The coworking model has seen exponential growth since 2005 when Brad Neuberg coined the term “coworking” for his collective of shared, flexible workspace, San Francisco Coworking Space at Spiral Muse. Since then, independent contractors, entrepreneurs as well as small, medium, and large companies have turned to the coworking model for the community element, the energized environment, the flexibility, the savings and improved productivity that help businesses grow. After the Great Recession (2007-2009), many individuals and businesses joined coworking spaces as a way to save money and work at professional spaces in prestigious neighborhoods. Coworking spaces have evolved from hipster party dens with social networking and collaboration at their core to flexible, shared office spaces where diverse memberships create a community of like-minded professionals that help each other move to the next stage of success. Now, as COVID-19 has impacted many businesses, the flexible, shared office model continues to shape the preferred office environment, even in the face of the pandemic.
Venture X The Realm at Castle Hills
This month, Venture X zeros in on The Realm at Castle Hills in Lewisville, Texas for a closer look at their flexible office space. Owners Ese and Andrew Aihie opened their Dallas-Fort Worth area location in February 2020. Long time residents of the North Texas area, for twenty years, Ese and Andrew wanted to transition from the corporate world to private business ownership. “We explored several businesses,” Ese told us, “and coworking was particularly enticing to us because we are passionate about putting people first in everything (processes, technology, etc.)” This is when they decided, “Why not in the place they work, why not coworking?” As an HR professional, Ese said that she had “witnessed an evolution of how people work and interact.” Ese went on to share with us many insights about Venture X The Realm at Castle Hills. Let’s take a look.
Why did you choose to open a business here?
People want to be part of a community, a healthy, comfortable, and secure environment to work, interact, exchange ideas, and cost-effectively grow their business, and Venture X The Realm at Castle Hills provides such an environment. Flexible workspace is attractive to a broad variety of professionals, freelancers, and businesses of any size. The industry is rapidly growing; it is relatively simple to operate without an army of staff like the hotel or restaurant industries.
What has been the most interesting or exciting part of owning a Venture X location? The most challenging?
For us, the most interesting part of owning a Venture X location is the fulfillment/satisfaction we provide our members! At Venture X Castle Hills, our motto is “your dream is our dream” because our members' success is our success! The most challenging part is actually getting it up and running. There is much that goes into identifying the right location and then the construction process, right up until your doors are open. You know what, the light at the end of the tunnel makes everything worth it!
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur and business owner?
1. Perseverance: It’s easy to give up when the going gets tough but you have to remember that the tough times and the failures are the secret ingredients to your success.
2. Courage and Risk-taking: Calculated risk is something you have to be familiar with. You must have the courage to act on your great ideas and plans. While you need to research your ideas thoroughly, you must also have the courage to take an unknown step and try things that are unfamiliar to you as scary as that may seem.
3. Creativity: You must try new things to find what works best. You also need to enrich your life with new experiences regularly. Each experience/action that you take can lead to new opportunities that you previously did not have available to you.
How did you hear about Venture X? What makes this an ideal location for a coworking space?
There are several reasons we chose Venture X. We chose Venture X due to the strong and proven brand of the parent company United Franchise Group (UFG). This company has been in business for over 30 years providing excellent support and services to thousands of franchisees through its family of franchises. We chose Venture X due to its emphasis on top quality and excellent customer service. Venture X is locally owned but globally connected which is a unique attribute that gives the franchise owners an edge over the competition. The franchise is in several countries (England, Dubai, Canada, etc.) in addition to the US. This allows members to use any of the facilities globally. Also, most of the owners are local which means they understand the unique needs of the community and the customers; they will customize the service offering and environment to suit their customers’ preference.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from members?
All of our members are excited to be in this brand-new development and have an option that is flexible to their needs and budget. With a brand new large commercial development like The Realm, it is rare to have a space with so many options like our Venture X location. This allows our members to be in a Class AA building, have free executive garage parking, and all of the amenities we provide. They love that everything is included, and the very high speed and bandwidth of our Internet. We are making sure that any size business can continue to work as close to flawlessly daily. The main feedback we get though is our members love our staff and their happy energy. Some have even left other coworking spaces just for this reason – a better environment. The members appreciate the time and effort the staff always puts in to solve any issues or help them with a daily task.
Have you found that people are familiar with the concept of coworking or have you had to explain it?
We have found that a lot of people around this area are already familiar with coworking as a general concept, and understand it is a shared space. However, we have also seen that we should explain all of the great benefits members get as a part of a Venture X shared workspace. A lot of people don’t realize we have fully furnished, high-end private offices of many different sizes ranging from 1 person to 14 people or the fact that we have 4 fully equipped high tech conference rooms with hours of usage included in every office purchase. They also don’t realize we offer full concierge service that can handle all of their mail/packages and become their daily receptionist making it easier for them to focus on their business during the day. Not to mention the complimentary hot coffee and tea that is unlimited daily for no additional charge to them and their guests.
How would you describe the business community in your area?
From our time here in the area, we have noticed that the business community seems to match the residential community around us. Venture X Castle Hills is part of a very new but extremely affluent area, with people who hold themselves to a higher standard.
What does your Venture X community look like? Similar industries? Varying ages?
Our community is very diverse here at Venture X Castle Hills, we have everything from a large logistics brokerage team and home services companies to a personal private protection company. Almost all of the companies are new businesses with mature established owners, but we are looking to help all businesses from large corporate companies to start-ups looking to grow their business to be the next leader of their industry.
Have you noticed any interesting work habits amongst your members?
We have found that our current members love to be in the office, even on the weekends. They say the atmosphere is what keeps them coming to be around other like-minded, hard-working individuals. They also really enjoy doing some of their work out in our lounge area versus being in their office all day.
What is unique about your location?
We are located in a fast-growing commercial and residential real estate development within The Colony/Lewisville called The Realm at Castle Hills. The space is located on the 3rd floor and is minutes from Plano and Frisco, TX. It neighbors Grandscape, a project that will stretch across more than 400 acres, and feature more than 3.9 million square feet of retail, entertainment, residential, dining, and attractions. The Realm at Castle Hills also includes restaurants, retail shops, and business services all within walking distance of the space, providing a premium business address for our physical and virtual members.
How much square footage do you have? How many conference rooms? How many private offices?
Venture X Castle Hills is a 31,300 square foot shared workspace community that is professional and welcoming and features contemporary furnishings and numerous amenities. The flexible workspace features a variety of community memberships where members will enjoy over 90 private offices, shared workspaces and dedicated desks, 4 boardrooms, and a community area in an environment that’s collaborative, innovative, and fun.
When asked about events at Venture X Castle Hills, Ese said that events represent a considerable part of what they do there. “Events are a key marketing tool to showcase our location,” Ese said. “Our beautiful modern 2,000 square foot event space allows us to hold various types of events.” As for recent events, the co-owner explained that Venture X Castle Hills has hosted “financial planning, real estate investment, chamber of commerce, empowerment and entrepreneur events.” Additionally, this Venture X location has hosted several commercial broker's breakfast meetings. “We continue to target professional and networking events, from diverse disciplines and subject areas.”
Wrapping it up, Ese shared the location’s mission statement with us. Venture X The Realm at Castle Hills mission is to be able to thrive in an environment where our members benefit from “an environment that is inspiring, where connections are made and incubated; and where members can make connections and grow their businesses with meaningful relationships.” Venture X The Realm at Castle Hills lives up to its motto: “your dream is our dream; our members' success is our success!”