over one weekend. That is how big opportunities are actualized, with hard work and sweat equity. I have no doubt that Francisco will be as successful, if not more so, in his new location.
Francisco took a few minutes out to answer the five Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Questions.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM FRANCISCO ABOUT BEING FEARLESS?
1.) Trust in the Luck of a Fluke
Francisco trusts his gut. He can jump before he knows all the details because he can smell a good opportunity even though he does not know all the details yet. He knew the 7th Street location was a gold mine for something; he just wasn’t exactly sure what that would be at the time of purchase. He organically let his idea for The Office Pile and the TOP Foundation grow. He also knows when a good location has outlived its purpose and it is time to take advantage of a good deal. He sold the space to a bridal store buyer and now moves on to more adventures in his new Scottsdale location.
2.) Anticipation and Adrenaline are GREAT antidotes for Fear
There is a gorge outside of the town where I grew up in Vermont. It is one of those mystical childhood places where we all learned to manage our fear. There is a jumping off place that not all of us dared to jump from. It is that place where your anticipation and adrenaline has to take hold of you so that you can ignore the fear of killing yourself on the rocks or maiming your legs on the tree branches on the way down. Francisco educates himself and allows this state of anticipation and increased adrenaline level to be the antidote to his fears. He just manages his risk the best he can and jumps, trusting that it will all work out if he takes it one jump at a time.
3.) How do you Eat an Elephant – One Bite at a Time
Francisco and I share an experience. We both found out that we had made significant investments in buildings that needed a lot more work than we originally thought at the time of purchase. I recall how I felt when I got the list of building violations from the Vermont State Fire Marshal that the former owners did not respond to correctly. News like that can make you want to throw up. Then, you do what Francisco did. You put the time in and deal with each violation, one at a time to get it all done. The process of spending that kind of money and energy on getting a space open changes you. It makes you stronger and even more fearless than you were before just by surviving it successfully! Good for you Francisco!
4.) Expand Sustainably
Francisco knows that the only way to grow a membership-based organization is by practicing ongoing relationship development every day. In order to grow, one must put the time and energy into your members and maintain something special so that they keep coming back. He humbly admits this was a lesson he had to learn but that he has indeed learned it. He celebrates the “Scrappers” of the world; business owners who roll up their sleeves, who get down and dirty to make it happen every day.
5.) Fear is Finite
Francisco says that most of our fears can be written down and reduced to a few pages. He says once we know our fears are finite then they are malleable and we can tackle them head on, one fear at a time. He believes that most fears have one of two solutions: money or time. Once again, he too agrees with many of the other Fearless 13 from 2015 and 2016 that having fear is actually healthy and a motivator. You cannot avoid fear but you can manage it.
Thank you so much Francisco for taking the time out to be one of the Fearless 13! I look forward to seeing you again at the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Art Opening on May 14th at the Walter Gallery from 7-10PM.
Note from the Artist
FRANCISCO’S ILLUSTRATION’S STORY:
I have always been a believer in writing stuff down and seeing it in black and white in order to accept and deal with all types of emotions and decisions. The mere act of writing things down often dispels your fears. So the notebook and the two solutions of money and time is what Franciso’s illustration is all about. Hands to me are the universal symbol of community which Francisco embraces completely in every way. The Light bulb is the universal symbol to the entrepreneur. In this case the light bulbs are strung together in solidarity illuminating the open book which is the collective space.
SAVE THE DATES:
The Art of Fearlessly Doing Business!
Press Viewing (by invitation only): Friday, May 13 6-8PM
Opening: Saturday, May 14th 7-10PM
Conversation with the Artist: Saturday, May 21 7-9PM
Closing Reception: Thursday, June 9th 6-9PM
10% Proceeds donated to the Arizona Consortium of the Arts
Walter Art Gallery
6425 East Thomas Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85257