We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Gregory and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Heather, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think about risk as an opportunity to learn through the process of doing and trying something. I believe that there is much to learn in business and in life by extending yourself beyond what you KNOW you can do. Anything beyond what you know is a bit of a risk.

Entrepreneurship in itself is risky; starting a business (which frequently coincides with leaving a job with a steady paycheck), launching a new product, and putting yourself or your brand out into the world are all ways that entrepreneurs are regularly taking risks. Risk is essential, and it’s a great teacher. Personally, I am a fan of somewhat calculated risk-taking so that I can experience and learn new things, without the bottom falling out from underneath me.

Late in my 20s when I desired a drastic change in career, but it was the height of a recession and I was unable to find a job breaking into a new industry. So my partner and I took an idea we had been dreaming and planning for years and started our own business. But we did so in a way where we wouldn’t lose a lot of money, and if it failed, we would land on our feet. We created a successful business that we operated for 15 months and closed it simply because it wasn’t the right business for us. We sold the assets and broke even after living on our revenue for over a year.

In my late 30s, as a business owner and a newly single mom, I found myself house hunting. When I located the house I wanted it was March 2020 and I had to quickly decide on whether or not it was a smart risk for me. What would happen in the world? What would happen with my business? Was the housing market going to crash? I ultimately decided to bet on myself. I figured that even if my business went under, I could find a different job and would land on my feet. Two+ years later and my business is thriving and my house has increased 50% in value from when I purchased it.

Certainly, not everything I’ve tried has been a success, but the lessons I’ve learned have meant to me that the risk was worth taking.

What should our readers know about your business?
Our mission at Stoke is to support entrepreneurs by increasing access to resources and fostering a strong sense of community. We do that by running a coworking space in Denton, TX that is inclusive and supports entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers. We put a lot of emphasis on creating a strong community where people can connect, learn, grow, and be inspired and supported by one another. Additionally, we do a lot of programming and events that help educate and empower entrepreneurs, many of them female and minority founders, to be successful in their businesses.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would spend most of our time in Denton. We would drink at Harvest House, Paschall, and Miss Angelines. We would eat at 940s, Hannah’s, Milpa, Komodo Loco, and of course Boca 31. We would go to Lake Ray Robers to swim and cookout and maybe even camp if it’s not too hot. We would go do a day in Ft Worth in the stockyards and at the museums. We would also go thrifting and to Buffalo Exchange in Dallas.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My first business mentor was in Portland, Oregon and we were matched through the SBDC there. When I was closing my first business and selling the assets I said “I just don’t want to be one of those people who go from one business to the next” and she simply asked, “What’s wrong with that?” That taught me that closing a business can be seen as a learning opportunity and not a failure.

Locally I’m really grateful for the community here at Stoke and the entrepreneurs that make it great. Specifically folks like Tracy Irby from the TWU Center for Women Entrepreneurs, Juli James who recently joined our team, Lasmaee Kettavong who has worked with me here for almost 4 years and has a food business Good and Golden.

Website: stokedenton.com

Instagram: stokedenton

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/10459931/admin/

Twitter: stokedenton

Facebook: stokedenton

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1hgMsyWEFymJ4sb-eGaRcQ

Image Credits
All photos by Will Milne

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