building the community

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Feb 24, 2019, 4:46:33 AM2/24/19
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Hey Guys!

Tomorrow is my first meet and greets for my coworking community.  I am building the community before acquiring the actual space.  What are some topics or processes I should cover tomorrow during the meet and greet?  Any advice for topics to be discussed? Ice breaker techniques? 


Angel Kwiatkowski

Feb 25, 2019, 11:35:45 AM2/25/19
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There are step by step guides for your first meetings in my book at


ps. gather email addresses!

Trey Downes

Feb 25, 2019, 9:55:33 PM2/25/19
Thanks I actually bought your book and it has helped me big time.  Yesterday’s meet up was not what I expected. One persons showed. lol. 

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Alex Hillman

Feb 25, 2019, 10:04:16 PM2/25/19
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So what happened with that one person, Trey?

I think what you're experiencing is pretty common: launching a coworking meeetup is a lot easier than launching a coworking space but both are fundamentally the same thing: 

A way to bring people together.  

Meetups actually step two (or three or ten or eighty or one hundred and fourty).

Step one is actually more like what you experienced: meeting and getting to know one person! And then another one. And then another. And then sometimes two or three. 

Looking for the things they have in common. And then telling them about each other. Finding ways and reasons to connect. Then convening them based on what you learn. 

So I hope you had a nice time getting to know that one person, Trey. They might be your first member.

I remember the first time I had dinner/drinks with the person who became our first member. He's still a member today, 12 years later!


Trey Downes

Feb 25, 2019, 10:17:57 PM2/25/19
It was a good step for us.  Just putting into action was a good feeling. You’re totally right. It starts with one. 

Alejandro Moreno

Mar 2, 2019, 2:37:01 PM3/2/19
How have you been building your community? Is it via a Meetup? If so, then you don't have their actual email addresses yet (yes your messages do go directly to their email inboxes, but Meetup will not give you their email addresses per se). So have a sign-in list ready asking people for their email addresses if you don't have them already.

One of the first questions to ask yourself is, how much do you want the community setting the culture vs you setting the culture? If you want to set the culture, then don't ask the group about such things. 

Culture can be things like:

- Casual dress or business casual

- Communal fridge or not

- Quiet space (where normal conversations but no phone calls are allowed), or are phone calls in the shared space ok? Phone calls get loud, and some people tend to talk really loud in cell phone conversations and video chats (I'm not sure why but some people feel they need to raise their voice during these conversations and they seem to do so unconsciously). They are so loud that even when doing so in a meeting room with the door closed, the sound will still travel throughout the space (and this may serve as a note to think upon when building your space out, how soundproofed do you want your meeting rooms/private offices/phone booths to be...)

 - Background music or no background music? If yes, then a more neutral ambient music, or louder style like wework spaces in big cities? (super obnoxious imho). This is a sticky topic because all kinds of people will want different kinds of music and you'll probably never get an agreement, so I would not leave this up to the group and instead be draconian and don't even bring it up, just choose a ''safe'' neutral ambient music, there are plenty of free ambient channels streaming online, or just pay for pandora or spotify or what not...

- Do people want one of those snack services, or fridges that come pre-stocked with snacks? If so, then that means adding those charges to their membership fees.

- Free printing within reason (add basic charges to each member's fees), or a pay per copy fee for the printer?

- Seafood or no seafood allowed in the microwave? (gets really stinky, we had to establish a no-seafood-in-the-nuker rule at our space)

- Gender neutral bathrooms or not? We have 2 and anyone can use one or the other. No special signs needed, just indicate ''bathroom'' on each door. We tell everyone in their initial tour ''here are the bathrooms, use either one''. Keeps it simple yet accommodating to all. 

 - Do you want your phone booths to be on a booking-only basis, or first come first serve? If the latter, make sure you establish a ''no camping out'' rule for your phone booths (i.e. as soon as people are done with their phone call or video chat, get out). 

These are just a few of the things that you may or may not want to ask your group about.


Mar 21, 2019, 11:11:11 AM3/21/19
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In addition to what the other experts here suggest, research what Mark Eaton of the Cochrane Corner did. I believe it was based on Angel's advice and it was clearly successful. I recently spoke with Mark and he is looking for a second location. Not bad for a semi-rural operator. 

On Sunday, February 24, 2019 at 2:46:33 AM UTC-7, wrote:

Alejandro Moreno

Mar 26, 2019, 11:05:21 AM3/26/19
Since we hardly did any community-building before we opened our space, if I could do it over again, I would address certain topics like kitchen use/rules, some basic bathroom usage/rules/etiquette, ideas for improving recycling/sustainability, member guest policy, open space noise policy (like whether phone calls will be allowed in the main space or whether people should use phone booths and meeting rooms for calls, as people talk very loudly on cell phones and video chat calls), getting the members to help you keep the bills down (turn off lights in rooms when not in use, etc), and how many of your members would potentially want private offices (build as many as you can). 

As far as specific recommendations I would make for some of the aforementioned topics (some might be relevant to you, some might not be):
— NO seafood in the microwave, EVER
— Any food left in the fridge at 6pm each Friday is up for grabs for anyone because it will get tossed that night.
— Rinse the sink after you've emptied food, coffee grounds etc into the sink / disposal (basic common sense stuff that people are too unconscious to think about sometimes)
— Have a sign you can hang on the dishwasher telling people that it's running so DO NOT OPEN while running
— Tell members to go ahead and load toilet paper if it runs out and not have to wait and go tell you that TP is out
— Ask them, if they'd be open to pitch in and clean a toilet once in a while if it needs cleaning (cuz you're going to end up cleaning them daily unless you hire a service)
— We set up 3 separate recycling stations in our space but we need to do a better job about telling people to do small things like remove the plastic lid and paper sleeve from their coffee cups and recycle those (better yet, I think we're going to establish a new rule for our regular members – no more plastic/paper cups from the local cafe, use your own washable coffee mug instead)
— We set a 2 hour member guest policy, after that they need to buy a day pass
— We have a ''quiet culture'' in the open space, we built 3 phone booths and we let our members use the meeting rooms too for short calls if the phone booths are full.
— We give each of our members 20 free hours of meeting room use per month, so they can book meeting rooms either for a long phone call that they have in their schedules or for meetings or whatever they need. You may or may not be able to afford this so, do what works best for you.
— I'm constantly turning the lights off in the phone booths, meeting rooms etc, we need to put signs up telling people to turn them off (even though the rooms have automatic sensors, the lights stay on for a while after the room or phone booth is vacated) so you might want to consider the same thing. Some people when entering the office in the morning turn on the entire panel of lights automatically without thinking whether that is really necessary. It never is, so several times a week I'm turning off about 50% of the lights someone mindlessly turned on when they let themselves in early in the morning. 
— We built 2 private offices originally, we're looking at converting our largest (and most underutilized) meeting room into 5 small private offices and another nook we have into 2 more meeting rooms, plus converting one meeting room we have now over to a private office, giving us 8 private offices and 4 meeting rooms total

That's all I have off the top of my head.

Eric Haas

Mar 27, 2019, 2:46:09 PM3/27/19
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Thanks so much for sharing this alejandro! reminds and helps me to set up those basic house rules as well!
Muchas gracias!

Op dinsdag 26 maart 2019 16:05:21 UTC+1 schreef Alejandro Moreno:
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