Get to Know Your ffCoLab Community! – Meet Bob Ross, rawfoodlife.com

By Natalie Brader
Fairfield CoLab Business Administration Intern

 

bob ross

If you Google the term “raw food,” the top result is Rawfoodlife.com. The site has held the first place ranking for roughly 10 years. If Fairfield CoLab member Bob Ross has anything to say about it, Rawfoodlife.comwill maintain that spot for the next 10.

Bob founded Rawfoodlife.com 18 years ago, and he’s been developing it ever since. His goal is to help people enhance their consciousness through raw food diets, and Fairfield is the right market for his business. The Transcendental Meditation Movement attracts many people who are interested in higher consciousness and holistic living, making raw food a natural path for some of them. Bob notes that people explore raw food options for different reasons–some believe it will make them healthier while others are simply interested in losing weight. Bob himself was 100 percent raw for two to three years while at the Optimum Health Institute, he recalls.

“I had a much higher, purer kind of consciousness,” he says. Bob acknowledges that a 100 percent raw diet can be challenging to maintain, especially financially. But he believes that even a 75 percent raw diet will yield benefits. He says that raw food diets are similar to veganism, minus the political aspect. Vegans can also eat cooked products and processed foods as long as they don’t contain animal products.

Although Rawfoodlife.com has mostly been non-commercial up to this point, Bob is preparing to launch a raw food catalog to his readership. On any given afternoon, you’ll find him at his CoLab desk, tweaking and perfecting the site. He’s transitioning it from an old HTML design to a new WordPress format. The revamped site will be better equipped to meet the needs of his growing online community.

Bob says that at its peak, Rawfoodlife.com drew 2,000-3,000 hits a day. He’s working toward getting back to that number and serving the raw enthusiasts who flock to his Facebook page. Bob attributes the recent spike in interest in raw food to social media. Because people are constantly posting photos of their food–and because many are becoming increasingly health conscious–there’s more enthusiasm around the raw diet.

“Every week there is a new way to engage with it,” he says. Social media has allowed people from around the world to exchange ideas about raw food, further expanding the movement.

Bob was the CoLab’s first member when it officially opened in 2015. His cousin, Lee Ross, was heavily involved in the CoLab’s early development and he told Bob about the concept. Bob set up his desk before construction had even finished.

rawfoodlife logo

“He told me what he was doing and I said sign me up,” he says.

The CoLab seemed the perfect place to revamp his site after Google changed its search algorithms and forced online businesses to rethink their strategies. Bob was looking for a place where he could not only work, but network and build new relationships.

“The interesting thing is, before I even knew what I was signing up for, I intuitively knew that I needed to be here,” Bob says of his decision to join the CoLab. “We have friendships with all kinds of people we didn’t know before. We can bounce around ideas with each other.”
That’s how Bob first connected with fellow CoLabber and entrepreneur Jeffrey Smith, who runs SEO Design Solutions from his CoLab office. Smith’s SEO expertise has come in handy as Bob ramps up Rawfoodlife.com. Soon after meeting Jeffrey, Bob realized that he needed someone like that on his team.

“It’s part of my growth as a human being, part of my process,” Bob says. He’s considered letting Jeffrey take over the reigns of Rawfoodlife.com, though he hasn’t ceded control yet. But he is looking forward to working with Jeffrey more. The Internet may be in a state of constant change, Bob says, but Jeffrey is always ahead of the curve.

He has thought about letting Jeffrey Smith take over his website. According to Bob, even though the internet is in a constant state of change, Jeffrey is so far ahead of the curve. He looks forward to working with Jeffrey more. Bob also works regularly with writer Matt Monarch, who owns the biggest commercial raw food site.

Bob’s goal is to turn Rawfoodlife.com into something bigger than himself. He wants the site grow even when he’s ready to move on from it and hopes to attract a range of new partners for the business.

www.rawfoodlife.com
shop.rawfoodlife.com
www.facebook.com/RawFoodLife-111300788978460/?fref=ts


23257
Natalie Brader is the Fairfield CoLab’s first intern. She started her internship in late March of 2016 and will continue through August 2016. Natalie has an interest in business administration, marketing, event planning and community development. She is currently a sophomore at Fairfield High School and actively participates in high school cheerleading, dance and drill, majorette, choir and is also taking college credit courses along with her core curriculum . Natalie has an eagerness to learn and grow as an up and coming young professional

Get to Know Your ffCoLab Community! – Meet Tai Ward, Big Game Software

By Natalie Brader
Fairfield CoLab Business Administration Intern

 

tai picture

Tai Ward believes in mixing business with pleasure. That’s why he founded his company, Big Game Software, in 2006. And it’s why he enjoys being part of the CoLab community.

Big Game Software was born out of Tai’s love of sports and a desire to work for himself. He had written software in high school and college and wanted to become an entrepreneur, so it made sense to build a business around fantasy sports.

“I worked for other people, and it wasn’t as fulfilling,” he said. Big Game Software has been profitable for the past 10 years, and Tai now enjoys increased workplace happiness, thanks to the Fairfield CoLab.

biggamelogo2As president of the Fairfield CoLab, Tai spends a lot of time in the space. He shares an office with fellow CoLab member Marla Brader, who is the Events Planner for 1st Friday Art Walk, and he’s a regular presence at member breakfasts, happy hours, and volunteer workdays. He was an integral part of getting the CoLab off the ground, and he’s a consistently friendly face around the space.

Before becoming involved with the CoLab, Tai spent four years working out of his basement as a remote Software Engineer for bswift, a large technology company that serves the healthcare industry, which he is still employed with, in addition to still owning Big Game Software. He has admitted that it would get lonely working on his own all day at home. In the CoLab, he has plenty of people to chat with and opportunities to exchange ideas.

