Coworking Out Loud with Anne Kirby from The Candy Factory [Ep. 22]

Anne Kirby Coworking Out Loud
Coworking Out Loud
Coworking Out Loud
Coworking Out Loud with Anne Kirby from The Candy Factory [Ep. 22]
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In this episode of Coworking Out Loud, Cat Johnson talks with Anne Kirby from The Candy Factory coworking space in Lancaster, PA about marketing a coworking space, being intentional about building community in your workspace, challenges of remote workers who would rather not be working remotely and more.

Connect with The Candy Factory: @coworking on Instagram 
Connect with Anne Kirby: @annekirby on Instagram  

đź”— catjohnson.co | Coworking Convo | The Lab

🎶 Music by Grip Grand

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🎥 Recorded on Riverside.fm

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Transcription:

Welcome Anne. It’s great to have you here. Oh, Cat. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. You’re my first guest in three years. So exciting. I’m so glad you’re bringing it back. I am glad too, it feels good. I love this platform and I feel like there’s some space within the ecosystem of podcasts to get deeper into coworking content and community.

So to kick things off, let’s just give people a little context who may not already know you. Will you just give the quick version of your coworking story and how you came into all of this? Sure. I founded the candy factory back in 2010 after running a networking group called the Creative House of Lancaster for three years.

So I built a community for three years before opening up a physical space. I identified while I was running that group, that there was this gap. Like, so many of us were working from home or out of cafes and we were looking for community. And so I started diving into the coworking model and philosophy, and I loved everything about it.

So bringing people together, collaboration, sustainability, accessibility, all of those things, openness just spoke to me. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which is where we’re located, needs this. So in 2010 I found a location and I already had 15 members ready to go. So we’ve been sustainable actually since day one.

And I love everything about it. And over the last 12 years, it’s just been magical. So this is right up my alley, Cat, this conversation. I love it. 

And was your first space the space that you’re in now? No, we moved into an old candy factory. That’s why we’re called the Candy Factory and we had about 5,000 square feet. But we grew into that pretty quickly and within a couple years we realized that we needed to expand into a larger facility. We have the best location. We are literally across the street from our old location. We moved into the new one in 2014 and it was just literally carrying stuff across the street, which was great.

What’s so ideal about our current location is we’ve been able to expand in it. There was a lot of available space. So over the years, we’ve been able to just kind of take more space as we’ve needed to. So now we have about 25,000 square feet in the current location that we’ve been in since 2014.

From what I’ve seen from the space—I haven’t seen it in person—but it’s so much more than coworking. It’s like a music venue, gathering place, all the things. Was that your vision from the beginning or did this kind of like, as you took on more space, you’re like we could have actually shows and lectures and things up here? How did that all come about? 

Well, because we were born out of the Creative House of Lancaster, which was the group I had started, our mission for that group was to give back to the community, to engage, to have art and alternative spaces and music and volunteers, that kind of mission. And so because our coworking space was built from that community of art and culture.

You know, just bringing the broader community together has just kind of followed through and has been part of our mission. So since the very beginning. Yeah, we are a gathering space, a venue, a coworking space, a social club. I mean, you name it. We do so much here. We give our members so many opportunities to connect, but we also give a lot of opportunities to the external community in Lancaster to be able to come in and actually participate as well. 

And that’s what makes us a community hub and we call it impact coworking, where you’re making a bigger impact. It’s not just internal and that’s really part of our mission.

This is something I think about and talk about a lot: that if space operators can position themselves and get into service, not just for the members, as a business owner, as a coworking space operator, but as the place to go for that people turn to for, programming, ideas, inspiration, connection around entrepreneurship and freelancing and arts and culture, and positioning, becoming that community hub, that impact hub is just brilliant. 

I’d love to hear how that kind of intersects with running your business. Like when you have people there for a music gathering, do you take them on tours or is it more just kind of welcome, like teaching people about the space, but what’s your approach, how do you handle that?

