Community of Cultivators: Edition 56

By Stormy McBride On November 29, 2021 In Community Cultivators Blog Series

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.

We are back at it again this week with an interview with Kate Schwarzler, Founder of Indy Commons. Kate started Indy Commons to create a coworking space for rural business owners and entrepreneurs to gather and access the resources they need to succeed and turn their dreams into thriving businesses. In addition to shared office space, the community at Indy Commons has a commissary kitchen, micro-market, and event space. Indy Idea Hub is a non-profit that supports the growth of the business ecosystem in Polk County through education and programming. She is passionate about creating livable and sustainable communities for rural areas and focus on livability issues such as developing thriving main streets, building entrepreneurial ecosystems, placemaking, and parks and natural spaces through my consulting business, Creo Solutions.

Keep reading to get to know Kate!

Kate SchwarzlerWhat in your life are you most proud of cultivating or creating? Why?

I’m very grateful for the work I’m doing at Indy Commons and Indy Idea Hub and proud of the impact it’s making in the community. I feel like I’m at a place professionally where my previous experience is all melding together to support building this community, and that it’s my time to be able to contribute to creating something that can have a lasting impact and help other people. It’s been inspiring to connect with other partners locally and across the county doing similar work, and building a network of people supporting each other. It’s beyond rewarding to see people realizing their dreams and to know that I may have played a part in supporting them.

Where do you personally feel the most sense of community?

Right here in Independence, OR. It is definitely “home” and has been such a welcoming and engaging place to be. This is the first place I’ve lived where I feel settled both professionally and personally.

What podcast would you recommend to others and why?

I love How I Built This with Guy Raz! The stories are inspirational, and really illuminate the perseverance and grit of entrepreneurs. When people ask me what it’s like to be an entrepreneur I tell them to read his book. So far it’s the best thing I’ve found that really gets to the “why” behind what drives many people to start a business.

What is one piece of advice you give everyone that works with and/or for you?

(This is a good one…makes me think I should come with a warning label lol!). Probably to buckle up – I always have a lot of plates spinning in the air, which is both fun and a constant juggle of priorities.

If you had $500 to spend- what would you buy?

Food for the Ella Curran Food Bank. Our community has faced an unprecedented need the past few years and they do an amazing job there.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming an entrepreneur?

This is a game of passion and perseverance, so make sure you have an idea that really deeply believe in. Have a clear understanding of what you are trying to solve or provide, and be open to getting honest feedback about the product or service you want to offer. Positive feedback from friends and family is different than getting validation from an actual customer base. One the flip side, make sure you listen to your gut and don’t let other people’s fears talk you out of pursuing a great idea.

Don’t be afraid to get messy with your concept and to do some rapid iterations of it. Perfection is not the goal in the beginning, and it’s best to approach it with an open mind and be prepared to make changes. Talk to as many people as you can about your product and get input on every stage, not just what you hope the end result will be. Embrace making mistakes and take the time to learn from them – failure often puts people on the path to success. You’ll know if you’re ready to start when you’re convinced that even if it fails you’ll be happy you pursued it.

What is the best habit you ever started?

What habit do you want to start but haven’t yet? The best habit is I bring my dog, Winston, to work with me. He provides a lot of comic and stress relief at the office and takes me on walks every day. I want to get better at self-care and making sure I’m taking time to recharge and maintain non-work interests and hobbies.