Lifestyle

Member Appreciation Night Recap

Member Appreciation Night August 2018

The hustle is hard and the struggle is real. Early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays. Founder’s life is not easy and often your hard work is overlooked and under-appreciated. Well, here at Toolbox LA our intention is to make sure our members know how much we appreciate them working hard to make a positive impact in the world. We see you. Even if you don’t think anybody else sees you, we see you.

And the best part about being a member of our coworking space is that you don’t feel you have to “put on a work persona to fit in.” You can work a 14 hour day on Monday and then stay home with the kids on Tuesday, it’s totally up to you. Whatever your schedule is, you’re a part of the community and we appreciate all that you do.

With so much time spent at the coworking space, we figured why not venture out into the neighborhood, support a local business, and visit Hand Brewed Beer, a local brewery based here in Chatsworth.

We gathered the troops and make the 5-minute trek over to the local brewery to indulge in a beer tasting and some delicious pizza, because, as you know, pizza and beer go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. Salt and pepper. You get the drift.

The crowd favorites were both the Rocky Peak IPA (named after our local mountain range) and the Chatsworth Chai Stout. Big thanks to Brian Hand for hosting us!

It was a short hour and half of socializing amongst our shared desk folks, private office folks, makerspace folks, and biotech lab folks and before we knew it the sun was setting and it was time to get home to our families or back to our grindstone. The eclectic mix of backgrounds made for interesting conversation topics such as how one got into the startup world to how cryptocurrency might eradicate homelessness.

We are truly grateful for the wonderful people who make up this community. Studies have shown that having a community to work in helps create structures and discipline that helps motivates coworkers.

 

We are looking forward to the next outing which will definitely be at another local business.

Date, time and location TBA!

Interesting in joining the Toolbox LA community? Click here to schedule a tour to see what the magic school bus is all about.


1 of 100; How We’re Joining the Conversation on Race in LA

At the root of our why is a sense of fostering a deep sense of community, because #morekarma means increased opportunities for us all to grow and share and inspire. So when the Embrace LA team came to us asking for venue space to host a dinner, we said heck yes!

What is Embrace LA?

Unifying Angelenos and empowering communities through a citywide conversation about race and racism to challenge and change inequities.

Launched by Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the program is an approach that focuses on building relationships and advancing public policy solutions.

This is one of the various strategies in place to initiate true partnership between government, organizations, and residents. Why not revert back to the tradition of coming together to break bread to discuss the challenges our city faces.

“We cannot heal what we will not face” was the theme of the night, as each dinner invitation displayed the truthful yet vulnerable words as reminders not to shy away from the difficult conversations waiting to be had.

Toolbox LA hosted an Embrace LA dinner that welcomed challenging conversations about race and racism with community leaders in order to grow and better understand each other. Founder of Mixed Up Clothing, Sonia Kang, lead the initiative that brought us all together for a dinner facilitated by a member of the Embrace LA team. The conversation started light with each of us giving a background on where our families are from and how we grew up, then progressed to more serious topics such as police brutality and the criminal justice system.

Some tweeted in response “did it make you feel better???  like you’re doing something?? even though nothing is being done???? “ which on the surface level might seem like there is no action, but without civil dialogue then yes, nothing will get done. It takes inspired thought to create inspired action. A civil discourse on a topic such as race is never easy and yet over 100 dinners took place throughout various neighborhoods in Los Angeles over the duration of 6 months.

Programs such as Embrace LA are just the start for how the city, state, and nation are shifting perspectives on race and racism. The anniversary of Charlottesville is a powerful reminder that we are not as evolved a nation as we’d like to think we are. Bringing together people of all walks of life to break bread is a tradition traced back to the beginning of time and will continue to serve as a symbol of the grace of humanity.

 

Dig it? Want to host a similar event? Reach out to us.


Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Alexa Almazan-Barajas

Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Alexa Almazan-Barajas

Malcolm Forbes defines diversity in business as “the art of thinking independently together”. From audio engineers to computer programmers to marketers, the members who make up Toolbox LA are as diverse when it comes to their careers as they are impressive. The member we will be highlighting this week adds yet another profession to that list, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

This week’s spotlight goes out to the Director of Development and Donor Engagement at Minds Matter of Los Angeles: Alexa Almazan-Barajas, MPA, CFRE. Through her work and contributions at Minds Matter of Los Angeles, the organization has been able to help low-income students in Los Angeles and the surrounding area get accepted into a wide variety of prestigious colleges and universities around the country--Columbia University, Harvard University and Occidental College, just to name a few.

