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

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