Coworking office spaces have grown exponentially in popularity among entrepreneurs in recent years. In fact, communal work environments are predicted to average membership growth rate increases of nearly 25% over the next few years alone, according to the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC).
So why the sudden influx of memberships? Perhaps it’s the unique and diverse environments associated with coworking offices spaces. Or, perhaps, it’s one of the dozens of other benefits members list as appealing that is drawing new members in droves.
According to sources such as the Harvard Business Review and the Chicago Tribune, coworking office spaces have become wildly popular for numerous reasons. Members who participate in them state the coworking spaces allow them benefits that are unparalleled by any other means. Of the many benefits given, here are some of the most widely reported advantages coworking members reported:
The Coworking Savings
For starters, let’s be honest – when it comes to business, the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. An office space option that allows you to cut costs while keeping a beautiful and functional work space is going to be high on the list for sure.
“If you lease your own office space, you’re responsible for paying for utilities, supplies and amenities. With shared offices, utilities such as water and Internet are included, as are other amenities including coffee and kitchen supplies. This reduces costs and some of the details you have to tackle day to day,” explains ChicagoTribune.com.
No More Office Politics
Another benefit, as researchers with Harvard Business discovered during a 2015 survey, is that coworking spaces have a noticeable lack of “office politics.” Since everyone who is involved in a shared office environment has a different area of expertise, there is no sense of competition among coworkers.
“Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in,” Harvard Business Review reports. As a result, coworking space members tend to feel much more comfortable and focused on their own projects than they did in traditional office spaces.
Since shared office spaces usually offer monthly membership options, you have much more flexibility than you would with an office lease or mortgage. The monthly choices give members the ability to operate on an as-needed basis, as well as allowing them the flexibility of their own schedules as well. Coworker spaces are often open 24/7 for members to access whenever they want. This allows for a “come and go as you please” office environment, which is (understandably) highly appealing to members.
Community and Support
Finally, coworkers have noted that one of the biggest benefits to utilizing shared office spaces comes in the form of the community and support they gain while at work. Coworking spaces have members from all walks of business and experiences. This gives members a unique opportunity to socialize with others they may never have met before.
By extension, members are also entrenched in a pool of coworking specialties. This means that most will have a new set of coworkers that can offer on-demand help or advice with fresh perspectives every day. It also offers some fantastic networking opportunities.
The benefits of coworking seem to be never-ending if you have the opportunity to discuss experiences with someone who participates in a membership. One thing is for certain; the statistics clearly state that coworking offices are trending, and we’re beginning to see why!
When it comes to running a business, few things concern owners more than achieving a successful return on their investment (ROI). It’s not an issue that disappears after you’ve officially reached a profitable term or a well-developed client and customer base. In fact, it’s a concern that will dictate your business decisions for the duration of your operations.
Whether you’re an established entity with decades of experience or just starting out and toying with the idea of a new business, you’ll be focused on generating ROI. Why? It’s more than simply earning back the basic start-up costs. As you will continually invest in your business, you’ll be continually focused on the ROI of those investments.
What Is ROI?
In order to understand how to maximize your ROI, you must first understand what it is. Most business owners are already familiar with the definition, but a refresher never hurts.
In layman’s terms, your ROI is quite simply, the probability of recouping the costs of your investment, and the potential profitability ratio. According to Business News Daily, “ROI is used to calculate how much of a value an investment is.”
There is a basic formula that is used to determine the ROI of any individual project or business investment. In short, your ROI is calculated by dividing your net profit by the overall cost:
ROI = Net Profit (Profits – Investment) / Cost (Investments, Maintenance)
It goes without saying then, that in order to increase your ROI, you need to increase your net profits – which, let’s be honest, is the whole purpose anyway. The higher your net profits, the higher your ROI and the greater your investment is worth. So how do you go about boosting profitability?
Well, for starters, you need to fully understand the overall costs of any particular venture. Whether it’s advertising, investing in a new product or service, or developing new merchandise lines, using the ROI formula will be your first step in understanding the likelihood of a successful endeavor.
“Understanding the return on investment of any project or marketing campaign helps in identifying what is a successful business practice versus what isn’t.” – BusinessNewsDaily.com.