From test preparation to tutoring to building critical leadership skills, Minds Matter helps their students not only get accepted into universities but also teaches them how to expertly navigate the often-murky waters of higher education as well.

Here at Toolbox LA, we’re dedicated to empowering the people that make up the communities within the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles at large, and Alexa embodies this virtue to the nth degree. We’re happy to have her at our space.


A Little About Alexa:

What's your name?

Alexa Almazan-Barajas

Which is more your vibe?

Calm & centered

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be?

I wanted to be a lawyer.

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you?

Being of service to others.

What's your favorite get sh*t done quote?

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

What brings you to Toolbox LA?

Growing my company.

Your company/startup/project's name?

Minds Matter of Los Angeles

What problem are you solving?

Helping low-income high school students get to and through college.

What's your website?

http://mindsmatterla.org/

Community is important to me?

Yes.

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Want to join the community? Visit us at www.toolbox.la to book a tour today, or just come stop by and say hi at our Chatsworth location.


11:11 A Creative Collective and Toolbox LA Partnership

Introducing our new Artist In Residence program

At Toolbox LA, we believe that creativity plays an important role in developing next-generation products, platforms, and companies.

The evolution of our Artist In Residence program is reflective of the community we are building here at Toolbox LA. The art installations from previous Artist Residencies that were developed here are now cornerstones of the essence of what we are creating.

We are so excited to announce our new partnership with 11:11 A Creative Collective, whose mission is to provide a collaborative and educational multidisciplinary environment for artists and the public. The partnership will be through our Artist In Residency program until the end of the year.

11:11 ACC will bring art into our coworking space by commissioning site-specific art installations in two phases. The first phase will be a mural on the outside of the building that will represent the creative vibe that exists within these walls. The second phase will require full immersion by local artists who will become members of our community and will beautify the space from within.

Want to learn more about this program or recommend an artist? Visit their website at https://www.1111acc.org/toolboxla.

Join us Monday, October 1st, 2018 for the Grand Opening of Toolbox LA and to kick off a week-long celebration of National Manufacturing Day in Los Angeles. Click here to RSVP.

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About 11:11 ACC

Mission: To provide a collaborative and educational multidisciplinary environment for artists and the public. We support collaboration between artists and their community and facilitate the creation of art in areas where there is little to no access to the arts.

Vision: To inspire and affirm the importance of a developed, cohesive and accessible artistic community and to assure readily available and affordable resources for aspiring and emerging artists. We aim to accomplish this purpose by supporting and promoting funding for artists and art.

About Toolbox LA

Toolbox LA offers a shared, community-driven workspace for location-independent workers. We empower creators and technology-enabled startups with resources to collaborate and build their businesses. Our innovation hub includes coworking, shared desk space, dedicated desks, private offices, event space, a makerspace, hardware accelerator Make In LA, and biotech lab for startups Lab Launch.


Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Dakota Shane

Toolbox LA Member Spotlights: Dakota Shane

A community is only as strong as the individuals who make it up. At Toolbox LA, we're cultivating a community of scrappy, ambitious individuals from all walks of life: entrepreneurs, remote workers, freelancers and more.

Over the course of the next two months, we're going to be shining a bright spotlight on the hustlers who make up our fast-growing coworking space. This week’s spotlight goes out to a member who you can usually find typing away at odd hours or scanning the Micro Market for his next snack: Dakota Shane, Inc.com Columnist & Co-founder of Arctiphi.

With a little help from cold brew coffee, Dakota works around the clock to meet all his writing deadlines and to make the lives of his clients and readers a little bit easier, and we’re excited to have him as a member here at Toolbox LA.


A Little About Dakota:

What's your vibe?

Adrenaline Junkie

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be?

Growing up, I always wanted to be an author. Initially, I thought it would be fiction though.

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you?

Helping entrepreneurs, small business owners in particular, meet their goals. Additionally, competition. I want to be the Lebron James of my industry and am determined to get there.

What brings you to Toolbox LA?

