[00.50] Ramon Suarez Background
I'm Ramon Suarez. I am the founder of Betacowork which is the largest coworking space in Belgium and I'm also the author of the coworking handbook which is a manual that has people learn how to run and operate and open a coworking business.
I created Betacowork on November 2010 and I've been running it until May this year when I've sold it to three of my coworkers.
[01.37] The Reason He Sold Betacowork Coworking Brussels
My reason to sold Betacowork is because I was tired of running it. I wanted to do new some other things. I want to new challenges but I don't work in the company I'm a coworker like anybody else. Right now, we're speaking, I'm sitting on my desk at Betacowork. I'm staying but as a coworker.
My contribution on the Coworking in Belgium, I've been doing a lot of things to try to promote coworking in Belgium from the very beginning. I think the most notable ones was launching the coworking and conference here so we did a conference for coworking spaces so that people would learn from each other and then working on launching a National Association.
It's not correlated in a business sense. No formal relationship with juicy basically the spirit of the second day of GCUC. So, It's an unconference, what people propose the things they want to talk about and then other people participate if they want to and the idea is to share knowledge and try to help each other.
We try to run one with the European Coworking Assembly. We were trying to run monthly conferences. We among the members but it didn't work out so we stopped doing it. I'm still involved but from the perspective, I'm an external player. Now, I help people with my book I had people around that if there are companies that need my help they'll come and get it you know they'll work with me but I'm not running a coworking space anymore.
[04.20] The Coworking Development in Belgium
Well, it has not developed it. There are a lot more coworking spaces, people know a lot more about coworking there are more and more coworkers but there is a lot of spaces or have opened that had not really coworking spaces it's just business centers that use the name to try to be cool. They don't do anything that they have to do to turn it into a coworking space. They don't care about their clients or the community at all and that's a big difference.
The differences of coworking but not exactly do coworking, you focus on your members from helping your members, supporting in your members, interacting with your members, making their members create links among themselves. It's working on accelerating in this community and the serendipity that happens at coworking spaces. It's not just providing a chair a table.
[05.37] The Experience of The Coworking Handbook Writing
It's awesome, it's work much better than I ever expected it. It's sold close to 5000 copies in four different languages. It's available in English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch. I'm getting excellent feedback from people that are using it and they are very helpful and this is the best part of it you know is that it really helps people run their coworking spaces.
[06.22] How To Launch Coworking Spaces
The first thing is focusing in the community. You don't need a space to start working on finding who your client your clients and talking with people or you can organize events before you do. You open your own space. You start getting a base of prospective clients and you know more about the people that are going to be sitting with you in your coworking space.
Do some basic calculations, basic you don't have to do any complicated Excel magic. Try to calculate your expenses, the revenue you expect with the pricing do you have in mind and see if you can make if you can make a living. Also, include that in the expenses yourself. You should be making money with your own coworking space if not it's not gonna last. A lot of people don't include their salaries or their payments to themselves when they do this calculation and that's it. You should be able to know if you can run. Feel comfortable with taking the risk of running the business.
It's not like general questions asking people to join your coworking space. I'm opening a new coworking space sign up here, pay fifty euros to reserve your seat. Real proof so that people become clients, everybody that you know and even if you don't know them they're gonna try to be nice and say yeah I would do it to make you feel good. About the location, if you haven't got a target area you said I'm looking into this area.
[08.05] The Operating Day to Day
If you have to be at Coworking Spaces, make sure that every day you say hello to the members. Try to bring some value to everybody you talk with. Try to help people out every day when they ask for things and when you hear them talking about something and create an event. So, they can help themselves and they help each other out and then there's all these administrative and logistics stuff that is just have to take care of it.
[08.43] A Way to Grow your Coworking Spaces
Do exactly the same thing all the time, reach out, create events bring people to discover the space. create opportunities for people to test it out. Put the word out go to other events to talk about it. That there's a reason why the marketing chapter is the longest chapter in the book.
You have to understand your business and see what's happening to be able to work around it but you just don't think about problems, you think about solutions you have a problem, what can I do to solve it not spend your data is thinking I have a problem that's useless.
[10.10] The Best Coworking Spaces Concept
Shared office, Network office, Hackerspace office, they're not coworking spaces. Shared office is people sharing the expense. The Hackerspaces is spaces for hobbyists to get together and practice their hobby, a few hours a week maybe not even that many times you know maybe it's two times a month or three times a month.
A coworking space is a place where you go to work basically every day or you go at least once a week but you go there to work, not for a hobby. One of the things that you're looking for in when you go to coworking spaces to get some something out of the community of that space and also to add yourself something to the community.
A coworking space that joint venture with the accelerator or incubator doesn't have anything special. It's just put in a business inside a coworking space like many other businesses are around. If the accelerator takes insolated itself in in a single room and it's not mixed with people from the coworking space it's like if they had nothing to do with each other. If the people are mixed with the people from the coworking space they're sitting with the other guys and they're interacting with the people of the coworking space then there's extra value that they're going to get from each other.
A coworking space is about relationships it's about the community so if there is no relationship there's no community there's no coworking space.
[12.07] The Marketing Strategy to Grow A Coworking Spaces
Reach out digitally and try to bring people physically to your space. Create an event and you promote them through digital media and you make people come to your event. The event could be a free trial or open doors a day or an offers a week.
[12.35] The Future of Work
There's gonna be a lot of more coworking spaces and a lot more people working in coworking spaces. More people are working independently, less companies are hiring. More people are gonna have to end up working independently even if they don't want to. They're gonna have to find a place to work and a network to support them. Coworking for the win.
The song is by Transient under CC license.