smplr times 012 · Hiring sucks

Hey there,

I’m spreading myself pretty thin these days. At times, I feel like I’m starting to crack.

This was the first week I really felt it. With location 4 just coming online, and location 5, possibly 6 in the near future I starting to feel like the core team needs to grow. Most people’s response is just to hire people. Yes, I get that, but it’s easier said than done. I’m incredibly hands on at my coworking space. 3 years in I still love being the first one in, doing the tours and handling most things. How can I let go?

My one full-time team member was someone I knew previously. She was a friend. I trust her implicitly. She’s the perfect fit for what we’re building. This feels a bit like an anomaly as I start the hunt for my next hire. The candidate pool already feels small, if not non-existent.

Where did y’all start when you hired? Do I really have to create a generic job listing and post it all over the web? We aren’t looking for the typical skillset. I don’t need writing skills, design skills or any of that. Sure, that would be sweet but I want the person that doesn’t get exhausted during an hour long tour. I want the person that gets more and more energized with every passing minute in a good conversation. How do I communicate that?

What I don’t want? I get enough “coworking seems cool can I join your team” emails every other week. It’s frustrating how little people understand what the job takes. Yes, we have fun, but it’s a crap ton of work. We have extremely high highs and some epic lows. Our brand is built to look bright and happy so the assumption is that’s the life we live day in and day out.

With all that said, I’m curious, when did y’all hire someone last? What was your job description? If you don’t mind sharing reply to this email or discuss it over in the Wash Your Mugs community.

And now, on to this weeks top articles.

✈️ From AND CO on remote working
Anywhere Workers: A study on remote working
The future of work is anywhere. That’s what we’re betting on at least, right? Knowing your audience is essential and the remote worker should be top of your list. This study is beautifully designed, and worth checking out.

🏠 From WorkFrom on a Hiven Coworking
Remote Company Spotlight: Hiven Coworking
This is a cool concept. In the Bay Area, where housing can be nearly impossible to afford entrepreneurs have created a network of houses where you can coworking. Check out Hiven. So cool.

👍 From AllWork by Cat Johnson
Indigenous Coworking in Manitoba: A Q&A with Tara Everett
I met Tara digitally a while back through a LinkedIn post she had wrote. Throughout getting her space running she’s provided an uber transparent look every step of the way. She’s going to make something awesome happen. I’m confident in that. Read her Q&A with Cat.

Now for a smpl update. Remember when I said don’t tell Mike & Sean I said resource restrictions would release in a week because they’d be mad that I gave a timeframe? Shot myself in the foot! We still have a couple more tweaks to make before that gets into the world. It’s coming.

In the meantime, we’re adding more confetti to welcome your new members to your community. 🎉

And just like that, we’re done. It’s over. Hope you have a simple week ahead of ya.

Until next time,

smplr times 011 · There’s strength in diversity

>Hey there,

There’s a satisfying moment at the end of the hygge tour, when a potential member asks how they need to sign up. Is there an application? What about fees? Do I need to sign something? To which I reply…

You’re in. No application. No fees. You’ll agree to our membership guidelines (which we call a pinky promise) when you sign up online. That’s it. You made it!

The surprised look on people’s faces used to catch me off guard. Was it because we made this too easy? It’s actually because so many places have made it so damn hard. As it turns out, quite a few space operators are fearful that they are going to end up with the wrong people in their spaces. I understand that fear but there’s a good chance it stunts the growth of their community. People want to be accepted. They are looking for community. Don’t make that bar too high.

Some of the people I was absolutely unsure of during a tour have turned out to be some of my most dedicated members. I was particularly unsure about one of my first five members.  During their tour, they gave me some weird vibes – they’re still with me three years later. Was I having an off-day that day or was she? Who knows, but I could’ve judged her, put a long application in front of her, or scared her with fees and lost one of hygge’s best.

Inclusivity is incredibly important to us. hygge’s strength is in its diversity. Being surrounded by people that think and work differently from us only seeks to make our community more impactful. This is a good thing to remind yourself, and your community managers during tours.

Tell me what you think over in the Please Wash Your Mugs community. I’d love to hear how you handle new incoming tours

Now, on to this week’s must-read articles.

👶 From AllWork on rebranding your space
The Growing Trend of Rebranding 
I have pour endless time, energy and money into hygge’s brand since day one. I’m so freaking proud of it I could not imagine ever switching it. Would you change your brand if someone said it would take you to the next level? For me, nope.

☕ From Please Wash Your Mugs on last months rent by me.
Stop Asking For Last Month’s Rent, Please
I’m not sure why coworking space’s continue to talk about a member’s last day the moment that they are interested in signing up. We make the rules, and this is one that you should eliminate from your world, please.

🔨 From the Internet
DIY Coworking
Just found this resource and will start digging through it for gold nuggets here soon. Just wanted to pass it along for those that love reading about coworking.

Now for a smpl update. We’re always jamming on new additions to smpl, we promise. Resource restrictions by plan should release in the next week. Shhh, don’t tell Mike & Sean I said that.

It’s not all new features though. We spend a ton of time handling bugs that are submitted or found by you. Here’s a couple examples of what we found this week.

  1. You could double book a resource at the same time. What?! how? It happened.
  2. If you uploaded a massive logo when signing up a customer it broke the internet.
  3. Somewhere along the line we removed the ability to update your profile pic. That’s fixed.
  4. We now hide sign up links for spaces that don’t have available plans.
  5. If Intercom (that’s our chat bubble), crashes it doesn’t crash all of smpl 😅

This is just a small sampling of the things we deal with week in and week out. We’re committed to squashing every single one.

