Updated: Sep 14
Updated August 2020 by Paula Blair
Christine and I originally wrote this blog in 2018, and while updating my website I read it with tears in my eyes, a raw heart and low motivation. I thought back to how in 2018 SOAR Co-Working was on a slow but upward to the right climb, and I remembered how Q4 2019 and Q1 2020 were full of wonderful achievements. We reached break even and were starting the profit climb when COVID-19 arrived and shook small business to the core. Fear of safety and small business customer's loss of revenue has cleared the coworking space to near empty. To say that I am sad and discouraged is an understatement. My weekly goals consistently include "Stay hopeful." The fight for my business is no longer about overcoming doubt in myself. Now I am constantly running risk management scenarios in my head. What needs to happen for people to feel safe again? When will that happen? Once safety is again achieved, how long will it take for small businesses to seek out a professional work space? I have a lot of questions and no answers. The only thing that remains the same is that I'm still asking the question, What if, what if, what if?
One thing that is for certain is the following blog is still very relevant. Covid-19 may have shook you to your core and left you with feelings that you need to pivot (gosh, that word is used so frequently that I cringe when I say it). If you have a tug in your heart and a dream in your head of a new venture, but are frozen in fear, read the original blog, and don't let fear be the only thing that stops you. Proceed with cautious gusto!
By Paula Blair and Christine Crispino
Independence. It’s a word everyone hears often in many different contexts. For us, it’s about embarking into the world of business, head first and solo. Who are we? We are just a couple of women that decided to stare fear right in the face and tackle our dreams head on. We are not alone. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of you reading this with an idea, a dream, or maybe just an unorganized set of thoughts, about what you want to do and how you want your life to look. We’ve been there, and we want to help. However, before we dive straight into the nitty gritty of our journeys, advice, and checklists (we LOVE checklists), you should know a little more about us.
Paula Blair is the owner of SOAR Co-Working, Inc., a business devoted to people first and assisting with their work-space needs in creative and efficient ways. Paula discovered co-working in a newspaper article about a co-working space in Oregon, and that article sparked her imagination. She immediately started dreaming about owning a space of her own someday, and visualized herself planning, building, and launching a co-working space herself. As Paula learned during her research (one of the steps we will discuss in upcoming blogs), according to a study conducted by Intuit, in 2020 more than 40% of the US workforce will be so-called contingent workers. Those workers are independents, contractors and self-employed. Isn’t that awesome? Paula certainly thought so, and put the multiple steps in motion to turn a dream into her everyday reality.
Christine Crispino is an attorney and owner of Crispino Legal, a law practice dedicated to the transactional side of business law that assists clients with business formation and all of the various internal and external business relationships (and the contracts that go along with those relationships) required to make a business run successfully. Christine spent time in the business sector as a practice administrator for a health practice, followed by the practice of complex commercial litigation law in downtown Tampa. Through that experience, she was able to marry together the real-world needs of business owners in their daily operations, with the typical pitfalls and disputes commonly seen in business relationships. After gaining that knowledge and experience, Christine dreamed of nothing more than being able to serve the entrepreneurs in her community in a compassionate way, on her schedule and on her terms. That dream led to Crispino Legal, but the journey has not been without hurdles and potholes, and that’s okay!
As the two of us sat and discussed the inception of our businesses and life dreams, we discovered many of the same thoughts popped into our heads at one time or another, including:
o What if I tried and it flopped?
o What if I lost all my money?
o What if I’m not good at planning, building, launching and/or running?
o What if I’m not a good leader and no staff wants to work with me?
o What if, what if, what if?
We recognize there are people, many of whom are women, who have great ideas and dreams dying because they too are paralyzed with fear of the unknown (How will I do this?) or their own self-doubt (There’s no way I can do this!). Is this you? We have great news! We’re going to share our journey. We want to give you hope, motivation, and hopefully inspire you to move your own journey forward. We also want to share the practical steps that worked for us.
We’ll publish this blog on various topics. We welcome your comments and questions! We will also be scheduling some meetups on these topics too. If you’re close to New Tampa in Florida, we hope to meet you in a format where we can all learn from each other. Future Blogs:
-The Go/No Go Decision - we’ll cover how we prepared for and made our “Go” decisions.