Anytime we host an event, we always make sure we have an MC who’s also kind of plugging the Candy Factory and talking about all the wonderful things that we have going on here and the resources available. And we always provide tours afterwards. So it’s one of those things, like if you wanna see the whole space, let us know. 

And there’s always a team member available to be able to showcase the space if they wanna take a look or we always have print collateral everywhere too. So we’re always plugging the resources that we have and the connections that are made and just really highlighting the community, which is what makes any of our spaces special.

At the core is coworking. A lot of our events are member run, so we do wine tastings that are sponsored and run by a member. And for our music events, we always try to showcase the musicians in-house first. So we’re always able to say, Hey, this is also a member that we’re showcasing and highlighting this evening. So it’s bringing it all together. And it works really well. It feels like a whole ecosystem.

And then I see you roll up that big garage door and let in all the fresh air, it just seems like an amazing space. Anne, so you started with this group of people who already knew each other and were bought in on at least the idea that we can collaborate and things and, and it’s better for everybody.

So you’ve been doing this for 10 years now. I mean, 12, 12 years. You’re one of the, like the coworking pioneers and it’s changed a lot, but how do you educate people? And maybe it’s just that the community, like once the norms are in place, it’s so much easier to, to have that vibe continue.

But when you invite people in, like, this is so much more than just a workspace, like we want you to do programming. We want you to get involved. If you’re in a band, come play upstairs. Collaborate connect, like all the richness of coworking that just goes so far beyond boring, old office rental.

Our onboarding is really important for all of our members, right? So we make sure we sit down and we go through all the different resources. So it’s a multi-step process. And, you know, just even learning, just taking the time to listen and learn what our members’ needs are. Their passions are what they’re excited about lets us really get them plugged in. Also, and helps us have the ability to understand what they wanna share with the community so we can give them platforms. And so that is just such an essential part of the process is that onboarding process to really educate people on this is community first. 

People who come to us are craving friendships and relationships and networking. They’re not necessarily looking for space—they’re looking for something else and we want to make sure that they can tap that. So we really educate them on the different things in-house that they can participate in. And then we encourage them. So we see them in the space and we’re always connecting.

And we’re always encouraging them to participate in some capacity that they’re comfortable in. Also understanding that, you know, finding out information about a member before they even start. So in our application form, we dive a little deeper. We really try to understand what their interests are.

If they’re extroverted or introverted is really helpful, because that type member acts differently in the space and has different needs. And we need to make sure that they’re getting connected in a way that they’re comfortable with. So application, process, onboarding process, and then just interaction throughout the space is so important for just making a member feel like they’re part of the community and that they can get plugged in.

Do you have people come through that are just not going to be a good fit for the space? And if and when that happens, how do you handle it? 

Usually you can tell pretty quickly on a tour, if someone is gonna be a good fit or not. Sometimes we suggest other locations—every coworking space has its own vibe.

We don’t look at other coworking spaces in our community as competitors. They are another option. So we refer a lot to some of the spaces that maybe have more private offices. We only have 14 private offices. We’re mostly open concept with conference rooms and phone booths. And so we’re referring all the time to those other places.

If someone is like, I need quiet all the time, I’m gonna be on calls all day, they may just not be the best fit for our vibe. So referring is great because then you’re saying, Hey, I understand that your needs are different than what we can provide, and I’m going to actually refer you to the best resource.

And people really do appreciate that. We also find that people who aren’t a great fit who do want to try to participate filter out in about three months. Like they’re not, they’re not connecting. No matter what we do, they’re not interested in actually engaging. So, um, you’re gonna have that. And we do an exit interview or survey depending on their comfort level. And then we hopefully can maybe even suggest other places to them. 

What do you do if someone keeps their membership, but they’re not really engaging. You feel like they’re not tapping in? Not, not that everyone has the same needs from a space, but you just feel like, oh, there’s something missing here. They’re kind of phoning it in.

