Serviced Office Space and the Road to Success

books goals success writing Dec 16, 2021

LaTaunya Howard has made her mark in Serviced Office Space (Sometimes called Co-working space). She runs a successful facility of her own, and has published two best selling books on the subject. Hear her tips for training her mind for success and teaching others how to find their niche.

Guest Information:

LaTaunya “L.D.” Howard is a bestselling author, educator and entrepreneur, and has spent more than a decade helping small business owners achieve their goals. As a small business owner herself, LaTaunya understands first-hand the importance of running a business in a cost-efficient manner, which was her primary motivation for opening Howard Corporate Centre, LLC in 2012. Howard Corporate Centre, LLC is a Serviced Office Space provider that offers private offices, meeting rooms and other flexible workspace solutions at a fraction of the cost of traditional office space. LaTaunya truly enjoys seeing her clients pursue their dreams and being a catalyst – if only in a small way – to help them succeed in doing so. But what LaTaunya has also observed since opening Howard Corporate Centre, LLC is that there is a knowledge gap about the serviced office space industry, which prompted her to write the award-winning and bestselling book Kill The Rent-Grow Your Biz: Five Simple Steps to Cut Costs, Attract More Clients & Improve Your Bottom Line.

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Episode Highlights:

16:33 From a footprint perspective, I'm not as large as some people. So there hasn't been as much of a need to have multiple staff. I’ve been basically running everything myself. That was intentional because I wanted to understand the weeds first, so that I knew how to effectively delegate it and monitor it when other people got involved.

21:44 This entrepreneurial journey is, is really a mental game. It is a game of mental stamina and that shows up in a lot of different ways, whether it's determining I have to hire someone or it's determining I have to pivot because of a pandemic or whatever the case may be, or it is time for me to bring on some partners or it's time for me to let go of some partners. You're constantly making decisions you're constantly course correcting and you really have to have the head space and the mindset to be able to thrive in that type of environment.

23:03 Being able to detach from things - that's something that I am getting better at because I was once of the mindset. If A, B, and C are what I need to do to experience D and I do A, B, and C then D ought to be guaranteed. Right? Well, that's not always the case. So what I have learned to do is that I'm gonna do my part. I'm gonna do A, B, and C, but after that, I'm just gonna have to detach from the outcome. And I just have to continue doing my best and be open to the possibility that D may not be what the universe has for me. Maybe it's D, E, and F or something else. You just really have to give yourself the space to allow things to unfold in what ultimately is best for you. Maybe not in your timing, maybe not the way you want it to happen or how it will look, but ultimately what is divine and best for you.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

LD Howard (00:00:00):

You know, my exit from the W2 world wasn't under ideal circumstances. I wouldn't say that I regret it because if that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have two books. I wouldn't have a business for nine plus years and all of the businesses that I supported. So, so that unpleasant circumstance ultimately exposed me to so much more that I can pursue and experience in the world. So no regrets whatsoever.

Introduction (00:00:30):

Welcome to the SideHustle Lounge. If you're looking for flexible ways to earn income, grow your mindset, and live the lifestyle you've always dreamed of, you are in the right place. So lower the lights. Grab your favorite beverage, and join your host, founder of and Amazon bestselling author of “Sign and Thrive: How To Make Six Figures As A Mobile Notary And Loan Signing Agent,” Bill Soroka.

Bill Soroka (00:01:04):

All right, cheers. And welcome to my guest today LaTaunya or LD Howard. LD, thank you so much for joining me on the Side Hustle Lounge podcast today.

LD Howard (00:01:15):

Thank you for having me, Bill. It's always a pleasure to chat with you. I'm excited!

Bill Soroka (00:01:20):

Likewise, I've been looking for to our conversation since yeah, you were one of the first people I asked to be on the podcast and then just the series of life events. Now we are finally getting to this conversation and the reason I've been looking forward to it is, you know, when you and I connected over service office space in your book "Kill the Rent - Grow Your Biz: Five Simple Steps to Cut Costs, Attract More Client & Improve Your Bottom Line." You know, we immediately connected over our passion for personal development growth in this commitment to learning and constant growth. So I know we're gonna have an awesome conversation today.

LD Howard (00:01:58):

Yeah. I'm, I'm looking forward to it. It's been you and I first met, I think, through the school that we were in for writing a book. Right. And when was that? That was 2018, 2017 maybe. Cause I 2018. So it must have been 2017, so wow. It's been some years!

Bill Soroka (00:02:18):

Four years. Yeah. So

LD Howard (00:02:20):

I kept, I, I mean it, that just kind of registered in my brain that I've known Bill Soroka for almost five years there. Oh my gosh.

Bill Soroka (00:02:30):

Wow. I didn't even, I didn't even put that together either. That was the self-publishing school with Chandler Bolt. Mm-Hmm interestingly enough, I'm gonna interview Chandler soon on this podcast.

LD Howard (00:02:39):

Nice, nice. Okay.

Bill Soroka (00:02:41):

That course, that program changed my life. Whenever I launched my sign and thrive book. I know it did the same for you too.

LD Howard (00:02:46):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

New Speaker (00:02:48):

In fact, you are a bestselling author. You're an educator and you're an entrepreneur fellow entrepreneur.

LD Howard (00:02:56):

There are a lot of things I've been calling in my life Bill, but I really like those three, the most  

Bill Soroka (00:03:01):

Those are, those are great things to be called. Tell me how that originally, what came first educator, author, or entrepreneur,

LD Howard (00:03:09):

You know, that's really interesting. A very interesting question, because I think at this point in my life, when I reflect backwards on different experiences that I've had, I would have to say that educator is probably the thing that came first. And I was probably educating people or had an interest in educating people before I knew what that was. Even when I was in school, you know, whether it be grade school, high school, whatever the case may be. I've just always naturally sought to share what I knew with other people so that they could have the power to do for themselves as well. So I've always kind of had that innate interest, but it wasn't until I became an adult that I really realized, oh, that's what I really enjoyed doing. So I would say that part of my makeup is that I'm an educator in that regard.

