Why aren’t people flooding through your doors?
You opened your space a few weeks ago and you can’t seem to get a soul to sign up for even a basic membership. You started accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even a created a mailing list. You post about your space every day, encouraging people to come check out what this “coworking” thing is all about. You use words like creativity and innovation and startups in hopes that it will get the greater community excited about your space. You show up at networking events to pass out business cards. You host happy hours with beer and cheese (sometimes people show up, sometimes they don’t).
The problem? Nobody cares.
Nobody cares because nobody trusts you. Nobody trusts you because you haven’t actually done anything yet. (Sure, you opened an office and filled it with some furniture, but that’s not terribly interesting. It’s been happening for over 100 years.)
Nobody cares because you haven’t invested the energy and time to weave a story that is incontrovertible (i.e. not able to be denied or disputed).
When your story is incontrovertible, people not only hear and see what you do, but they know how and why you do it. What’s more, some of these people actually believe in what you do and see your work as integral to their worldview.
So how, then, does one achieve incontrovertibility?
Instead of telling people what you’re up to, do something important and risky and filled with generosity. If it’s good and it resonates, the word will spread. Then, do it again.
Maybe this is a big event for a particular group of people in your community. Maybe the event is free. Free or not, it needs to be amazing and it needs to be generous.
Maybe this is in the form of valuable information, published as a video for free as a gift to the people you’re serving.
Maybe it’s a dinner for starving artists.
Maybe it’s a play, a film screening, or feedback session from somebody astounding.
What it is isn’t the point. The point is that what you do must resonate with the people you serve. The point is that you need to walk the walk to get people to care about what you’re doing. Building an office isn’t enough. You need to craft (note: I did not say write, but craft) a narrative, a brand, a story that your community can’t stop themselves from being in on. Only then are you incontrovertible.