Felena Hanson, founder of Hera Hub, offers five bold tips for success.
Tell me about Hera Hub.
Hera Hub is a shared, flexible work and meeting space where business women can create and collaborate in a professional, productive, spa-like environment.
The platform provides our members with connections to other business experts, access to educational workshops, and visibility within the community... thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous.
After building three successful locations in San Diego County, our next goal is to support over 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their business via 200 Hera Hub locations over the next five years. We’ve decided to expand through a franchise model in order to give others an opportunity to be business owners.
How about the history? What in your life led you to create it?
Hera Hub grew out of my personal need for flexible work, meeting, and event space. I found myself pushed into entrepreneurship after being laid off from a marketing director position with a San Diego-based high tech company in 2003. I launched a marketing strategy consulting firm and found it convenient and cost effective to work from home. Yet, after a couple years I found working from home to be, at times, distracting and isolating. Shortly after launching my consulting practice, I took on a leadership position with several professional women’s organizations. In this role I found myself consistently challenged to secure cost effective, fitting event and workshop space for monthly meetings.
I was turned on to the concept of coworking in 2008, when I hosted a networking event at San Diego’s first coworking space, the Hive Haus. I began to really study the model, visiting coworking spaces in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It took me approximately 12 months from the time I decided to move forward with the launch of Hera Hub to the point where I completed my business plan, secured financing (which came from personal savings and a loan from a close family member) and solidified my first location.
In a recent blog post, you presented five tips for small business success. Would you mind sharing them?
Think big – you have nothing to lose.
Be strategic, yet flexible – planning is imperative but you have to know it’s going to change.
Build and use your network – always connect, grow, and reach out.
Follow through – your word is everything.
Trust your instinct – your first reaction to something is always right.
And I’d like to add one more: be sincere – people see right through you.
It seems to me that these tips would be equally useful in the job search or job upgrade process. What do you think?
I think they definitely ring true for both.
Many people today are either leaving dissatisfying jobs in order to work for themselves or developing new businesses out of necessity. Is there anything Hera Hub provides for those in transition who are not yet business owners?
The educational arm of Hera Hub is called Hera Labs. The signature workshop offered is the Idea Potential Lab, which helps those with a business idea flesh out the concept in a supportive environment. This 16-hour, action-packed session takes would-be entrepreneurs through idea validation, competitive analysis, market potential, go-to market strategy, financial projections, and pitch.
We also offer an ambassador program for those who would like to network and meet entrepreneurs in exchange for helping out around the Hub for just four hours per week.
Besides your six tips, do you have any additional advice for those interested in venturing out on their own?
My advice for future entrepreneurs is to find something that’s unique or original. I see a lot of people getting swept up in pyramid schemes and other get-rich-quick offers.
In my opinion, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. You must be willing to work hard and wear multiple hats. In the beginning you’re the sales person, marketer, accountant, attorney, and operations director. It can be challenging but in the end can be the most rewarding way to pursue your interests while making a living.
For those looking for help identifying a unique idea, I recommend the book Purple Cow by Seth Godin.