Here at GCUC we are immensely fortunate to cross paths and work with so many amazing people. Through our work, we’ve cultivated a global community of people we think you should know about.
Community of Cultivators is a blog series we created to introduce you to coworking game changers and connectors. Each month, we’ll release new interviews that we hope inform and inspire you.
This week we are featuring an interview with none other than Felena Hanson, Founder of Hera Hub. It seems pretty fitting for International Women’s Day if you ask us. If you have not had the pleasure of meeting Felina, IRL, you are missing out. Not only is she a powerhouse in the coworking world, she’s known for her female focused space and mentoring initiatives. Keep reading to see what she has to say.
I feel like my entire career has led up to launching Hera Hub. I was the girl with 4 business cards, doing multiple things, until 2010 when I started exploring coworking. The concept of coworking felt like coming home – it tied all the things I was doing (teaching, community building, gatherings) together. Over the last 9 years we’ve helped over 13,000 women either launch or grow their business.
I have to admit… I miss face-to-face. I loved floating through a room – connecting people as I moved. I think social media brings a false sense of “connection”. I sincerely can’t wait until we can get back to in-person events! I will say, in the meantime, I’m enjoying Clubhouse – @felena
Our unofficial motto at Hera Hub is, “Go Big or Go Home”. We strive to be the place where people come to stretch themselves. I challenge, both our team and our members to think bigger and not be afraid to push the envelope. I love helping people think differently about their career and business.
As Voltaire famously wrote, “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien”—the perfect is the enemy of the good. You will paralyze yourself if you insist that everything has to be perfect before you launch your business. That’s why I love the “Lean” business methodology—because it encourages you to test as you launch versus waiting to unveil your masterpiece.
Similar to the last point, business is not a “set it up and press cruise control” kind of venture—things are going to go “off course.” At Hera Hub we try not to use the word “failure.” I personally like the phrase “learning moment” (coined by the founder of WD-40, Gary Ridge) or the ever-popular “pivoting.” Whatever you call it, you will always be learning and pivoting. That’s just part of business! Yes, you need to plan, but be aware that it’s going to shift.
Business is hard. Yes, anything is possible, but you are going to have to be willing to stay the course (even if there are pivots along the way). There will be long hours and lots of frustration. Some days you’ll feel like someone has socked you in the stomach—or, as Gary Vaynerchuk says, “punched you in the face.” There will be many highs and many more lows. You must accept this and let your passion pull you through.
You need to understand that you are not your business. I see this often when someone is consulting or providing a service—they have a difficult time not feeling personally hurt when someone doesn’t accept a proposal or gives them a bad review. Men are much, much better at this. They compartmentalize things, while women mix everything up into one big plate of spaghetti! Do not—I repeat, do not—take things personally! Business is business. Get up, brush yourself off, and move on.
In today’s world of constant bombardment, it’s easy to be pulled off track. Everyone will try to give you advice, whether you want it or not. This will be challenging for you if 1) don’t have a solid business plan and 2) you are not confident in your direction. Women are natural people pleasers. On top of that, they are often more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. I’ve seen one comment send an entrepreneur on a completely different course.
Keep focused on your core business, and don’t let the dozens of other ideas that come your way pull you too far off track. I recommend getting an idea journal or using a platform like Trello to note down all of those “great ideas” and “advice.” After you have a solid foundation for your business, then you can go back and explore some of these ideas.
You will from time-to-time feel like a fraud. Note it, and get over it. Even some of the most successful women I’ve met tell me deep down that they are afraid of being “figured out.” Even Tina Fey once confessed that she sometimes screams inside her head, “I’m a fraud! They’re onto me!”
Dr. Valerie Young is a leading expert on the impostor syndrome, and author of award-winning book “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It”. Boys are raised to bluff and exaggerate. Girls, on the other hand, learn early to distrust their opinions and stifle their voices. They discover they are judged by the highest physical, behavioral and intellectual standards. Perfection becomes the goal, and every flaw, mistake or criticism is internalized—slowly hollowing out self-confidence.
That’s all for this week. Check back next week for another Community of Cultivators Interview.