Yeah, so I will actually reach out if someone’s been kind of quiet for a while and try to invite them to an activity or event. I also do lunches with members every Thursday. So I’ll invite them to my member lunches. If you implement anything, this is so great once a week.

On a Thursday, I take four to five members out to lunch. It’s my treat. And it’s a way for them to get to know each other as well as me to find out more about them so I can get them better connected. It’s been one of the best things I’ve implemented and people make friendships like right away and someone’s gonna be what we call sticky.

If they can connect with at least one other person within the space, they can become friends. And so, you know, they stay long, they retain, you can retain them longer. So we do try to reach out and engage.

Sometimes people just fall off and there’s no way to bring them back into the fold. But you know, we do our best to just tap their shoulder. If you can, by just sending them a message, an email. Whatever, whatever channel you possibly can. Email marketing is really important and it’s something that we let drop over the pandemic. We were so focused on Slack and other virtual tools that we were using that we kind of let the email newsletter, um, just die.

We are actually bringing that back. It’s going out today for September. And that I think is a good way to keep those who maybe aren’t paying attention to our slack channel or the other channels just kind of plugged in so that like, Hey, you know what, we’re still here. 

In this newsletter, I actually suggest that this is a great time of year to revisit habits and schedules. I know that the changing season for me is always a time to kind of reboot, so I’m like, work us into your schedule—like you would the gym, right? Put us on the calendar and, you know, just make an effort to come in, even if it’s one day a week to get out of your home and out of the isolation that a lot of us have been in since the pandemic. 

I really quickly want to get some of the logistics stuff with the member lunch in case people want to implement this. Do you just grab whoever’s around or do you set it up a week ahead of time? Is it spontaneous? How do you do that? 

When someone signs up, they fill out an application form, we send them a welcome email and then I invite them to slack. When they join our slack channel, I send them another welcome message

The whole entire Candy Factory team that they’ll be working with is included in that direct message with them. And then in that message I say, I’m taking you to lunch. Pick a day that works for you like a Thursday that works for you. And I use Calendly for them to be able to book it. And so they’ll book it out and I have up to five spots available on that calendar so we can have multiple people.

And then the day before I send them a message with everyone who’s coming to lunch so that they can even check out who’s coming to lunch with them and say, Hey, all four or five people. We’re scheduled for lunch tomorrow. This is where we’re going to meet. This is what we’re going to do. And it just gives them opportunities then to go and revisit.

It’s like, oh, who was that person who was at lunch with me? They can go back to that direct message in slack and also see that. So it’s a couple of steps to get people signed up and prepped and ready for it, but it’s so worth it. I believe that members have stayed with the community because they met someone at that lunch that really helped them get connected.

100%. I had an interesting experience when I joined NextSpace Santa Cruz. I got dropped into this amazing community. Like it was already this fast moving community. When I moved to Park City, I joined kiln, which had been open two weeks. So we didn’t really know each other, people were kind of bouncing around and now like a year and a half later, it’s a bustling thriving community.

Nice. 

It was really informative. For me to be in a space where I was new in a new town and didn’t know anyone: new space, like literally brand new space. It helped me realize the importance of making connections and it’s slow, right? Like community and coworking are built one connection at a time, one conversation.

There’s no way to just say, Hey, we’re a community! when people don’t know each other. It’s like those, all those little human touch points. 

Something I wanted to circle back on. You said before having members do things—and this is kind of counterintuitive and space operators don’t want to ask something of their members. But when I turned the corner here, the first day I felt like I fully belonged in the space, was the first day I taught a workshop here. I shared what I knew. I got a chance to talk about it. I got to get into service mindset a little bit. People learned my name. I learned a little bit about them.

And then I had people to be like, oh, Hey, how’s it going? Or, you know, follow up questions or something. But being able to pour into the community, I feel like that’s where ownership and true membership happens, you know? 

