Felena Hanson of Hera Hub on collaborating with like-minded business owners
Describe your business in a few words:
Felena is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven. Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace and business accelerator for female entrepreneurs. This as-needed, flexible work and meeting space provide a productive environment for growing businesses. Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous.
She has two company-owned locations and licensed locations throughout Southern California and in Washington DC… with more cities launching soon. She’s on a mission to support thousands of women in the launch and growth of their businesses.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Hera Hub grew out of my personal need for flexible work, meetings, and event space. I found myself pushed into entrepreneurship after being laid off from a Marketing Director position with a San Diego-based high-tech company in 2003. I launched a marketing strategy consulting firm, Perspective Marketing, and found it convenient and cost-effective to work from home. Yet, after a couple of years, I found working from home to be, at times, distracting and isolating. Shortly after launching my consulting practice, I took on a leadership position with several professional women’s organizations, Women’s Global Network, and Ladies Who Launch, San Diego. In this role, I found myself constantly challenged to secure cost-effective, fitting event and workshop space for monthly meetings.
I was turned on to the concept of coworking in 2010, when I hosted a networking event, for an organization I was leading, at San Diego’s first coworking space, the Hive Haus. I initially thought about how I might use the space for my own marketing strategy business and quickly realized a thirty-something woman was not their target demographic. They were targeting “tech startups”… thus, primarily, young men. The space was cool – outfitted with a ping-pong table and beer keg – perhaps a little too “cool” for me!
The experience did spark an idea… Why wasn’t their space for someone who wanted a professional and productive environment in a beautiful, inviting setting? Thus the concept for Hera Hub was born (named after the Greek Goddess of women).
It took me approximately 12 months from the time I decided to move forward with the launch of Hera Hub to the point where I completed my business plan, secured financing, and solidified my first location. Since August 2011 we’ve launched 3 locations in San Diego, California, and have recently started expanding internationally through a collaborative licensing model.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, so yes. It took me 10 years into my career to feel like I had the skills and knowledge to launch out on my own.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
We grew mostly through word of mouth and social media (an extension of word of mouth). We’ve spent close to nothing on marketing and been able to build six locations and help over 13,000 women, so I believe it’s going well.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Supporting over 13,000 women in the launch or growth of their business.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
No. I believe in work/life integration. My business brings all the things I love to do under one roof.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Growth of new co-working spaces via partnerships.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
Connecting with other amazing women!