22 January

Kindness

Kindness is one of the greatest capacities of human beings.  I believe being kind every day is what ties are community together and makes us strong. Our team makes it a point every day to say good morning, ask how people are doing, find information for people and make connections.  Kindness is ingrained in our culture and it makes us better.  The best part of kindness is that it is contagious. Anyone who works out of Indiegrove for more than a day knows that we give and share with one another.  We give our time to help each other think through issues.  We share our connections and knowledge so that others can be successful.  We give back to our community. We understand that we are connected to each other, Jersey City, our larger industries and the larger world. This interconnectivity and understanding is what makes us stronger as a whole and more impactful as a community.  If you are truly dedicated to changing the world, kindness is the vehicle for that change.

#Kindness
#IndiegroveTurns5

15 January

Simplicity

This is the value that never stops teaching me lessons.  Too often, things are made to be overcomplicated, but in reality everything good is simple. One of my favorite quotes is “If it doesn’t make sense, it’s too complicated.”  I’ve used this to test so many ideas and plans at Indiegrove.  I ask my team to explain it to me and if I can’t follow it easily, we need to take a step back and try again.  Simplicity makes sure you stay in touch with your audience, don’t overspend, value your team, basically everything that keeps your grounded and focused.  Every success story I’ve seen is the most simple idea.  The less bells and whistles, the better.

#Simplicity
#IndiegroveTurns5

8 January

Be Bold

This value speaks to our attitude.  Entrepreneurs are faced with hard decisions every day.  Our ability to show courage and take big steps in those moments are what define us.  The first time this value resonated with me in this business was when I signed the first lease for Indiegrove.  Until one week prior, I had been looking for 3,000 square feet spaces.  But when the property manager said I could get 6,000 square feet for an incredible price I had to make a choice. I believed Jersey City had the demand.  But was I willing to take on that much more risk?  Yes!  I signed the lease and two years later expanded further into the building.  Of course, I could barely breath afterwards, but no one says entrepreneurship is comfortable. #BeBold

3 January

Be Original

This is what it is all about.  It speaks to the approach successful people take and the ideas that make it. Originals build paths, connections and solutions. They see the world as something that can be enhanced, changed and impacted. They choose to act purposefully. Indiegrove was the first coworking space in Jersey City.  In 2012, hardly anyone in Jersey City knew what a coworking space was, and if they did, they didn’t think it could work in Jersey City.  I have perfect credit, business experience and everything else that would make me the perfect candidate for a business loan.  I was rejected by every major bank and many other sources of financing.  I realized early on that I would need to find my fellow originals to make this happen and that is what has become Indiegrove, a network of originals.  For financing, I found alternative lenders who understand my vision and wanted to be part of it.  My first customers, who I call the founders of Indiegrove, walked into an empty space, but they could see what it could be and committed themselves to it.  My partners understand that we are all part of a shared economy.  The one thing all of them have in common is that they are able to see a vision and be part of creating it.  Check marks and road blocks do not stop them.  Nonconformity is the culture and norm.

#BeOriginal
#IndiegroveTurns5

22 November

A Time for Reflection, and Action

The holiday season is here and the stream of emails, ads, messages, mail and events centered around appreciation, good wishes and reflection are pouring in.  I love this time of year.  It brings the things that matter front of mind and reminds me why I became an entrepreneur.  Like every business owner I want my business to succeed. I love to build things.  The prospect of creating something special out of nothing is exhilarating and I feed off the energy that it produces.  Those reasons give me what I need to put in the hours, sweat and tears needed to push something forward. But none of those reasons was my reason for becoming an entrepreneur.  I became an entrepreneur because I want freedom.  I want to choose my days.  I want my days and nights to be in harmony.  I want my values to hold in every conversation and action I take.  I want to live my why.  It’s a mindset, a lifestyle.  A way of looking at the world and realizing that you can have a say in it.  So when I sit around my loved ones and laugh about things, eat too much food and feel happy, it doesn’t make me want to slow down.  It is time for reflection, but it also a time for action. I focus and redirect myself and my business and get ready to stay even truer to my purpose next year. I can barely sit still with the ideas flowing in and can’t find enough time in the day to organize them all.  This is something I’ve found to be true amongst those of us who live this lifestyle.  When everyone else is slowing down, we take the positive energy, slower inboxes and extra calories to create, build and change the world.

