Seven Things I Learned During A Year at LaunchHouse
One year ago, I found myself at a crossroads. After nine years working as a sole proprietor of a writing and marketing communications firm from my home office I found myself going insane. I couldn’t focus. I had no one to talk to and lacked inspiration. I pined for the conviviality and camaraderie of an office atmosphere.
Although my business had afforded me a nice lifestyle, paid the bills, funded vacations, grew some retirement savings and provided the satisfaction of a job well done for happy clients, I clearly was stuck about how to grow my business.
Cue the angels and enter LaunchHouse in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
The moment I walked in the door I knew I had found someplace special. LaunchHouse co-founder Dar Caldwell provided a gracious welcome and explained that for $100 per month I would have access to the 23,000 square feet of co-working space, wifi access, a wireless connection to a laser printer and access to private conference rooms. I signed up immediately and one year later my business has changed forever.
I’ve taken on a business partner and launched Your Story Social as a division of The Fairmount Group. We are a full service marketing communications agency. Your Story Social, focuses on helping clients achieve meaningful engagement with customers, prospects and a variety of relevant audiences by using online marketing strategies — focusing on social media — to amplify messaging and initiatives.
So what happened during the course of the past year to help me find success in launching Your Story Social?
Seven Things I Learned During a Year at LaunchHouse
1. Fail quickly. LaunchHouse’s focus on the Lean Startup theory encourages would-be entrepreneurs to focus on going to market with minimally viable products and then listening to what customers want.
2. Collaborate. Use the expertise of the group to vet ideas, test theories and practice presentations.
3. Network. We’re all networkers but the nature of LaunchHouse’s collective model and regular networking events promotes an environment where meeting new people -- and potential clients -- is part of the culture.
4. Get creative. The fearless creativity exhibited by a non-stop flow of hopeful entrepreneurs provides an inspiring work space.
5. Focus. In a sea of distractions, the daily practice of focusing on business goals becomes paramount.
6. Make new friends. With hundreds of like-minded entrepreneurs it’s easy to form new friendships.
7. Give back. At Launch House everyone is willing to lend a helping hand for the greater good. The practice promotes a communal energy where sharing is expected.
I wish everyone could find LaunchHouse. So many of my freelancing friends stay stuck at home and miss out on the business and personal benefits of working in such an energetic collaborative environment.
Since partnering with The Fairmount Group, I’ve moved to a traditional office space – now with two like-minded business partners – and am currently serving a growing roster of clients. I owe it all to LaunchHouse.
Your Story Social and The Fairmount Group invite you to attend the upcoming “Cleveland Social Media for Grown- Ups” training series at YWCA Greater Cleveland on Sept. 18, 2012.