Client Story: Rare Oath

Client Story: Rare Oath

Novel Coworking Golden Triangle in Pittsburgh is home to a rich community of innovative entrepreneurs who help shape our story. This week’s blog post spotlights Rare Oath and their founder, Katy Ladner. Rare Oath is a woman-powered creative services business that offers branding, graphic design, and marketing services in both print and digital spaces. Whether working with boutiques or big brands, Rare Oath focuses on producing great work–that works well.

 

How was Rare Oath founded?

Rare Oath was founded in February 2017 with our first clients including a big brand seeking cohesive “gap” support (between its agency of record and in-house capabilities), and an industrial client in need of a complete brand makeover.

 

What’s in a name?

The name “Rare Oath” is based on the belief that the vitality of a brand hinges on making and keeping a unique promise to its customers. We want to help brands recognize, celebrate, and uphold their unique offerings. In turn, we make a genuine commitment to our clients and team members to produce brand-forward creative with a truly supportive and collaborative approach.

 

Why did you start your own business?

My background is rooted in traditional advertising agencies and design firms, which has afforded me invaluable professional experiences and lasting friendships. Along the way, I have seen a true need from clients for flexible, top-quality creative solutions. There is also a distinct and growing need for workplace flexibility in terms of where, how, and when you work.

That combined flexibility is a big part of the inspiration for Rare Oath–flexibility that achieves brand goals, while supporting team member growth and satisfaction as well.

 

How do you set goals for yourself?

Well, since we are a creative services business, much of our daily workflow and short term goals are dictated by clients’ schedules or media placements. For our own company goals–it’s a little tougher. We have to carve out and protect specific time slots to focus on Rare Oath so that we are able to sustain our own growth and ensure our availability for clients.

 

How has your office changed your workflow?

Novel Coworking has been the perfect complement for our model of flexibility. All of our Collective Energists (team members) are able to work remotely or come into our office for focused collaboration and resources as needed. I think it has been great for all of us to have a home base, but one that doesn’t require a lot of our energy to maintain.

 

How did you decide on an office design?

The office design came to us very naturally. We want our space to feel like our brand for both visitors and our Collective Energists. We emphasized our brand palette of yellow, navy, and white, and created a layout conducive to comfortable collaboration. We are very happy with the execution and feel it achieves the energy we hoped for.

 

Why do you love being a Novel Coworking member?

The availability of resources and access to locations in other cities. I think both will continue to be very helpful as we grow.

 

Do you have any advice for new entrepreneurs?

I would say–just try to stay open to how your path unfolds and lean into your community for support and resources. Listening, asking for help, and even offering help to others can make the very hard work of building a business a little easier and more enjoyable.

 

Learn more about businesses like Rare Oath by joining one of our entrepreneurial communities in a city near you. A Novel Coworking membership includes access to networking events, Lunch & Learns, and happy hours to help you grow your business. Start your success story today!

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?