LD Howard (00:04:03):

And the second thing happened of the three things that happened, I would say, would be entrepreneur. And, and that came really accidentally two times in my life. In my former life, as I like to say in my W2 life, I worked with the government and budgeting and financial management. And there was an opportunity where I was actually applying for a job. I did not get the job, but they liked me so much that they offered me an opportunity to come in as a contractor. So that was my first exposure to entrepreneurship. And then some years later after 9/11 I had the opportunity after doing some soul searching to open up Howard Corporate Center, which is the shared workspace business that I've been operating for nine years now, nine plus years. And then out of that came the authorship. So, so I guess again, to sequence it, I would say the educator, the entrepreneur, and then the author, but it just flows better to say, you know, author, educator, entrepreneur, , you have to tweak, but the sentiment is still there.  

Bill Soroka (00:05:12):

Yeah, no, absolutely. Well, and the to be an author, a publish, especially a best selling is it's an amazing feat, like less than one and of people in the world do that. And I understand, and you probably understand too after doing it, why people don't do it exactly. Cause it's not just writing a bunch of words and publishing it out. You gotta, I mean, well, maybe I'll speak for me, but for you did you experience the, like every demon you've ever had in your life come out as your writing that book, every insecurity come out as you're writing your book? Or was it different? You

LD Howard (00:05:47):

Know, real, I have to say not really. Because going back to my point about, I just had this innate interest in sharing knowledge, I found joy in that part of it and the, the SPS - self-publishing school that we went through helped me to get my time management and framing the book in a, in a way that it could be something that's useful to an audience, but actually going through the process of writing the book and putting pen to paper, the things that I knew about the service office space, I actually found joy in that if there was any angst that I had, it was the marketing piece, because I say to people, marketing is just not my strong suit. We all have things that we're good at. We all have things that we're not so good at marketing as marketing is probably the thing that I'm not as good at as some other things.

LD Howard (00:06:37):

So that's always been a bit of a challenge area. So that's why I like opportunities like this one that you are providing just to share with people the book and really my journey, because I, I think for me and, and you can let me know if this is the case for you too. I tend to connect more with the book when I know the story behind why of the book was written, you know? Oh, yeah. So just having an opportunity to share with people how it is, I became an entrepreneur, why it was important for me to share the information about the service office space industry. That's what I really enjoy. And that kind of helps me to market the book a little bit more and get over any discomfort I have around marketing.

Bill Soroka (00:07:20):

Yeah. Well, I hear, I hear that a lot too. And that's, that's the interesting challenge about the book you go through the actual process of writing it. Right. And you think, all right, I I'm hit publish. It's all done. Right, right. That's really just the beginning. You've gotta absolutely. You gotta get the, the word of the book out there and let people know

LD Howard (00:07:39):

Exists. Yeah. And I just wanna say congratulations to you for the success of your book. I'm just so proud and so happy and so excited for you. Is it? I think it probably, I think you still do have the the orange banner, but it, it at least had it for several years. Right. Really, since it's inception and that's exciting for you, Bill.

Bill Soroka (00:07:56):

It is, it blew my mind out. Yeah. It's been a bestseller.

LD Howard (00:08:00):

It shouldn't bill, you worked so hard, you work so hard and you helped so many people you deserve every minute that that book was a bestseller. I mean, it still is, but all the excitement around it and the, the wonderful reviews, I mean, you deserve it all and I wish more for you.

Bill Soroka (00:08:16):

Oh, thank you so much. I appreciate that now. Well, let's talk about that though. So the, it sounds like, well, tell me, how long did it take you to write your book?

LD Howard (00:08:25):

It probably took me the, the 90 days that SPS promises, because for me, I, I was really, I don't wanna say the book was a brain dump, you know, but I was really just writing with, I already knew from my experience, of course, I took some time to research some of the statistics and some of the other data that I have in the book, because I wanted it to be resourceful in that way. Certainly I'm sharing my experiences in my opinion, as a provider, but there are some empirical evidence that I think is important for people to have, so they can make their own decisions. But for me, I was really just organizing what I already knew into a format that could be useful for other people. What allowed me, I think, to do it in 90 days was really the focus that being a part of SPS and having the accountability and connecting with folks like you to stay motivated on track. That's what made it possible for me, not to just drag it on longer than it, it than the 90 day period. But otherwise it was relatively easy for me to do it.

Bill Soroka (00:09:35):

Nice… so I don't even know what to say here LD! Always make jokes about it with Chandler and the team over there too. Cause they do, they have this 90 day write a book 90 days thing. Mm-Hmm and I, that's why I signed up. I'm like, oh yeah, I'm gonna knock this out. But guess how long it took me to

LD Howard (00:09:48):

Write money. It took, it took you longer than 90 days. I remember that part.

Bill Soroka (00:09:51):

I think it took me three years.

Bill Soroka (00:09:54):

It took me three years. Yeah. because one that's because all my demons about time management, right. Sitting down to write and I made the mistake of editing while I was writing. It was a whole thing, you know, and going through it. And I always make jokes because I'm definitely not the token example of how that program works, but I stuck with it for three years and, and finally published it.

LD Howard (00:10:18):

But the results were there, the results were there for you. Yeah.

Bill Soroka (00:10:21):

You know, you know what I love about your book and the, when you get results, like both of us have had within the best sellers and you get the great reviews. The key to that to me, I believe is providing value. Exactly. And that's what you talk about. You in your book, I've read your book. I love your book. Both of them.

LD Howard (00:10:39):

Thank you. The After COVID 19.

Bill Soroka (00:10:43):

Yeah, exactly. You you just give people the information that they need. You don't hold things back. And I think, I think consumers, readers students, everybody's sick of being teased and they're sick of brochures. Tease them into buying a course or something down the road. They just want value. Right. They wanna get the goods. And I think that's the, for both of our books, we do that. Yeah. Yeah. In there. But that's what I wanna talk about. Cause we're gonna, we're gonna talk about all kinds of things today. But since we're on this topic, I'd like the order that you did things as you were an educator first. And honestly, I believe that the best way to learn is to teach. So you probably that's

LD Howard (00:11:23):

Absolutely correct. That is absolutely right.

