Virtual office memberships present a huge opportunity for coworking space operators. Revenue, leads, positioning and more are all strengthened by virtual offerings, including virtual mail.
My go-to source for all things virtual office is Sofia Stolberg, co-founder and CEO of PilotoMail. Sofia also runs five Piloto 151 coworking locations, where virtual offices make up 40% of their revenue stack!
So she knows what she’s talking about.
I asked Sofia to share her insider view of virtual, including the biggest challenges, biggest mistakes she sees coworking space operators making with virtual offerings, and the massive potential for virtual offices.
Cat Johnson: What was your biggest challenge with virtual memberships in your own spaces?
Sofia Stolberg: That’s an easy one. Compliance was by far the biggest challenge and obstacle towards growth in our virtual office memberships. For starters, there had never been a Certified Mail Receiving Agency for virtual offices in Puerto Rico before we applied for it. It took us 9 months to get our first designation!
And after that, as our membership scaled well into the hundreds of virtual offices, it became impossible to keep up with compliance requirements manually, which turned into a legal liability.
How did you solve your challenge?
We created our own mail management software, PilotoMail! It automated the CMRA compliance process, speeding up onboarding with our virtual mailbox renters.
To ensure compliance with U.S. federal regulations, PilotoMail features a self-serve identity verification process and CMRA forms are pre-filled with a renter’s information, ready for them to simply add their signature. Mail operators can easily track that the process is completed; no more emailing forms, friendly reminders, and notarizing to verify an identity.
What have you learned about virtual membership since then?
There is no scaling virtual offices without software and without handling tons of postal mail for your members.
Mail is not your problem, it’s your opportunity.
What is the biggest mistake you see coworking space operators make with their virtual memberships?
Not considering virtual offices and mail management as a revenue opportunity.
Virtual Offices require little investment and use of a space’s resources, offering flex spaces the opportunity to grow without the limits of capacity and square footage.
How would you advise someone considering creating virtual memberships?
Be intentional about growing your virtual offices. Recognize that it is the most profitable offering in coworking and assign budget and resources to nail your offering, market it and scale it.
What’s the big picture vision with virtual memberships? What can space operators work toward?
It comes down to diversification and growth beyond the square footage cap on revenue that most coworking spaces are subject to by virtue of being in the real estate industry.
For us at Piloto 151 coworking spaces, virtual offices have become 40% of our revenue stack. And this, in turn, has allowed us to weather uncertain times (i.e. the pandemic, economic recessions) and allocate more resources to improve our overall member and community experience, fueling a virtuous cycle of member satisfaction, repeat business and referrals.
Schedule a demo with PilotoMail to learn how they can help you turn mail from a problem into an opportunity.
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