CoWorker Hub in Middlebury, Connecticut has joined the Proximity Network! This space has been open less than two years and has already expanded to meet the growing need in their community. Here’s what co-owner Rachel Keyser has to say about her space!
When did you open your coworking space and what enticed you to do so?
We opened our space in June of 2017. We decided to open the space I was working from home and just couldn’t do it anymore. It had become so isolating, and when I tried the cafes or the library either the internet wasn’t good or it wasn’t secure. Cafes didn’t want people working there, there weren’t enough outlets to use, and there were noise distractions. At home, not only was it isolating, but it was very distracting trying to do home errands when I should be working. I learned of coworking spaces, and after some research, I found that they were in the bigger cities and none in my immediate area. I had to drive far to get to one. Therefore, I suggested to my husband and co-owner that if I need it, there must be other people that would need it too. We decided to open a coworking space from a need ourselves.
Tell us about your space. How big is it? What kinds of amenities do you have? What sort of quirks make it special?
Our initial space size was 1,700 sq. ft, and then after 8 months we had the opportunity to expand into the space next to ours in the commercial building from which we lease. We’re now at 3,500 sq. ft. We offer a great clean working environment, events that build community at our space, print/scan/copy/fax, free tea/coffee/water to members and their guests, mail for our full-time members, free conference room hours for full-time members (according to their membership level), and free member events. We have been told that our space offers peace and serenity when people come into it due to inspirational quotes, our lovely members and us as the co-founders.
What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space?
Our members. Talking with them, and helping them achieve their goals. I also like that the space has forced me to go out and network in order to meet more people that I would learn from, especially since I was a bit new to the area.
What has been the most surprising/unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?
The amount of work that it entails to run or operate a coworking space, and the different situations that it brings with it. This, however, has given me opportunities for growth in that area, so I am grateful for it.
What’s your favorite story about one of your members?
One of our members left her job to start her own business in the industry she was working. They started with us as monthly members using an office only one day a week to interview potential employees. Her husband eventually also left his job to join his wife as a full-time business partner. They grew to where they were able to rent one of our bigger offices. They continue growing and now hired a part-time admin employee, a part-time sales employee, and 40 other employees that are out in the field servicing their clients.
What is your biggest piece of advice for someone wanting to open a space?
You have to be flexible sometimes with potential members, especially in the very beginning. They will grow to be repeat customers to use your other services or levels of service. Also, go for it, but make sure you know what problem or pain-point you are solving and for whom: i.e. who is your target member/customer/avatar.