Her Story with Brigid Morrissey: Creating a Co-Working Space and Cultivating a Community
This week's Her Story Spotlight with Brigid Morrissey, co-owner of The Root in downtown New Albany, IN is such a fun one because it gets the creative juices flowing for what's possible when creating a business and that we really can build anything we want.
The Root is a co-working space that Brigid and her dad run together. They have a passion for serving small businesses and wanted to build and interact with a community.
They are super clear on their why and because of that have been able to keep their dream alive even when things didn't go according to plan (when do they ever go that way?? :))
I also love Brigid's outlook on productivity and think we can all learn a little something from it.
Read on to find out more about that unique perspective along with how Brigid and her dad built a gorgeous co-working space that her community loves.
Meet Brigid - Fun Facts:
1. I have a healthy obsession with Chance the Rapper. And cauliflower recipe substitutions.
2. Sunday is my favorite day of the week, even knowing that Monday comes next. It’s a restful day, and it’s a day for me to get back in balance – I get to spend time with family (I have two older sisters and five nieces and nephews between them), I get to read, exercise, take a walk outside, drink coffee – it allows me to evaluate my health from a holistic standpoint and pursue activities that help me keep God at the center of it all.
3. I prefer mountain trips to beach trips.
4. If you called me weird, I would consider that a compliment.
5. Recently, I just decided that if I start reading a book and don’t like it, I’m not going to make myself finish it – life is too short and there are too many good books.
Tell us about your business, The Root Workspace!
What we love most about it is our Why – The people that come and interact with the space! My dad is my business partner and Co-Founder. We both wanted our careers to make an impact in bettering our community. We also wanted to be part of the revitalization in downtown New Albany. Co-working was our solution – it has given us the opportunity to help people succeed in their businesses.
What are some experiences you had to go through to make that leap and what did you learn from those?
I have learned the art of patience throughout this whole process. Nothing is ever as easy or quick as you think it will be. It took a long time for us to refine our business plan. It took a long time for us to renovate the building. It took a long time for us to market the space and get membership commitments. But the patience has taught me to find the silver lining in all situations.
Because of the business plan, we better understood our vision and purpose. The extended renovation allowed us time to properly educate the public on the concept of co-working. The slow accumulation of membership allowed us to have more organic growth because we can get feedback and pivot with our business plan from the ones who took a chance on us from the very beginning.
You wrote an article about tips for being productive that initially seemed counter-intuitive to what most of us might think - Can you share some of that insight with this group?
It starts with self-awareness. I know that I can only give a few highly efficient and focused hours of work each day. The reason I can focus and be productive is because I’m feeding my soul and finding peace in other ways.
We’re meant to work. We’re also meant to spend time resting and rejuvenating. Even though we’re in a startup phase, I’ve realized that to be my best self for others and to actually create change and make things happen, I have to take care of myself. It also helps me eliminate distractions. I have so many hobbies and interests that when I can dedicate time toward at least one of them each day, I can file that desire away again for a while and then I’m not as restless when I have to sit down and work.
It's so easy to look at people's social media "highlight reel" these days and think we're the only one that "failing miserably" or going through a tough time. Would you be willing to share a business challenge you have you had to overcome to get where you are now? How were you able to overcome that or what are you doing now to overcome that’s working?
There are always going to be downsides and disappointments to any business. The trick is to see the value in making mistakes or overcoming adversity and learn from it.
For instance, I’ve never been confrontational, and the idea of it gives me anxiety. That bleeds into the most basic concept of business – making money. My dad and I have been attempting to find our price point, and unfortunately, any push back we’ve gotten has made me want to re-evaluate it.
I also sometimes struggle with the need to please others, and anytime someone perceives me in a negative way, it can eat at me. What I’ve learned from it – with much conversation and encouragement from my dad – is that it all comes from the desire to be good to other people. We want to make sure we’re being generous and fair to others while simultaneously covering our expenses.
What would you say has been the main key so far to helping you get to where you are now in your business?
The reason my dad and I are in this present state of our business because we’ve just been listening — to our mentors and others who have been in our shoes, to our members about what they’d like to see us grow into, and to each other. Our relationship has become so much stronger since we opened The Root because it has forced us to open up, face our frustrations, and better understand each other.
What are some things you've had to do as a business owner to get "out there" that may have seemed scary at first (or still do!)?
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to go through a leadership brand assessment based on personality, strengths and weaknesses, and feedback from others. Getting negative feedback from others can be tough. But it will make me a better leader, and person, in the long run.
Through the assessment, I’ve learned that I’m more introverted, whereas in high school and college I was more extroverted out of necessity. It’s a necessity again because we’re so new to the entrepreneurial scene. There are so many events to attend and people to meet! It’s also intimidating to meet well-known people in positions of power and hard to know what to say. I’m usually drained by the end of the week.
What are some of your top tips for marketing that have worked for you?
Keep it simple in all aspects – in design, message, and your channels of communication.
What are the investments you've made into yourself over this process to set you up for success?
I started booking a massage every five or six weeks to help me relax and take care of my physical health.
What advice would you have for someone looking to launch their own business in 2019?
Take everything one day, one step at a time. Taking on everything on your own or with just a few others can be overwhelming, and there are always going to be a million things to do. Prioritize your tasks and understand that success isn’t always measured by what you get done on your to-do list.
What are some tools that help make life easier/better for business or for personal development?
• Anything that allows you to schedule ahead of time – MailChimp, Hootsuite.
• Having a supportive family!
What is a book or podcast you would recommend for others looking to start or grow their business or just for general positive mindset motivation?
If you’re interested in being a lifelong learner, then it doesn’t matter what you’re interested in. I love
Podcasts on History: TED talks, Revisionist History, More Perfect, This American Life
Business Podcasts: Christy Wright’s Business Boutique Podcast, The Coworking Weekly Show, Startup, Drunken Money (shoutout to my friend Paul Heintzman)
Storytelling Podcasts: The Moth, My Favorite Murder
Business Books: Originals, Contagious: Why Things Catch On
Books for Pleasure: All the classics
What are you looking forward to with your business in 2019?
Getting to know our members and plan some gatherings!
How can people find out more about you and renting out space?
Visit TheRootWorkspace.com, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org