Oh yeah, no, it’s so true. Right. So getting members to participate, to engage, they become invested—from making a pot of coffee to taking out the trash.

We ask that of our members, as well as hosting lunch and learns, which is a great way for them to showcase their skills. We have a really great espresso machine. And one of our members is right now thoroughly cleaning it for us. We teach members how to use it. They can do like celebrity barista hours, really getting people engaged and feeling like they’re part of something bigger is really important.

And so when a member comes to us, we’re always asking for feedback and suggestions. And when someone comes to us and says, we’d love to see this thing, I’m like, great. You wanna run that thing? And a lot of times they’re like, Yeah, I do. One of our newer members actually on their first day came to us and said, you know, we have knitting needles and stuff like that for people to be able to knit if they want.

And she was like, do we have a craft channel or a club? And I’m like, no, that’s one club we actually don’t have. And she’s like, I wanna start that. And I’m like, We’re gonna help you do that. So, you know, empowering members to feel ownership is really, really important to the experience. And when you had mentioned about like, coworking, it’s like, you know, connections, like connection and connection, it’s really about, you know, making that personal connection.

One thing I do that’s very helpful and members have said this is that when I walk through this space and I see people working near each other, I call them table roommates. And they’re not talking or they have, I could tell, like I’ve been watching and they’re not really engaging. I go up and I say, Hey, have you guys introduced yourselves yet? And they’re like, no . And I’m like, okay, well, Joe, this is John. And it sparks an immediate conversation. And the more I get to know about members and the more my team gets to know about their, you know, their interests and, and how they engage best, we can then make really intentional connections with people.

A good example is two of our members who tend to be shyer, kind of introverted, um, Both have this soccer passion and work for soccer companies. And the minute I saw that they were in the same space together. I said, Lawrence, John, come here. Like you guys need to meet. Yeah. You have to be intentional about it.

You really need to know your members, how they tick, what their interests are. And then you can be very mindful and strategic about getting them together. And once you make that, John came to me afterwards and said, that was a great connection. Thank you. And I’m like, yeah, I knew it. You both have the same passions.

So it’s work, but what I love about coworking is just seeing those connections happen every day. We have an opportunity to build new friendships and relationships and businesses. The amount of couples people have gotten married from our survey space is incredible. When you think about it, just because they talked to each other across from a table one day

The power of coworking, I will just sing this from the mountaintop because it completely transformed my life. It’s just what you talked about, friendships, collaborations, businesses, potential life partnerships. It’s like, there’s something that happens here when there’s an intention around community connection, collaboration and all that. It’s so important. I feel like it’s the future. I feel like it’s what humans desperately need.

It’s the same thing that you experienced 12 years ago when you’re like, we don’t wanna work at home. We don’t wanna work in isolation like that throughline is still here. It’s just massive right now. Yeah, the pandemic proved the remote model. The projections for coworking are just insane. 

So I wanna get your perspective being here at the very beginning, like very much when coworking was a movement, right. Through this kind of awkward transition where there was a little polarization and now it’s just like, it’s happening. It’s like this global industry. What’s your sense of things right now? Do you have concerns about where it’s going? Where would you like to see it going? Like space operators are coming in, that they don’t have much experience with coworking it’s like they wanna do it. They wanna be part of it, but they don’t have this kind of movement history that you have. 

So that was a lot of questions, but what’s your sense of all this as it’s just exploded? 

It’s so fascinating because I feel like when we first started, it was so new and in its infancy and we could all kind of create this new and exciting experience that no one had ever had any knowledge of before. Right? So the sky was the limit. And now I think that as we could also read trends, I think over the years, um, a bit more, and then the pandemic hit and it was like, all the trends were out the window. Right. We were just kind of like, what’s going on and, and how are we gonna survive this?

And so it’s been really interesting to see this, uptick and obviously remote workers coming into the workforce. I think what we saw before was that we always had a lot of remote workers. We’ve always been about 50, 50, like 50 remote, 50 small business owners and freelancers, that kind of thing. Um, but a lot of the remote workers in the marketplace right now, some are not choosing to be remote.

