smplr times 003: Change is good

Hey there,

If you look back at grand opening photos of hygge, the coworking space we run, it is nearly unrecognizable. Over the last 2 1/2 years we have evolved the space to fit the changing needs of our community. On day one we opened with 8 dedicated desks available. For months we could not get a single person to take one of those desks. We removed them.

Now, years later we’re doubling down on dedicated due to the demand. Less than 3 hours ago I was building new sit/standing desks and transforming the once dedicated, now flex membership space back into a dedicated desk area. More than half are committed and we’re confident in filling the rest over the next couple weeks. At $250 per desk, this is a significant bump in monthly revenue.

What’s the catch? Coworking is not a set it and forget it type of business. Watch how people use it. Don’t be afraid to bend what you’re used to, especially if the demand is there. If someone needs a desk for a monitor and are willing to pay, we try our hardest to find a place to put them. It’s good business and they’ll be forever grateful for the accommodation.

Now, here’s a couple must read articles for the week.

📝 From Please Wash Your Mugs, a blog by me, Garrett
Should I offer free coworking days?
Yes, you should but on any day the potential member wants. Don’t create events around coworking. You run the risk of creating an adverse environment and failing to deliver on what actual coworking is like. Read our story.

👮‍♂️ From Allwork, a blog dedicated to flexible working
How To Protect Your Pricing With a Map Policy
I recently discovered my 3 locations listed on coworker.com. I never created these listings, added any of the photos or pricing info. If you’re big into leveraging the reseller market for your space then this is a must-read.

🤯 From the Sage journals
Augmented space planning: Using procedural generation to automate desk layouts
Holy crap this is some super nerdy way into creating space stuff but I had to share. A post from WeWork about their procedurally generated desk layouts for any office shape and size. For us we drop desks in a space and move them 23 times before it’s perfect, and then it’s still not. Nerds.

🛍️ From Retail Dive, a retail news site
Is Co-working The Next Hot Retail Concept
Whether you’re a big space or a small town indie space you should be keeping up with the trends in coworking. I’m always looking for new ways to leverage each location. Food for thought as your grow.

Also, it’s coworking, not co-working.


Now for your smpl update. While we’re putting the finish touches on the resource booking feature I thought I’d share a peek behind the dev curtain real quick. While building new features we’re constantly on the lookout for bugs. 🐛

This past week was one of the more comical ones. A new hygge coworking member was signing up and came across the Intern add-on. $99/month and we’ll sell you an intern, or at least that’s how he took it. We created this to add to a couple people who were going to have summer interns and wanted to pay using the same card. Turns out the hidden add-on feature wasn’t working. A quick fix and boom, we’re no longer selling interns. 😅

That’s it. Big week ahead. Hope y’all are excited for what’s to come.

Until next time,
Garrett

smplr times 002: Everything is on 🔥

Hey there,

You’re gonna have moments where everything feels on 🔥. I promise. Literally as I’m typing this 2 of our 3 locations are nearly inoperable. One is having water repairs done, which means no bathrooms, coffee, sinks, anything for the first half of the day. Another just lost power because of an accident in the area. No door access, internet, HVAC. The thing your members are paying for… yup, they can’t use it.

So what happened? We communicated the issues using our hygge slack channel and posted updates as we had them. In the end, the ⚡ came back on, the 🚪 opened, the the ☕ started flowing. Oh, and not a single 😡 in over 250 people.

Remember, you’re building a community, it’s a shared space and there’s likely 23 variables that could be introduced on a daily basis that’ll mess something up. If you’ve made it clear you know there’s an issue and you’re working like a mad person to fix it you’ll be fine. If someone doesn’t understand I’d question if they are a good fit for what you’re trying to build.

Now let’s take a look at this weeks top articles.

📸 From Please Wash Your Mugs. A blog by me!
Marketing Your Coworking Space Instagram – Part 1
I went down a rabbit hole creating this article and had to cut it off. It’s going to be 3 parts when it’s all said and done. IMO, Instagram is the most important social media platform for coworking spaces. These are my experiences. I hope they are helpful.

