Felena Hanson of HeraHub, a co-working space for women, is our Mom Organizer for the Tuesday, Nov. 1, book event at HeraHub in San Diego, CA.
Mom Incorporated: What is Hera Hub?
Felena: Hera Hub is shared workspace for accomplished, like-minded entrepreneurial women. It’s more professional than working from Starbucks, more focused than working from home, more collaborative than an executive suite, and more flexible and cost effective than full-time office space. The concept boasts café-like co-working space for focused work, a community gathering area for ad-hoc collaboration, a modern conference room and private meeting rooms. Hera Hub offers scalable, month-to-month membership options for freelancers, independent consultants, entrepreneurs and authors.
Mom Incorporated: What inspired you to create HeraHub?
Felena: Hera Hub grew out of my personal need for flexible work, meeting and event space. 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, Perspective Marketing. Although it was convenient and cost-effective to work from home, it was also distracting and isolating.
I was turned on to the concept of co-working in 2008, when I hosted a networking event at San Diego’s first co-working space, the Hive Haus. I began studying the model, visiting co-working spaces in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It took approximately 12 months from the time I decided to launch my space to the point where I completed my business plan, secured financing (which came from my personal savings and a loan from a close family member) and solidified my first location.
I operated in a temporary location for several months while the space was being remodeled. The official launch was August 15, 2011. I set aside my marketing clients and veteran teaching position at a local college and now run the business full-time. I’m proud to say that Hera Hub is a huge success. I already have more than 80 women-owned companies utilizing the space.
Mom Incorporated: Who was Hera?
Felena: Significant thought went into developing the name and logo. I wanted a name that had meaning but wasn’t overtly feminine. After hours of research I was drawn to the Greek goddesses for their significance and historical meaning. In ancient times, Hera — Greek goddess of women — was revered as the only goddess who accompanied a woman through every step of her life, blessing and protecting her family and financial security. Being Zeus’ wife, Hera represents the fullness of life and affirms that women can use their wisdom in the pursuit of any goal they choose.
Mom Incorporated: Why did you aim HeraHub specifically at women?
Felena: My experience running several professional women’s organizations led me to build a workspace dedicated to serving women. I believe that women interact differently and are instinctively more collaborative in their approach to business. I felt it was important to create a space for female entrepreneurs that is beautiful comfortable, feminine and professional.
Mom Incorporated: What lessons have you learned?
Felena: The commercial real estate process was much more complex and challenging than I ever imagined. I had two strikes against me — new business and new concept — and no one wanted to take a risk. After six months and two failed lease negotiations, I’m happy to say that the third time really is a charm. Through the help of my network and my tenacious broker, Misty Moore from Jones Lang LaSalle, I finally secured nearly 5,000 square feet in a very desirable location. It was double the size and twice the risk, but I felt confident that the gamble would pay off.
Mom Incorporated: What advice do you have for entrepreneurial women?
- Be determined. Anything is possible — at least for those dedicated to making it happen.
- Be passionate. Nothing is worth doing if you don’t do it well.
- Be sincere. People see through right through you if you’re not.
- Trust your instinct. Your first reaction to something is always right.
- Take everything head on. Don’t be confrontational, but don’t avoid problems or challenges.
- Follow through. Your word is everything
Mom Incorporated: What are your plans for the future?
Felena: My vision for Hera Hub is to launch three locations in San Diego over the next few years and then package the concept (via a licensing agreement) for other markets across the United States. My mission is to help well-connected women in other major cities launch a collaboration space for their community. My goal is to have at least 40 additional Hera Hub locations across the U.S. by 2020.
Felena Hanson of HeraHub is the host of our book tour in San Diego on Nov. 1.