Felena Hanson was just another woman working from home when she came up with a brilliant idea. While working at home for eight years, she missed having a sense of community and often time struggled to focus. The options in the market at the time, while uber-hip and high tech, were lacking an environment that felt beautiful and clean to her. She realized she was craving a coworking space designed by women, for women, so Felena embarked on creating what she couldn’t find.
And now, five years later, Hera Hub is the first international coworking and shared office space for women (though open to men as well) from Washington, D.C. to Stockholm, Sweden. And although the company specializes in providing inspired spaces for women to work from, the company also hosts training sessions on planning, accounting and other business services – providing continuous support and advice for its members. They also offer an endless supply of coffee and wine! After all, Felena says, in Hera Hub spaces women are truly trying to help one another.
“I wanted to create something that was bigger than myself, and bigger than the city that I’m in,” Felena says. “ … It’s an ecosystem of support, collaboration and community.”
In episode 31 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast, Editor and Host Polina Selyutin speaks with Felena about launching a business, making mistakes and building a community.
Topics Discussed In Today’s Show:
- Making Mistakes: Felena shares that she’s spent more than two years perfecting her approach to developing and running a coworking space. Although it’s a complex process, she’s settled on creating a licensing model to grow Hera Hub nationwide and internationally.
- The Women Within: The majority of women utilizing the coworking spaces offered by Hera Hub are in professional services like marketing, communications, law, accounting and design. There also is a healthy representation of solopreneurs and nonprofit teams.
- A We-First Approach: “Business is hard, and that’s why you need community and support, and people around you who have been there, done that and are willing to sit with you and help you,” Felena says.
- On Collaboration: “Women are true collaborators, and when given the right opportunity and right setting, we can soar,” Felena says. “We will help each other, and we do help each other.”
- Dealing With Challenges: In her book, Flight Club: Rebel, Reinvent and Thrive – How to Launch Your Dream Business, Felena writes about some of the bigger complications she’s faced in her life – from getting hit by a fire truck and breaking 20+ bones in her early 20s, to getting laid-off three times by the age of 30, to a tough divorce. Despite all this, Felena says, “I call [challenges] speed bumps and not roadblocks.”
- Words Of Wisdom: “Be confident. Women are so amazing, so talented and so capable,” Felena says.
- What’s Next: Felena says that Hera Hub’s goal is to eventually support more than 20,000 individuals in the launch of their businesses by the year 2020.
- Learn More: Watch Felena’s TEDxEncinitas speech here.
- Connect: Follow Felena on Twitter and Hera Hub on Twitter.