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“Coworking? I love coworking…I am actually thinking of opening my own space.” If you are involved in the coworking community, even just a bit, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard someone say this at one point in time. It’s no surprise that the coworking bug has bitten not just individual freelancers, but companies and corporations as well. In just one year, there are 83% percent more coworking spaces, and as is often the case when an innovative concept takes off, everybody wants to be a part of the action.
By Amanda Gray - Friday, 28 June 2013

Marissa Feinberg, co-founder of Greenspaces, which has been open since May of 2008, explained that people often think that opening a coworking space is easy. If you have the funds, it theoretically could be, but it’s opening a coworking space that can stand the test of time and offers coworkers real challenges and experience that proves to be the real challenge.

For those who are new to coworking, or looking to open their own spaces, veterans like The Old Church Space in Somerset England, and the above mentioned Greenspaces, which has two locations in New York City and Denver, Colorado, are two great models of longevity of coworking spaces as the movement matures. 

In the beginning…

Starting a new project is always exciting, but the inevitable difficulties can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed and alienated. It seems that common challenges faced by the owners of coworking spaces often fall into the realm of how to satisfy their coworkers and also make the most efficient use of the space, while simultaneously remaining financially secure. Luckily Feinberg told Deskmag to always remember that you are not alone…

“We found that challenges we have had are also challenges for others, such as dealing with privacy, noise and respect. Before we felt a bit alone when we faced a problem, but then we all realized these things are common difficulties that we all share together and because of that we can help others to deal with these challenges,” explained Feinberg.

The Greenspaces co-founder also emphasized the importance of sharing good practices as a way to alleviate some of the commonplace stress that you or others will experience when putting a coworking space together. 

A Vision of Success: find your look

Where there’s a will, there’s a way right? Of course we would all like to believe that if you want something bad enough, you could have it. But in reality we cannot control everything and failure is always a possibility.  Yet, these coworking spaces have found ways to not only keep their spaces afloat, but to also allow their projects to grow and thrive over time.

“I would say that the design of the space is a very important element to future success---everything down to the tech, the furniture and the conference room,” said Feinberg.

In the beginning Greenspaces used borrowed furniture, which Feinberg felt gave the new space a really good feel. But once you get a handle on how you want to present your coworking space to the world, it could pay off to invest in some nice furniture and equipment for the space. Feinberg suggests doing some serious research. “Really get a feel for what the best possible design would be. You don’t want to spend too much money and have you idea go nowhere. Look into different suppliers as well, such as Steelcase, who are dedicated to the industry. Because a vibrant space really brings people back. 

▶ Next page: Know Your Community before you open your doors

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