A few weeks ago Rhonda attended the SOCO Coworking Space in Columbia, SC. More recently Rhonda attended the Clutch Cowork 2 day pop-up coworking space for women entrepreneurs, freelancers, & side-hustlers. The minimum cost to attend the two days was worth it as a recent full-time entrepreneur.
Rhonda, pictured right, with Melissa Brown of @lisab_interiors.
LisaB Interior artwork set the atmosphere for Clutch Cowork.
As Rhonda settled in she was greeted with Smiles by the organizers, including the @clutchcowork founders @jessicaeboyd and @anitamgarrett. At 9:00am female entrepreneurs were already on their laptops posting on social media, writing blog posts, editing videos, and/or updating their websites. A break was needed and we all participated in DeskYoga by @rootedinwellbeing. The first few questions she asked as she led us through various deskyoga techniques were "Why are you here?" and "Why did you sign up with Clutch Cowork?" That was Rhonda's thought for the remainder of the day and even now two weeks later, as she left her full-time employment in October 2018 to take a Leap of Faith into full-time entrepreneurship.
After deskyoga, we ate snacks and drunk Gin's Juice, and then it was back to work our individual entrepreneurship effort. A few of the ladies networked. Several meeting their social media or FB friend/follower for the first time in person and talking about their aspirations and struggles as an entrepreneur. Several of the ladies participated in the two hour speed coaching session that included live video strategist Roshanda E. Pratt @therosholive.
Speed Coaching. Every 15 minutes entreprenurs, freelancers, and side-hustlers were able to ask a coach one question. Questions about personal finance, visual branding, business development, public relations, live video strategy, fitness and nutrition, and more.
As the evening approached more attendees came as they arrived mid-day or after their 9 to 5 job to just be in the room. Food was served prior to the three panel discussions. Food included vegan meatballs catered by @peaceofsoulsc. Yum!!
The evening session had 3 separate panels: Business, mini-keynote by WREN Founder Ann Warner, and Lifestyle.
The first panel was business. The panelist included Barbara Rackes, a serial entrepreneur who had 3 technology companies, a retail store, and the first online retail store in the state of SC; Blogger and writer @booksandbighair who worked at HBO; @ashlyev who wrote children books and interviews women on her podcast phenomenalwomenleading; moderator @sully_vann with @news19wltx; Debi Schadel; and Beth Ruffin.
A few insights: You will get alot of "No"s; volunteer at nonprofits; put yourself in the position; always "ask" questions; women need to develop the courage to put their best attribute on the line; create your own opportunities; find out what is missing and fill that need; use your network; help someone else or their business and someone or a business will help you. For non-profits, you should have a variety of people who will hold you accountable and who care about you and your soul.
A mini-keynote was by Ann Warner, WREN Founder. South Carolina is rated 45th out of 50 states for gender equality. Half of the workforce are female and are more educated. Although South Carolina is ranked 4th in the nation for women entrepreneurship, the gender wage gap is large. Entrepreneurship is high in South Carolina because workplaces are not working for women.
The final panel was on Lifestyle. Content creation and telling your story was said by all. Take care of yourself first. Just start, even if it is one day a month to take off from work. Rhonda asked the question of traveling as a lifestyle. Several of the panelists recommend using your vacation time or take time away from your business for a short period of time to go abroad to see how other people live. They are just like you, but may do some things differently.
Other recommendations by the lifestyle panelists were: Do something out of your comfort-zone as shared by a Caucasian panelist who takes Afro-dance classes. If you have multiple jobs, dance it out in your car between jobs. At times as an entrepreneur you have to not walk by Faith, but Faith crawl. No other story is the same. We need to know our worth. Do something - do it and don't wait. Believe in yourself. Don't let anyone deter you. Don't waste time by asking "what can you do tonight". Be around like minded people - your tribe. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
This is Rhonda's second co-working experience. Please feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.
Attendees at SOCO Sessions: Real Stories From Hustlers on the Road
As Rhonda was drinking her merlot wine on a recent Monday while attending a SOCO session on Gervais street, she reflected back to January 2012. She and her sister, Sharee, were in their cousin's Brooklyn, NY apartment interviewing new and upcoming travelpreneurs, Evita Robinson of Nomadness Tribe and Tracy Coleman, Purpose Driven Passports. You can view their interviews here and here, respectively. Rhonda and Sharee were excited and were hooked to the idea of traveling as a lifestyle and not just a vacation.
Fast forward to November 2018, Rhonda, now a full-time entrepreneur, and Sharee, still a full-time employee, are listening to nomad hustlers Candice Han and Susan Shain in a packed SOCO coworking space. Since 2012, the resources for persons to travel and work anywhere in the world have evolved. Candice talked about 2 years ago leaving her life in Los Angeles, CA and practicing her location independent business in New York. After a few months she started visiting other countries, going to a new location every 3 months. Her favorite location was a 400 person village in Costa Rica with a jungle and monkeys outside her door. She loves the freedom to visit new destinations.
