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Meet Felena Hanson of Hera Hub in Carlsbad, Sorrento Valley and Mission Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Felena Hanson.

Felena, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Hera Hub grew out of my personal need for flexible work, meeting, 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 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 consistently challenged to secure cost effective, fitting event and workshop space for monthly meetings.

I was turned on to the concept of co-working in 2010, when I hosted a networking event, for an organization I was leading, at San Diego’s first co-working 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 start-ups” … 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 there a 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 (www.HeraHub.com/Launch). The company now has additional communities Phoenix, AZ, Washington, DC, and Sweden, with several other cities in the works. Through this expansion, Hera Hub is on a mission to support over 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their business by 2020.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The commercial real estate process was much more complex and challenging than I had ever imagined. I had two strikes against me – new business & new concept… no one wanted to take a risk. After 9 months of searching and two failed lease negotiations (both in the eleventh hour), I am happy to say that the third time really is a charm!

Through the help of my network and my tenacious broker from Jones Lang LaSalle, I was finally able to secure close to 5,000 square feet in a very desirable location. It was double the size and twice the risk but I felt confident that the gamble would pay off.

We also recently expanded internationally to Sweden so this has certainly been a good learning experience – how to extend your brand and culture to a foreign country.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Hera Hub is a spa-inspired, shared workspace and business accelerator for female entrepreneurs. This flexible work and meeting space provides a productive work environment for women who primarily work from home. Hera Hub members have access to 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.

Cost-effective monthly membership options are suited for freelancers, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and authors. Hera Hub is much more than just a shared workspace; it’s a community of hundreds of entrepreneurial women who find the additional resources, such as special classes, workshops, and one-on-one support essential for their business growth.

The Hera family includes a non-profit accelerator – www.HeraLabs.com and a funding group – Hera Angels, which produces the annual conference, www.HeraVentureSummit.com.

Hera Hub has received national media attention from publications such as Inc Magazine, the BBC, Forbes, Entrepreneur.com and the New York Times – http://herahub.com/press.

The company has been an early leader in the female-focused space segment – first to expand to multiple locations and first to go international. Hera Hub currently has communities in Southern California, Phoenix, AZ, Washington, DC, and Sweden, with several other cities in the works. Through licensing expansion, Hera Hub is on a mission to support over 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their business by 2020.

I am currently looking to connect with women who might be interested in exploring bringing this unique model to their city (through a licensing model). It’s a perfect opportunity for someone who might be ready to take a soft step out of “corporate” or who already runs a service-based company and wants to explore using the Hera Hub concept to build a strong platform for their business.

What were you like growing up?
I was an only child for the first 9 years of my life and then in a short period of time had 8 brothers and sisters (step, adopted, and half). This means I’m both fiercely independent and can also adapt easily.

Both my parents are entrepreneurs… they beat to their own drum, so I’m very much an out of the box thinker. I was very imaginative as a child. I had the opportunity to grow up on the central coast of California with lots of land and animals so I exploration is my thing.

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