I’m in the process of starting Engineroom (also in JHB).
You’re doing a good thing by targeting individual freelancers but I’m not sure how big that market is in SA (in terms of “creatives”)?
I think the numbers are in small 2-3 person actual businesses in their first 1-3 years of business. There is also a huge opportunity with “remote workers”, people whose offices are in CT or DBN but they find themselves in JHB a lot with nowhere really to go to get work done when they’re not in meetings etc.
I agree with you that “coworking” is definitely not a buzzword here and everyone I’ve spoken to has never heard of it. It’s difficult because “shared office space” (which is a well known term or at least easy to understand) doesn’t quite describe what makes coworking so great, and people tend to picture something like Regus/The Business Centre which is a completely different vibe.
BUT, if it can work in CT it can work here! I have high hopes for coworking in JHB. People are getting fed up with traffic and spending 2 hours a day in it is not cool. Plenty of people are looking for options closer to their homes. I also think that as remote work becomes more acceptable in corporate circles, big companies will start allowing employees to telecommute to save on office space and ease traffic burden for their employees etc.
As far as spreading the word, I think Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn ads are great and affordable (with really good targeting). Just make sure your website is very clear and understandable because if the concept appeals to someone that’s where they’re going to go to milk every bit of info that they can!
On Wednesday, 30 July 2014 11:07:13 UTC+2, Tabby Lorentz wrote:
I work at a coworking space in Johannesburg, South Africa. I’m sure we all think our coworking space is great - but REALLY The Common Room is great! Our furniture, prices, internet, coffee etc etc etc but I’m not sure how to spread the word without breaking the budget.
I build databases of freelancers and contact each of them individually - this takes quite a bit of time and often doesn’t yield great results. I think one of the problems is that coworking and shared office space is a new concept in Johannesburg and South Africa so perhaps people just don’t ‘get’ The Common Room.
And check out our site and let me know if you can spot what the problem is (if there is one?)