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These two brothers turned an unused space in their home into a hub for freelancers in Kathmandu: Story of ‘Work Around’

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After you cross the Kalopul bridge, a vintage looking restaurant made of bamboo welcomes you at the opposite of Bhandareshwor Temple. Inside the cafe is a new startup that has become a buzzword in the town recently.

As you enter the space, the cool environment brings vibes on you.

Two brothers Dadhi Ram Poudel and Tanka Ram Poudel had originally designed the whole space to start a café and a training center. But, as it turned out to be too budget intensive, they rented out the café to a third person. Then they came up with an idea of utilizing the space in an innovative way, hence began the journey of Work Around. The place has currently turned into a hub for freelancers in the town.

Poudel brothers had designed everything on their own, and set the interior of the space. They had completed the construction of whole work on their own, following the DIY concept; from electrical works, paintings, decoration, lights and almost everything..

“After renting out the café, we sat together and discussed on ‘what now?’,” Says Dadhi.

The inside space was always considered as a venue for training and conducting workshop. But, when they sold off the café, they thought that it is going to remain unused. So, they wanted to do something else with the space. They came up with an idea of turning it into a shared working space and helping people who really want to start something, especially the freelancers and other individuals.

The concept

The concept of starting the space is more about connecting the people. “Why would a person go to spend so much of money while starting something?” Asks Dadhi. “We started it with a concept: Care, Share and Grow Together. Something amazing can happen when the freelancers gather and start to work together. Instead of spending a lot of money right in the beginning on building up a work-space, they can just come here and rent a space, and start working,” he adds.

The pricing

At Work Around, you can rent work-space for 25 rupees per hours for one person. If you are willing to rent a seat for whole one day, it costs you 200 rupees, Rs. 1200 a week, and Rs. 4500 a month. In case you want to become a premium member, it will cost you Rs. 3999. And, becoming a premium member means you own a place for a whole month, from 9 am-6 pm.

A total of 28 people (4 each in 7 tables) can work-together from the space. Along with the co-working space, there is also an availability of a meeting room.

Visitors’ response so far

As it is located at Kalopul, they were really cynical in the beginning.

“But, it’s been a wonderful experience for us. Every day, many youths come visit the place. And, response from them is very amazing. It’s much more than we had expected. We are also getting a lot of responses on social media,” says Dadhi.

Just within two weeks of starting the business, they have already got 4000 organic likes on Facebook. Not only Nepalis, expats also can be seen working from the space.

“It is very amazing. We hadn’t expected that our idea would get accepted by people in such a way. It was like we threw an atom bomb, and it exploded. It was really not expected. People are tagging one another, and talking and sharing about it on social media. It has made us clear on how many people are in need of such working spaces. They are always searching for a place like this that provides all the facilities a modern work-space has, where they can simply go and work,” Dadhi shares with enthusiasm.

“One of the visitors in the first day itself responded me, Dai, you need to make ‘Work Around’ a brand.’ It’s really wonderful!” Dadhi recalls.

Their very first client in the opening day became a premium member. And, many of the visitors are regulars.

Who is the place suitable for?

The place is especially suitable for freelancers, or those who want to work on their startup idea, but don’t want to invest a lot of money in setting up office space in the beginning. They can be there without the hassle of rent, the internet, bathroom, fooding, etc.

The challenges

It was challenging for them to start, as they had to change their idea of a café into a shared working space. Finding all the resources to build up the space in the present shape was no less challenging.

And, every other day is an exam for them as they are just beginning. And, every day is different.

The future

As they are getting numerous responses from people on the need of opening branch, they are also considering for the same. But, instead of opening new branches around the town on their own, they will be starting a franchise model. “We simply want to help others setup the space, make basic guidelines, make sure that the place looks equally good,” shares Tanka, adding, “But, before we jump into the franchising model, we would polish our own system and develop it into a more organized business.”

Within a two-year’s duration, they have set a vision to grow the company to at least five times larger than it in the current state.

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To the emerging entrepreneurs:

“Whenever you are planning to start out something, you really have to feel the vibe. You need to sense it is going to work. There will be mountains of hurdles out there,” says Dadhi. “Problems will be there. If there wouldn’t be any problems, why should people ask for a solution? There are problems, so will be the solutions. Keep fighting, keep doing your job, and keep pushing yourself,” shares Dadhi to the aspiring entrepreneurs.

“You should communicate constantly with your co-founders and clients. Most importantly, you should cut down your cost. If you bleed too much early, your business will die. Start small. If possible, follow DIY,” suggests Tanka to the budding entrepreneurs.

Startups for a better Nepal!

Presentation: Basanta Kumar Dhakal