Bill Soroka (00:11:25):

You learned tons of stuff as you were going through, then you became an entrepreneur, you spent years building your serviced office space. Mm-Hmm and the brand and the services that are in there. And then you wrote a book. So to me, that's you figured out how to nail it first and then you scaled it and you scaled it with your book.

LD Howard (00:11:45):

I like that nail it, then scale it!

Bill Soroka (00:11:46):

Huh? Nail it and scale it. I'm loving it too. And I think a lot of times ….

LD Howard (00:11:51):

Write that down, Bill  

Bill Soroka (00:11:53):

We're in this weird expert world. Right. Where, and, and I get it and I think there's a lot of value cuz we all have more expertise than we realize, but I think sometimes it's made to look too easy and we forget the nail it part. So mm-hmm, you get people who come in, they're like, oh yeah,

Bill Soroka (00:12:09):

I'm this. Now I'm gonna write a book and I'm an expert and I've got an online core, but they haven't really got to the meat of things. And it sounds to me and I I've seen it that you've got to the meat of things, you know, your stuff in this industry, the service office space.

LD Howard (00:12:25):

I would say that in nine plus years of, of being a service office space owner I opened in 2012, I've had the opportunity to learn a lot. I had a very steep learning curve at the beginning. OK. Cause like I said, my background is as a governmental budget manager, financial professional that's what I went to school for. That's where I spent the first half of my life, if you will, thus far. So the idea of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset is something I did not understand.

LD Howard (00:13:02):

And it's something that I had to quickly begin to understand and that I'm still learning. Fortunately I think what has enabled me to sustain as long as I have is because I'm type A and I'm very analytical and because of the type of work that I've done in the past, I, I tend to look at things as projects. So I looked at the business as a project. Okay. This is a new project that I'm taking on. So a lot of the nuances that come into play when you're starting the business, you know, organizing your accounting, for example, to organizing your price list, to figuring out the types of different promotions and incentives you're gonna offer to me, that was a project management mentality that I was able to maneuver relatively easily, even though it a new industry for me to be in what I had a steeper thing to learn.

LD Howard (00:14:00):

And what I continued to learn are the softer things like the marketing, like the sales one of the books that I enjoy reading, you know, I know you and I are book nerds is "E Myth". I know no one can see this, but E Myth Revisited - you and I can see it. And that's what's most important. but the E Muth Revisited by Michael Gerber, and this is what many people regard as the small business Bible. There are many other good small business books out there, but one of the things that he talks about is the different psychology that comes into play when it comes to sales and marketing and getting people to buy from you. He talks in here for example, about how, if you wear a blue suit versus a brown suit, you have a greater likelihood of closing the deal and how, how you position your words when you're prospecting or engaging with the customer, even in the most subtle way can make the difference between whether that person buys with you or not.

LD Howard (00:15:03):

Those are the types of things that I did not know, and I am continuing to learn. So, so some parts of it, I had nailed some of the, some stuff I still am drilling, trying to figure out how to drill the hole to get the nail in there. So, and that's gonna be an ongoing thing. And even though that can be scary and frustrating at times, it's also kind of fun because you always have something to look forward to from a learning perspective. And I, and I enjoy that after the learning has occurred, it's frustrating me while I'm pulling the path, but once I get there, I can reflect back on it and be excited about it.

Bill Soroka (00:15:41):

How do you keep that enthusiasm or interest or curiosity, whatever it is to keep going when you are frustrated? Like how do you know when to hire it out, just hire somebody else to do it or say, no, I'm gonna learn how to do this.

LD Howard (00:15:58):

You know, I think in business, there comes a point where you just maybe get mentally exhausted and frustrated or you decide that look, I really need to focus on some other things. And I'm at a point now where I just can't continue beating this dead horse, so to speak. For me, for example I've been a staff of one for most of the nine years that I've been in business because my, my, my location is, is considered to be a Microcenter. Many of my competitors may have a whole floor or some even have a whole building. I have a, you know, a portion of floor within the building. So in that regard, I'm, I'm not as large from a footprint perspective as many people. So there hasn't been as much of a need to have multiple staff, but having said that for many of the nine years, I've been basically running everything myself, I've hired some support every now and then I actually have someone who's been with me for about three months now, when I first started, that was intentional because I wanted to understand the weeds first, so that I knew how to effectively delegate it and monitor it when other people got involved.

LD Howard (00:17:09):

But that got old, probably around 2018 when I wrote the book. And this was after realizing that I had a creative side. That's one of the things, one of the many things I enjoy about entrepreneurship is that it, it, it exposes other things about yourself that you may not have otherwise known. Yeah. But around 2018, that's when I really began to tap into my creative side and wrote the book. And then from there I began exploring and am still exploring other creative outlets, such as a course, which I'm gonna tap into your knowledge base for, and some other types of projects. So even though marketing is for example, not my strong suit and I've tried to become better at it. I'm at a point now where I have to outsource that because I wanna focus my efforts more on these creative projects.

LD Howard (00:18:00):

I wanna focus my efforts more on the things that really feed my soul and all of this feeds my soul, but it excites me in a different way to do more creative things. So I've reached that point where I said, look, in order for me to do these things that bring me a little bit more joy and a little bit more excitement, I'm going to need to outsource and get more support on these other types of things that are equally important. But I just would rather direct my energy to these other, the types of things. So that was my very long-winded way of saying I forgot to tell you that I could be long-winded in case you didn't know that already

Bill Soroka (00:18:39):

You're in good company.

LD Howard (00:18:41):

There just comes a point where you say, look okay, enough is enough. I I've, I've reached the point where I don't think I'm gonna get any better at this. So let me just get someone else who is better at it and can be more effective at it. And let me focus on the things that I'm more excited about, and I can put more energy into and be more successful at completing at an optimal level. And, and that's different for every person to the point that you may before, or you and I are similar in the way in that we're not trying to force in our books, anyone to conclude one thing or another, or necessarily feel the way we feel about whatever the situation is. My goal is to give you the information, offer my experience for context purposes, but then give you the resources that you need to decide for yourself. So for me, with marketing, it just got to a point where, because I wanted to focus on more creative projects, I am going to outsource marketing to something else for someone else. There may be another reason why they wanna outsource or bring a or more people. You have to figure that out for yourself, but there's gonna come that point for whatever reason that you just decide, it's time to make that move.

