Who is Nancy Fornasiero, could you please introduce yourself?
Hi I’m Nancy and I look forward to connecting with this group of interesting professionals and entrepreneurs!
What is your business and when did you start?
ACE Coworking is a community-driven, serviced flex office in downtown Oakville. We opened our doors in Jan 2018.
What inspired you to start your business?
I was a freelancer / soloprenuer working from home, craving community and opportunities to meet professionals and grow my publishing consulting business. I learned about the “coworking trend” through a writing project I was hired to do in Toronto, and I was immediately smitten by this new style of collaborative working. This is exactly what I was looking for. When I realized there were no coworking spaces in Oakville for me to join, I decided to create one myself. I never set out to own a shared office; really I just wanted to join one! But here we are…
What were the challenges in the initial stages of your business and how did you overcome them?
As a longtime writer and editor, my business experience was rather limited, so I had to learn everything all at once. A true trial by fire. Accounting, marketing, operations, business plans, negotiating leases and funding, etc.: all new to me. I overcame these gaps in my experience by reaching out to my network of friends and colleagues and learning from them. (And thank God for the internet too!) Reminding myself that no-one is born knowing everything, and that I’m a fast learner, gave me the confidence I needed to jump into the world of entrepreneurship at the ripe age of 50-something.
What motivates you about your business?
In a word: people! I have always been excited about supporting people as they reach for their goals and helping people solve their problems. I love meeting new, interesting people and I also like to connect people with one another. I am so delighted that all these things happen every day in my role at ACE.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or admit that you don’t have all the answers. I have learned that entrepreneurs are usually very generous people and they really want to see their peers succeed. Reach out to your community and you will be surprised at the bounty of knowledge and support that gets shared with you.
Interesting fact most of the people do not know about you?
I have written several textbooks that are in use in Ontario schools. If you have kids, one of my texts might be in their backpack right now!
The best business advice I ever received was…
The best business advice I ever received was from a life coach who convinced me to trust my gut. (I am an analytical type, so this did not come naturally.) I didn’t realize what an important tool my intuition would be until I was bombarded with a TON of unsolicited advice when I was in start-up mode with ACE. Sometimes well-meaning people left me feeling confused and insecure with all their advice, but once I learned to tap into my own intuition to make important decisions, things started to fall into place beautifully. I eventually learned to just block out “the noise” and listen to my inner voice.
My definition of success is…
Success means living a well-balanced life. For me, this means having meaningful work to do, while also making time to nurture relationships with the people I love. (And a bit of ‘me-time’ sprinkled in as well!)
If I could go back in time when I started my business, I would tell myself to…
I’m not sure how to answer this question, as I honestly have no regrets about launching ACE or about the way we’ve operated since day one. It has been fun, exciting and rewarding! That’s not to say that there weren’t tough moments or mistakes made along the way – of course, running a business is a lot of work! But it’s all been worth it.
Three books I recommend for entrepreneurs are…
Anything You Want, by Derek Sivers
The Surrender Experiment, by Michael Singer
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, by Rosamund & Ben Zander
My personal tagline is…
“More Than an Office” is our tagline at ACE, and I think we really are a lot more than just desks and meeting rooms. We are a community of like-minded professionals, inspiring and motivating one other everyday.