Darryl began his career at a real estate development company in Vancouver. He then went to London to pursue investment banking where he gained invaluable experience in the financial world while living abroad and getting his first taste of the global market. After London he then spent 4 years in Beijing, founding his own company focused on real estate development and hospitality.
Once Darryl returned to Vancouver he took on the initiative of exploring the intersection of the millennial mindset and real estate, focusing on how the shared economy has changed the way we live, work, and interact.
Spacekraft isn't your typical shared work environment. It is a new concept in coworking that has developed a community model that supports individuals in building their businesses through peer support and structured benefits that are typically only found in traditional companies.
Spacekraft encourages a new way of doing business where groups of individuals pool their collective skills and talent, towards a common purpose or goal. As the next generation of coworking, Spacekraft provides not only a community of peer support, mentorship and funding, but additionally access to group health insurance programs, wellness programs, car shares and many more benefits that provide security to those choosing to build their own future through self-employment.
Who are your ideal clients?: Our ideal clients are freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small to mid-sized businesses that understand the importance of perseverance while growing their companies. They understand that this is not a get rich quick scheme, rather a roll up your sleeves put in long, hard hours and above all else never give up. Our clients understand that there is a time to do things on your own and a time to leverage your support network. Our clients work within our spaces, knowing they have a community willing to support and challenge each other to be the best they can be, day in and day out.
What is the biggest reason for your success so far?: If we gauge success by meeting our life goals, then I have a long way to go with achieving success on my terms. With that said, one of the reasons for our success to this point is that we listen to our members. We consistently ask them what is working in our coworking space and what isn't. We look to fine tune our service offering to only give them programming and services that offer true value to them and their companies as they look to grow. I feel being out of touch with your end user is a recipe for disaster. Never assume that you know what is best for your client. Always gauge them for feedback, however, make sure you know how to read what they are saying and translate that into a service offering that doesn't compromise your unique offering.
What were the earliest indications that this business could be successful?: The earliest indications that our business would be successful was the first day we opened up. Two of our member companies, who are still with us today, were working in the space well beyond 9 pm. I remember walking up to them on that day and asking why they were still in the space. They said to me, work had to be done, they needed to see it through, and they wouldn't be productive if they went home. Now I don't think that everyday people should be staying in the space that late, far from it, but I saw that we were providing a space for them to be highly productive which would allow their businesses to continue to grow.
What position did you hire first?: The first position I hired was our first space manager, whom we deemed our Space Commander. This was the individual that would be spending the most time in front of our clients and so it was imperative to find someone that would carry them self well, someone that was organized enough to run the space and act as a connection for our members in the space, however, most importantly they had to have empathy for our freelancers and entrepreneurs. This individual had to understand what it meant to start and build your own company. In putting ourselves in their shoes, we would be able to relate better to them and give a more impactful experience.
What is working best for your marketing right now?: The best thing for our marketing right now is a cohesive message, that is backed with personality. When we first opened our doors, we did the classic spray campaign that everyone warns you about doing. We had mixed messages going out to different market groups, and the tone of our messages was not consistent. Since then, we have really cleaned up our messaging to be more focused and succinct. The tone of our marketing is more in line with the branding we are establishing and it allows for an overall stronger connection between our members and our spaces. People now have a clearer idea of what to expect when they walk into one of our coworking spaces.
What is your biggest differentiator?: Our biggest differentiator is the cultivation of perseverance. We believe perseverance is the most important trait for the success of a company. therefore, we have begun to develop programming that helps with the development of perseverance among our members. We leverage the fact that we have a space full of entrepreneurs and freelancers, all looking to grow their own businesses, and willing to support and challenge each other as they continue down the same path of the startup life. It's our belief that as our programming matures, we will be able to show a quantifiable difference in the number of members in our space that persevere, as opposed to other coworking spaces.
What is the toughest decision you've had to make in the last few months?: The toughest decision I had to make in the last few months, was letting go of a beautiful space that I was hoping to open as our newest coworking space. It was in a great area and it was a gorgeous space however the numbers did not make sense. I was really trying to make it financially feasible, and my projections were beginning to look more hopeful than realistic and hope is not a good business plan. We had to let it go but I know that something better would come along and sure enough, it always does.
If it was possible, what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?: The advice I would give myself 10 years ago would be to listen to what I really wanted to do and understand what my purpose was. Too many times in our lives, we don't give ourselves enough time to develop our purpose because we are so eager to have things now ... we all want to be instant success stories. Looking at myself 10 years ago, I should have been more focused on what I was doing, and viewing it more with a long term perspective. We need time to develop our calling, it doesn't happen overnight, however, once we are on the right track, there is nothing more rewarding.
Favorite place to travel to?: I have been fortunate enough to travel to many places all over the world, from Africa to China, to South America. However, my favorite destination is a 5-hour drive from Vancouver, called Loon Lake. we have a small cabin on the lake and that place is magical to me. I spent a lot of summers there, growing up, and now that I have a son of my own, it's the perfect place to be.
What are your favorite things about coworking spaces?: The coworking space we operate is also our office. We work at the desks, just like our members.
What book are you most likely to give as a gift?: The book I would give as a gift is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It was written around the turn of the 20th century and still has value for anyone starting a business, almost 100 years later. great book!
What is your favorite small business in the town you grew up in?: My favorite small business or 'start up' in the town I grew up in (Vancouver), would be my family's business, which my father started, Bosa Properties. I grew up learning a lot from my father in what it took to grow a business, both in good times and bad.
What is your favorite app or online tool?: My favorite app is more for relaxing as opposed to being functional. I enjoy doing the daily crosswords on the New York Times Crosswords App. Such a great way to take a break from work for a while.
How did you finance your business?: Self-funded
What business would you love for someone else to start?: I would love for someone to start a treasure hunting business ... think giving people the Indiana Jones experience. That would be cool.
What advice do you have for new founders?: Believe in yourself and have conviction in your decisions. When times get tough, your employees will look to one person to show them the way, that's you, their captain. always be open and honest about your struggles but always work to find a solution.It's this mentality that keeps your employees believing in you.