Hector Kolonas of included.co

Anyone who has talked to me in the past year knows it is my BIG DREAM to open a coworking space in St. Augustine. As part of the process of doing this, I’ve joined a few coworking groups on Facebook to connect with other people who are active in the coworking community and gather resources and inspiration. One of those groups led to me connecting with Hector and learning about his company, included.co.

Hector is full of both resources and information and has already proven to be instrumental in my journey to open the Space. My personal belief is that coworking spaces are, by definition, disruptors and that they operate as values-based businesses. I’m learning this is even more true with the smaller DIY spaces and the B2B companies that service them.

Connecting to people all over the world over shared interests is my favorite part of social media. Learning the last book they read was Trevor Noah’s book is just icing on the cake! I’m stoked to feature Hector this month and share his passion with you.

Website: included.co Instagram: @includedco

Tell us about your business. What do you do? Who do you serve? How long have you been at it? 

included.co serves entrepreneurial people worldwide. By sharing the buying-power of 300+ coworking and entrepreneurial communities worldwide, we unlock the best products at bulk-buying prices. This means that our members can save as much money (and time) as possible, creating jobs and growth instead.

Why did you start your business? 

Small businesses, freelancers and startups are always getting unfair prices because of the fact that they can't buy in bulk. By sharing buying-power, now we can all get great deals on all the products and services we want and need. After struggling to grow my first 2 businesses from non-startup-y ecosystems, I kept hoping that someone would build the platform that so many entrepreneurs needed. 10 years after launching my first business, an economic collapse in the Mediterranean states put me in a position to start building the platform I'd always wanted to exist.

What does "social good business" or "values based earning" mean to you? 

To me it means that your revenue or success is tied to giving other people a leg-up, support or a mechanism to empower themselves.

What is your favorite part about running a social good business or your favorite experience since you started?

I've loved that we were able to support The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network (and other life-changing communities) with our platform, network and community connections.

What is your biggest struggle in running a social good business?

In some countries, the idea that we can 'do good', create value, save people money and be profitable, sounds too good to be true. It's been a challenge proving that. We're just getting started and have a big plan as to how this will change the way businesses discover and buy products and services.

What would you like most to accomplish in the next year? 5 years? 

A big part of my personal mission at included.co is to stretch out the reach of the platform, so geographic location can no longer impede the growth of great businesses. If, in 5 years, we can make physical location irrelevant as to what products and services a business can access, we'll be making a huge impact for millions of people affected by these entrepreneurial enterprises.

Who are your business icons, heroins, or mentors? 

I'm extremely lucky to be surrounded by 300+ operators of coworking and entrepreneurial communities who put their everything (and often their every penny) into enabling entrepreneurship in their local communities. They inspire me daily!

What's your #1 tip for someone just getting started running a values-based business? 

Try to solve a hard problem; it scares off competition until it becomes 'obvious'. The less time you're focusing on your competition, the more time you can focus on the value you're aiming to create.

What are your favorite conferences or retreats to attend?

I'd love to attend as many coworking conferences as possible from Coworking Europe, to GUAsia, to GCUC to GWA. Even though I've only been able to attend a number of them so far, for now.

What is the last book you read? 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah