Andrea Hattan, Founder of The Hive and Wichita Women in Business

Andrea Hattan is a fifth-generation Wichita entrepreneur and founder of The Hive, a women-focused coworking space in the iconic Orpheum downtown. Her mission is to empower women who run businesses to show up authentically by providing connections, support, and space to belong. Andrea is a regular speaker and panelist at events the caliber of TEDx. She's also an Innovation and Enterprise Award winner in the Startup category. Combining her background in education and marketing, Andrea built a trusted brand quickly and sustainably by attending countless conferences, fundraisers, and networking events. She grew her Hive one coffee date at a time, and her passion is helping other women in business grow their hive of connections. After all, success in business is about who you know and who knows you. In this interview, we'll dig deeper and get to know Andrea a little more...

What did you do before you owned your own business?

I was actually a middle school teacher! I taught 4-8th grade literary arts at a school for creative and performing arts. I credit my teaching background for my ability to make everyone in my space (ahem, "classroom") feel welcome, loved, and supported. It was literally my job to help the same kids who might be bullying each other at lunch or recess open up during class to write about and share their truth through their writing. That's why I believe with my whole heart that it's crucial that we create safe spaces for people to be vulnerable, show up authentically, and feel a sense of belonging.

What was the "wouldn't it be great if" story that led you to start your business?

When I moved back home to Kansas in 2016, I wasn't interested in getting my teaching certificate in a third state, so I shifted to a career in marketing as a copywriter. I had a brilliant boss who taught me so much and challenged me in big ways. But my mental health couldn't take his toxic behavior, so I decided to launch a content strategy consulting business and work fully remote. I joined a local coworking space (at the time, Wichita's only grass-roots option), but found that I just didn't fit in there. It was all men in the tech industry and there wasn't a whole lot going on socially to help me build connections. The space was also dark, not a lot of natural light, and didn't offer options for me to meet with clients or record videos. At the time, I was a part of an empowering group of professional women in a "Lean In" circle and although we only met one evening a month, it was giving me life and I wanted that kind of energy and support every single day. So I brought an idea to the women in the group, "Wouldn't it be great if there was a space that was bright, beautiful and inspiring where we could go to get work done? What if it was women-focused and we had on-site yoga, massage therapy, and healthy lunches where we learned about how to grow personally and professionally?" They all echoed a resounding "YES! I would be a member in a space like that!" So with the support of those women who had my back, I begin the journey of launching The Hive. It took me four months from idea to opening the doors and I credit these women for the love and encouragement that energized me to take action quickly and bring my idea to life!

What advice would you give to someone in the 9-5 grind who might want to start a business?

Find a "sugar daddy." I don't mean a literal man to support you. (Although if you have that option and it feels good to you, there's no shame in having a supportive partner!) What I really mean is to have a source of income while you grow your paper airplane of an idea into a powerful private jet that can support you and anyone you want to bring along with you. A few options are: 1. A full-time job 2. Savings or 401k (no fees under ROBS, look it up) 3. A bank loan 4. A loan from a relative 5. A partner with an income. Basically, anything that can pay your bills for the first few years while your business grows without having to support you.

What is something you would do differently if you were to start over?

Hire help earlier. Soon after I hired my first employee, I was able to double our revenue. She was able to take over all of the things I was doing that weren't in my "zone of genius" and that freed me up to spend more time on revenue-generating activities. I also waited too long to outsource some of my household duties. Hiring a cleaning service, someone to batch meals, and using a laundry pickup/dropoff service have been integral to freeing up more of my time to focus on doing what I do best: having coffee with a cool woman and talking about her dreams and how we can support her as she makes them a reality.