Bill Soroka (00:19:59):

Yeah. And as you're speaking, what comes to me is a quote from my friend, Greg Reed, who said, work your strengths, hire your weaknesses. Mm-Hmm, absolutely what I'm hearing from you too, is sometimes you don't know what those are yet. Exactly. You kinda fumble around. We figure it out. And I think people look at you at results you might have today, but they didn't see all the fumbling around and bouncing around that it took to figure out what you're good at, what you enjoy doing and what you don't

LD Howard (00:20:27):

It's it's constant course correction. I mean, it is a continual journey, of course. Correct. And, and I think that, I mean, there are a lot of different expressions and quotes out there about the entrepreneurial journey. But just a constant state of course, correction, I think is, you know, encapsulates all of it, you know? And I think even some of the people who we may regard as most successful the Bezos in the world and the Zuckerbergs in the world, I guarantee you they're course correcting on some level. Oh yeah. And I hope to get to that level one day but but yeah, and you just have to be agile, you have to be flexible and you have to understand that it's good to have a goal and it's good to have a vision, but you have to allow some flexibility for things to unfold in a way that may differ from how you envisioned it happening or from the time that you thought it was gonna happen, but just trust that things happen as they should. And that that's more of a, a spiritual influence to things. And that goes to one of my other books that I like to read "The Daily Stoic"  

Bill Soroka (00:21:37):

I love it. I have the leather bound edition. I love it. Yeah.

LD Howard (00:21:40):

Oh, oh. I didn't realize there was a leather bound.

Bill Soroka (00:21:42):

Yeah. It's pretty hot.

New Speaker (00:21:44):

But you know, this entrepreneurial journey is, is really a mental game. It's a, it is a game of mental stamina and it, and that shows up in a lot of different ways, whether it's determining, I have to hire someone or it's determining, I have to pivot because of a pandemic or whatever the case may be, or it's, it is time for me to bring on some partners or it's time for me to let go of some partners. You're constantly making decisions you're constantly course correcting and you really have to have the, the head space and the mindset to be able to thrive in that type of environment.

Bill Soroka (00:22:21):

Yeah. I totally agree that it's adaptability and I, and surrender.

LD Howard (00:22:27):

Yeah, absolutely.

Bill Soroka (00:22:28):

Surrender has been the biggest lesson in my path for this too, cuz I'm a visionary. I always have a vision of where I'm going, where I really foul up is when I tried to make the, how force the, how mm-hmm I was forcing like, this is how this vision's gonna happen. This is gonna happen. You know, I have twenty six business failures now that said, and that was the power of the universe or God or whatever it is saying. No, that's not how this is happening. Right. My vision for my life is unfolding in my favor all the time. It just looks a lot different than I thought I would.

LD Howard (00:23:03):

Absolutely. And on that same note, you know, being able to detach from things that's something that I am getting better at because I was once of the mindset. If I, if, if A, B, and C are what I need to do to experience D and I do A, B, and C then D ought to be guaranteed. Right. Well, that's not always the case. So what I am learn to do and have learned to do is that I'm gonna do my part. I'm gonna do A, B, and C, but after that, I'm just gonna have to detach from the outcome. And I just have to continue doing my best and, and be open to the possibility that D may not be what the universe has for me. Maybe it's D E and F or something else, but yeah, you just really have to give yourself the space to allow things to unfold in what ultimately is best for you. Maybe not in your timing, maybe not the way you want it to happen or how it will look, but ultimately what is divine and best for you.

Bill Soroka (00:24:11):

Yeah. Well, what a great point. I wanna circle back to a few things. I love the creativity piece that you talked about too, as an entrepreneur. Mm-Hmm I too, I, I find that my entrepreneur endeavor is like, my business is my masterpiece. It's my canvas. Mm-Hmm to express all those different components. Right. Is, is there something that led you or helps you in that realm book course or someone a mentor that's helped bring that out of you?

LD Howard (00:24:44):

The creative side? You mean?

Bill Soroka (00:24:45):


LD Howard (00:24:48):

You know, that's, that's an interesting question. And I think if there was anything, it was maybe interacting with my clients because in my, my business model and yours too, I have the, the luxury of just interacting with so many different people are in so many different industries, attorneys, finance, government contractors, law enforcement, so many different things. And when I interact with them and I may see some of the different projects that they're involved in, or they may express to me challenges that they're having. And like we were to talking about offline by talking to other people, it sparks something in your mind. It's like, Hey, wait a minute. Now I, I think there may be a solution that I can develop for that. So I would say maybe just the interaction that I have with my clients and, and prospects and hearing their stories and what their needs are.

LD Howard (00:25:45):

It kind of just peaked something in me. But secondarily to that, after I wrote the book, which was, I think when I wrote the book, I didn't see that as the start of a creative outlet for me. I just saw this as something that I felt was a gap in the marketplace. Because again, I wrote the book in 2018 and I think this is still the case that there are no books that I'm aware of in the marketplace that talk about service office space. From the user's perspective, there are other books out there that I've seen that talk about how you can perhaps start your own service office space business, or how to optimize your service or service office space or coworking business. But I have not yet seen another book that talks about from the user perspective, how do you navigate the marketplace and figure out if this is best for you and how can you optimize it?

LD Howard (00:26:41):

So when I wrote the book, I was simply trying to, or trying to fill a, a gap in the marketplace. I didn't really see myself doing anything creative beyond that, but after writing the book and getting some feedback and, and just, you know, reading the reviews and, and getting some more insights from that, I said, wow, well, maybe I can do a course, and maybe I could do some of these other things. So it just kind of snowballs off of itself if you will. And then it has these tentacles that you can just continue to pursue, and it becomes its own different element of your, your entrepreneurial journey. So for me, that's how it became a creative endeavor in a creative interest. It started off as, okay, I wanna be educational and resourceful. It's like, oh, wait a minute. There's an opportunity to do much more here. So, so that's what I'm doing.

