Founder Series: Christa Freeland
So Christa, tell us about yourself?
I have an insatiable appetite to learn. When I’m not building a business, I can be found at home reading, watching videos, or getting together with friends about building businesses. Recently got very into spin class and now I dream of teaching it and becoming the best instructor ever.
What is your background?
I’ve had almost 10 years of experience running a wide breadth and depth of business and marketing operations. I have now worked in a variety of organizations including non-profit, lifestyle, agency, volunteer, and startups. I also serve as a community leader and sponsor of local organizations such as Austin Under 40 and Austin Young Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The City of Austin recently appointed me to the committee for Austin’s Grant for Technology Opportunities Program with a fund size of $250,000. I am Cofounder and Managing Director of Switch Cowork, a startup that converts under-utilized bars and restaurants into shared work spaces during the day. I am also currently a member of the leadership team at Powershift Group, a startup studio led by lifetime entrepreneurs that found, fund, and build early-stage technology companies.
What problem are you trying to solve?
We are competitive in ways that although there are tons of coffee shops and co-working spaces, our business model withstands the fluctuations of the market because at the core, it’s not about coffee or offices, it’s about the community. Because we see space differently,
- we are able to provide an affordable/accessible local co-working community that helps support each other, as well as
- 2) help restaurant and bar owners into untapped revenues during even their slowest days.
What has been your biggest hurtle as an entrepreneur?
I think my biggest hurdle as an entrepreneur might be confidence. Some might consider me a confident person, and I do too at times… but what’s always in the back of my mind is that I want to and will do more, which will always require me to reach higher and do things I’ve never done before. That can be seen as a hinderance to my abilities if I haven’t accomplished something before, but by pattern-replicating my past, it would be very natural to continue on the same trajectory with high expectations.
I think my biggest hurdle as an entrepreneur might be confidence.
Growing up, what was your upbringing like?
I was a shy person but felt compelled to do things that shy people might not want to do, like take on leadership roles in the high school yearbook staff and drumline. Always through the fine-tuning of my skill set was where I learned to gain confidence in myself, be competitive, and shoot high.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I had almost exclusively been in supporting roles of the businesses’ leadership team, so working directly with the CEO, Director, etc, I could sense the responsibilities of the top people in various organizations, but mostly small and emerging. I figured if they can do this, maybe I could do it — as if it weren’t a foreign or far-away idea to run a company since I had seen it in my every day work life.
What does diversity mean to you?
To me, the word diversity is in regards to the openness from any and all backgrounds.
What compelled you to take a risk and start Switch?
I knew that the co-working industry was taking off because of global trends like the sharing economy and the gig economy. I was so compelled to actually create this idea because I wanted to shortcut the fastest way to build a co-working space and provide the value better and in a more creative way.
How have you personally evolved as an entrepreneur?
I’ve learned to trust and have confidence in myself more than I have ever thought. I have always dreamed up challenges or envisioned things for myself about how I want to be, but all the while surprising myself a bit along the way and keeping an open mind.
What advice do you have for first time entrepreneurs?
My advice would be to be lean. A lot of entrepreneurs in the early stages overdo things, don’t move fast enough, and/or keep enough mental space to always check if what they are doing is relevant to making big progress in the right direction. I’ve seen way too many people spend too much time on insignificant things. “Done is better than perfect.” “Move fast and break things.” And all that!
What do you wish you could see/hear most from other entrepreneurs journeys?
I love to hear success stories from entrepreneurs, but even more I like hearing how they overcome challenges along the way. When you do big, new or interesting things, the number of challenges way outnumber the wins. Every challenge is actually an opportunity that entrepreneur created for herself, so I liked to hear what they did.
Switch Cowork offers a free one week trial which beats out most co-working spaces that only offer one day passes. At $95 month fee, Switch targets the freelancer community, giving them an affordable option to work, network, and eat food at their locations at a discount.
Our Founder Series, features diverse startup founders building companies in Austin, TX. Interested in being featured, email us at email@example.com