Thriving in Small Town Coworking with Megan from Locally Known

Learn how Megan became an advocate for coworking in Sequim, Washington with Locally Known Cowork.
By Kelly K
January 12, 2024
Thriving in Small Town Coworking with Megan from Locally Known

Megan Cyphers came up with the idea for a hybrid coworking space/advertising agency many years ago while completing her Master’s degree.

Today, she is fulfilling that vision through Locally Known Agency and Locally Known Cowork, her creative agency and coworking space by the same name. 

There was one part of the story she hadn’t anticipated however – where that coworking space would be located.

Although her original blueprint saw sunny southern California as the home of her future coworking space, Locally Known Cowork became the first coworking space in Sequim, a small town in Washington with a population just over 8,000 people.

Despite this change of plans, Megan has seen great success with her coworking space, becoming an advocate for small town coworking along the way. 

If you’re operating a suburban or rural coworking space, then this is the article for you. Here are five key takeaways from our conversation with Megan. 

Learn how Megan drove over 50% of new sign-ups through her website with the help of Optix.

“[Locally Known Cowork] is just a great place for people to be more efficient with their time and more efficient with their work. It's like being home without having to be in your own space.”

1. Expect additional education around what coworking is

According to a report by the European Union, one of the number one challenges that rural coworking owners experience is a lack of understanding of the coworking concept. This was on par with Megan’s experience.

When new members come into the space, one of the first things she asks them is if they know what coworking is. Most people have not, which creates an opportunity for education. 

Megan has taken to teaching everyone from potential members to other local businesses on what coworking is and how it can benefit people.

Once there is an understanding of the concept, people are overwhelmingly receptive and open to experiencing a new way of working.  

“Usually the first question I ask people if they come in and are looking around is, ‘Are you familiar with how a coworking space works?’ A lot of them will say no. So I think the challenge has been the entire idea of what a coworking space is versus, like, a coffee shop.”

2. Reposition coworking as a necessity, not a luxury

With education around the coworking concept also comes the opportunity to reposition coworking as a necessity, not a luxury. 

Joining a coworking space often comes with a membership fee and a commute, both of which make it seem as more of a nice-to-have rather than a need-to-have in a small town like Sequim.

Megan has done a lot of work around educating prospective members on coworking as an affordable and budget-friendly option. She also speaks to the benefits of joining a coworking space outside of just having a place to work, like becoming a part of a community or increasing productivity.

Another way she helps make coworking more accessible to her community is by offering lots of different membership plans with varying price points. Creating flexible options has been huge for helping members ease into the idea of coworking. 

When combined, these practices can help you move past the sticking points with prospective members and debunk the myth of unaffordability.

“Posing a coworking space as not a luxury item and as a necessity is definitely something that needs more work. We are affordable and you can be here on a low budget. I think we need to reposition coworking and how it fits into people's schedules and routines.”

3. Invest in the little things

We often say that coworking space owners and operators are in the business of hospitality. What people remember at the end of the day, is how your space made them feel.

Megan understood the importance of investing in the little things, like a beautifully designed website and a homey environment, complete with candles, plants, and plenty of natural light.

She has Halloween ASMR on the screen during October and delightful little lights that are present in meeting rooms. She looks at the small details to see how she can make someone feel comfortable as soon as they walk in the door.

It’s this investment in the details that excites people to become a part of the community and make the space something really special.

“I hope that people remember us just as a very warm, communal place to be because that's truly what it is. If people are here sitting on the couch having a cup of coffee, and I can create that experience for them, then that's all that matters.”

4. Inspiration will often come from your own life

Jason started Grindhaus because he was seeking a better way of recording music. Deborah and Rachael started Brooklyn Hourly Offices because they wanted more flexibility in how they saw patients.

Time and time again, we see the most successful coworking leaders are those who have identified a need for coworking in their own life and then shared that with others. 

For Megan, this inspiration came in the form of working for herself from home…and hating it. When she started looking for a small office space, she realized that there were other people having the same work from home experience.

Identifying this need in herself and seeing that same need in the community is what ultimately drove her to open Locally Known Cowork. 

“I was working from home when we moved up here in 2018 and hated it. I started to look for a little office space to just go to every day. I realized that there was definitely an influx of people like me leaving the city. So I figured I would make it a bigger office than just for myself.”

5. Understand that coworking can be anywhere

Locally Known Coworking Space in Sequim

If there’s one thing Megan wants to be heard loud and clear, it’s that coworking really can be anywhere.

People often feel intimidated about starting something new, especially if they’re located in a less populated area or it’s far outside the norm of what they are used to doing. 

However, as cliche as it sounds, you won’t know until you try. For Megan, the success that has come with Locally Known is not something she ever could have imagined.

It’s become a hub in the community, with Megan quickly becoming known as “the person who owns a coworking space”. There is a true feeling of community that extends far beyond their four walls.

Small cities are quick to get overlooked when it comes to new businesses or innovative concepts. Taking the time to build and trailblaze a new industry in a small city is a noble feat and in very cool opportunity. 

“Being a hub in a small city is a very hidden gem. When I see people come in here and ask if they can live here, that's the coolest thing ever.”

Community can happen anywhere

Megan turned her dream of a unique coworking space and advertising agency into a reality in the unexpected town of Sequim, Washington. 

Despite challenges, she has become a passionate advocate for coworking in small communities. 

Megan’s journey highlights the power of finding inspiration in personal experiences, focusing on creating inviting spaces, and educating others about coworking’s benefits.

Most importantly, Megan’s success encourages everyone to believe that coworking can thrive anywhere, fostering supportive communities and defying expectations. 

Learn how Optix supports Megan and Locally Known Cowork in building a thriving community.