Moving from an early stage idea to becoming an actual Impact Hub: 3 Key Learnings from the Journey
Being part of the Impact Hub network means you get to know people from all over the world. But it’s more than knowing the people, it’s hearing their stories as well as exchanging challenges, learnings and experiences. Because if there is one thing I have learnt working with the Impact Hub network in three positions for many years, and especially after attending our annual Global Retreat in Seattle, it is that no matter what part of the world you are in, you share the same journey of opening an Impact Hub and all of the challenges and amazing experiences that this entails.
In this post, I want to share with you the story of Impact Hub Santo Domingo’s incredible journey after a recent call I had with Emily Castro, one of their co-founders.
It hasn’t been that long since Impact Hub Santo Domingo moved from being an Impact Hub early stage idea to becoming an Impact Hub that is about to open its doors, but what a trip it has been already! They have come a long way, dealt with plenty of change and most definitely learned a lot in the process. Here are some of the things that stuck out to them as being important when making the transition:
TEAM, TEAM, TEAM
Why the word team three times? Because your success to become part of the Impact Hub network will be largely contingent upon having in place a good, committed team. And not only that, a team that has the time (and resources) available to dedicate the majority of their days to this project: “We always knew that starting an Impact Hub is not a part-time job,” Emily explained. “Still, as our team went through several changes (several of our founders received life changing job promotions and had babies at the same time), we were reminded the hard way that change can happen fast, and that there is no way an Impact Hub can make the transition from being an early stage idea to open its doors without at least three fully-dedicated team members.” There are simply too many things to address and too many things that need to get done. Luckily in Impact Hub Santo Domingo’s case, they managed to address their situation by bringing two new founding members into the team (Emily Castro and Chris Kaput).
LEVERAGE YOUR TIME AND RESOURCES SMARTLY
As the initial excitement from being accepted to become part of the Impact Hub network wears off, reality inevitably kicks in–so many things to do and so few resources with which to get started! Where to begin? And how to prioritize? The answers to these questions vary for everyone, but here are a few things that worked well for Impact Hub Santo Domingo:
- Organize events but don’t forget to keep your eyes on the ball: “We got excited about building our community and mainly started doing so by organizing events. But, as we soon found out: organizing events and activities takes time. A lot of time. And they won’t necessarily make you a lot of money. For one week, we spent the better part of three people’s time organizing our first event…only to find out afterwards that we reached 25 people and made 100 bucks. We might have used that time to learn more about getting a long-term grant or approaching investors instead.” Therefore, Emily recommends that, by all means, organize events, but also try to be smart and think of alternative ways to spend your time on other things that could help you realize your goals of a) building your community, b) securing funds, and c) opening your space. Or…
- Co-brand events/activities with other great players: Instead of organizing your own events, look out for those already being organized by other organizations or institutions and see if you can co-brand them. Impact Hub Santo Domingo ended up co-branding various activities with a visual presence or, even better, the opportunity to present themselves to the audience– having to do very little in return! In one case, they co-branded an international forum in Santo Domingo called Seguridad Ciudadana. “We were associated with important national and international players, had a visual brand presence throughout the day in a space filled with influential people, and were mentioned various times in national newspapers. What did we do in return? Handed out registration forms during the first two hours of the event; sometimes wins can come easy!”
USE THE WISDOM OF THE GLOBAL IMPACT HUB NETWORK
“There were definitely moments when we ran out of answers or were wondering how on earth to tackle the next challenge that came onto our path. Then we’d remember: hey, we’re part of a global network of over 15,000 people that are all there to help you out when you get stuck!” No need to reinvent the wheel, just reach out to people who have already been there and done it before! Ask, write, call, reach out! There are no wrong questions. “We definitely did not think there were any. Just ask Hanna, the Global Onboarding Coordinator, and Claudia, our Onboarding Coach: we pretty much asked them everything. They were often able to help us out, and if not, always redirected us to people who could.” Similarly, make sure you drop in on the Impact Hub global calls that take place all the time. Impact Hub Santo Domingo attended quite a few of them and learned a lot about key issues like governance, finance, community building and more. At the end of the day, our locally rooted, globally connected network is what really sets Impact Hub apart. Don’t think twice, jump right in and make the most out of it!
So that’s what the Impact Hub Santo Domingo team learned as they went through the transition from successfully getting through the Candidate stage, to being approved by the Initiative Committee.
A big thank you to Emily and Chris, for sharing these amazing learnings with the world on behalf of the Impact Hub Santo Domingo team! If you have more questions, Emily Castro or Chris Kaput would be happy to hear from you!
Would you like to share your Impact Hub story with us, too? Maybe things that worked out well for you? Email Flavia at firstname.lastname@example.org.