So, you want to start a coworking community?
Awesome. We’re glad to have you on board.
Your first step? Don’t start a coworking community. At least, not yet.
Starting a coworking community is just like starting a business: do your due dilligence. Find out what else is out there. Find out who else in your area is doing similar things.
Meet as many people as you can, and listen to what they’re doing and what they need.
Only after you’ve gotten a really good view of the landscape will you be able to know whether there is a need that needs to be fulfilled. Along th way, odds are good that you will also have encountered the people who will help you build this community, either as collaborators or as members. Keep talking to both these types of people.
In the meantime, join the Coworking Google Group and start reading and participating. This is the collective brain trust of community organizers around the world, and the sheer brain power between these great folks is something not to be missed.
Okay, I did my homework, and we still need an awesome community where the current stuff doesn’t cut it. Now what?
Sweet, let’s continue!
The next and most important thing to keep in mind is the following: your goal is to become an agent of the people. To build a healthy, successful community, then the community must be theirs, and not just yours. Imposing your views on the community pushes people away. Empowering the community members to participate and contribute to the operations and growth of that community guarantees that it fills the needs of its members and strengthens bonds.
Your job is to manage that ever-morphing public opinion, and to use your judgment when decisions need to be made in the best interests of the community. Managing the community doesn’t mean that you do what everyone wants without question– it’s your job to determine where the real needs are and what direction to take the group.
Keeping a open mind moving forward is going to be important, because your plans are going to change a lot along the way– especially if you start working on opening a full-time coworking space.
But more on that later