Tips to Increase Your ROI
Once you are confident you’ve got a successful concept for investment, the next step is to optimize your profitability in order to increase your ROI. Determining what factors will positively impact your ROI isn’t a cut and dry process, as every investment venture has its own unique set of influences. However, there are tips to help increase the ROI of many ventures as a whole:
It may seem like a given, but electronic communication is a highly efficient method of increasing the ROI of any given investment. Why? Because it cuts the cost of generating hard copy mailers and takes a significantly lower amount of time to complete. It also gives the invaluable insight of digital analytics which allows you to fully grasp which markets are working best for your investment.
With marketing campaigns focused largely on digital platforms, it makes sense to track their success rates digitally as well. Online analytic programs will take the guessing out of your ROIs by tracking all traffic and success rates for you.
Another concept that is crucial to the equation is to ensure you maintain competitive pricing. While it may be tempting to stay conservative on pricing options in order to increase your profits, experts say it’s best to remain competitive.
“Consumers view value in different ways and pricing yourself out of competition is going to kill your ROI.” – Chad Reid, Director of Communications for JotForm via Comidor.com.
Lastly, one of the best ways to increase your ROI is to carefully choose the costs that are incurred on the front end. While you don’t want to skimp on critical pieces or strategic campaigns, there are ways you can minimize costs. Determine what pieces of your investment can be done in-house (successfully), and keep your in-house overhead to a minimum. Co-working office spaces are a great way to do this, as are mobile work stations because they allow ample opportunities to develop your investments at minimal cost. Overall, there are a number of ways to increase your ROI at every step. The key is to fully research your costs and carefully determine the best strategies for each particular venture.
Whether you’re just starting out with your new business, or you’re a well-established hub who’s looking to expand, creating an online presence is essential to success today. With current trends focused so heavily on the web (online shopping, reviews, networking, etc.), creating a captivating virtual business can truly make or break your brand.
“Whether you are a local restaurant with ten years of industry experience or a startup that hopes to revolutionize commercial-grade cookware, taking your brand online can positively impact your company.” – Forbes.com
So, you know you need to have a successful online presence, but how? I mean, how many of us are truly web-design gurus here? Even if you’re fairly handy with technology and can fumble your way around web design templates, you’re still not likely to be a closet design genius.
Creating an online presence that works for your company can be a stressful and frustrating time – but it doesn’t have to be. By equipping yourself with the right tools, you can ease some of the tension and confusion around designing your virtual business. Let’s take a look at how to simplify the process one step at a time.
1 – Take Stock of Your Brand for Your Virtual Business
The first step you need to take when expanding your virtual business, is to take stock of your brand. What do we mean by this? Look at what you have developed on site so far and take note of your key items. Do you have items that are top sellers, or products and services that are popular locally? Look at your business or brand strengths and incorporate them into a plan. Be sure to note all things you wish to achieve with your online business. This will give you a basic outline for building your business on the web.
2 – Familiarize Yourself with Web Lingo
It may seem daunting, but one of the best ways to ensure online success is to do a little research on what’s out there. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with terms like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Analytics to help you build a solid platform that’s ripe for virtual traffic. Understanding the basics of virtual marketing techniques can help you decipher what avenues will be best to represent your individual business needs online.
3 – Be Consistently Present
Once you have decided which online presence is best for your virtual business (social media, web pages, blogging, etc.), you need to get to work. By that we mean, you need to be consistently present online. If you’re blogging, make sure you’re producing pieces daily. If you’re on social media, share relevant information frequently (at least once a day) to get your brand out there. Staying consistently present is key to developing an online presence.
4 – Drum Up Traffic
A successful virtual business requires a steady flow of traffic to your site or interactions with your posts. How do you do this? You build a following. And how do you do that? Well, in addition to being consistently present as we noted above, you need to drum up some interest in your virtual business. This can be done in a number of ways, depending upon your specific business, but some of the easiest and most common ways include:
- Running promotions or contests (“Like and share this post for a chance to win!”)
