Jamie Russo is one of the primary voices in the shared workspace industry.
Founder of Enerspace Coworking, host of the Everything Coworking Podcast – which was one of our top coworking podcasts of 2020 – and executive director of the Global Workspace Association (GWA), Russo coaches coworking space owners and operators from across the workspace spectrum on creating profitable, sustainable workspaces.
In her new ebook, 8 Steps to Creating a Profitable Coworking Space, Russo lays out the process of researching, preparing, opening and running a shared workspace. Geared for new space operators, the framework can also be used by existing operators who are re-thinking their business model or looking for validation around their process.
“I have a specific message and goal,” she says. “I want people to start spaces that are sustainable and profitable. We’re in this middle ground where people are starting to understand that not every coworking space is profitable. You can spend a lot of time in Facebook groups and have no idea that there are some people who are struggling.”
Russo stresses that she wants people to go into the process of opening a space with their eyes wide open.
“Oftentimes, people who start coworking spaces are very purpose driven and passionate,” she says. “We get into it because we’ve had what I call the coworking moment, where we want to create the community and the experience. People get very focused on that outcome, but most people have never signed a commercial lease before and have no idea what the process looks like.”
On the Everything Coworking Podcast, Russo and her guests dive deep into specific topics she covers in her framework. Her goal with the ebook, however, was to take a step back and show people what the process of opening a space looks like and the things they need to be aware of going in.
“I try to be very clear that there are lots of different reasons for starting a coworking space,” she says. “I want them to have a framework so they can figure out where they sit. Do they need to make a profit? Where is the investment coming from? If it’s the money they use to pay their mortgage, we need to get really serious about it.”
Russo also clarifies for readers the differences between coworking, managed workspace and flexible space.
“I want to make sure people know where they’re sitting on the workspace spectrum,” she says. “For example, if the space isn’t managed and they just want to offer it on flexible terms to 100 people for three years, that’s very different from coworking, with the community and managed space aspect.” She adds, “The term ‘coworking’ still has such broad use in the marketplace that people may not know the nuances of it.”
For Russo, the ebook represents her approach to helping people open a workspace in a thoughtful, intentional manner to create the space that’s right for them.
“A small, not-for-profit space may be perfect for someone, but that’s got to be an intentional decision,” she says. “Providing this framework is an example of how I like to help people through this process.”
Download Russo’s 8 Step Framework to Starting a Profitable Coworking Space ebook at Amazon.
Cat Johnson is a content strategist and coworking storyteller. Founder of Coworking Convos, she teaches workspace operators how to leverage the power of content and brand storytelling at catjohnson.co
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