Hi there Amber! Thanks for talking with us. Can you tell us a little bit about your Coworking Rawdon project?
Before I get into all about my business, I want to thank Cobot for giving this scholarship. Without it I would have been unable to attend this life changing experience. I sincerely hope you will continue to offer this in the future. [Editor’s note: We plan on it!]
At the moment, I am still in the educating and creating the community stage. Which as I am learning isn’t as fast as I would like. I am confident that it will get to the next phases fast enough!
Phase one, will be about creating wealth by offering short term and long term rentals of flexdesks, offices and meeting rooms; at the same time creating a sense of belonging and community through different business and non-profit activities.
Phase two, will be about nurturing the new found belonging and community by creating a charity that will pair up non-profit needs with businesses willing to give their services at a very low price or completely free.
I know that this looks clean cut but in reality I am sure I will be working on both phases at the same time!
It will become a community hub for the village of Rawdon, Québec. It will regroup the business and non-profit community. It will be a place where all are welcome and encouraged to collaborate and partner to create a better Rawdon.
This is a business with a heart!
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
The challenges I face are:
- Rural living
- Winter weather
- Educating the community
Living in a rural town may sound fantastic BUT mobility and weather are always a huge consideration. There are no busses or subways or Uber or Lyft. If you don’t have a car you are home-bound! Even if you do, the winter weather plays a huge role. Yes we have snow plows but there isn’t a huge quantity and we have LOTS of small hilly roads!
Funding and educating are the biggest challenges. In my area this is a completely new idea and as of such funders aren’t keen to invest in a non-proven model. Educating is interesting even after pitching all the community benefits. It is seen as a low cost office and meeting room rental business which is what sticks the most for people since this they can understand and categorize.
Even with these challenges I know that this business is the right one for me. I want to help others become the best they can be and create a community that has no limitations in spite of the challenges noted above.
It will take me some extra time to get it up and running but as the saying goes, “The key to success is to focus on goals, not obstacles.”
What inspired you to start a coworking space rather than another form of organization?
I have been a part of the non-profit world for the last 20 years and have seen how these organizations change the world, one person at a time! The dark side is funding and volunteerism is very difficult to get. Coworking brings the ideals of the non-profit world and the funding and labour of the business world together.
For me there is nothing better than helping others achieve their goals but all the while creating enough wealth to support myself and my local community. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
It was great meeting you in person at GCUC Canada. How would you describe your time at the event?
I learnt so much maybe too much! I have over 10 pages of notes and ideas which made the whole experience a bit overwhelming.
The biggest takeaways for me were:
- Don’t put your personal assets up.
- Ask for help from the coworking community.
- Create your community before you open.
- Spend your money and time on the right things.
I was surprised at how many times I heard the above things. I thought I was going to learn where to get funding, how to create my business plan, how to market and sell my business to different potential clients and partners. This was not the case! What I did get; was more valuable then I could have imagined. I received connection, ideas, networking but above all else the sense that I was part of a large community that wanted to help me to achieve my best possible business. Even though it was not specific to my province, it was specific and general enough to be relevant for my business.
It was inspiring to see how all the different businesses work together to create a better community. It helped me see that it can be done! With a little elbow grease and collaboration everything is possible.
I also learnt that slow and steady is the way to go. Eventually, I will have to jump but creating a community, collaborations, and partnerships first is the best way to succeed at this business. As the Three Musketeers said, “One for all, and all for one”
Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us! How can our readers connect with you online?
I can be reached many different ways:
If you aren’t already using Cobot as your coworking management software, give it a go! You’ll find that our features can help you run your coworking space more effectively and grow your community. Just sign up for a free trial or a live demo session. And if you have questions, our support team is all ears!