Client Story: Cultivate Advisors

Client Story: Cultivate Advisors

Company Name: Cultivate Advisors
Industry: Small Business Consulting
Year Founded: 2013
Location: Novel Coworking 16th Street, Denver

How is your business innovating and providing something new?

Unlike traditional coaching, we tailor our advisory to each client, based on their 5-year goals. We start by developing a strategic plan, and we’re not afraid to roll up our sleeves to help to help hold their business hats and build systems and processes in support of long-term growth.”

What do you like most about working for your company?

“We are changing people’s lives. It’s so rewarding to see the personal and business growth that results from a strong partnership with each client.”

What has been the biggest challenge in starting a business?

“I’ve started about a dozen businesses. The hardest part is all the work that goes into each one. The wins and losses can swing someone, but you have to keep your eye on the longer term goals by breaking them down into more manageable action items to stay on target. It’s easy to feel lonely or overwhelmed trying to manage all the business hats.”

What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business?

“Don’t start a business to be an entrepreneur. That’s just a flashy title. Find something you love, or have a real passion for and go from there. Passion trumps coolness every time. Additionally, we have free office hours, virtual training events, and toolkits on our website for anyone who is starting or already running a business. Anyone interested can contact us for more information. The toolkits can be downloaded for free at: https://cultivateadvisors.com/toolkits/

How does your team manage working remotely? 

“As you could imagine, helping our clients build systems and processes, we utilize a lot internally. We have teams in Denver, Chicago, Wisconsin, Vancouver, and Toronto. We use systems and processes to help our Business Advisors stay on track and drive real value for our 350+ clients.”

Client Story: ThirdPartyTrust

Client Story: ThirdPartyTrust

Company Name: ThirdPartyTrust
Industry: Cybersecurity
Year Founded: 2014
Location: Novel Coworking The Loop, Chicago

How is your business innovating and providing something new?

“Our field of cybersecurity is complicated to the untrained eye but resilient to outside threats. Security inside organizations, inherently, gets caught building on old processes with old technology. We built ThirdPartyTrust to improve an inefficient system of collecting and analyzing vendor data with a network based approach unseen in other solutions on the market.”

What do you like most about working for your company?

“What I really enjoy about working here is the team. We’re a small team effectively accomplishing the same goals and at the end of the day, it’s a great feeling to have accomplished what we set out to do. We’re able to work together cohesively and independently to get what we need done that’s best for the team and company.”

When did you first feel successful?

“We first felt successful when our first clients signed on and saw the potential of our team and software.”

What has been the key to your company’s success?

“The leadership has been pushing for simple, achievable goals. With alignment on all teams, we’re able to effectively move the company forward.”

What advice would you give to startups?

“When hiring, hire for honesty, integrity and alignment, less on skillsets. Be patient, great companies take time to build, much more than you anticipate. Be very conscious of your capital spend.”

Client Story: Heart Behind Hustle

Client Story: Heart Behind Hustle

Company Name: Heart Behind Hustle®
Industry: Business Coaching & Consulting
Year Founded: 2015
Location: Novel Coworking Gaslamp, San Diego

How is your business innovating and providing something new?

“The coaching industry is relatively new but a lot has changed in the years it’s been popular. We’ve noticed that our specialty lies in supporting other coaches, experts, and service-based entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses by moving away from the “dollars for hours” model and into a scalable income model that creates a big impact. We do this by systemizing the private support these people usually provide their clients and moving into a “group program” model instead. 

There are a lot of experts out there talking about getting clients for private work, or selling e-courses. Personally, I find that only working with private clients becomes very limiting for a business that wants to actually reach multiple-six or 7 figures, AND selling e-courses is not a good next step for most people unless they already have a big audience or are willing to invest a lot in paid advertising.

We have perfected the predictable income model through group program offers and we’re the only company that specializes in this while supporting female entrepreneurs who want to show up as leaders and make a big impact with their business.”

What do you like most about working for your company?

“I love the fact that Heart Behind Hustle® is a blend of the passion, the heart, the vulnerability and the lifestyle along with the hustle of the business, the marketing, the numbers. It’s a great blend because I find that most people focus on either one OR the other, but they don’t really put the two together in an aligned way. 

Plus, I’m the founder so I get to create really epic content for our tribe and what’s not to love about that?”