A question was asked about sustainability. Susan, as a writer, is 100% referral based and stay in Airbnbs in affordable places. Mexico and Thailand are low cost destinations for which your money will go far. Both Candice and Susan talked about the more you travel, your network will grow, and your business will be sustainable. Candice stated you don't have to pitch new businesses or have meetings in person. You can talk via phone or Skype. Don't be afraid to inform your client that you will never meet me in person. You can make it work.
Another question was asked about leaving family and friends while living abroad. The panelists said you can use facetime, whatsapp(both you and the receiver must download the app), and project fi(free texting & data in 170+ countries at the cost of $35/month). Homeschooling kids was mentioned by both Candice and Susan with resources, such as, World Traveling Family. Rhonda chimed in to those in attendance with kids that they can go to FB and join Wanderist Life FB Community. Wanderist creates amazing experiences for you to live + work + play for one month to one year in an incredible destination. Many who traveled with Wanderist for a year in 2016 brought along their kids.
What is stopping people to choosing the nomad lifestyle? Susan said fear and not knowing people who have done this nomad lifestyle. She continues and said nothing is permanent. Change is good. Candice said what is stopping people is fear of running out of money or sustaining the lifestyle. There are less steps than you think there is and timing.
The final questions were about productivity and wifi. The pomodoro technique was mentioned for productivity. The premise is to work in blocks of time, typically 25 minutes long (called pomodoro sessions), followed by a 5 minute break. You do this throughout your day and you can complete 3-5 goals you set for yourself that day. You must write down your goals of what you want to accomplish each day to be productive. Also for productivity try a traveling mailbox company to scan your mail, deposit your checks, and shred your mail. In regard to wifi, for a list of destinations with quality of wifi go to nomadlist. You can also find coworking spaces either in advanced or when you get to a destination with a quick Google search.
Candice Han said it best, that once you go across that invisible line of entrepreneurship and/or being intentional about traveling, 100% committed... GO, and the provision will come. I summarize it as my title says, "Take A Leap of Faith; Do the Work You Love; & God's Provision".
Do you have the hustle to live the nomadic lifestyle?
Moderator Greg from SOCO Bullstreet, Candice Han, and Susan Shain
Co-working spaces are collaborative work environment of shared space, ideas, knowledge often used by self-employed or independent workers. As a newly full-time entrepreneur, Rhonda had an opportunity to tour Columbia's premiere co-working space, SOCO. There are actually two locations in the area, downtown in the Vista and in the new Bull Street District. Rhonda toured the latter, yet as a SOCO paid member your are able to go to either location. During Rhonda's free day pass visit this past week, she went to both locations, and felt a different vibe at each location. Bull Street had more of a relax vibe, whereas Vista had more of an emerging creative vibe.
As an entrepreneur, it can get lonely and unproductive working at home, and co-working spaces provide the familiarity of an office environment. The connections with the other "co-workers" can be at both the local and global level. There are people that hold membership that live in the community, as well as global visitors who drop in every few weeks at they travel. Everyone is willing to share their expertise, and it was able to easily identify persons who maybe to help in areas of marketing, promotion, and website development, in addition to what Rhonda can offer them.
The culture of co-working spaces have proven to be a growth market that is beyond a phenomenon. They can be found in almost any major US or global city, and travelers find them to be ideal working spaces. A list can be found here. It's also interested to note that successful business such as Uber, Instagram, and Indiegogo started at a co-working space.
Have you been to a co-working space in your community or while traveling?
Rhonda W. & Sharee W.
We decided to take a single overnight stay in Savannah, GA during the Labor Day holiday. It was an impromptu road trip as we neared the end of summer. After checking into our Fairfield Inn & Suites Savannah Midtown(Marriott affiliated) hotel, we ate Mexican food at a nearby shopping center. Later that evening we took an Uber ride to save on parking fare and the highly congested River Street destination.
As we walked along the shops on River Street, the massive view of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge remain in our sight. The sundown moment behind the bridge was captured by many walking along the street taking selfies and being enamored by the view. The food in historic Savannah did not disappoint. The smell of seafood was all was around us and led to River House Seafood. The relaxing atmosphere created great conversation as we ate oysters and veggie platters.
The next day, on our way home , we took a quick jaunt to Tybee Island(less than 20 miles from Savannah). We came this far and mind as well see the beach. After two hours the rain came and it was time to make our way home. We went onto this road trip with no plans and came out fulfilled with lasting memories as the summer ended.
Even though we are full swing in the Fall season, summer memories still linger. What was your final summer trip memory? Any plans for the Fall?
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Rhonda & Sharee Washington