Striking out on your own to start a new business can be intimidating. If you’re lucky, you’re doing it in a city that’s invested in supporting new businesses and fledgling startups.

In the past, San Diego’s carried a reputation for being less than business-friendly. We spent some time digging into that perception during our business climate quest last year. Now, if the local Chamber of Commerce’s latest survey is to be trusted, the city and county are making progress to combat that reputation: Fifty-nine percent of county businesses said they see their local government as friendly to business, up from 53 percent last year.

It’s still going to take some blood, sweat and tears to get a business off the ground; Felena Hanson can attest to that. She’s the founder of Hera Hub, a co-working and networking space for women that has been featured in Forbes, the New York Times, Fast Company and others. It wasn’t her first, but building the business from scratch certainly came with some bumps along the way.

On Tuesday I sat down with Hanson to find out more about her experience for an event with the United Way of San Diego County’s Women’s Leadership Council, of which I’m a member. Why would a city need a space like Hera Hub? Now that the company’s expanding to other cities, how do those other metros compare to San Diego in resources and support for new businesses? Where can San Diego improve to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get started and watch their companies become profitable?

Hanson also had some words of encouragement and financial real-talk for women – or anyone, really – looking to become their own bosses. Check out our conversation below. (A quick note: The “Rebecca” I mention at the beginning of the interview is Rebecca Smith, chair of the Women’s Leadership Council, who we also had as a guest at our VOSD Live podcast event last year.)

Cool jam on this special-edition episode: “Slipping Away,” by Tanlines

Listen to the podcast here, on Stitcher or on iTunes.

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Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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