Could you imagine you would work with strangers working on different projects in the same place? Impact Hub is now one of the most famous co-working spaces in the world. It has more than 10,000 members and 60 locations in the globe. Richard Evans, Chairman of Impact Hub Association, shares with us the essence of his life.
For those who are not familiar with you, please let us know about you. Why did you get involved in Impact Hub as the chairman of the board?
I first got involved in Impact Hub about 7 years ago when I quit my corporate career to focus on impact. I felt a bit lonely because I didn’t know a lot of other people with that kind of motivation, and a friend introduced me to Hub Kings Cross in London, which was still not yet open. I loved the idea and go involved as a member and an investor, then ended up chairing the board there. Last year the global association Chair position came up, and I just felt drawn to stand for election, then to my surprise I got elected!
You have a rich experience in marketing and branding. How do you convert your experience and knowledge into the value as the chairman of Impact Hub?
I have learned over the years that word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing, and of course you cannot buy that. Behaving in ways that build trust is what leads to positive word of mouth – so I try and keep us focused on that. Our network has grown entirely through word of mouth.
If you had had the same amount of knowledge and experience from the beginning, what you would do differently?
If you mean from the beginning of my time as Chair of Impact Hub Association, I’m not sure I’ve been doing it long enough yet – I’m still in the early learning phase! If you mean from the beginning of my career, I think I would have invested far more energy in trying to develop a truly collaborative culture like we have in Impact Hub, rather than relying on traditional corporate ‘command & control’, which just does not get the best out of people.
In many cases, the main cause of failure is neither a business model nor a concept of business, but a mental failure: giving up, getting depression , or losing passion. How have you dealt with this point when things do not go well as you want them to go?
I think if you can be truly honest with yourself and develop a really clear sense of your life’s purpose, then you can never really give up on that. It’s a cliché I know, but when one door closes another opens, if you stay focused and remain open to learning from every experience you will never truly lose heart.
Why people need a co-working space?
Lots of people want co-working space for lots of reasons – it’s a growing market! But our members are drawn together not just for the cost or convenience of the physical space, it is the opportunity to hang out with like-minded people and connect with others who can help you turn your business idea into reality that they value most.
What is the most important thing you have ever learnt throughout your life?
That’s a tough one! I think probably to try and always treat others as you would hope to be treated yourself. It doesn’t mean that you are always going to be treated well of course, but at least that way you can always live with yourself, and be at peace with yourself.
If you can leave one message for the young people around the world to make the world better, what advice you would give to them?
Ask yourself what you really want your life to be about, then follow your heart. In my experience, most people have kindness and generosity in their souls, but modern life puts many distractions and obstacles in the way. But these days it is really possible for any young person to make a difference on a global scale – we see many of our members doing just that – it’s exciting and inspiring to see.
8. If you can make a call to 20-year-old Richard Evans, what would you say to him?
Ask yourself what you really want your life to be about, then follow your heart!
It is always valuable to learn what great people use. What are your favorite products, services, websites, applications, or places that help you work efficiently, learn better, or get inspiration?
I’m the last person to ask that question to! Probably the biggest challenge I have in my role at Impact Hub is that most people I work with are 10-20 years younger than me and they are constantly introducing new technologies to me that I have to get used to. I’m a techno-disaster, but I’m doing my best!
What is the book or who is the person inspired you most in your life?
Gandhi. I read his biography when I was 18. I loved the fact that he was able to make such a big difference in the world without any formal power or position. I also admired the way he combined really positive intent with amazing shrewdness in the way he took on the British authorities. I’m still inspired by his story today.