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Alex Hillman

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EP9 – I was so close to burning out, I needed help.

4 minute read
by Alex Hillman

Coworking spaces are supposed to be a better way to work.

Freedom, flexibility, collaboration, and choice.

For everyone…except for the people who are hired to work there.

No matter what kind of business you’re in, adding someone new to your team is a tough thing to do well. But in a coworking space, it’s a special kind of challenge for a couple specific reasons:

1. New hires in a coworking space don’t know exactly what they’re getting themselves into.

I talk to a lot of people – including many of you on this list – about what they expected when they signed up for the job to be a community manager/community catalyst/community activator/whatever.

Nearly everyone admits that they didn’t really understand what they do well enough to explain it to someone else…even after weeks or months on the job.

And with job descriptions that read like this…

…I’m not exactly surprised. 😉

So how is someone supposed to feel good about doing a job when they don’t even know what SUCCESS is supposed to look like or feel like, for them?

2. The staff of a coworking space are often the only people in the room who HAVE to be there – because it’s their job.

Contrast that to a room full of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and even independently-minded employees…what’s expected of you as a staff member can get confusingly mixed in with the messages of entrepreneurship.

In order for team members to feel a sense of SUCCESS for themselves, they need to know that their job is more than simply to show up and punch down a list of to-do’s.

Adding someone to your team just by throwing tasks at them doesn’t really send the, “hey, welcome, we’re glad you’re here” vibe.

How do you give someone a job description, but still give them the agency they need to succeed for their own satisfaction?

Today I want to share how I learned to bring people onto the team at Indy Hall in a way that’s made a HUGE difference in both of those areas.

This approach has made it possible for the people who join the Indy Hall team to feel a sense of ownership over their work in a way that you couldn’t simply by going down a checklist of “things to do”.

In this episode of The Coworking Weekly Show – which takes a slightly different format than previous episodes and is a much quicker listen at just under 17 minutes – focuses on how we introduce new people to the job they’ll do to take care of Indy Hall…and the promise that we make in return. The technique you’ll learn in this episode can be used in all kinds of hiring and team building, including the examples that I open the show describing. And best of all, you’ll hear from someone who actually took my advice and applied it successfully in a business totally unrelated to coworking.

Listen to this short episode on how to grow your team and avoid burnout

Are you the person who has been hired to work in a coworking space? I’d especially like to hear from you!

  • What do you think about this episode?
  • How were you brought onto your team?
  • How would you have felt going through the process that I described in the show?

You can drop a note in the comments, or if you’d prefer to keep the discussion private, email me directly: [email protected]

Coming Soon: My tips for avoiding team member burnout, and what NOT to do when building your community, drops later this week!

This past Friday I went to the first Coworking Asia Unconference in Ubud, Bali. The bad news (for me) is that I only got to participate for about an hour via a Google Hangout, answering questions from the audience.

Answers include:

  • My #1 trick to get the most out of ANY unconference.
  • How to avoid burnout in your team members. (Note: many coworking space community mangers seem to crash after about a year)
  • Why coworking space acquisitions are rare, and consistently fail
  • One of my favorite examples of using lessons learned in coworking to create new successful ventures
  • What NOT to do when building your community

Got feedback? I wanna hear from you!

I’d love to hear what you think about this format – it was considerably more work to create an episode that’s much, much shorter. But if you like it, I’d like to do more like this in the future. So hit me up and let me know! @alexhillman on Twitter or [email protected]

This will help make sure you can find the most useful resources. I respect your privacy & email. Absolutely no spam, and I won't ever share your data. Pinky promise! 🤞

Hey, thanks for reading!

Alex Hillman I am always thinking about the intersection of people, relationships, trust and business. I founded Indy Hall in 2006, making us one of oldest fully independent coworking communities in the world. This site is packed with the lessons and examples I’ve learned along the way. You can find me on Twitter, too! 🐦 Say hi.