Taking my company to the next level and finding community within the southern California tech scene as I recently moved down here from the Bay Area...I also got tired of wrestling people for outlets at Starbucks.

What's your favorite get sh*t done quote?

My all-time favorite quote for motivation is actually my screensaver on my phone haha. It's "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." - John D. Rockefeller. Makes me feel a little better about leaving the startup world for entrepreneurship.

Your company/startup/project's name?

Arctiphi.

What problem are you solving?

We’re an agency specializing in social media marketing and ghostwriting. Many entrepreneurs have terrific products or services but lack the storytelling ability (or simply the time) to properly market and generate awareness for themselves. That’s where we come in.

What's your website?

www.arctiphi.com

Community is important to me. Yes or No.

Yes.

What else should the Toolbox LA community know about you?

I write an internationally-circulated column for Inc. Magazine, am a Top Writer on Medium, have spoken at marketing conferences across North America as well as industry-leading podcasts, and am currently writing my first business book. I also love beer, think long walks on the beach are overrated and am a self-proclaimed Lebron James fanboy.

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Want to join the community? Visit us at www.toolbox.la to book a tour today, or just come stop by and say hi at our Chatsworth location.


Toolbox LA Member Spotlights: Kevin Meyer

Kevin Meyer

Toolbox LA Member Spotlights: Kevin Meyer

A community is only as strong as the individuals who make it up. At Toolbox LA, we're cultivating a community of scrappy, ambitious individuals from all walks of life: entrepreneurs, remote workers, freelancers and more.

Over the course of the next two months, we're going to be shining a bright spotlight on the hustlers who make up our fast-growing coworking space. To start us off, we have one of our original Toolbox LA members--a guy whose tireless work ethic is matched only by his willingness to help other members with all their questions on marketing, design and much more: Kevin Meyer, CEO of Modern Alchemy.


Whether it's 10am on a Tuesday or midnight on a Sunday, Kevin's energy and passion for his craft is truly inspiring, and we're happy to have him as a community member here at Toolbox LA.


A Little About Kevin:

What's your name?

Kevin Meyer

Which is more your vibe?

Adrenaline Junkie

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be?

Growing up I was fascinated with how things worked. I was constantly taking things apart and rebuilding them. I set myself up for a career as an engineer until I found my passion for art. Whether it was painting or digital, I decided to pursue a career path where I could express creativity and find excitement in creating awesome things.

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you?

My biggest motivation is in creating marketing strategy. Figuring out how I can increase my clients' perceived value, revenue and develop a concrete brand that resonates with their audience. It's a huge gratification seeing my clients' customers turn from prospects to fans.

What's your favorite get sh*t done quote?

"Everybody says they're trying to get their piece of the pie. They don't realize the world is a kitchen. You can make your own pie. -Terry Crews"

What brings you to Toolbox LA?

Growing my company.

Your company/startup/project's name?

Modern Alchemy.

What problem are you solving?

We're a creative agency that helps startups define their brand and stand out.

What's your website?

https://modernalchemy.io

Community is important to me, yes or no?

Yes.

What else should the Toolbox LA community know about you?

We're developing various other internal projects and are excited to share them with the Toolbox community for testing, feedback, and support. We're happy to be here and looking forward to growing alongside the community.


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Want to join the community? Visit us at www.toolbox.la to book a tour today, or just come stop by and say hi at our Chatsworth location.


The Fallacy of Hustle

The Fallacy of Hustle

No matter if you’re an employee, an intern, or a founder, when it comes to startup life, long hours are a part of your reality. Yet, today, overwork isn’t just accepted, it’s becoming increasingly glorified and normalized by pop culture. Across today’s entrepreneurial community, specifically, an obsession with “hustle” is running rampant.

Why?

One of the primary drivers of this trend is the growing popularity of entrepreneurship as a whole. Being an entrepreneur has always required grit and long hours in exchange for a large potential payout when all is said and done. Now, with over 500,000 new businesses being launched every single month in the United States alone, everyone seems to be an entrepreneur. Couple this the fact that some tech founders have become celebrities (like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and more), and it’s little wonder why so many people think working 80 hours per week is a bulletproof strategy to wealth and success.

