Co.Lab Community for Impact Drivers
November 2018 | Sofia Simeonidou
Lana is a listener. And I feel it couldn’t be any other way. If you are passionate about building communities you have to know how to listen closely. To me, and based on what I “received” during this talk we had, Lana is a natural peoples’ person full of real interests and ideas. Here’s what we talked about.
You’re involved in many meaningful projects. What is Co.Lab?
Co.Lab is a learning platform, a close community for entrepreneurs to help them gain the right insight about their business, move forward with their business plans, and make a positive impact in the world. Together with Eleonora Spagnuolo we provide training and consultancy sessions for entrepreneurs and small business owners, focusing on brainstorming ideas and 90-day planning. We want to drive more impact on society and that’s what we do with our work. Right now, we are also getting involved in developing training and curriculum programmes for organisations.
Tell me a bit more about your book, The 90 Day Action Planner?
We decided to write and publish this book because of our experience with CoLab and seeing many creative people struggling with planning and structure. The Kickstarter campaign was a big validation showing us that indeed entrepreneurs really need help with structuring their time and ideas. They need guidance. So we created the 90 Day Action Planner to help them create something meaningful. But a big part of the planner is about how to be in alignment. In alignment with your goals and vision. We had the Kickstarter campaign last year and we are planning to do another one this year for an updated version of the planner. It’s coming out as a toolkit.
What were you doing before ColAb and how did you decide to set up your company?
I came to Amsterdam 11 years ago. My field has always been in the area of education and parenting. My background is on child development and education. Coming here I did consultancy work but in 2014 I was diagnosed with breast cancer-a life experience that makes you see life differently. At that point, I started thinking of how I can make a better use of my energy and time. I was trained as a trainer for non-violent communication and this helped me clarify things for myself and about what I wanted to do in my life. I started doing clarity coaching to help people get clear about their ideas and get their thoughts out there. That’s how I met Eleonora, she was one of my clients. And from there we realised we can work well together, there’s so much potential if we do something together. So that’s how we started. We love working together, we share the same vision.
Do you offer group programmes?
We work with one-on-one sessions and we are planning on doing group programmes in the future. We are also working on creating another training programme for teachers, promoting neurodiversity in classes, together with the neurodiversity foundation I’m involved with.
Would you do an online programme out of your 90 Day Action Planner?
One of the things that I do is that I focus on online communities. Besides Co.Lab I’m helping out another platform, Dream See Do, so my experience in online training and learning goes back many years already. And at She Dares, another meaningful project I’m involved with, we have virtual campfire get-togethers for women. I also created modules for international NGOs, so for me, online learning is one of the ways we can diversify and expand our offerings. So, yes we want to create an online programme of the 90 Day Action Planner.
What is it that you like about having your own company and what not?
The administration is one thing I don’t like. And marketing is still a challenge. What I love is the ability to come up with ideas and make them happen, that’s still the fascinating part. The energy I get from the chaos mapping with my clients, that’s great. Getting their ideas out, with no judgment, and plenty of aha moments. That’s my favourite part of the entrepreneurial process. And I love it I can contribute to Dutch society. That’s also part of the things I like about my job.
What about your marketing strategy?
Marketing is still a big puzzle for us-Eleonora is more on the branding side. For a year our marketing focused on experimentation and now it’s time to follow through with our strategy. We go into entrepreneurship for our own reasons but then when we get into it we realise there’s also marketing and administration, and social media. Is this what we signed up for? Well, it comes with the territory. Thankfully we are surrounded by other talented entrepreneurs so it’s very helpful.
Your favourite Social Media channel?
LinkedIn. When we started our Kickstarter campaign we got to know more people in the industry and we had valuable conversations thanks to LinkedIn connections, better than what I see on Facebook nowadays.
What would you be if not what you are now?
I’d probably be a poet, writing short stories, poetry. I’m a creative person and I paint from time to time.
What about your next 90 Day Plans?
What’s in store for Co.LAB? We are in the process of re-designing our website so that we can share valuable tools and strategies for creative entrepreneurs. We are also going to start on the new edition of the 90 Day Action Planner with our publisher, Authors Unite!
Get in touch with Lana: https://co-lab.community/