Matrix Coworking Building, Madison WI

Entrepreneurship? What does that even mean?

As many of you know, I run a coworking space, which means I’m CONSTANTLY trying to figure out how to best serve the community we house.

2015 Coworking Europe, Milan Italy
2015 Coworking Europe, Milan Italy

Since my trip to Italy last Fall for Coworking Europe 2015, I’ve been thinking a lot about how coworking spaces can further define their target marker by the nature of the Entrepreneurs and businesses they cater to.

I’ll ask for your thoughts at the end of this post but for now, here’s my take on the potential target markets of coworking…

Small Business Owner – Owning a lifetime business, small business owners typically work with known and established products and services. The risks associated with owning a small business in this scenario are well known. Small business owners pursue limited growth ventures with stable profitability. Might use coworking to build their network, as an office/workspace for work from home businesses, as their first brick and mortar location, the beginning of a second location, or as a satellite location.

Private Practice – Private practice owners, usually business services or health care professionals, work independently of external policy control with exceptions of ethics regulations that licensing and the law provide. There are more risks associated with private practices than there are with working with larger establishments, but typically more gratification. Might use coworking to build their network and meet clients within the space, or as as-needed office space while they build their client meetings.

Freelancers & Artists – Married to the craft of their business, typically they are really good at what they do, but they sometimes need a bit more help when it comes to turning their skills into income or running a successful business. Known for not valuing their own time enough, and undercharging their clients. Might use coworking as a place to work or meet with clients, teach classes, or connect with other small business/private practices that will be able to round out their business venture. 

Entrepreneur – Entrepreneurs typically are venturing into the unknown. They have a new or innovative invention/idea that usually has not been validated in a market; they have a high anticipation of failure and a very high-risk tolerance. They understand the importance of lose-fast, win-fast and are not married to their ventures. Might use coworking as work space. Might use coworking space as affordable office or meeting space while capital is low, or to network and connect with talent and potential partners/investors.

Serialpreneur – A Serialpreneur has the same mentality as an entrepreneur, except they typically are trying to run multiple ventures in a row or even at the same time, working tirelessly trying to find something that sticks. Serialpreneurs also have high risk tolerance, but their continuation of business development leads to massive networks and resources that many people would not otherwise have at their disposal. Might use coworking as a stationary place to meet several people at once, work one business then smoothly transition into meeting a partner for another, not to mention connecting with new potential projects and partners.

Solopreneur – The Solopreneur operates in a similar fashion as the entrepreneur but is less willing to give up equity or control of their business. They like the challenge of running the business by themselves and are less willing to give up control of their business or help from others. Might use coworking as a place to work and have meetings where other people bring life to the space around you, to multitask and network while working your business.

Parentpreneur – An Entrepreneur who also has to balance the trials and tribulations of having a family. A young family poses the extra challenges of unclear availability for things such as networking or scheduling meetings. Might use coworking to connect with other Parentpreneurs, to lower business overhead and have a place to work, to enroll children in the classes of other members businesses (music lessons, art classes, etc) and gain additional time to work.

Encore Entrepreneur – Typically, an Encore Entrepreneur is someone coming back to something that they love or have always wanted to do after retiring from their previous career. Typically lower impact businesses as these people have already spent a lifetime working. Might use coworking to reconnect with the business community, as an office or workspace, or to share hard earned information and experiences with new members of the business community.

Crowdsourcing time: I’ d be interested in hearing YOUR thoughts. If you have something to add to these definitions, please leave it in the comments section. I’ll update our definitions accordingly. I’d also be interested to hear your thoughts on what unique challenges these groups face, and/or how coworking spaces might help!

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