And that’s, what’s kind of different. Is that. You know, they’re being forced into remote and a lot of them want that. They want that experience. They want to be remote and the pandemic just expedited the kind of gig economy and remote work by 10 years anyway. Um, but. You know, they’re struggling with, what is this, what is this future gonna look like for me?

Right. And some of them are at home and they’re isolated and I’m looking for opportunities. And so that to get out and coworking is a natural fit. Um, and some people are like, well, What are my options? Coworking cafes, and they’re really not happy with any of them. So we’re, we’re finding some people who are coming in, dipping their toe into coworking and they’re just really not sure what the future of remote work looks like for them.

And they’re not choosing, coworking like remote workers before the pandemic. Did, if that makes sense. Like, we felt like the remote workers coming to the door, they knew they were, they were opting into remote work. They wanted to cowork, and they were very kind of committed to it. Where now we’re seeing it’s a little … I can’t find the right word, but it’s not as stable as it.

Before the pandemic. So I’m really excited to see more people have workplace flexibility. I hate to say work from home. I think it’s it’s workplace flexibility. I wanna see more people advocating for their businesses to cover their memberships. Uh, we have a lot of companies who really understand the importance of covering coworking memberships, but then we have a lot who don’t and I think people need to advocate for that.

But the trends have been a little hard to see. And so we’re seeing an uptick. We see a lot of new people to the area, a lot of transplants, but I’m still really kind of unsure with where the trend is gonna go and how coworking is gonna be impacted. We’re seeing a lot of office space in our community not renting.

And so we have a lot more people who are saying we’re, they’re gonna become coworking and they’re really not community focused. It’s a rented desk. And so if someone’s first experience with kind of a sterile office experience, then they think all coworking is the same and that’s unfortunate as well.

So we’re really trying to get out there and educate, you know, remote workers, especially who are new to this to say we’re very different from your rent a desk component. You know it’s gonna be interesting to see. I have a hard time predicting too far out, but we definitely are seeing growth.

And I do think the coworking movement is slated to see incredible growth with this complete shift to remote work. I mean, some of our remote workers, if their companies call them back, they’re like, I’m finding a new job. And that’s something else that’s really interesting for companies to think about, like coworking should be a perk.

It should be a benefit. You’re gonna get some of the best talent by giving them flexibility and also giving them an option to get outta their house. So it’s fascinating to me how the workforce is changing and how we work is changing. It has changed so dramatically in 12 years, but people come to the table more educated about coworking now, and that’s been very, very helpful for us.

It is so fascinating. And you mentioned a segment there that isn’t getting a lot of air time. Like they’re the people who love remote companies and employee sides all in on that. They’re the people who wanna be in offices and they’re pushing for that. But that segment, you mentioned of people who their company has gone remote and they don’t necessarily want that.

And they’re like, Ah, this isn’t working for me, but what’s the, what’s the good in between. I feel like those people don’t get enough air time of like, we don’t want this. Yeah. We wanna be around people. And I think part of it is these companies that are choosing to go fully remote. Are they taking a fully remote approach when it comes to company culture?

So we have some companies in house who’ve been remote since day one. They started as remote companies and they have a really strong company culture based on, you know, a remote workforce. So companies who had physical offices who were going fully remote. It takes some work on the company’s side to make sure that employees feel ncluded.

And part of that, you know, vested in that company and by providing places for like coworking spaces for them to gather as teams and to still connect person to person when they can is a huge plus. And so there is that little segment of the population that I think is a little lost that we’re trying to help.

I think it’s interesting that community building is now a needed thing for remote companies. Like you have to have somebody who’s making sure people are engaged and connected and know all the things who their sole purpose is just doing the community building with a remote team, because it’s not like everything’s just the same, except on zoom. It’s like, that’s a nightmare, right? Yeah. Just like back to back calls all day.

