Elevating Women in Business with Maggie from Elevate Coworking

Learn how Maggie from Elevate Coworking built a thriving community of women entrepreneurs
By Kelly K
March 6, 2024
Elevating Women in Business with Maggie from Elevate Coworking

When you think ‘multitasking superstar business owner’, you think of Maggie Blackham. 

Not only does Maggie run two businesses (where she does just about everything), she is also the mom of two, proving that women really can have it all.

Maggie began hosting meetups and organically connecting with other women business owners early in her entrepreneurial journey. From there, the community snowballed into something far greater than she could have imagined – Elevate Coworking

Elevate Coworking is a coworking space all about supporting women entrepreneurs in their mission to have it all. She’s dedicated to anticipating the needs of women so they don’t have to.

Here are five key takeaways from our conversation with Maggie on what it takes to build a thriving community of women.

“I was really just wanting to put office space together and be able to work alongside my friends. Now we have this 6,500 square foot space where we’re able to help a lot of people.”

1. Get really clear about your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

So often, the most successful  coworking owners we see are the ones who have a very clear picture of who their ideal customer profile (ICP) is and what they need. Adam from KoWorks also described it as the key to a successful marketing acquisition funnel in our webinar on coworking member acquisition.

Maggie took some time to map out exactly who it was that she was serving. Yes, it was women entrepreneurs, but who were these women? What were they interested in? And what exactly were they looking for in a coworking space?

Think about who you’re serving and design your offerings explicitly for them. Ideally, you should aim to have your space tailored for at least 80% of the market you’re going after. That 80% makes up the foundation of your business and your revenue.

“First we had to figure out who our ideal client was. Then, it was about diving in and serving them exactly what they need.”

2. Embrace the pivot

Identifying women in coworking as their ideal client profile

After defining her ICP, it became clear that Maggie needed to make a change.

In order to best support women in their mission to have it all, Maggie decided to incorporate on-site childcare into the Elevate Coworking business model. When she opened her doors in July 2022, coworking and childcare was very much a unique selling point of the space.

Though many members of the community appreciated the offering, the demand for childcare just wasn’t there. As it turned out, the ICP Maggie defined didn’t need on-site childcare afterall. After a year, Maggie made the decision to pivot away from the childcare offering and go all in on helping women in business.

Having flexibility and a willingness to shift your business model as demand changes is an important aspect of growing a business sustainably. Consider your initial offering as “Version 1.0” and expect it to evolve as you learn more about who your community is and what they want.

“​​We did open with coworking and childcare, and then in May of this year, we decided to close down the childcare piece. I still love that model. But now that we figured out our ideal client, we're going to dive in and serve them and what they need.”

3. Provide more than a desk

Are you selling space or are you cultivating community? There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer, but you need to get clear about what you are offering to your members. And time and time again, we see those who focus their efforts on building community as coming out on top.

Maggie is all about going above and beyond what a traditional coworking space is expected to provide. Not only does she focus on the little things, like feminine hygiene products in the bathroom and cozy blankets in the lounge, she has also intentionally designed Elevate Coworking’s offerings to support women entrepreneurs in improving themselves and their business.

She creates helpful resources for her members including blogs and newsletters, and hosts classes and workshops focused on building community and helping women connect with one another. 

The space is also home to a number of meet-ups and events including a postpartum moms group and an entrepreneur masterclass coming soon.

The value Maggie provides to her community, beyond just a space to work, is what keeps people coming back consistently.

“There's tampons in the bathroom. There's coffee when you're thirsty. Probably my favorite feature is a throw blanket ladder in our lobby. We wanted it to feel like it was a really safe space - a space that says, “we got you” as soon as you come in the door.”

4. Automation can elevate the experience

Automation can elevate the experience for women in coworking

At Optix, we’re big on automating the mundane parts of a coworking space, so you can focus on the human elements that only you can do.

Maggie uses technology to take care of all of the little things, like desk booking, check-ins, invoicing, and more. However, she takes things one step further by building automations between her coworking software, Optix, and other tools that she’s using.

She’s working on an integration between her coworking software and her email service provider so she can segment her email lists better and create more personalized messaging for her members.

With this, she’s thinking about how automation can elevate the experience that she provides to her members and enhance her brand experience – while taking manual work off her plate.

5. Make bringing people together your north star

Not only does Maggie want Elevate Coworking to be a place where friends and communities can come and gather, she also wants it to be a place where connections can happen between strangers.

Maggie takes it upon herself to facilitate connections and make introductions between members who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to connect.

She set up monthly member lunches where anyone who wanted could come together and meet other members of the community. Maggie also goes out of her way to connect people who she knows have similar interests or goals.

It’s one of the simplest and most effective ways of instantly making people feel like they belong.

“I realized I knew everybody in some capacity, but a lot of members didn't know each other. I thought, everyone needs to eat lunch, so let's do lunch once a month. We give members the space where they can come and meet each other, and then they can go off and collaborate later.”

Elevating women with Elevate

Elevating women with Elevate Coworking - meet the community

When asked what legacy Maggie wants to leave behind, she knows exactly what she wants to change.

“I want to remove the small in women with small businesses. It’s just running a business.”

She wants to see more and more women stepping up and confidently owning the work that they’re currently doing or hope to do in the future. When women are able to move forward in business, that’s when Maggie will know her work is done.

Until then, she’ll continue elevating the workplace experience for her members in Wilmington – we’re excited and proud to support Maggie on her mission! Learn more about Maggie’s journey to automate her coworking operations with Optix.