Here’s to another purposeful holiday season!

-Zahra

4 July

Independence and Responsibility

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays.  It represents so much of what I as an entrepreneur and the founder of Indiegrove cherish.

As an entrepreneur, I have come to truly appreciate the flexibility and freedom we have in running our own businesses and creating our own destinies.  It is truly a privilege.  Nothing brings this to light more than the choices we get to make during the slower summer season, holidays and good times with our loved ones.  But I strongly believe that with freedom comes responsibility.  So while we enjoy what we have worked so hard to create, we must always keep our focus on those around us, our communities, our families, our fellow entrepreneurs and make sure our businesses stay strong, sustainable and represent our values.  At Indiegrove, we take a lot of pride in this responsibility and truly enjoy the experiences and encounters it brings us on a daily basis.

This summer, take some time to reflect on your values as an entrepreneur and business. Are those values integrated into your daily work and goals?  Do your employees know what you stand for?  Do your customers know what you represent?  Your values should be at the forefront of all your decisions.

To Your Success,

-Zahra

20 December

Just Ask

So often the big successes in business for me have come from me just asking.  What I mean by that is that is getting the courage together to approach a person about something is often the biggest obstacle you face as a business owner.  You would be amazed how easy it can be sometimes if you just ask.  If you have been good to people and thoughtful about the community you operate in, people want to help you.  For me this has proven to be true in the hardest times.  When money has been tight and things feel really hard some of the people I would have least expected to be helpful have delivered more than I expected, lent a helping hand or opened a door for my business.  Some of the most successful entrepreneurs I know are really good at asking.  I’ve been amazed at their boldness when they’ve asked me for something.  But to be honest, most often, I’m happy to give it to them.  This is what entrepreneurship is all about: relationships.  Relationships that matter and are mutually beneficial.  You have to remember this when things are good and hard.  You never know what people are going through and your kindness can make a big difference.  Everything in business is a two way street.

To Your Success,

-Zahra

This article is part of the blog series “The Days in the Life of an Entrepreneur.”

13 December

Step out of your comfort zone, this much

 I can’t tell you how often I watch entrepreneurs recede into their comfort zone the minute they are asked to go against the grain, think of their business as more than their immediate circumstance or just try something new. I don’t pretend that everyone’s comfort zone starts and ends at the same place. I know boldness comes easier to some than others. But if you think you are going to build a sustainable business by doing anything less than bold on a daily basis, you are wrong. It’s a choice that you have to make over and over again as an entrepreneur. One of the best sayings I have ever come across is “Discomfort is a sign of growth.” You have to be uncomfortable if you are growing. It’s just part of the territory. This journey we are all on makes us push our own boundaries and of those around us.  If you are asking people to trust you and buy your product/service, something they are not certain about, you better be willing to do the same all the time. It is really what makes the possibilities endless and the journey worthwhile.

To Your Success!

-Zahra

This post is part of “The Days in the Life of an Entrepreneur” series.

6 December

The Days in the Life of an Entrepreneur

Chasing Money

You hear time and time again in all the entrepreneurial blogs, quotes, guiding principles, etc. that you shouldn’t chase the money, chase the dream and the money will follow. Unfortunately, many would be entrepreneurs take that to mean they shouldn’t be focused on money at all.  Not true.  Money shouldn’t be your only goal or even your primary goal, but it has to be a goal.  Unlike some other goals, if you don’t achieve it, you will be out of business. Too often those who get that part end up only trying to high end markets because they think that is where the money is. But here’s the problem with the high end money.  What is considered luxury changes fast and furious and everything is eventually commoditized in that world. Yes, there is money to be made in those markets, but for how long?  Whatever you are doing make sure it is a sustainable business that can withstand the trials of time and change. As for me, I just like doing business with real people.

To Your Success!

-Zahra