5 Things I Learned by CoCreate’s Kiri Rawson
What was I thinking when I first said I wanted to open a coworking space in Lexington? Coworking was a brand new concept for Lexington when we opened August
2018 and remains a new idea. It has been a year of growth and adjustments. I could write for days on all the things we have learned over the past year.
Here are 5 highlights:
1 ) Find Your Tribe
I’d love to tell you that everyone will be supportive, but I can’t.
What I can tell you is that it is okay to isolate yourself from the negative nellies. Your support will come from unexpected places.
The note below was written by Candace with Canvases with Candace the first time she visited
Surround yourself with those who believe in you, are willing to lend a helping hand, and don’t look at you like you have lost your mind with each new idea.
It is especially helpful if they understand the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. Who is in your tribe?
2) We all rise together
One of our biggest champions from the beginning has been Greg Hilton with SOCO. SOCO is the original and only coworking
space in downtown Columbia. We could have easily been seen as a threat, but the opposite has been true.In return, I have been a support to The Converspace
in northeast Columbia. 3 coworking spaces in the Midlands. Three very different spaces who all recommend the others. We are all better because of each other.
The same can be said for businesses in Lexington. When one succeeds, we all succeed. Attend ribbon cuttings. Like, share, and comment on Facebook and Linked
In posts. Patronize and recommend other Lexington businesses. No two businesses are exactly the same. A company you see as a competitor may turn out
to be a supportive friend.
Who do you need to support?
3) Tell Your Story
Own your story and tell it. People want to see the authentic you. I stressed for days over my One Million Cups presentation earlier this year. Once I got out of my own head and understood I simply needed to tell my story, it was easy and has been ever since.
Tell your story. Why you started your business. Even if it isn’t all roses.
If you have ever heard me tell my story, you have probably heard something like, “working from home isn’t always the best option. It wasn’t for me. In
fact, it was bad for me and my mental health,” That is my truth!
When you tell your truth, people will respond.
(Here my story: skip to 9:25 to start my presentation)
4) Know the numbers that matter
It’s easy to get focused on just the dollars and cents. There are numbers we can control and numbers we cannot.
I can control most of our spending. I can be consistent with the number of blogs I write or the number of social media posts we put out each week. I track
the number of people who come in for a tour, but I can’t control that number.
Track both the numbers you can control and the numbers you cannot. If you are consistent with the things you can control, you will be able to examine the other important numbers to see the growth or areas where you need to consider changes.
5)Don’t be afraid to try something new.
If something isn’t working, make a change. If you don’t like the way something is traditionally done, invent a new way.
This is how speed networking came to be. I still do not like to attend traditional networking events.
I am very uncomfortable walking into a group of people and introducing myself. I’d prefer to slide in, speak to someone I know, have them introduce
to one person, and slide back out. But that doesn’t grow my business. That won’t grow your business. Now our most successful monthly event allows introverts
and extroverts the opportunity to meet 19 other business people while having fun.
Don’t be afraid to try something different or unexpected.
Rawson is the founder of CoCreate Lexington. Kiri’s passion for entrepreneurship began as a child
spending her summers on her grandma’s screened porch designing malls that included everything from art supply stores to an employment office. Kiri
is a mother of two and has degrees in both economics and special education. After years of experience in the corporate, educational and work-at-home-mom
worlds, she is now living out her dream: the signs she designed at age eight are now framed and hanging on the walls of CoCreate.