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Business Insights Interview Series – Interview #1 – Leslie Swearingin, Hub Australia

Last updated on by Libby Rule In Business, Business Insights Series

Photo of Leslie Swearingin of Hub Australia | Business Insights Interview Series | Jen Clark DesignLeslie Swearingin is Head of Marketing and Communications nationally for Hub Australia’s family of subsidiaries Hub Adelaide, Hub Melbourne and Hub Sydney.

1. What is Hub Australia? 

Hub Australia is a national network of coworking communities across Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

We exist to drive innovation through collaboration across diverse sectors, disciplines and generations.

We believe the secret sauce of innovation is the chance encounters between unlikely allies. This is why our coworking community has a diverse membership.

Coworking communities like the Hub are the marketplaces of the collaborative economy. We work hard to:

  • Drive new business and ideas
  • Enable peer-to-peer learning
  • Catalyse impact in the community

2. How does Hub Australia work?

Coworking is a style of work that involves a shared working environment. Unlike a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organisation.

Hub Australia’s style of coworking provides more than just a space to get work done.  Our focus is on creating meaningful connections between our members to drive business and innovation.

All our spaces are hosted with dedicated staff to connect our members to the people, knowledge, resources and ideas they need to succeed.

In addition to providing connections, the diverse backgrounds of our community create a constant flow of peer-to-peer learning. Hub also brings its members a weekly array of events to support professional development.

Our shared workspaces are driven by our member’s needs; we host a combination of personal, shared and interactive spaces to promote productivity and collaboration.

We say there is no such thing as a typical day at a HUB, but collaboration and learning always play a special part in our routine. Our spaces combine the best aspects of a trusted community whilst also offering an innovation lab, business incubator and all the comforts of home.

3.What are the main advantages of using such a space?

– Community Support: This is by far the biggest advantage of coworking. Coworking communities are great for constant feedback, bouncing ideas off your fellow coworkers, knowledge exchange and the celebration of your successes.

– Save time and costs: Hub Australia takes care of the workspace essentials like access to the internet and coffee, and all in a well designed, enjoyable space, enabling you to focus on growing your business without needing to manage an office. Hub’s flexible month to month memberships don’t lock you into any long-term leases either and there are no extra costs involved. Who doesn’t like low overheads?

– Diverse Social Network: Working in a traditional office or next to the same team day after day isn’t known for creating new leads. Coworking spaces allow you to be introduced to new coworkers on a regular basis, which can lead to new customers and resources for your business, saving you time and money. Not all connections are business focused either and many meaningful friendships have come out of our spaces.

– Increased Confidence: Our coworkers almost always report an increase in confidence for themselves and their projects. This is largely in part because of the flexibility our spaces provide and the relationships our coworkers have with their supportive community. There are so many intangible benefits that stem from this.

4.What sorts of businesses/individuals does Hub Australia tend to be most popular with and why?

Hub is predominately made up of workers (sometimes referred to as ‘free-range’ workers) embracing flexible work practices. These include freelancers, small businesses, intrapreneurs for larger organisations, entrepreneurs or  satellite teams.

There is no such thing as a typical Hubber (the name we give our members). They come from many different backgrounds, over 40 industries and all sectors including small business, government, corporate, education and not-for-profit. You won’t find many other work spaces with that kind of diversity.

Their reasons for using Hub Australia are all different too. Many come for the community, others want a CBD office that might otherwise be out of their reach, and some just like the idea working independently, but not in isolation.

5. What marketing strategies did you find to be most successful in your first year of operation? 

For the most part Hub hasn’t relied on traditional media and/or marketing tactics, and when we have used them they haven’t been incredibly successful. Instead we’ve focused on generating buzz via word of mouth. Word of mouth was – and still is – our most powerful marketing tool.

We’ve been successful in getting people talking through providing a positive experience for everyone we come in contact with and aiming to be the best coworking community out there. We enjoy sharing the success stories of our members, hosting learning and networking events and actively participating in other communities that are in line with the values of Hub and our members.

Examples of some of these marketing activities include:

Actively participating in relevant communities – before opening, Hub Australia spends months researching where our target audience is, both on and offline, and looks for opportunities to contribute. Meet-up groups are a great place to connect with influencers in groups you would like to work with. Offering to host an event or contribute as a speaker is a simple way to add shared value to the group.

Hosting learning and networking events – before opening Hub Sydney, we hosted an all day outdoor coworking event in Wynyard park to bring awareness to the coworking movement in Sydney and to let the community know Hub Sydney was on its way. The event was a great way to show the benefits of bringing a diverse group of people together in a fun environment. Because of its unusual nature, we were easily able to generate press about the event to keep the buzz going.

Sharing our members’ success stories – Hub Australia created a series of videos called Hub Stories that show the impact collaboration has had on our members. The videos are great tools to show our potential customers the outcomes they can expect from joining Hub, and for our existing members to share how they work with their peers.

Finally, offering an incredible product that creates value for your customer is essential to giving your customers something to talk about. It’s been the key to our loyal Hub community and now our members are our brand’s most valuable asset. Many of our members refer new customers to us by sharing the impact Hub Australia has had on their business and personal lives. Marketing doesn’t get better than that! The bottom line is that customer loyalty stimulates sustained growth.

See below for a selection of images from various Hub Australia locations:

 

We’d love to hear about your coworking experiences.   What is it like and would you recommend it? 

2 thoughts on “Business Insights Interview Series – Interview #1 – Leslie Swearingin, Hub Australia”

  1. I have worked in a co-working space for a year, after freelancing from home for three years. I’ve enjoyed the collegiality of the atmosphere and having other solo practitioners around me. I believe working in a space beside other people who are working hard at their businesses has improved my productivity and focus, and I think it’s a model that a lot more people will use in the future.

    December 16, 2013 at 05:05 pm  •  Reply
    1. Libby Rule

      Hi Kirstie, Thanks for sharing!

      December 17, 2013 at 01:51 pm  •  Reply

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