Bill Soroka (00:27:33):

Have you always been a person that sees opportunities like that?

LD Howard (00:27:38):

No, I don't think so. I think since I became an entrepreneur yes, but when I was a, in my W2, good government job life. No, absolutely not. No. I think like many people who have nine to five jobs my goal was just to get to the next promotion within my job description you know, to get to the, the next level you know, in the hierarchy, you know, that, that was the vision that I had. I wanna get to the top of the hierarchy. But when I became an entrepreneur, I realized, oh, well, there really isn't a hierarchy because there's no limit, you know you have an organizational hierarchy, it stops somewhere or entrepreneurship is as far as you wanna go. So yeah, in, in my entrepreneurial life, yes. But definitely I don't think so in my former life,

Bill Soroka (00:28:34):

What kinda regrets, if any, do you have shifting from a W2 life to entrepreneurial?

LD Howard (00:28:44):

You know, I, I would, didn't say that I have regrets because I think everything happens for a reason. I will say that my, my exit, if you will, out of the corporate world was not voluntary. I'll just, I'll just leave it there. But I will say that there are many other business owners that I've spoken to who, similar stories, where they were in the corporate world. And they were very successful by some measure in the corporate world, something happened and they decided, or were forced to pivot to something else. And you know, those people who I speak to, you know, things like I'll, I'll never go back now that I know that they more to life than the next rung in the hierarchy. I'll, I'll never go back. But even though, you know, my exit from the W2 world, wasn't under ideal circumstances, I wouldn't say that I regret it because if that hadn't happened, you and I wouldn't be talking right now, I wouldn't have two books. I wouldn't have a business for nine plus years in all of the businesses that I supported. So, so that unpleasant circumstance ultimately exposed me to so much more that I can pursue and experience in the world. So no regrets whatsoever.

Bill Soroka (00:30:04):

It sounds like just listening to your story, you're clearly passionate. And I love that you even talk about the businesses that you get to help mm-hmm, being a co-working or a service office space, but you've gotta have a clear vision of where you're going or a why is that something that you practice on a daily basis to pull you through those challenges?

LD Howard (00:30:27):

Yes. And that is something that is an ongoing effort for me. There's an expression that says when the, why is clear, the, how is easy and I am not clear, believe it or not on my why as I want to be, you know I have a general idea of what, you know, when I'm, when I'm 80 years old, you know, 60 years from now yeah. You know, what, what, what do I want to say that I did? What do I want the legacy that I've left to be? And that's still evolving for me, that's still coming into focus for me. But it's, it's challenging, it's frustrating, but it's also fun to be on that journey and to design my future, if you will. however, I want it to look and put the effort forth to make that happen. So I'm clearer than I was maybe, you know, nine years ago or even five years ago, but there are still things that are unfolding.

LD Howard (00:31:42):

And and maybe that's a good thing because I don't want to en envision in a limited way, you know, it's good to have this imagination and it's good to be around people who are doing different things than you are so that you can have a broader perspective, but there are some things that I may not have experienced yet that I only, I don't even know how to imagine yet. So I'm excited about that part of it, but being on the journey taking time to just visualize that's something that I'm, I'm working to be more consistent at. And I know you and I are book nerds, but there are a lot of different apps out there that are good for envisioning there's an app called Envision itself that I really like, I don't know if you're familiar with it, but no it's called Envision. I would definitely consider checking it out like many apps. There's a free version as well as a, a paid version, but that's been very hopeful for me from the envisioning perspective and just getting more clarity about what they call a compelling future and your empowered self. There are two different series that they have on the app. So it, it's still evolving and it's still ongoing for me. So

Bill Soroka (00:32:57):

I love that you, you admit that so freely, I think people put so much pressure on themselves to have life all figured out and nobody ever has life figured out. This is about becoming and becoming, becoming as a constant process. Right. And you have to keep becoming, you have to keep growing, cuz if you're not growing, you're dying.

LD Howard (00:33:19):

Exactly. yeah. And, and to me that goes back to some of the mindset issues that we talked about earlier and the idea that I'm not trying to, when I write, when I wrote my book, I'm not trying to force anything. I'm not trying to force anybody to even use SOS. I even say in my book, you know, it may not be for you. And, and that's something for you to know, you know, and hopefully by reading my book and, and engaging in some of the exercises that I have, you now have a concrete reason why it isn't good for you. So instead of going by anecdote or somebody else's story, you now have specific reasons why this is not a solution for you. And that may very well be the case, but so many times people put out things that are not completely true that are not complete whatsoever.

LD Howard (00:34:20):

And because people don't always think as critically about things as they should. They, they may sometimes just go by a person who seems to have it all together and not considering the fact that that person may be having the same struggles and challenges that you are. They're just not talking about it. Well, I don't, I don't want to do that. I have no qualms. And when I was in the W2 world that I had no idea really what I wanted to be, what I grew up beyond the next rung and the hierarchy. I mean, I have no problem saying that because I think many people feel that way. Yeah. And many people don't know there's another way to think

Bill Soroka (00:34:59):

And that you don't have to have it all figured out.

LD Howard (00:35:02):


Bill Soroka (00:35:02):

Sometimes you just gotta do it.

Bill Soroka (00:35:05):

Let's talk more, a little bit about, I wanna talk about the service office space a little bit more, but I'm gonna save that kind of towards the end, but sure. What we're talking about here is mindset and the vision and all of that stuff that takes work. I think there's sometimes this perspective that people who ha do all that stuff are born that way, or it just comes naturally, but mm-hmm, , I think you and I both know that's not true. So how do you cultivate your mindset? Do you have a morning success routine that you implement or what do you do to keep your, your mind sharp up? Oh, I know nobody can see it, but she just held up my favorite book of all time, "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. So are you a miracle morning'er?

