Community managers are the heart of any coworking space. But finding one who truly gets coworking and community building can be challenging.
New revenue streams for coworking spaces
Running a successful coworking space means constantly looking for new ways to drive revenue. But with so many potential ideas out there, how do you know which ones are worth pursuing?
In this latest conversation, Coworking Convos brought together a panel of industry experts to share their experiences and insights on creative revenue streams for coworking spaces. Moderated by Cat Johnson of Coworking Convos and The Lab, the discussion covered a lot of ground on this complex topic.
Below are some of the key takeaways from the panel that coworking space owners and operators can learn from.
Not all revenue is created equal
Sofia Stolberg, Founder of PilotoMail and operator of five coworking spaces, stressed that when evaluating any potential new revenue stream, it's important to consider the amount of work required versus the revenue generated.
Monthly recurring revenue is strongly preferable to one-time fees, she advised, because it allows for more reliable planning and scaling of successful programs across locations. However, it’s still worth trying new things — the key is to continually measure revenue and profitability data to see what's working.
Focus on retention as the most creative revenue stream
For Erin Maxson, Head of Digital at COHatch, the most creative and cost-efficient approach is anything that helps in retaining and engaging existing members. She emphasized the importance of building community connections to increase member loyalty.
Maxson also discussed bridging physical and digital experiences through member directories and helping members advertise outside their local area. Enabling these "hub and spoke" connections provides value and supports retention.
Not everything works for all spaces
Felena Hanson of Hera Hub shared that the operation has experimented extensively with different revenue stream ideas over their 12+ years in business. She outlined a few examples of what didn't work for their female-focused coworking brand, such as administrative support services, holiday markets, and event production.
However, Hanson explained that strategic planning workshops, formal accelerator programs, community sponsorships, and leveraging their space for rentals have been successful revenue streams for Hera Hub. The key is finding the right match between programs and your specific member community.
Consider partnerships and fractional offerings
Hector Kolonas of Syncaroo recommended partnering creatively with local businesses to provide food & beverage, repair services, childcare, and more. He also suggested leveraging underutilized space during evenings or certain seasons with passes or memberships for temporary use.
The most important thing with partnerships and services, Kolonas emphasized, is thoroughly vetting providers before making recommendations to members. Their trust in your brand recommendations is invaluable.
Optimize and monetize existing assets
Stolberg advised looking critically at current space occupancy and identifying opportunities to better monetize empty offices, conference rooms, and other underutilized assets. For example, flexible office promotions and meeting room memberships could boost revenue without significant added effort. Leveraging testimonials and monetizing referrals from current members is also low-hanging fruit.
She also stressed never letting members leave completely — downgrading (or graduating, as Kolonas put it) to virtual memberships means retaining revenue while still providing value. Upwards of 40% of her spaces’ revenue comes from virtual office memberships.
Creative doesn't have to mean complicated
While new podcasting studios or YouTube spaces are innovative ideas, Maxson noted the importance of clearly validating demand before moving forward. Will enough members actually pay for and use the new offering?
Starting small, seeking sponsorships, and partnering with organizations like local colleges and incubators can help test creative offerings before making major investments.
About Coworking Convos
Coworking Convos is a monthly virtual event series hosted by Cat Johnson. Each month, a different topic is presented by guests with real experience, who are subject matter experts and walk the walk in the coworking and flex space industry.
Who should attend?
- Workspace operators
- Community managers
- Coworking space marketing teams
What should you bring?
- Ideas, insights and strategies
- Questions for other workspace operators
- A spirit of collaboration and cooperation
Coworks is a sponsor of Coworking Convos, and we have the privilege of sharing these dispatches afterward — spotlighting the amazing insights and sticky note worthy thoughts.
But by no means does this replace the real value of being there! Check out the next Convo and be in the room when it happens.