You are itching to open a new hackerspace but you do not have the slightest idea how to start? If that’s the case, the list How to start a hackerspace published on Adafruit is what you need (PDF format). Follow the 16 tips and do not forget to have a look at the related tutorial. And most important of all, don’t mess it up!
1. Lock yourself in a room until you have written your business plan. Hackerspaces need more than good intentions.
2. Select the right people and give them the work and the responsibilities appropriate to their roles.
3. Consider if you should become a non-profit organization. Obviously in a legal manner.
4. If you have any doubts about the laws that regulate the hackerspaces take a look at the work of someone who has already managed to successfully start one.
5. Hone your budget down to the finest detail. It is one thing having a business plan, it is a very different matter if you pay your bills late.
6. Choose your means of funding carefully – franchising, donations, sponsors, investment and merchandising.
7. The right location for your hackerspace is somewhere accessible, connected to services and equipped to satisfy all safety standards. If after all that it doesn’t cost much, you’ve got it made!
8. Design your space to be as functional as possible. Decide who and what should go inside and if necessary plan public and private areas.
9. If you need to create large, complex objects make sure you have all the necessary permits. Similarly define the maximum construction limits that you set for your users.
10. Fill your space with all the tools and furnishings needed – choose those that are best suited to the situation and if they cost too much make them yourself.
11. Build your presence on the web in harmony with your principles – receiving revenue from advertising links is not a mistake unless you are afraid of word getting around about it.
12. Back your project with good marketing. Select your contacts and talk with them as directly as possible.
13 Look after your users. It is largely thanks to them that your space will carry on growing. Do not be insensitive and find a sincere way to thank them.
14. Extend your network of local collaborators and try to reach the other hackerspaces in the area. No-one has to beat anyone else.
15. Organize workshops and events, your hackerspace is not a refuge cut off from the rest of the world. Inviting other people and explaining to them what you do is a great idea.
16. There is only one downside to success – not knowing how to handle it. If your popularity skyrockets work out the best way to broaden the base of your project.