So You’d Like to Use MinorOak for Free


Hi! It looks like you want to use MinorOak’s meeting room and/or flexible use area for free or below cost. I wrote this blog post specifically so I could send you the link to it. Read on…

Members Use MinorOak for Free

Are you a member? If so, you’re on! The meeting room is yours – all you have to do is book it – and you can use the flexible use space two to 12 times a year for free depending on your membership level, half price if you use up all your free hours. Thanks so much for contributing to the MinorOak Community. I will do everything I can to support your business, and you can use MinorOak for your volunteer work, community work and hobbies, as well. You are one of my favourite people in the world. I’m not kidding.

Other Sneinton Market Businesses Get a Discount

Are you another Sneinton Market business? If so, you get a 30% discount on MinorOak meetings and events. Just stop by and we’ll get you scheduled in. I love you guys. We are going to work together and make Sneinton Market into a huge success!

Other People Almost Always Pay Full Price

Are you someone other than a member or Sneinton Market neighbour? If you want to use MinorOak for your meeting or event, the guidelines and costs are on the Events Page. If you want the space for free or at a discount, you’re asking me for a personal favour.

I might say yes! I am a community-minded person, and I care about many issues. But you have to ask, and you have to give me good reasons why I should contribute to your cause, because yes, if you use MinorOak for free or at a discount, I am making a contribution to your cause.

Who AM I to make that bold statement?

Nice to Meet You!

Hi. I’m Dee Miller and I own MinorOak Coworking. MinorOak was not funded by the government or by a charity. It’s a self-funded micro-business. I designed MinorOak Coworking, and my husband and I paid for the fit-out from our very limited savings. I even did some of the construction work myself. I’m expecting to have to pay into MinorOak from my saving account for a few more months to cover the bills. And I’m expecting to work for free – as the fit-out gets paid back into our savings account – for at least an additional year after it starts to break even on a month-to-month basis. I am working 60-hour weeks right now.

That’s me, and although I look friendly, I may actually be kind of annoyed with you.

Why I’m a Bit Irritated

I’m paying for the rent, business rates, broadband, refreshments, water and electricity. I’m the person who rearranges the furniture before and after your meeting or event, and I’m the person that wipes down the tables, sweeps, mops, loads and unloads the dishwasher, cleans the toilets, and drives to the wholesaler to buy things for the space. Bryan and I paid for the walls, the floor coverings, the plumbing, the electrical outlets, the heaters, the furniture, the electronic equipment, the dishes, the appliances, the cupboards and everything else that makes MinorOak more than an empty shell with a mezzanine roughed in. And I’m the person who will have to stay late or come in on a weekend to set up and clean up your meeting or event.

“But Working for Free is What Getting Started in Business is All About!”

Yep. Bryan and I took a risk and now I’m working my ass off to make it pay off, both in terms of helping people and earning an income. I can assure you, all the work I’m doing right now is an unpaid investment in the business, and I’ve paid in a lot of cash as well. And if you’re in business, you might also need to make a monetary investment to help get things rolling or pick up new clients, just like I have, which brings us to…

“But the Event I’m Planning is Going to Be Free!”

If you’ve asked to use MinorOak for free so you can do a free taster workshop that will help establish you as an expert and win you clients, paying for the space is part of the investment you should be making. When you gain that respect and land those clients, you won’t be sending me royalty cheques. And unless you’re also working with bricks and mortar, your business was almost certainly cheaper to start up than mine was. If you’re not interested in joining the community as a MinorOak member, then I think you can kick in that £50 for your free workshop.

“But We’re a Community Organisation / Charity / Social Enterprise”

That’s cool. I’d love to have your event in my space. Do you have public funding or charitable contributions to work with? If you do, then you’re probably better funded than I am. Maybe you can afford to pay for my meeting/events space. MinorOak isn’t expensive. I don’t automatically contribute monetarily to every non-profit, which is what you’re asking me to do if you want to use the space for free.

On the other hand, I’m open to negotiation. I might be convinced to contribute to your cause by waiving the cleaning fee, giving you free refreshments – that sort of thing. Talk to me about your organisation and your event. Ask for my help. Find out if it’s something I’m passionate about and want to donate my time and money for, even when both are in short supply. Maybe you can use MinorOak for free, but you have to ask; you can’t just assume.

So, Can I Use MinorOak for Free or at a Discount?

If you’re not a MinorOak member, then you probably can’t use the space for free. If you’re not a member or Sneinton Market tenant, then you probably can’t use it at a discount. But you’re welcome to ask. Just remember that you’re asking me to work for free, take time away from home, and pay the expenses for your event – so be prepared to make a strong case. MinorOak is SO important to me, but my home life is important, too.

What do you think?