The following piece was contributed as part of Business News Daily's byline series:
In 1996, I was taking a joy ride, on my way to meet up with friends, when a firetruck ran a red light and crashed directly into my Volkswagen Jetta. It was a completely unfair matchup, if you ask me.
As a result of the crash, I sustained 20 broken bones and I spent months in a wheelchair. As I moved towards recovery, I had a new take on life — especially with the possible shortcomings of my own.
My accident taught me that I didn't have time to wait around for someone else to give me opportunities. I didn't start my first business because I had a brilliant idea, but rather because I wanted to control my own destiny.
Bred to be my own boss
When I reflect back on my upbringing, I realize I was bred to be an entrepreneur. It just came with the Hanson territory. My father has had his own carpet business since I was young and considered post-secondary school a waste of time; he believed in starting your own business and paving your own way.
In spite of my dad's beliefs, I decided to follow the more traditional path of college then grad school, but I still didn't feel anywhere near experienced enough to pursue my own venture. I spent my twenties working in the world of startups in Los Angeles and San Diego.
While I learned a lot and appreciated the experience, three layoffs by age 30 (two companies sold and one ran out of money), left me feeling insecure about my financial livelihood.
I started a marketing consulting business called Perspective Marketing, which gave me some nice success as a "free agent." But after eight years of working from home, I realized I missed having a community of peers and wanted to build something bigger than myself.
I was turned on to the concept of co-working in 2010, when I hosted a networking event at a co-working space. The space was certainly "hip" but it was obviously not designed by or for a woman: it was outfitted with a ping-pong table, beer keg, and lots of bean bags. I remember thinking, "This is cool but I would never bring a client here."
Shortly after the event, the lightbulb moment came and I decided to create a space for female entrepreneurs that is not only beautiful and comfortable, but also professional. I wanted to build a space where communitywas the cornerstone of the model.
Through my experience, running several professional women's organizations, I truly believed that women, when given an opportunity, interact differently and are more collaborative in their approach to business.
That's how Hera Hub, a spa-inspired workspace for female entrepreneurs, was born. Today, with four locations in the U.S. and plans for international expansion, Hera Hub is much more than just a shared workspace. It's an intentional community of hundreds of entrepreneurial women to find the additional resources, such as educational workshops, strategic alliances, and one-on-one support, essential for their business growth.
My accident gave me an incredible perspective on life. I believe that because I survived it, I must have been put on this earth to do something important, something much bigger than me. Helping even one woman find her passion and pursue her dream of being herown boss is enough to make this unpredictable journey worthwhile. It's one joy ride I'm happy to be on.
About the author: Felena Hanson is the founder of co-working space Hera Hub. With her company's expansion goals and Hanson's new book, she aims to give entrepreneurs the tools and community they need to find success and thrive. Follow Hera Hub on Twitter: @HeraHub
Edited for length and clarity by Shannon Gausepohl. Have a great entrepreneurial story to tell? Contact Shannon at email@example.com to learn more about our contributed content program.