And just like that, we’re done. Hope you have a simple week ahead of ya.

Until next time,

smplr times 010 · Protect your brand

Hey there,

How connected do you feel to your space and brand?

I embody my brand in an unapologetic way. hygge is Garrett. Garrett is hygge. Because of this i’m incredibly protective of it. This week this idea was challenged like never before.

A member who has been with me for a long time did something that not only made us look bad as hygge, but by extreme personal association made me look bad. This hit me like a ton of bricks. I was viscerally angry about it. Because of how protective I am of hygge I felt personally slighted. My gut feeling was this person no longer had a place at hygge.

I slept on it, hoping that with a little rest would come some clarity. I woke the next day feeling just as shitty about what had transpired. After speaking with a few trusted colleagues, and running through my termination policy for the space felt justified in remove this member. It was time.

I sat down with this member, alongside my second in command, to make sure there was a third person in the room and discussed how I was feeling and how things would be moving forward. Long story short, it did not go well. This member was mad, and that might be the understatement of the century. They left and that was the end of it.

When community is such a integral part of what you’re building, how much or how little should we feel responsible for how our members act? How hard is this going to be at scale? We’re going to be 500+ people by early 2019. Is this unreasonable? Should I be more detached from what we’re building? I have so many questions. One thing I’m 100% sure of  is being there for each other is rule #1. We’re #hyggefam.

Tell me what you think over in the Please Wash Your Mugs community. I’d love to hear how you have handled tough situations like this.

Now, on to this week’s must-read articles.

🏗️ From The Real Deal Chicago
Could Coworking Offices Save Malls
Well, no. I don’t think so, but I bet there’s a whole bunch of retail strip mall space floating around at ridiculously low rents that we should be going after. Don’t be afraid on non-traditional space. Create something compelling and people will come to you.

🌕 From The Internet
Everything Coworking Podcast
Jamie Russo does a pretty damn good job with The Everything Coworking Podcast. I’m not going to point to one particular episode. Just dig in and enjoy. She’s great.

🧠 From AllWork
Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace
I’m on a wellness kick lately. We just launched hygge cares, a program to lower the bar for physical and mental wellness for our members. It’s important and we should be doing everything we can to look out for our coworkers.

Now for a smpl update. We made it super clear who is a manager and owner of your space. When your members visit the community page the managers of your space will rise to the top. Members can also see owner/manager contact info so they can get in touch. Bonus: They’ll also have a sweet color circle around them.

That’s it. Hope you have a simple week ahead of ya.

Until next time,
– Garrett

smplr times 009 · Can we create better coworking websites, please?

Hey there,

Taking a slightly different approach this week. I’m wrapping the regular smpl update into my regular forward.

Late last week while looking for coworking spaces to visit on an upcoming trip I came across what I would consider some pretty bad websites. Bad photography, very wordy and just generally lacking in any sort of direction.

I’m concerned. Your website is likely the first thing a potential member is going to interact with associated with your brand. Before they ever pick up the phone or show up for a tour they are going to do some pretty extensive research. The same way you probably shopped for coworking software is exactly the way people are researching coworking spaces.

They Google Coworking in [insert city], and open the top 5-7 search results. As coworking gets more popular and the market gets competitive you’re going to have to stand out.

Here’s where your website comes in. It has to look good. It has to be a proper representation of not only your space, but the personality of the people within it. If you’re concerned with your site, or just don’t know give me a shout. I’d love to help. This weekend I worked to put together what I consider a beautiful one-page marketing website for a coworking space. You can view it here.

Simple, clean and optimized for conversion. For $35/month we will build, host and maintain your site. Our template. Your domain, photos and personality. Simple.

If you have the means and/or skills to do this work yourself, here’s a couple quick thoughts/action items for this.

  1. Photos. High quality photos of not only your space but people in your space, working. People are looking for themselves in the space. Show diversity.
  2. Personality. We’re pretty clear about who hygge is from our website. We’re a little weird. We love our #hyggefam. We’re not a niche space and want everyone.
  3. Clear navigation. Get people to the end point as fast as possible. For us, we offer membership, a podcast studio and meeting space. Get people to the info they want and then the contact form as fast as possible.
  4. Bonus: Centered text for large paragraphs are the worst thing in the world and are very hard to read. Stop doing it. They also make smpl’s cofounder Mike die a little inside.

These are just some quick thoughts but it’ll help. Get on that. If you haven’t the slightest clue where to start then let us build/host the site for you. Let’s talk.

Now, on to this week’s must-read articles.

👪 From AllWork on Community
Is Community Enough When Marketing Your Coworking Space
Since that Fast Company article on the big players all saying the same about community slightly different everyone has an opinion. I like this approach. There’s likely a couple amenities that should be leveraged to market your space. Start there. Community will come later.

🤔 From AllWork on Bond Collective
How Bond Collective Pivoted to Success
We’re talking a lot about marketing yourselves and standing out lately. Bond has done a pretty darn good job of standing out in an ever increasingly crowded market. A worthwhile read.

💬 From Cat Johnsons Blog
Coworking vs Workspace: What’s the difference?
A video made from the latest GCUC UK asking several operators about space. What do you think?

That’s it. Hope you have a simple week ahead of ya.

Until next time,
– Garrett