Another reason for the perpetuation of overwork is the fact we’re always connected to the online world. Now that most of us have the Gmail app installed on our smartphones, you can no longer avoid that angry email from a customer sent to you at midnight. You can no longer avoid that Slack message sent to you by your co-founder, or that negative Yelp review. While these tools are helpful in a lot of ways, they’re harmful in the sense that they never allow for anyone to truly be away from their work.

The intention behind the working hard is certainly good, but the interpretation is where things have gotten sticky. As a result, it’s becoming more clear than ever before that the concept of hustle has been taken overboard and is causing more harm than good in a lot of ways. Here are just a few of them.

Consequences of Overworking

#1. Negative Impact on Your Health

Research has linked longer working hours with depression, heart disease, and more. For instance, a study conducted in London amongst 10,000 white-collar workers found those who averaged notching 3 or more hours above a standard workday experienced a 60% higher risk of heart-related diseases relative to those who didn’t.

#2. Longer Hours Doesn’t Necessarily Correlate to Higher Output

Anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter knows we certainly aren’t the sharpest, most alert version of ourselves the day after. By consistently being exhausted when you show up to work, you’re increasing the chances of making a mistake, whether big or small. In the business world, perception is reality, and even a couple misspelled words in an email might cause an investor or a client to question your attention to detail.

Don’t waste tomorrow by doing half-ass work late into the night. If you find yourself strapped for time at midnight, go to sleep and get up an hour earlier than usual. This way, you won’t be shooting yourself in the foot twice.

#3. Not Ideal For Good Habit Setting

Practicing regular, healthy habits is a critical piece to success in any field, but it’s especially important for founders. As the key decision maker at your organization, it’s in the best interest of your company that you’re always at your optimal state so you can function at a high level.

According to Aubrey Marcus (CEO of the innovative nutrition and lifestyle company, Onnit), CEOs and upper-level executives burn nearly as many calories during the day as professional athletes do. Because of this, people in positions of authority at organizations should to be in the best condition physically, emotionally and mentally day in, day out. By working extremely late and pounding Red Bulls, you’re setting yourself up for irregularity, inconsistency and poor habits by not having a routine set in place.

Additionally, according to a 2015 study by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, people who work long hours are more likely to participate in binge drinking. Lastly, those who work late are more than likely doing so on their computers. Research has found that overexposure to artificial light can negatively impact your REM (or “deep sleep”). You can remedy this by trying out the f.lux app, which dims your laptop brightness to a healthy level depending on the time of day.

What We Can Do About It

#1. Have Non-negotiable Me-time

Having non-negotiable me-time, where you take time to focus on self-care as opposed to work, is paramount to preserving a healthy work-life balance and overall wellbeing. Take up a hobby that will get you out of your comfort zone. Go to a meetup where you don’t know any of the attendees. Take your dog or significant other to the beach for a day.

As a startup founder, it’s easy to slip into the trap of throwing your entire identity into your business. To combat this, don’t just be “MacKenzie the Startup Founder”, but also be “MacKenzie the Rock Climber”, or  “MacKenzie the Photographer”. This will allow you to emotionally and physically detach yourself from your work, enabling you to recharge your batteries.

#2. Practice Mindfulness & Meditation

There’s a reason why mindfulness and meditation are spreading like wildfire: they both work. One of the most beneficial parts of mindfulness and meditation is allowing you to let go of the things you have zero control over. To get started, try downloading an app like Headspace, or search Meetup.com for local meditation groups.

#3. Set Mental Boundaries

One of the easiest ways to detach yourself from work is to set mental boundaries which separate your work life from your home life. For instance, if you use your laptop all day in the office, consider only using your tablet or smartphone for browsing the web when you get home. If you have a home office, consider having a strict policy of not working in any other room of the house. What this will do is create psychological triggers in your brain that will make you associate one area with leisure and relaxation and one with work.

You can also use a tool like AppDetox which enables you to set boundaries for app usage within your own smartphone, allowing you to take regular digital detoxes.

#4. Take a damn vacation!

If your business can’t run without you for a week, then you’ve built it wrong. Plain and simple. If you don’t have talented members of your team who you can trust to keep the business afloat while you’re gone, it’s about time to start looking for new hires.

It’s no secret that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is tough for entrepreneurs and members of the startup community. Despite the fact that long hours, every now and then, are inevitable, hustling yourself to death is never the right answer.

Thanks for reading.