Starting and running a successful coworking community is a tremendously fulfilling but deceptively elusive proposition. There are countless details to be accounted for in the course of planning the project, implementing it, and then maintaining and improving it over time.
Even if you think you’ve got most of your needs accounted for, there are always some nagging challenges that you can’t seem to shake.
This is where my consultancy comes in. I will work with you to identify the easiest and most impactful ways you can address your challenges and set your community up to not only be stronger in the short term but to be systematically improving and revitalizing itself over time.
As someone who’s built successful coworking communities over the course of eight years, I’ve seen everything that can go right and wrong, and can help you steer clear of the landmines and find the shortest path to a better way to be for yourself and your people.
I believe the world needs better coworking communities. More people need to know that there are places they can go and ways they can gather to support each other, without having to go it on their own. If I can help you help other people to find and connect with each other, then we’ve both done a very good thing.
Here’s how it works:
Who are you?
I work with people involved in or interested in being involved in coworking at all levels, so let’s see how I can best be of help to you in your particular situation:
1. You’re new to coworking.
You’re developing a new project, or thinking about it. There’s nothing worse than being the only person in a big empty space, wondering how you’re ever going to find the people you need—so let’s make sure you get things right before you flip the switch. Let’s talk about:
- How to know that there’s a need for your space before you commit to renting one
- How to find your potential members, hiding in plain sight in existing communities all around you
- How to recruit your first members as not just customers but champions and cornerstones of your new community’s culture
- How to find the right space, the right way
- Things to look out for when negotiating your lease so you don’t end up in trouble later
- How to furnish your space on a budget without sacrificing aesthetics
- How to design management systems that minimize labor while ensuring things still run smoothly
- How to decide on membership levels and price points to ensure people find the levels they want
- How to raise money using your growing community as your launch pad
…and countless more things I’m probably not thinking of that might come up for you as you plan.
Building a coworking community from scratch can be intimidating. If you bring me on to help you out, I can guarantee you’ll have someone to talk to who’s been there before and can help smooth out the big questions, and the small ones.
2. You’re building a coworking community, but struggling.
You’ve got your space, things are up and running, but there’s still work to be done. This is an extremely common but precarious place to be, so let’s get you out of there! We can focus on topics including:
- How to get members talking to each other, especially when there are only a few of them in a relatively large space.
- How to attract new members when the place may be empty
- What programs to run to make your space more attractive
- How to handle common administrative and management challenges that can drain your energy every day
- How to improve the design of your space to make it more conducive to facilitating better community
Every business struggles, and coworking is no different. But it doesn’t mean you should have to suffer, either. If things aren’t going as well as you’d like in your space, contact me and let’s see if there’s a way I can help you get on the right track.
3. You’re running a space and it’s going well, but you want to do better.
Let’s talk about how you can secure your community’s health and vitality for the future by removing things that might fail over time, building resilient cultural constructs that are designed to refresh themselves, and future-proofing yourself against changes in the market. In particular:
- How to ensure community that’s strong today stays strong tomorrow. People come and go and things shift over time. How can you ensure your community continues to thrive for many years to come without putting a constant burden on yourself?
- How to build systems to more consistently and easily facilitate strong community without lots of effort on your part
- How to avoid burnout when everything’s working but it’s depending too much on you or someone on your team
- How to future-proof yourself against rising rents and the inevitable end of your lease
If you’re running a successful coworking community, then you’re already doing a lot of good for yourself and those around you. Let’s ensure what you’ve built has everything it needs to thrive for years to come.
My process follows three basic phases: Evaluate, Identify, and Implement. Each exercise will be valuable unto itself, with the subsequent phase building on the previous.
1. Evaluate what’s happening.
We begin by looking at how things currently work. What’s working well? What needs attention? What hasn’t been addressed at all? Let’s get a really good sense of how community works in your space right now, so we can make informed decisions as to how to proceed from here.