- “Online Only” sales and promo codes
- Offer referral discounts for friends and family of current clients
- Interacting with your customers/clients frequently and personally online
5 – Track Your Progress
Lastly, as with anything in business, it’s always important to track your virtual business progress. Keep logs of what type of promotions worked best or what posts generated the greatest attention. Doing so will help you see how your target audience is reacting to your online presence and will give you the tools to tweak your approach as you go.
Keep in mind that all businesses are unique to their own existence, so no one single approach will work for everyone. The best advice? Do your research, keep track of what works (and what doesn’t), and stay at it!
If you were asked to sit down and create a list of your top priorities for your dream job, what would top your list? Would it be a generous salary? A padded benefit package? Flexible hours? Surprisingly, it would seem a significant portion of the workforce shares one particular wish-list item: telecommuting.
When it comes to career goals, a vast majority of the workforce today has a similar mindset. In fact, according to one study reported on Forbes.com, 85% of the workforce in the U.S. specifically seeks employment that allows them to work from home or on the go.
In addition to that statistic, the study also found that another large portion of the population would actually leave a current employer if a similar opportunity arose that allowed them more telecommuting freedom.
“74% of employees said they would quit their jobs to work for an organization that would allow them to work remotely more often, even if their salary stayed the same.” – Forbes.com.
With so many individuals going after the same career goals, it’s not surprising that actually finding those epitomical positions can be a little tricky. If you’ve ever done a search for “work-from-home” jobs, you’ve likely come across an endless stream of too good to be true scams. So how do you find the real deal?
Rest assured, telecommuting and work-from-home jobs really do exist – even those with sustainably high salaries – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look (or what to look for). Taking some of the guess-work out of it for you, we have compiled a list of five of the top telecommuting opportunities, complete with excellent compensation:
1 – Virtual Assistant
Since nearly all businesses operate (at least partially) through an online networking presence today, it makes sense that a large portion of them would need online assistance. These jobs generally help executives and management stay organized with schedules, correspondence and other tasks, but with the flexibility of handling them all from home. Depending on the specific tasks and workload, some virtual assistants can make upwards of $50/hour or more.
2 – Translator
Can you fluently speak a second language (or more)? You might be a great candidate for translator work! Translators work on an as-needed basis usually, but there are specific companies searching for a full-time translator or interpreter to keep on staff.
“The national median wage for this career was $46,120 in 2016, although the top 10% of workers earned an average of $83,010.” – TheSimpleDollar.com.
3 – Social Media Management
With the social media world booming, there is big money to be made for those who can maneuver their way around the backside of online media accounts. With companies competing fiercely for a viral presence, it makes sense that they would be willing to lay out some highly competitive wages for someone who can deliver impressive social media followings.
4 – Freelance Writing
If you want complete freedom of schedule and you’re good with the written word, freelance writing might be for you.
“More than ever, writers are needed to formulate news articles, create content, and come up with the creative ideas that fill the pages of nearly every site on the internet.” – TheSimpleDollar.com.
It’s difficult to pinpoint a salary average for freelance writers since there are so many variables involved (research, length, experience, etc.). According to GlassDoor.com, however, freelance writers who utilize sites such as Upwork have an average base pay of $22-50 per hour of work.
5 – Web Development
Web development is in high demand today, and also lends a flexible work-from-home opportunity for those with qualifications. Since most people don’t possess the skills to create a truly seamless and eye-catching online presence on their own, many will choose to hire someone to help them.
Basically, all you need (in addition to the obvious training and know-how) is a computer and some dependable internet connections and you’re equipped for this position.
“Even better, the national median wage for web developers was $66,130 in 2016, with the top 10% earning an average of $119,550.” – TheSimpleDollar.com.
All-in-all, careers which offer the flexibility of working on the go or from home, are at the top of the list for those seeking employment today. Those positions are definitely out there, you just need to know where to look!
I’ve had a lot of conversations with people in the space recently about goals and have noticed a shift in the types of conversations. More and more, people are seeking purpose, meaning and community. This makes perfect sense if you think about it. The days when work and life could be separated and values were relative and secondary are over. People want to know that what they do, consume and give every day matters and is contributing to society. This shift gives us all something to look forward to. If building a successful business is dependent on an entrepreneur’s ability to understand and influence meaning and purpose, the possibilities are endless and we are truly changing the world. I for one will do everything I can to keep that momentum going.