I wanna nerd out on marketing for a minute with you because the candy factory brand is so strong. And I know you are in marketing and have a long marketing background. So I would just love to hear kind of how you approach marketing and branding a community focused space. Like let’s just get into that a little bit.

Well, one thing that we determined pretty early on was our voice, right? Like what kind of voice do we wanna put out there to the public? And internally as well, we’re very casual and we’re bold. And we like to have a lot of fun. So our marketing is based on those things.

We wanna showcase the community. We wanna showcase that we’re, we’re casual, we’re fun, but we’re also a very productive space. So determining the voice of your brand is so important, so it’s not just the logo and your collateral on your website. It’s also like how you present yourself and what’s the vibe that someone’s gonna get when they take a look at your, your site or your social.

And you know, marketing has changed dramatically over the last 12 years. Right? So how we capture people’s attention has shifted all pretty much online, except for, oh, we do events and internal stuff like that, but on. Overall marketing plan. Instagram is huge for us. So many people come to us and say, you know, I came here because of your Instagram account.

We totally lucked out and got the @coworking many, many, many moons ago. Cause we’ve been around. And you have an inflatable unicorn on your Instagram. It’s like people who go to coworking they see your brand, your logo. I love, love, love, you know, I love it. Thank you. It’s so cool. It feels like your town and your culture and everything all in one.

We offer all of the resources. You need to get a great, you know, day of work in, but you’re also gonna have opportunities to have fun and connect and, and do something that you might not ever have done before. So for us, it’s more about the vibe and less about the sale when it comes to all of our marketing. Because if people are looking for coworking, They’re looking for the vibe that works for them.

And a lot of times people are searching coworking in Lancaster and we know that, so we do some Google ads and we do come up in those kinds of searches. Our website has been around for so long. It gets good traffic. You know, the content that you suggest is so helpful talking about other things within the community that people might be looking for.

For example, one article we wrote was parking tips and Lancaster because parking can be kind of a pain. And it’s one of the most visited blog posts we have written, and so many people have clicked through to schedule a tour just through that page. So, you know, it’s multiple tools, multiple platforms. But when it comes to everything, it’s all about the energy.

Like, are we projecting the energy that you’re going to feel when you walk into our space and you know, the plants, like you said, I mean, we have plants everywhere as every coworking space should. And the worst marketing for coworking is that empty desk saying, we have a desk for you because I’m not drawn to that.

I’m not drawn to an empty desk. I’m drawn to a room full of people who look like they’re all engaged. And that’s why we’re not the right fit for everybod. We put forth the energy that we create and the vibe that you’re going to have when you’re in a space like ours and people will filter out. Like, you know, that’s not the vibe I’m looking for.

I am looking for a more traditional office. We’re the anti-office. So it helps filter people who might not be a good fit as well, because they can tell pretty quickly if they look at our social, if they’re a good fit or not. I think it’s so important. Like being someone who looks at different coworking spaces, lots of websites when I’m in different towns, I hunt around and see what’s there.

Seeing a website that shows nice meeting rooms, nice space and stuff, but without anyone that I can’t see, who’s actually in the space to see if I can see myself in there. Like, is it gonna be people in, you know, white button down shirts and slacks? Or is it gonna be somebody with a basketball jersey? Just give me a sense of it.

And the bigger picture of branding is, like you said, so much more than the logo. The colors you choose. It’s like, what is the vibe? What’s the feel people are gonna have in and around your, your space and community. Yeah. And I think it’s really important that if you’re gonna project that, then that better be true, because I think that the worst experience is someone’s like, oh, this looks like so much fun.

And then they show up and they’re like, this is not anything that you’re projecting. So I think that’s also important is authenticity. Like, are you actually true to the experience? Are you projecting a true experience? We try really hard to do that, and sometimes it’s just spontaneous and fun.