I’ll walk you through an evaluation of your current situation. Your responses will identify the key strengths and challenges of your current situation, which will form a foundation for where we’ll direct our attention through the rest of the process.
2. Identify opportunities.
With all the necessary information in hand, we’ll now identify the best opportunities to make improvements to culture and operations. We’ll look at simple tactical shifts that will be highly impactful yet easy to implement, while also charting out longer-term goals to work towards over time.
I’ll analyze your evaluation and develop recommendations for next steps you can take. I’ll prioritize my recommendations by what I believe will be most impactful and identify opportunities for collaboration.
3. Implement solutions.
I’ll work with you to develop a blueprint for implementing these changes in your space over the coming weeks and months. As you go through the process of implementation, I’ll check in regularly to assess progress and make necessary adjustments.
After our discussion, I’ll follow up with an Implementation Plan based on what we learned from our previous conversation.
I’ve worked with communities large and small in various capacities. These include:
- 312 Main – An ambitious project to redevelop a former police station in central Vancouver.
- Vi / Bell Works – An effort to redevelop the 2,000,000 square foot campus that was the former home of Bell Labs in Holmdel, NJ into a cultural center for innovation for the entire state.
- Playworking, an adventure coworking project in Montenegro.
- The Downtown Project – Tony Hsieh’s ambitious effort to reshape downtown Las Vegas and make it what he hopes to one day be the “coworking capital of the world.”
- Hive at 55 – The first coworking space to be run by a business improvement district, the Hive at 55 was a production of Manhattan’s Downtown Alliance as part of their ongoing effort to attract new businesses and residents to lower Manhattan. It was succeeded in 2015 by the super awesome LMHQ.
- Halton Hive – A coworking community in Burlington, Ontario. Along with my collaborator Susan, successfully trained them on starting and running a Cotivation group
- Cowork Waldo – A coworking community in Kansas City. Along with my collaborator Susan, successfully trained them on starting and running a Cotivation group
Depending on the nature of the project, I may invite one or several of my friends to join the project. I’ve had the great privilege of meeting many talented and remarkable people since first discovering coworking in 2007, so I can easily bring on people whose expertise may be appropriate for your particular needs. These collaborators and potential collaborators include:
- Amy Segreti, of Live All of You, the Activated Man Program, and Twine Magazine. She’s the creator of the Holistic Day Design system and my personal coach and life partner. In addition to being someone who has passionately studied the coworking movement for several years now, Amy’s knack of editing and copywriting helps ensure any project gets its message across to the intended audience better than it would have had she not been involved.
- Angel Kwiatkowski, of CoHere in Fort Collins. In addition to starting the first coworking space in Fort Collins, Angel is an active voice in online coworking discussions, a frequent speaker at conferences, and is the author of several eBooks about coworking.
- Ashley Proctor of Foundery, Creative Blueprint, Coworking Toronto, Coworking Ontario, COHIP, GCUC Canada, and more. Her extensive resume fails to capture the breadth of her talent and passion.
- Craig Baute of Creative Density in Denver. Aside from being perhaps the most charming man I’ve met in the coworking movement, he’s got an incredible talent for market research and business planning. Few people in the coworking world have his combination of vision for the importance and impact of coworking combined with the business acumen to develop scaleable, sustainable projects.
- Jacob Sayles of Office Nomads, one of the great inventors of the coworking movement. Jacob has an uncanny ability to size up a problem and come up with a creative solution, often thinking up ideas you never would have imagined.
- Peter Chislett of New Work City, Open MHealth, and numerous ventures. The guru of coworking business planning.
- Susan Dorsch of Office Nomads and my collaborator in Cotivation. Susan combines her years of experience with the coworking movement with her natural creative and problem-solving skills to find simple and straightforward solutions to seemingly complex problems. All with a smile.
If you’re interested in working with me, fill out the application form below:
I’ll get back to you promptly.