This morning a good friend of mine sent me a text with this picture, reminding me that 5 years ago today I stood with my family, friends, an outgoing deputy mayor and an incoming mayor for the Indiegrove ribbon cutting. It was a huge turning point for my life and for Jersey City. We were starting something new in Jersey City. It wasn’t just the idea that a coworking space was coming to Jersey City, but we were building something special for people who think differently than most and are building our future. I look back on the last five years and I can’t believe how many chapters we have already had in our journey. This business has created some of the most proud moments and hardest moments of my life. I can say there are two things that have gotten us to this point: relationships and perseverance.
I decided early on that I would apply the same principals I apply to my personal life to how we treat every person who interacts with this business. Kindness became one of our core values and giving became our culture. The greatest benefit of this approach has been that I don’t create transactions, I create relationships with people – members, guests, partners, vendors. This has led to the space being a place where people are happy and value one another. It has also been my saving grace more times than I can count. When I couldn’t figure out how to get myself out of a hole, I have been able to lean on people to help me dig myself out and I have done the same for them. I have been amazed at the power of reciprocity and generosity.
There have been many days in this business that I have not wanted to face the day. This is a unique business in that I sit amongst my customers all day, every day. If something is not working, I actually have to look people in the eye and explain what is happening. I don’t have deep pockets, trust account or funders to pull from. The ups and downs of this business are completely absorbed by the business and my team. I’ve learned to recognize the signs in my numbers and emotions. The numbers part is more clear cut. I have my key performance indicators so I am more likely to see things coming and be able to take action sooner. I’m disciplined with my books and study the trends. The emotions part, not so much. It usually starts with me going through the sad and defeated motions, which I have gotten really good at turning into getting mad and determined action. The recovery can be quick or not so quick. Most importantly, we push through. Perseverance is about having a smile on your face, not compromising your values and taking action. This trait stands out in so many of the entrepreneurs who work at Indiegrove. It is by far the most important contributor to success.
I’m excited to see what the next 5 years look like. Indiegrove never ceases to amaze me.
To Your Success,
Zahra Amanpour, Indiegrove Founder