LD Howard (00:36:00):

To some extent? I, I do definitely have a morning routine and it is derived from what's in "The Miracle Morning" by how, Hal Elrod - his name for some reason is a little challenger me to, but anyway yeah, so I start every morning typically with I, I like to meditate and, you know, I talked about the Envision app, which includes some meditation, but there's also the Calm app, which I tend to use for guided meditation. And some other apps that I like to use Oprah and Deepak Chopra have partnered on an app. They have 21 day meditations every now and then. So they have some different meditations as well. So I like to start off the day before I even get outta bed, you know, just doing some meditation. I also, while I'm still in bed because I'm too lazy to get outta bed at this point is to, you know, I like to do some yoga stretches while I'm in bed.

LD Howard (00:37:06):

Just to kind of loosen up my body a little bit. And then I also read whatever the day's entry is of "The Daily Stoic." And then I like to journal on whatever that day's entry tree is. So that's, that's how I kinda warm up my mind, so to speak. And each of the things that I just mentioned are part of the savers(?) routine, that's in the miracle warning, just not necessarily in that order. Yeah. But I'm touching on the silence, the affirmations, the visualization, and the reading, and describing. But again, I'm doing it in a way that feels good for me. And that goes back to the idea of people understanding that the way someone else tells you to do something, it may not necessarily flow that way for you. Yeah. So for me, I start maybe with scribing and reading, and then I end with visual visualization or whatever the case may be, but that's typically what my morning routine looks like. Now. I will say that you know, it changes with the time of year. Here we have daylight savings time. I, I don't think you all do.

Bill Soroka (00:38:20):

Tell everybody where you're at.

LD Howard (00:38:22):

I'm, I'm in Maryland, outside of the Washington DC area. So during the spring and summer months where the sun tends to wake me up, the natural light wakes me up. I'm a little bit more energized. So I might exercise you know, immediately after getting outta bed just because my energy level is different now for for me it's dark when my body naturally wakes up. So I'm not really looking to get outta bed or go downstairs, downstairs to the treadmill. So what feels better for me, energetically is just to me to take first thing. So I'm allowing myself that flexibility to switch up my routine based on what my energy level is and that feeling like I have to do it this way each and every day. But otherwise, but that aside that gives me the kickstart that I need to get going for the day.

Bill Soroka (00:39:13):

I love that. I love the message through this theme, through what you're talking about today is about adaptability. Exactly. And you you've said it a couple times space. I like to say space and grace, you give yourself space and grace mm-hmm to adapt to mess up every now and then, and to figure it out as you go,

LD Howard (00:39:30):

You know, we're humans, we're, we're dynamic people and sometimes we just feel different and it's okay to honor that. Yeah.

Bill Soroka (00:39:39):

Yeah, absolutely. Mm-Hmm speaking of that, I wanna get into your favorite affirmation, but that just sparked a question. Okay. Have you ever in your business, have you ever had a business fail or an idea fail?

LD Howard (00:39:54):

I guess that depends on what you, how you define failure. Yeah. If you define failure as I didn't make any sales, or I didn't have as many people who show up to my event as I had planned. Absolutely. Yeah. I've definitely failed in that regard. I've, I've definitely, instead of saying failing, I'll say there have been many times when I've had a target and I didn't meet the target. But I learned something from that and, and sometimes learning means, okay. Let's course correct. And do it, try it again, but do it differently. Or it may mean, you know, what now is not the time for me to take this on or, you know what, maybe this isn't the priority that I thought it was, or maybe this is something that I can just outsource to someone else, but there have been definitely plenty of times when I did not meet the expectations that I had set for myself or I had set for the project, but that I learned something

Bill Soroka (00:40:55):

The the way that you handle that sounds so, you know, you just had the result, you evaluated it, you made it mean that you can fix something. Tell me about, is there an emotional impact for you? Do you have, do you have an inner critic that's as bitchy as mine that kind of shred you down a little bit or have you reigned that in?

LD Howard (00:41:16):

Well, I would say yes, I do. But I think through, I do have that my, my inner voice is probably bitchier than yours is. In fact, I, I bet my bitchy voice can beat your bitchy voice any day, you know? And I, it on bring it on!

LD Howard (00:41:34):

My inner voice is bitchier than yours . But, but so yes, I definitely have that, that negative self talk. I definitely have that self doubt. I definitely have that. What the heck am I doing? You know, why am I waking up each day to something that, you know, I've, I've already just side for myself. I'm gonna have a bad day when I get out of the bed. So I'm setting the tone. So I, I definitely have that, but what has helped me to manage through that and get over that, or continue to try to get over that is meditation, is reading books like "The Daily Stoic" doing yoga practice and really just taking care of my head space. That's, that's most important. And that's where I put a lot of my time and energy because we're, we're all our, you know, our worst enemy in many respects.

LD Howard (00:42:32):

And that, that inner self of talk is very powerful. And it's very influential. And what I've learned through meditation is that simply being aware of the fact that you're having this negative self talk goes a long way towards overcoming it and defeating it. So what I've learned to do through those different practices is when I, when I find myself being in a negative self-talk space, acknowledging that I'm in that space right now, and I don't necessarily have to try to resist it or overcome it in that moment, but just acknowledging, okay, I'm talking negatively right now. I'm thinking negatively right now is enough to begin to slightly shift myself away from that.

Bill Soroka (00:43:16):

I love that I do the same thing. I can, I can, I can just tell it sneaks up on you. Sometimes it does. And then I'll just say, you know what, don't make any major life decisions right now.

LD Howard (00:43:23):


Bill Soroka (00:43:24):

Probably shouldn't talk to anybody right now.

New Speaker (00:43:26):

Exactly. And you knows something that I call the pit. Now we, we, women tend to have more, different emotional valleys that we go through for different reasons. But you know, when I'm in that space or when I've been in that space that I like to call the pit, you know, when you're just really in a really dark space, for whatever reason it could be, because something, you know, you just lost a loved one, or you just got a, a bad news or something. And, and it's perfectly human to get to that space. It's it's, we are emotional people and it's perfectly normal to have different emotions. The key is not to stay there. The key is not to get stuck there. But when I found myself in a place where I was stuck in the pit like you just said, I, I, I came to learn, okay, don't make any decisions right now.

