23 May

The Secret Sauce

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

#IndiegroveWorks
#BeOriginal

10 May

Indiegrove Wins 2018 Coworker Members’ Choice Award!

Indiegrove wins 2018 Coworker Members’ Choice Award!

Jersey City, NJ (Thursday, May 10th 2018) — Indiegrove announced it has been recognized as the winner of the 2018 Coworker Members’ Choice Award for Jersey City. Members’ Choice award winners were determined based on the thousands of reviews, votes and opinions collected in a single year from coworking space members worldwide.

“Thank you to all of our members for voting, writing reviews and being part of our amazing community! We are truly honored and grateful. We are so proud of the diversity and vibrancy of our community.  We promise to continue to provide the services and support entrepreneurs and independent professionals need to be successful and will never stop improving and growing. We are committed to the long term success of our members, Jersey City and the larger economy,” said Zahra Amanpour, Founder of Indiegrove.

“Coworker is excited to announce the winners of the 2018 Members’ Choice Awards and celebrate the coworking spaces around the world that are making an impact in their community”, said Leanne Beesley, CEO of Coworker. “By putting a spotlight on coworking spaces that are providing a great environment and creating a community for their members, Coworker gives coworking spaces both large and small the ability to shine and attract new members.”

About Indiegrove

Entrepreneurs and independent professionals do not conform to one way of thinking, nor should the space they work in. Our workspace, meeting rooms and events are designed to provide you the environment you need to work harder and happier.

Indiegrove is committed to being a hub for entrepreneurship by advocating for entrepreneurs, supporting their businesses and connecting them with other like-minded people.  We provide the space and community they need to be successful.

11 April

New Season, New Mindset

Happy Spring!

It might not feel like spring yet, but it is definitely here and everyone is focused on the good weather and fun times ahead. Make sure you take advantage of this change in mindset and present something to your customers that is in line with the new season and their specific needs. Capturing these moments can make a huge difference in your customers feeling like you really understand them and showing your value.

We have also officially entered the second quarter. Your new strategies and initiatives for the year are probably in full swing. Have you taken the time to measure where you are in terms of your goals for the year? Don’t lose focus on what all of the hard work you are doing is suppose to be accomplishing. It should be feeding into your bottom line or building the foundation for something bigger in the future. Either way, you should be able to measure your progress and results.

To Your Continued Success,

-Zahra

#BeOriginal
#IndiegroveWorks

8 March

Being Part of a Global Movement – International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day!

One of my goals when opening Indiegrove was to make it a space comfortable for both women and men. Coworking spaces are generally dominated by male teams and the fraternity culture. I have spent much of my career building and implementing programs focused specifically on women’s economic empowerment. I remember my tours of spaces before Indiegrove opened being very uncomfortable as a woman. When I opened Indiegrove I found the same thing happening here in Jersey City. The vast majority of people signing up were men. I decided we would have to take deliberate actions to change it and we did.

Today, I am proud to say 35% of our members are women. Our culture is inclusive and balanced and our community is vibrant. The majority of businesses we serve through education and collaboration are women owned businesses. The Indiegrove Women’s Group has been meeting for five years and addresses the many realities women face in business every day. We are proud to be part of the global movement towards more women business ownership and higher growth. Thank you to all the women and men who have part of our growth.

To Your Continued Success,

-Zahra

13 February

I Work To Make Every Day Count

One of my fellow boot campers was talking to me about balancing life and work this morning and how she never has enough time.  This is a bootcamp filled with working women, many of them with families, who are up before the sun rises to get an hour of time to themselves before anyone else even knows where they are. When I told her that I could relate she said “But you have your own business, so you don’t have to work the 8 hour thing, right?”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some version of that statement from people.  It use to bother me.  Now, my standard response is “Yeah, it doesn’t really work that way.  The work has to get done.” and then I leave it alone.  I’ve come to realize that most people don’t understand what it really means to be an entrepreneur and start a successful business.  Yes, we have the option to choose when we work, but the commitment is a 24/7 commitment and a successful business requires much more than 8 hours of time per day.  It requires full dedication and responsibility.  When I get up in the morning I am not not worried about how I will get through the day or complete the hours. I am focused on how will I fulfill my purpose and build something extraordinary.  That’s what a lot of people don’t get.  We choose this life.  Nothing about it is an obligation.  It’s a completely different mentality.  I am accountable to my family, customers, employees, vendors, partners and everyone who touches my life.  All of them, together, decide the fate of my business.  No, I do not work 8 hours a day.  I work to make every day count.

#BeOriginal
#IndiegroveWorks

7 February

Building with Purpose

I’ve had a lot of conversations with people in the space recently about goals and have noticed a shift in the types of conversations. More and more, people are seeking purpose, meaning and community. This makes perfect sense if you think about it. The days when work and life could be separated and values were relative and secondary are over. People want to know that what they do, consume and give every day matters and is contributing to society. This shift gives us all something to look forward to. If building a successful business is dependent on an entrepreneur’s ability to understand and influence meaning and purpose, the possibilities are endless and we are truly changing the world. I for one will do everything I can to keep that momentum going.

#BeOriginal
#IndiegroveWorks

29 January

Own It

Obviously, “own it” is at the core of entrepreneurship, but this value goes much further than registering a business with a particular name. It’s about living your purpose. Taking responsibility for the people, ideas and challenges that are part of your business and community every day.  Seeing something through from start to finish and understanding the impact and repercussions that it may present.  It’s also about acknowledging your mistakes and learning from them.  The only way a business can grow and thrive is if everyone in it feels ownership of their own work and the shared vision of the company. Titles and money don’t give us prestige or respect.  People respect people they can believe in and trust.  If they know you will deliver on your promise, they will want to be part of your company. Ownership gives people dignity and empowers change.

#OwnIt
#IndiegroveTurns5

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