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.
Rhonda & Sharee Washington