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How To Avoid Disaster When Starting A Coworking Space

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6. Do things not from fear, but from love.

Yes! Yes! Yes! As true in business, as it is in life. Don’t do things from fear. Do them from love! Once it became apparent that things weren’t quite going to plan, I did everything from fear. Actually, if I’m brutally honest, I did things from fear from day dot.

I started the space because I was scared of being alone. I was feeling trapped and like a prisoner in my own home.  Total victim. It was from this headspace, that I came up with the idea (and then discovered there was a movement that had just started to gain some traction in Australia).

Note: Starting a business from a personal emotional need that isn’t being met (like recognition, belonging) is NOT A GOOD MOVE!

It was fear that saw me sign the lease… the space ticked most of the boxes on my list and was affordable.  rushed in for fear of missing out. Oh FOMO, you motherfucker!

When things were rapidly going southward, I continued down this fear slippery dip. And it led me to lose touch with the one thing I had… my own intuition and guidance. Which brings me to…

7. Trust your instincts!

Fear often gets in the way and clouds your inner guidance, but it’s so important to take time out from your current state and think about things when you are in a clearer headspace. I didn’t do this. I was in a constant state of anxiety… and that’s not conducive to good decision making. I lost all control and gave my power up to anyone within ear shot. Constantly asking for others advice… and help. Next point…

8. Be specific

After telling everyone my woe filled story, people were always offering advice. I implemented a lot of it… anything was worth a shot.  But, the thing is… they weren’t my customer! They were willing to offer well intended advice (which was so nice) but not willing to help me pay the bills. That’s what I needed  help with! I really needed money. And instead of indulging myself in self pity, I should have asked for what I really wanted. Or at least been very specific about what I needed help with: What can you do to help? Invite half a dozen self employed friends to the space to work with you for a few hours. Do you have any contacts that might be able to get me some free publicity? Can you watch the space while I go for a run and clear my head? Do you have any experience with crowd funding? Could you help me launch a campaign?

Ask for what you want or need help with… and be specific!

9. Be in it for the long haul

Patience and longevity is the key with coworking, so if you can’t hang in there for the long haul, don’t even bother entertaining the idea. The romantic notion is that you’ll be in a funky space, working alongside super inspiring peeps, improving your social life and your business. And while that can be true, the reality is long hours, lots of hustling, managing peoples emotions and behaviour and money, money, money. If you still think you’ve got what it takes, go for it! Those moments of serendipity and belonging are definitely pretty fucking amazing!

10. It IS about the money.

During my time, I kept coming up against one thing I really hadn’t considered at all. Money. And who was making it.  Being ‘for profit’ was a big stumbling block.  Free press loved the concept, but because I was a traditional business, weren’t willing to give me exposure unless I paid for advertising. I did find creative ways around this… but generally, not a lot of love. If I were ‘non-profit’ things would have been very different. I might even have been able to get sponsorship or a grant or two. And, let’s be honest about this… non-profit doesn’t mean no one makes money. And being ‘for profit’ doesn’t mean anyone makes any money.

Regardless, I believe people should be rewarded, in all ways, for doing their bit to make the world a better place.  And, at the end of the day, a business is not a business if it’s not making money. It’s a hobby.

11. Look at the big picture

This was the game changer for me. I had someone ask me a very simple question: "Imagine this space, in all it’s success… is that worth what you are going through now?"

The answer, for me, was no.

So, there you have it. Hope I don’t sound like a total Debbie Downer! I’m sooooooooo not! What I do want you to get from this, if anything, is to go in with your eyes wide open. Have the hard conversations with yourself.

Coworking can be fucking amazing. But, in order for it to work, you need to go in prepared for anything.

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Karly is a born communicator - ex-radio jock, producer & copywriter, and has run her successful Voice Over Agency for over a decade. Find more information about her experience and her work on her websiteFor Karly's backstory, head here.

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Related articles: 

How to Start a Coworking Space

How to Open a Second Coworking Space

10 Essential Resources For Starting a Coworking Space

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