Profession-specific coworking centres: a way to reach potential new members or a recipe for disaster?
- Profession-specific coworking spaces are coworking spaces designated solely for a profession, such as writing, marketing, or graphic design.
- These focused coworking spaces offer like-minded individuals and similar employees a place to collaborate, network, and share resources.
- While potentially beneficial for everyone, the business model can be unstable with its limited audience, and memberships can be expensive for those who fit the target demographic.
Coworking centers are designed to empower members to do more work by allowing both independent and in-depth work, and to foster collaboration with like-minded people sharing the coworking space.
Some operators in US cities are taking this goal of connecting like-minded people to another level by launching profession-specific coworking spaces.
The theory is to reach those who don’t benefit enough from a typical coworking center. What if you’re a writer in a coworking space with no other writers? Or a graphic designer in a coworking space with no other graphic designers?
While cross-disciplinary exchange is valuable, cross-disciplinary exchange is essential for creating crafts and for networking within a specific industry.
Profession-specific coworking spaces now offer separate professional groups a place to work and learn together.
Who you meet while you work is important
In addition to catering to the desire to work alongside people in the same career field, profession-specific coworking spaces can include valuable benefits for members.
LinkedIn is great for professional social networking, but nothing beats in-person networking. Especially in the creative world, who you know can often matter more than the quality of your craft.
Simple socializing during breaks from focused self-employment – coffee refills, lunch, bathroom breaks, etc. – is where a massive percentage of the unique benefits of professional coworking spaces will occur.
Are these advantages sufficient to generate profits for operators?
One of the drawbacks of coworking spaces in general is that many workers simply cannot afford to use them. The same drawback is in place for occupation-specific coworking spaces, but it can be much worse as they are, on average, significantly more expensive to operate than general coworking spaces.
Membership costs can reduce the market for profession-specific coworking spaces unless their prices drop.
There is currently no data on the demand for occupation-specific coworking centers, but much can be learned from the fact that narrowly focused coworking spaces, such as the wing (a coworking center reserved for women), close shop shortly after starting their activity.
Occupation-specific coworking spaces have a questionable business model because the demand for such services is unclear at best and too expensive for many workers.
When considering running, buying or using an occupation-specific coworking center, the price, viability and benefits of the specific coworking space should be weighed before making an impactful decision – the key point is to ensure that the impact is positive.
It’s essential to delve into how profession-specific coworking centers work before jumping into joining or running a center so it’s not a waste of time and money.