First of all I would like to introduce myself to the community. My name is Tabari and I am a chaplain/entrepreneur. I recently moved to Bakersfield CA. When I relocated to Bakersfield, I searched for an entrepreneur community in an effort to find support and to learn from others, but I did not know where to find it so I decided to start one.
It all started when I began hosting Meetup groups that targeted entrepreneurs in the community. After hosting several meetups I found that having a consistent space to meet was a problem. I am originally from Fresno, CA and I remember that there was this creative space that opened up called Fresno Hashtag.
I reached out to the space owner in Fresno and began dialogue about how to go about creating a coworking space in Bakersfield and thus began my journey down this rabbit hole of coworking. Since then it has become a passion that consumes me so I began conducting online research and inquired if Bakersfield had any established coworking spaces. The closest thing I found were virtual offices. Upon visiting one of these spaces I saw it consisted of only four desks. It did not quite have the community aspect that supported the values of the coworking community. I extended my search to postings in Bakersfield on reddit.com in an effort to see if there was interest for this type of coworking space I wish to create. To my surprise there were two software developers, who are well connected in the software development community, that expressed an interest in a coworking space in my local area. These two individuals are ready to move into a space and have served as my unofficial partners.
The relationships I’ve established in my journey thus far pressed my curiosity to search deeper for other interested individuals or small businesses. This lead to me to research on Indeed.com and look for individuals in my local area who have coworking experiences listed on their resumes. I was able to connect with two individuals one of which is a community manager of an established coworking space and the other actually runs a coworking space. My relationship with these individuals developed into one where they serve in either an advisory or consultant role to help me with the operations plan of the coworking space being created in Bakersfield.
In trying to understand my local market I reached out a local group of young professionals. This particular group focuses on building up the downtown area of Bakersfield with the intentions of making it more relevant to young professionals. Through this group I was able to connect with a real estate developer, who was highly interested in the downtown area. We currently have a partnership relationship with this developer where he assists with the tenant improvements of the space.
Since the idea of a coworking space became implanted in my mind, I decided to visit several coworking spaces in neighboring cities and talked with current space owners. I also read Ramón’s book on coworking and other business plan books that specifically targeted coworking. The structure in the creation and development for this coworking space are the same methodologies found in the lean startup.
As with any topic that peaks my interest, I have been scouring the Internet, searching for specific terms on the google coworking forum and connecting with other people with similar interests or those who are seasoned in my field of interest. We are currently building up our community before we even open up the space. We have been holding regular jellies and I am using creative ways to reach out to the freelance and entrepreneur community. At this point we are looking to get a significant number of pre-sales before we open our space. I am also working with a local small business development center to help me with the business plan.
With regards to the business plan, I want to explore how to structure the business so that possible investors can own shares. I am not sure if other spaces have tried this, but I would be curious on your thoughts and ideas. I am also curious about your thoughts on corporate sponsorships, and the use of the classroom in your coworking spaces.
I apologize for this long post. I just thought it was time to reach out to the community to get some support and feedback as I have greatly benefited from your posts and comments thus far.
Render for our future space : http://bit.ly/spacevisioin
Interest Form : bit.ly/bakocowork