🙋🏻‍♀️ Meet Jenny Poon of Co+Hoots. From AllWork.Space
How Coworking Spaces Can Engage Local Communities
Supporting and engaging the community outside of your walls can be a struggle. Where do you start? Where do you find the time? Jenny of Co+Hoots has done an incredible job of just this. Give this a read to learn how.

👷‍♂️ We should all be thinking what if this happened to me?
Ballpark Building, Home to Thrive Coworking Sells for 8.6m
If you’re in a high growth market, like me here in Charlotte you might think about this often. What if someone bought the building and decided apartments were a better fit for our location? What if my rent sky rockets? Does my lease protect me? I share this only to make people think what if. Stay tuned for a mugs.gripe post on the topic.

⏬ Because we all need a little reminder. From AllWork.Space
Without Reinvention WeWorks Valuation Could Crumble
Too many indie spaces let WeWork bring unneeded pressure to their day to day. Most of us are very different things. While our business models are based on membership revenue, WW is building something different. Don’t let them distract you and take advantage of their marketing of the word “coworking” cause that’s actually what you do.

Has anyone read the The Coworking Handbook? I’m not endorsing it. I haven’t read it and I’m super skeptical. Send me an email to [email protected], please.

Now for your weekly smpl development update. We’re close to releasing version one of the resource booking feature. Sean and Mike are crushing the finishing touches. It looks and feels so freaking good. Soon. Stay tuned.

If there’s anything I can ever do to help don’t hesitate to send me an email to [email protected]. I’m here to help.

Until next time,
Garrett

smplr times 001: We get it

We get it. You’re all busy. There’s 46 things to get done. You don’t have enough staff and for the love of all things holy, can Janine stop sharing her personal escapades in dating from Friday night. 😰

Welcome to coworking. We’re in the same boat with you running hygge. Sometimes we’re riding waves of highs and other times we’re up a creek with no paddle. The best thing we can all do is find ways to support each other.

So with that, we’re introducing smplr times, a weekly newsletter, delivered every Monday morning giving you all the tips, encouragement, and resources you need to run your coworking space. We also hope to use this to be a little more transparent about smpl’s dev process.

Let’s do this.

📝 From our own smpl blog.
Template for Membership Guidelines
Hopefully you’re having members agree to some rule set or guidelines. Here’s a copy of the one we use at hygge. Feel free to take & alter as much as you’d like.

🙁 From a coworking space that closed it’s doors in 2016. Still relevant.
On December 31st, We’re closing our doors for good and here’s why
Still one of the best and most transparent looks at running a coworking space and just how difficult it is to keep it rolling. I keep this article handy every time I question what I’m doing. It’s awesome that they used their shutting down as an opportunity to educate.

👪 From the AllWork.Space blog by Cat Johnson.
Insights & Tough Love from an Old Coworking Hippie. Meet Jeannine Van Der Linden
I had the pleasure of snagging some of Jeannine’s time not too long ago and I promise, she’s awesome. One of the good ones, Jeannine is no BS and understands what it takes to push coworking forward.

🔔 From Dallas Innovates.
As Coworking Market Grows, Local Operators Look to Stand Out With Unique Amenities
I’m still not sure coworking is in need of expanded amenity sets. I meet a lot of spaces that struggle perfecting the core feature set of reliable internet, decent in-house coffee, community building, etc. I share this to keep you aware of the conversation but also to encourage you to crush basic coworking before stepping into uncharted territory.

📫 From Mugs.Gripe, a blog written by me, smpl cofounder Garrett Tichy.
Should you let members use your address for business purposes?
The answer is… yes! But make sure you price is accordingly and make it very easy for members to take advantage of.

Now for a quick smpl update. The resource booking feature is our “Are we there yet?”. It’s universally needed and we get it. We’re hard at work and surprise, we’re not far off from putting version one into the world. Peek a screen below and read more about it here.

I want this to be valuable. It takes a long time to hunt down quality articles, resources and news worth sharing. Feedback’s awesome. Want more of one thing, less of another? Just let me know.

Until next time,
Garrett