My name is Kevin Haggerty. I'm 37 years old and live in Gloucester, Virginia. Our city has approximately 30k people in it, and it is located between Williamsburg and Virginia Beach.
A month ago, after five years in the ministry, and for a variety of reasons I won't go into here, I stepped down as Executive Pastor of a church.
My background actually isn't in ministry, rather, it is in web and graphic design.
So, after stepping down, I went back to what I know, which is designing websites.
I started off working from home, but I have two toddlers and a newborn at home, so, yeah, no go.
I tried the library, Starbucks, etc, etc, and you all have obviously been down that road which is what led you here.
A month ago, I'd never even heard of coworking. Now, in fairly obsessed with the idea of it.
My community doesn't have a coworking space. The closest one is 45 minutes away. I think it'd be great for our community, but I just am not totally sure how to go about it.
I've ravenously digested Alex's blog posts and videos. I've watched every video on the CoHo YouTube channel. I've watched and listened to hours of Jerome talking about coworking space and arrangement. I've read just about every post on this group forum (which is amazing, btw). I've amassed at least 100 hours of research, just in the last month.
I started a Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/coworkGloucesterVA) to generate interest. So far, I have six people who have said they'd be serious about joining, and I've added them to an email list. I'm working on planning a meetup soon where we can all get to know each other and talk possibilities.
Additionally, I've begun scouting locations. Here is the rundown:
- There is an old historic house on our Main Street that was recently purchased by some friends of mine. It's two stories, and they are interested in renting out the top story for dedicated office space and letting me operate a coworking space on the first floor. The first floor has a small kitchen, a bathroom, a small office, a room that could be a conference room, a 10x30 room that would be good for open coworking, then a smaller 10x20 room that could work for more partitioned and quieter space. There's also decent parking out back, and the building is in the thick of downtown, so lots to do nearby. The owners are interested in essentially charging me a percentage based on how many I have in the building, and not a set rent rate. They'd also help with the build-out costs, if not incur them entirely. It's less risky, but it means I still essentially work for syndrome and don't really have ownership, and there also isn't much room to grow.
- There is a 3600 sqft unit in a nearby shopping center. It is pretty much a blank slate, and I could do a lot with it. The shopping center it resides in is growing and would be a good place to be. The lease is $2100/month, which is cheap considering the space, but I don't have any capital, and I haven't had time to do any fundraising yet.
- There are a couple other spaces simular to the one mentioned above.
- I've also spoken to a man with the local economic development foundation, and he's told me about an old historic, 4500 sqft building on Main Street that used to be a law office. He was unclear as to really why he brought it up and if he thinks we'd be able to use it. What he was clear on was that he needs to see a financial plan from me. I have a business plan, but a financial plan on a coworking space seems difficult to me. All I can think to do is give him my pricing model and some different scenarios based on how full the building is and what types of memberships could theoretically be purchased.
I've led organizations before and am comfortable leading. I think this idea is a good one and something our community needs.
I just don't know what to do next, and I could really use some direction.
I'm sorry for the novel.
I appreciate the feedback in advance.