What has been the biggest challenge in starting a business?

“The biggest challenge I think is usually the first year. While this is not my first business, I find that despite that, year 1 was challenging. Mostly because I wouldn’t ask for help, I thought I needed to figure everything out myself, and I was resistant to investing my growth. Really, I was just getting in my own way. And I think that’s the challenge for most entrepreneurs. They self-sabotage, they get in their own way, they let their ego cloud their reasoning and they struggle. Hiring mentors, investing in myself (even when it made no sense on paper) and truly committing – 110% – has been key.”

What has been the greatest reward in starting a business?

“Freedom! I’ve always said, I want to do whatever I want, with whomever I want, whenever I want. That’s freedom to me. Being able to have an online-based business, with a mostly virtual team, and clients who live all around the world, has been a true blessing. Some days I don’t do anything except hang out with friends, other days I put my head down and hustle to get stuff done. It’s a beautiful balance and I get to decide how it looks like. Plus, living in San Diego (and NYC before that) came as a result of having this business. I would have never been able to move here and have the lifestyle I have without it.”

What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business?

“You have to commit with your whole heart and soul to the process. Have patience, hustle, and bring your heart into it – people want to get to know you. We’re not in the age of faceless companies that no one knows anything about. People want transparency, they want to see you do your thing. So show them. And don’t be afraid of investing in yourself. When I began working with coaches and signing up for paid masterminds, that’s really when everything changed for me.”

Strive & Grind

Strive & Grind

Company Name: Strive & Grind
Industry: Branding
Year Founded: 2015
Location: Novel Coworking Gaslamp, San Diego

Tell the story of how your business was founded.

Strive & Grind was born out of the passion to help others STRIVE to achieve greatness, and GRIND to get there. We currently do this by helping entrepreneurs, influencers, and service based businesses create memorable, disruptive, and badass PREMIUM brands. We saw that there was a huge gap in the marketplace when it came to branding. A lot of entrepreneurs had crappy brands and didn’t know how to brand themselves or their businesses correctly. A lot of business owners also didn’t know what branding really was, and we wanted to educate the community on the power and importance of branding. We believe that without a brand, you’re a commodity. At the end of the day our goal is to help entrepreneurs truly thrive and not only create a successful business, but also a life of freedom.”

How is your business innovating and providing something new?

“We’re currently the only international branding and creative boutique that helps entrepreneurs create premium brands through one badass offering. This offering is what we call our Brand Slam. It’s our signature 7 step process that allows us to create and launch a premium brand in 45 business days. We realized that a lot of creative agencies offered a ton of different one-off services. In the beginning, we did the same, but realized if someone asked for a logo, we’d create a dope logo but the rest of their brand looked like crap. If someone wanted a website, their logo and photos were usually crap. And most of the time companies never had any brand strategy, which is key to a successful business. So we had to step back and figure out how we can really serve our clients in the best way possible, and that’s how the Brand Slam was born.”

When did you first feel successful?

“We moved to California in March of 2015 all the way from the east coast to grow our business and connect with the entrepreneurial hub that’s here in San Diego. At the time, we were bootstrapping our business working day jobs trying to make ends meet. We made the declaration to quit our day jobs and work full time on our business exactly a year from moving here. And on March 1, 2016, we both put our 2 weeks in at our day jobs! It was a day that always felt like a dream, and it finally became a reality!”

What has been the biggest challenge in starting a business?

“With any business comes many challenges, but a big one for us is finding and hiring the right team members. It’s a challenge finding quality creative talent that will stay for the long term. Especially when you’re a startup because you don’t have as many resources. As an entrepreneur you also feel like sometimes you’re the only one who can do everything, but we’ve learned that’s so far from the truth. So much time, energy, and resources goes into hiring one person. So navigating how to train, manage, and delegate employees has been an interesting learning experience.”

What advice would you give to startups?

“Be patient and consistent during the process. As long as you’re Striving & Grinding, you’ll keep moving up the ladder. Don’t be afraid to fail or face hard obstacles. It’s during those moments that we grow and excel the most.”