LD Howard (00:44:21):

Don't don't do anything right now. Don't, don't make a, there's a expression that I've heard. Don't make a permanent decision based on a temporary circumstance. So once you, once I was in that state or found myself in that state, a number of times, I began to understand, okay, this is the space I'm in right now. Let me just chill. Let me do something that I know is going to help to get me out of it. And it, and it's important to really know yourself in that way, again, going it back to the, the mental head space and the mental self care know who you are, know how you are and know what works for you. For me, it's meditation. I love natural light. I'm one of those types of people. My mood changes when the weather's overcast and rainy, and I know that about myself. But yeah, you, you really have to have that awareness and find ways that work for you to confront it when it happens.

Bill Soroka (00:45:18):

Do you have any favorite exercises for self-awareness or have you done the, like the DiSC Assessment or Enneagram or Myers Briggs, or is there a favorite book or something that helps you get to know yourself more or is it simply being present and aware?

LD Howard (00:45:35):

If I were to put it on one thing, I would think it would be meditation. There are a number of different books that I've used, you know, "The Daily Stoic" is one of them because that's a good book for really challenging, your own way of thinking and looking at things. We're, there's so much noise in the world, you know, with social media, with the news and with whatever else you may be influenced by. Sometimes it's hard to know what to pay attention to and what to react to and what to respond to. But when I read books like "The Daily Stoic", it really allows me to quiet my mind and to focus my attention on things that matter the most mm-hmm . So "The Daily Stoic" is definitely one again, the different meditation and Envision apps that I mentioned. That's what works best for me. And included in that when I find myself being stressed about something, or maybe in a dark mood about something, there are certain breathing techniques that help me to, you know, kind of center myself a little bit. There are also some yoga postures that I practice that help me to center myself a little bit too. So I, I use kind of a composite of different types of things.

Bill Soroka (00:46:55):

What kind of breath exercises do you use?

LD Howard (00:46:58):

Well, what I would say there, there are technical terms for some of these breaths, but just to simplify one is, is diaphragmic. If I'm probably saying that incorrectly, but we're breathing from your diaphragm. So when you're taking a deep inhale, allow your belly to inflate, you know, and then allow your exhale to be the same count, or maybe a longer count than your inhale. So if your inhale is a four count breath, allow your exhale to be a four count breath, or maybe even longer, and that will allow you to allow your brain to calm a little bit. So I find that technique to be effective. There's also a, a rapid breathing technique, which is difficult to a explain, but I'm happy to share some information with if you wanna get out to your users, but yeah, there are a lot of different types of breathing techniques. You can probably find them on YouTube or, or Google but they actually do have an impact on your brain and your, your mood and affect at a certain time.

Bill Soroka (00:48:05):

Yeah, they sure do. I love that you even talk about that because, you know, I used to be one of those eye rollers when I would hear this. I'm like, oh gosh, here we go. . But and I I'll try anything once, at least. Right. But Brendan Bouchard really really altered my thinking on breathing. Okay. And so whenever I'm stressed out or I'm in the car, or I, I need to calm myself or send myself before a podcast or before a, a loan signing appointment. Mm-Hmm, , mm-hmm, , I'll start taking 10 breaths. Sometimes I'll even forget what I might have been upset about or what was bothering me or the anxiety I was feeling by, by the time you get to 10 breaths, it's a whole new world.

LD Howard (00:48:42):

Exactly, exactly. And then you kind of realize what is it that I'm so upset about because what I've learned of what I continued to learn is that a lot of the things that I used to be upset about really didn't want me being upset about it because one, what is being upset gonna do. And then two, you know, what's the worst that's gonna happen if this thing turns out to be as bad as I, I think it's gonna be, you know one of the things that I used to say to myself in my W2 world, it was a, somewhat of a high pressure job sometimes when it came down to budget decisions and, and, and things having to get done. So they don't get on the front news or the Washington post, or what have you. And I would say, you know, if I do something wrong, if I put in a wrong budget number or something like that, what's no one's going to die. Right. What's the worst that's gonna happen? You know, maybe my career is dead, but no person is and I'll find something else. So I think, you know, doing these types of things allow us to keep things Inpro perspective. And just, again, going back to being flexible and adaptable, if circumstances do turn out to be unfavorable, then just, and, and keep moving, what else are you gonna do otherwise?

Bill Soroka (00:49:56):

Exactly. What else are you going to do?

LD Howard (00:49:58):

What else are you gonna do? You know,

Bill Soroka (00:50:01):

Do you have a favorite affirmation? And if so, how do you use it?

LD Howard (00:50:07):

I do have a favorite affirmation. All right. And I actually wrote it in…

Bill Soroka (00:50:13):

Oh good!

LD Howard (00:50:13):

My, my second book "Kill the Rent, Grow Your Biz After COVID-19." And it's actually one by Napoleon Hill. And I actually have this on my website too. And it goes, "Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." And that is so true for me. And we've touched on it already when we've talked about times when we failed or maybe didn't meet the expectations that we set for ourself. Yes. There might have been an, that might have been an adversity or an unpleasant experience, but, but I, out of that, we gained wisdom out of that. We gained knowledge that we applied to something better than what we probably were thinking in the beginning. And you know, when you look at how I was thrust into entrepreneurship, the fact that I was in a W2 world was forced out of it for whatever reason out of that adversity came now a nearly ten year old business that I've owned and operated came to bestselling books, came meeting fabulous people like Bill Soroka, so many others. And these are things that I probably would not have even imagined before. So for me, adversity just opened up an entire new dimension to living and experiencing. So I would definitely say I'm a living example of that quote, and that's one of the most powerful that I've come across in my life.

Bill Soroka (00:51:42):

I love that and can relate to that so well, as well, let's talk a little bit more about your, a business that's almost 10 years old. Mm-Hmm, your service office space business. Now I know we've got two great books. Mm-Hmm the one that was published before COVID, and then the after COVID that's for the user perspective on deciding or even how to decide, right. Whether service office space or co-working space would work well for them. Right. I know a of our listeners are looking for opportunities of various levels. Sometimes they want one of those big deals and I would consider a business like yours, a big deal. So can we talk a little bit about what it's like to own service office space?

