Alex Hillman discussed how to better accommodate parents in the community.
Coworking and Childcare
Coworking and childcare are two completely different businesses. Treating them as such is the only way to get anywhere towards your goals. If you are trying to set up two businesses at once, you are setting yourself up for failure. Even when one is going really well, you are distracted by the other that is not as well off. If Alex, were to approach something like this, he would focus on getting one of the businesses of the ground first. Which one you choose to start with depends on you, your community, and what resources you have available. Start by taking inventory.
Childcare naturally limits how long parents are going to be in your space. When doing childcare and coworking together, think about how to get parents to stay with you, even after their children grow up. You are probably going to have to build something else into your ecosystem to supplement it.
There are also a lot of legal requirements with childcare that differs depending on where you care located. There are limits to what a space can and cannot have in it as well as how it can be set up. Those additional expenses and constraints can put a damper in your project.
The focus should be on parents, not the childcare. Parents are always parents. Just having a place to go that understand how hard it is to juggle work life and parenting can create a really strong support system. It is a place where you can hear from other people’s experiences.
Coworking focuses on the ability to build trust. When it comes to children, nothing is more important than trust. Focus on the ability to bring people that can trust each other together. Not everyone in the community needs to be a parent. There are plenty of people who love children and would be willing to support parents as they work.
Most childcare is expensive and inflexible. Childcare often requires a prepaid plan. However, one of the main concern for freelancers is cash flow. When they are unsure if they are going to use the childcare services, it makes the commitment harder. Therefore, creating a place where parents can come to work that has a flexible childcare system is highly attractive. There is a huge opportunity in creating a space that works around all the responsibilities that comes with being a parent.