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Making, Marketing and Community-building During a Pandemic


What a time to be a business owner, eh?

We’re going to have stories for days about how we pivoted, leaned in, got super creative, did our best to keep our sanity intact, held each other up, and worked with what we’ve got.

Here at Cat Johnson Co, it’s been a wild ride.

We’ve faced our share of challenges, like everyone.

But this extended pause gave me and my small-but-amazing team of collaborators a chance to step back, reassess who we are, clarify the needs we fill, and put things on-track to grow our impact and connection.

Early on in the pandemic, our tech mastermind, Hector Kolonas challenged me. Hector lived through the Cyprus banking crisis. He shared an insight that I’ll never forget. He said most people sat around complaining about how bad things were. But the smart people got to work building.

Create Mode

I took Hector’s story to heart and launched into create mode.

During the COVID lockdown, we’ve grown Coworking Convos from 200 to 2,000 participants from around the world. Convos has quietly become a go-to monthly event for space operators. In lockdown, I created an online course (my first) on creating a press release for your coworking space. It was a big learning curve and the process laid the foundation for some exciting new projects.

I also launched The Lab, an online membership to help workspace operators fix and fine-tune their marketing. The Lab is a game-changer for Cat Johnson Co. It’s a brilliant community of amazing operators and coworking pros who collaborate, cheer each other on, learn from each other, and hold each other up on the hard days.

I had high hopes for the Lab, and it has surpassed my expectations. The members, affectionately known as coLabbers, increased my vision for the project exponentially. The value co-created in the Lab inspires me every day. Everyone shines. Everyone has something to teach the group. Everyone benefits and contributes. I hear regularly from coLabbers about how much they get out of the Lab.

Pushing On

This Lab love makes my heart soar. It pushes me to continue making the Lab even more valuable, relevant and awesome.

Last year, in collaboration with Cat Johnson Co marketing coach Karina Patel, we coached coLabbers on:

  • SEO
  • Blog post prep and creation
  • Google My Business
  • Paid ads
  • Content strategy
  • Local search strategies
  • Influencer marketing
  • Content calendars
  • Marketing SWOT
  • Creating a brand book
  • Instagram marketing
  • …and so much more

The coLabbers also took ownership of the Lab, which makes me beyond happy and proud. To see the community step up and initiate projects, events and collaborations is pretty much the coolest thing ever.

Here are just some of the member-initiated projects in the Lab so far:

  • Daily accountability thread
  • Peer to peer trainings
  • Weekly worksprints
  • Workshopping
  • Happy hours
  • Secret Santa
  • Bookclub / What we’re reading Slack channel
  • Channels to celebrate wins and cry-it-out

In 2021, we’ll continue delivering marketing coaching and content that is relevant and timely for space operators. Our upcoming group coaching sessions include:

  • Using LinkedIn to market a coworking space
  • Instagram Reels for coworking spaces
  • Creating a PPC ad step-by-step
  • Using Clubhouse for your space and community
  • Crafting attention-getting blog post headlines

…and that’s just the beginning.

Stretching Our Comfort Zones

The coLabbers stretch their content comfort zones every day. They do live video, they design infographics, they ask for help and feedback, they lobby for their ideas and projects, they write outstanding blog posts, they workshop so-so marketing collateral until it shines, they share resources and tools, they reposition their space to prepare for the future, they apply for (and get) grants.

It’s quite impressive.

Being in the Lab every day (Yes, we generally connect and engage every day) keeps me focused and ambitious about my own marketing and impact. We work in community and we’re accountable to each other.

Karina and I provide tangible guidance through group coaching sessions, resources, the Lab Library and feedback on everything from headlines and alt tags to email provider best practices, keyword phrases, the best use of Instagram Stories, and GMB photos.

The coLabbers provide peer feedback, tips, strategies, information, experience, best practices and a ton of all-around awesomeness. We now have 34 coLabbers creating this collaborative vibe and braintrust.

Our coLabbers include space operators with decades of marketing experience, new and veteran space owner/operators, community managers, scaled workspace brands, coworking leaders, marketing pros, and everyone in-between. coLabbers run spaces and coworking projects in big cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural areas.

Your Turn

If you’re in coworking and you need to fix, fine-tune and level-up your marketing, join us in the Lab. You can drop me an email or message me on LinkedIn to learn more. I’d love to chat.

Further together,

Ready to elevate your indie coworking space and brand?

Join us in The Lab marketing club