LD Howard (00:52:29):

Well, for me, it's fun. It like any business venture, it has its challenging, it its challenges and its nuances. But for me, it's really fun because I enjoy supporting other business owners. I, my heart is warmed when I see that the idea of having a, to meet a professional address to use is the difference between whether a person can close a deal or not. I actually had a, a, a client coming to me yesterday you know, about, you know, very late in the day saying, look, I need a place to meet for just a week because I have this going on and I don't wanna meet at these people's house and I don't want them to meet at mine. And you know, is there anything you can do to help? And even though I typically don't offer services on a weekly basis, we figured something out that worked out for the both of us.

LD Howard (00:53:24):

And I was able to help that person meet whatever their goal is for the upcoming week. That takes that, that gives me a lot of pride and a lot of joy. So overall I enjoy being a, a, a provider of service office space. I love supporting other businesses. I love seeing them grow. I love seeing their chest stick, stick out a little bit more because you know, their, their guests are impressed that they're in such a lovely place. And of course the goal is for every one of my clients to feel like it is their space and for their guests to feel like it's their space. And that changes them mentality as well too. You take a little bit more pride in yourself when your surroundings are nice and are at a level that make you feel good and proud about what you do. So overall, I think it's wonderful.

Bill Soroka (00:54:17):

What advice would you have for somebody who's maybe just now thinking of looking for space to start their own co-working

LD Howard (00:54:27):

To, to start their own business, to become a provider themselves?

Bill Soroka (00:54:30):


LD Howard (00:54:32):

Well, the first thing I would suggest is to consider who you want your market to be, because there are so many different options out there. There are providers like myself that serve business owners just in a general sense, but there are other niche based providers that serve only attorneys, for example, or that may serve only creatives. Or there are some that are only for women, for example, because women, you know, have unique challenges when it comes to having the capital to, to get their own space. So I would think, be very clear about who your market is gonna be if you're gonna serve, you know, entrepreneurs and those in need in general, or if you wanna have a niche market. And then the next thing I would suggest is to get a broker, a real estate broker, to help you find a space because ultimately your success is going to have a lot to do with how good of a deal you have with the space in terms of the rent that you're paying.

LD Howard (00:55:31):

Because as I talk about in my book rent can kill a small business. Aside from payroll rent or mortgage is the number one line item in terms of cost that a business pays. And if you can't manage that, then you're not going to manage any other part of your business well. So having someone who can help you secure a good deal on your real estate, I think will be step two. And then from there, it is really just a matter of running your business efficiently, doing the marketing, doing, doing the sales efforts making sure that you can price your product. Well, I mean, doing anything else you would do with a business, a SWOT analysis, a business plan, those types of things but the first two steps, again, figure out who you wanna serve and then get a broker, a commercial real estate broker.

LD Howard (00:56:20):

And let me be very clear about this here, I'm a commercial real estate agent. I've been licensed in the state of Maryland since 2016. And I decided to do that as an outgrowth of the business that I started in 2012, but it's important. I believe to get a broker who focuses on commercial real estate. There are a lot of residential agents out there who try to do commercial deals and they probably could muddle through, but get someone who is specialized and knowledgeable about the commercial real estate landscape, because that's different than residential.

Bill Soroka (00:56:57):

Excellent advice. Yeah. So along that same thread, aside from what you just mentioned, because you've been in the business for almost 10 years now, you've probably seen some companies come and go mm-hmm, , what's the, what's the biggest mistake or the pitfall that new SOS owners make.

LD Howard (00:57:18):

Probably maybe not pricing their product in a way the, that serves the market that they're trying to reach because you have some, some providers out there that are selling their services really below the market and they're attracting a different type of element. And then you have some that might be pricing a little bit too high for the market that they're in. So I think it really comes down to, to pricing your product well, and again, this goes back to having a good real estate deal, too, because if your rent is astronomical, there's really nothing that you're gonna be able to do from a pricing perspective. That also speaks to, again, who it is that you wanna serve because of the things I learned very early in my entrepreneurial career, when I was working with a business coach is you don't sell on price. You sell on service. So I'm not saying that you should be the cheapest act in town or that you should undercut any competitors that might be in, in the area. I don't agree with that at all, but I think be aware of your market, be aware of who you're likely to attract in that market and make sure that your real estate deal is such that you can price your product in a way that will is affordable for your market. And you can still make a profit

Bill Soroka (00:58:41):

Great advice. And I have one more question for you just on the commercial real estate land landscape. I really kind of expected commercial real estate to be cheaper or less expensive or easier to negotiate than it actually is right now. Like it's still kind of booming even after the pandemic. What's your, what's your forecast on commercial real estate? Does this, does a business like this make sense to fill in some of the gaps we might be seeing in the retail sector?

LD Howard (00:59:10):

I, I think it absolutely is. You know, yeah. The pandemic had a, a counterintuitive effect on many different industries and real estate was one of them. And some of that I think is because out of the pandemic, a lot of entrepreneurs were born because they lost their job or they needed to fill a gap in their income. So they created side hustles that maybe have turned into main hustles. So a lot of entrepreneurs are out there now because of the pandemic and they're looking for office space. And for those providers, like some of the the big landlords out there, you know, they may have a lot of vacancy right now. So some of the landlords or building owners themselves are now turning some of their vacant spaces into fractional work spaces, like what those in my industry do. So to accommodate those that may be looking for smaller spaces instead of, you know, 10,000 square foot plates in the building, they just need, you know, maybe a 1000 square foot suite. So yeah, there are definitely opportunities out there. And I would say that if there's anyone live, who's looking to start a service office based business, you know, look in your area to see if there's any office buildings that have high high occupancy, because they're, I'm sorry, high vacancy, because that might be an opportunity for you to fill in that gap for that landlord building owner.

Bill Soroka (01:00:38):

Awesome. LD. Thank you so much. I feel like I could probably talk to you for a couple more, more hours but we'd better. Let people go. We've been on for about an hour and this has just been delightful. Thank you so much for carving some time out for us.

LD Howard (01:00:51):

My pleasure. This has been a lot of fun, and I'm just so excited for you and this podcast and much continued success to you.

--- End of Transcription ---



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