Guest Post: Why Entrepreneurs Should Start Their Business in Chicago

Guest Post: Why Entrepreneurs Should Start Their Business in Chicago

Author’s Bio: Camila Restrepo is a passionate story builder and journalist. As OfficeList‘s Communications Manager, she’s building an online community for entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs who are in the process of opening their startups face countless doubts. Is this the right time to venture into a new project? Will it be ready for its launch for next year? However, is the key question when or where? For an Olympic athlete, it may be when, for an entrepreneur, the essential question is where. Well depending on the place a new project is built, the target, facilities, and cost will vary. However, even after deciding “where”, the next step is full of unknowns. This guide will help those entrepreneurs to determine why Chicago should be their next one-way stop.

Working in a busy city like Chicago permits to naturally meet and network with other entrepreneurs. People can find numerous important connections right at their fingertips, which permit them to access great opportunities. Additionally, there is always an event happening to strengthen professional skills that will help even the most qualified to exploit their talent.

 

As Lorell Marin, founder of LEEP Forward says, “Chicago has a small-town feel with the benefits of a big city.  There’re many opportunities to find support, gather and get to know people, whether as a mom in business, a therapist or as an entrepreneur”.

Chicago is also home to top universities, accelerators, and incubators that permit companies to work with and retain the best industry talent. On top of that, as talent evolves, they can also partner with the city’s innovation labs and incubators, like 1871. This ends up to be a great benefit because although starting a business is full of uncertainties, starting it in a city built on innovation can lessen the risk of failure. In fact, this allows startups to find investors who are truly interested in the business.

Although in many industries, Chicago is known for bureaucracy, some of the city’s small-business success is a result of pro-business reforms that began in 2011. These changes include the reduction of business license types from 117 to 49, as well as more learning programs, grants, and other resources to help entrepreneurs launch new businesses.

 

Another great benefit is that the city is big enough to serve as a major one but small enough to navigate.  In fact, Chicago has geographic access to New York, Florida, Texas and the Upper Midwest in less than three hours. International destinations are not left behind because they are only a nonstop flight away. Therefore, reaching clients is accessible, no matter where on the globe.

On top of that, when it comes to office space available, there are impressive buildings that include different types of offices, remarkable lobbies, and top amenities to make the best out of every company.

 

So, where’s the next stop going to be?

 

Think Change

Think Change

Company Name: Think Change
Industry: Coaching / Consulting / Training
Year Founded: 2011
Location: Novel Coworking River North, Chicago

Tell the story of how your business was founded.

A few years ago, I found myself on the floor of my apartment with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, feeling miserable. In fact, I had felt that way for a while. My four-year relationship had collapsed, work was losing its meaning, and I felt deeply misunderstood, unloved, and lonely. Money was tight; I was overweight, lethargic, and confused; and my future seemed blurry.

Then, it happened. Something changed.

I decided to shift my perspective and see what my life would be like if I stopped beating myself up over “not being good enough, successful enough, rich enough, sexy enough” and, instead, accepted who I was.

I made a decision that I am good and committed to testing this theory out. And it worked!

Since then, I’ve had the privilege of helping hundreds of other people experience a similar type of transformation, reaching peak performance and thriving in all areas of their lives. My models and unique approach further expanded to helping entire organizations and executives “cut the crap,” “face up,” and “own it” for the benefit of their quadruple bottom line: people, planet, profit—and soul. 

Eventually, all of this led to the birth of Think Change.”

Have you done business with any of the other companies at Level’s River North office space?

“Not yet, but hope to! We’re all a part of an eco-system, and I hope we can help each other out. Did you know that Level Office members and staff get 15% off at Think Change? ;-)”

What has been the biggest challenge in starting a business?

“Staying focused. This is probably true of many founders. Life is full of opportunities to contribute and create, so staying focused has required some extra inner work on my part.”

What has been the greatest reward in starting a business?

“I am big on purpose, and mine is helping others reach their greatest potential. Having an avenue to do that, daily, and also pay my bills, is extraordinary. I get high on seeing people and companies change for the purpose of advancing themselves and their goals.”

What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business?

“Don’t do it because it seems cool, an easy way to make money, or because you want to fulfill some fleeting fantasy of yours. And definitely don’t do it because you want to call yourself a “CEO” or an “entrepreneur”! Do it because you want to create something that doesn’t yet exist, or create more of something that does, and do it better. It has to come from within. Entrepreneurs are meant to be risk-takers, innovators, creators who have the vision to fill a void that currently exists, and seize on opportunities. What’s your vision? What truly drives you?”