And that’s, the one thing about marketing for me is like, I need to be enjoying it. You know, my backgrounds in design and marketing, I was working from home for years. That’s why I started the networking group. That’s why the candy factory exists. So I wanna make sure that it’s true.

Everything we project is true to and authentic. To the mission and, and the experience. Yeah, I think about, and talk about a lot of letting people in on that journey. Like if a brand new space opens and they’re like, we’re a coworking community. It’s like, you’re not quite yet. Right. But if you say we are building a community of entrepreneurs and creatives and freelancers in such and such a town, it’s like, oh, that’s cool.

Right? Like, I don’t wanna sit in an empty space and be told I’m in community. If I can get looped in and help to build something cool, cool. Like people want that people want and need that sense of belonging. And when you were talking about introducing the two people, I feel like people are just poised.

We just want a little tiny opening to connect with someone. And it reminds me years ago I was interviewing someone from the little free library organization. Yeah. And they were talking. They lived in a neighborhood for years and they would kind of wave at their neighbors as they drove in and out of their driveway.

But there wasn’t any real sense of community, but they put a little free library in their yard. She said within 15 minutes, she had met more people than she had met in four years. People are desperate if you just signal a little bit, like I’m here for it. I’m like let’s, let’s connect. Let’s do something cool together.

People are desperate for that, but hesitant to be the first one to open the door. It’s so true. I think again, you know, we, as, you know, community facilitators, we are connectors. Our job. Is to help facilitate connections. And I take that very seriously. I want to make sure that everyone feels like they have a place here and that it’s at their comfort level and we’re very intentional about it.

I think that the little library is a great example. We actually have a library right out front of our space and that’s not for us or for our internal community. We have libraries in house. It’s for the external community and we encourage people to come to our door. We have a low income senior apartment complex, literally right next door to us. And we really engage with the residents of that building and we encourage them to participate. We have one member, well he’s kind of like an honorary member, Jim, who comes in from the apartment complex and he’s in his nineties and he works on his poetry. And so we help him type up that poetry.

And so for us, the community’s not just in house here at the candy factory, it’s everything that surrounds us, it’s everyone. I think being a connector is really about understanding the external community and understanding the resources too, like our members come to us and they say, where do I find out about X, Y, Z?

And I want to be able to say, you go to this organization or you tap score. You go to assets, community foundation. Business resources for remote workers who just moved to the area and they have no idea the best, you know, brew pub to go to. You wanna be that connector in all different facets and by inviting actually the external community that’s around you in is a great way to do that. And things like a little library out front of your facility is the smart, smart way to do it. 

Anne, what an absolute pleasure to connect, to catch up. Thank you so much. Is there anything you wanna make sure to mention before we jump off? 

You know, for us, it’s just, you know, be authentic really at the end of the day. And also if you’re really interested in coworking and building a coworking community, make the community its core. Our facility is beautiful, but it’s not super polished. You know, it doesn’t have to look like it came out of a magazine. Our members just love the community. They love the resources here.

Understand that it doesn’t always have to be perfect. Just do right by the community, help them not only engage, but let them help you and guide you and your decisions and also how your space should evolve. That’s the one thing I’ve been very intentional about over the years is getting members to give feedback on our evolution and making sure that it suits their needs, not just our needs. So it’s all about the community. Be all in and if you’re passionate about it, and it just grows and grows and grows and they are cheerleaders for your coworking space.

Yeah. Coworking is not a top down thing. If it is, you’re a single point of failure, right? It’s a center out kind of thing. 

Yeah, very much. 

Where do you wanna send people to learn more, to connect with you? Well, you can check out our website, coworkinginlancaster.com. And all of our social accounts are there.

We’re @coworking on Instagram hit me up. I’m @ Anne Kirby on Instagram as well. It’s a great place for us to connect. And if anybody ever wants to chat, I’m always open to that too conversations with other coworking spaces. So just, just send me a message through our website or Instagram.

You bring so much to this whole thing, Anne.