“My efficiency has not changed since I’ve been here, but my happiness definitely has,” he said. The community aspect is hugely appealing to Tai. “The CoLab is a great mixing pot of viewpoints,” he said. “Even if I don’t share all of the same interests with the people around me, you can find something to share.”

He also believes that the CoLab’s nonprofit status inspires people to pitch in on projects around the space, furthering the connection between members. He’s even turned CoLab initiatives into a family affair, inviting his daughters Elliott and Delaney to get involved. pgTai asked them both to create ads for the CoLab while he was cooking dinner. Elliott drew a picture of her sister eating popcorn at the grand opening, and Delaney depicted her dad and CoLab administrator Joshua Laraby working in offices next to one another. Elliott also dreamed up the CoLab’s mascot, a rainbow Pegasus, which will soon have a place of honor at the front desk.

Tai’s personality and community mentality are an excellent part of the CoLab that all the members really enjoy.

www.biggamesoftware.com
www.bswift.com


23257
Natalie Brader is the Fairfield CoLab’s first intern. She started her internship in late March of 2016 and will continue through August 2016. Natalie has an interest in business administration, marketing, event planning and community development. She is currently a sophomore at Fairfield High School and actively participates in high school cheerleading, dance and drill, majorette, choir and is also taking college credit courses along with her core curriculum . Natalie has an eagerness to learn and grow as an up and coming young professional

Get to Know Your ffCoLab Community! – Meet Marla Brader, Fairfield 1st Friday Art Walk

By Natalie Brader
Fairfield CoLab Business Administration Intern

 

marla

Marla Brader hadn’t heard of Fairfield CoLab and was unsure about how working in the space would affect her work prior to relocating the Fairfield Artwalk offices to the CoLab. When she was first presented with the opportunity to move her office into the space, she hadn’t heard of coworking and didn’t know what to think about it, but she kept an open mind and gave the arrangement a try. Now, she says, she can’t imagine her office being anywhere else.

Marla became the event planner for Fairfield Artwalk in September 2015, though she served as the director’s assistant and a volunteer before taking on her current role. She’s always had a knack for hosting great events, and she’s thrilled to channel her talents for the benefit of the town she loves

Despite her initial hesitations, Marla’s found that the CoLab is the ideal work space for planning and coordinating Artwalk events. She says she’s able to bounce ideas off other CoLabber’s, and she enjoys interacting with all of the kind and helpful personalities who also use the space.
art_walk_small

Plus, she says, working in the CoLab is just fun. Marla credits her office mate, Tai Ward, with adding to the comfortable atmosphere. Ward, who is the founder of Big Game Software and the president of the CoLab, always keeps a great sense of humor and a positive attitude, Marla says. She also partners with Adam Plagge, Executive Director of the Fairfield Economic Development Association (FEDA,) and FEDA’s Economic Project Coordinator Joshua Laraby when planning Artwalk features. Marla’s collaborative approach is a great example of the CoLab’s mission to bring people together to create new ideas. Marla’s work in the CoLab also illustrates the way the CoLab and the broader community are intertwined. Through her interactions with fellow CoLab members–whether that’s chatting over coffee in the morning or talking through the next Artwalk theme–Marla’s positive and friendly presence in the CoLab provides a bridge between the CoLab’s mission and greater Fairfield.

Right now, Marla’s gearing up for the June Artwalk, which will be the first outdoor event of the season. The theme is “Celebrating Community and Culture” and will give people a chance to mingle and enjoy Fairfield in the warm weather.

“Outdoor events mean great music, food, art, and opportunities with the people in the community and visitors from surrounding areas,” Marla said. When asked her advice on how people can enjoy their work environments more, Marla said, “My best piece of advice is to surround yourself with amazing people. It makes your day so much better.”

www.fairfieldartwalk.org
www.facebook.com/Fairfield.1st.Fridays.Art.Walk


23257
Natalie Brader is the Fairfield CoLab’s first intern. She started her internship in late March of 2016 and will continue through August 2016. Natalie has an interest in business administration, marketing, event planning and community development. She is currently a sophomore at Fairfield High School and actively participates in high school cheerleading, dance and drill, majorette, choir and is also taking college credit courses along with her core curriculum . Natalie has an eagerness to learn and grow as an up and coming young professional

Get to Know Your ffCoLab Community! – Meet Jeffrey Smith, SEO Design Solutions

Meet Jeffrey Smith, SEO Design Solutions

By Natalie Brader
Fairfield CoLab Business Administration Intern

 

Jeffrey Smith founded his company, SEO Design Solutions, in Chicago in 2006. Jeffrey first learned about SEO (search engine optimization) while founding and working on his first company, Aeron Lifestyle Technology, in the 1990s. The company had invested all its money into manufacturing its first product, the Drive-Time Car Diffuser, and had little left over to market it.

Jeffrey and his colleagues focused on building Aeron’s website and web presence. In addition to tradeshows and traditional advertising, they used targeted phrases to boost Aeron’s rankings on Yahoo, Lycos, Hotbot and Go.com. Aeron didn’t have many competitors at the time, so it earned high ranking results and was able to expand its online presence and distribute to more than 17 countries as a result.

After working to help launch Aeron, Jeffrey was able to take some time off. In 2006, he came out of retirement and started the SEO Design Solutions company. Jeffrey used his SEO knowledge to help clients earn high Google rankings using competitive keywords related to their businesses.

“Search engine optimization is important for any business,” Jeffrey says. SEO strategies help customers find companies online based on keywords and phrases that are relevant to the products and services they offer. When Jeffrey launched SEO Design Solutions, he and his team wrote long-form blog posts of 2,000-3,000 words per day and soon had 100,000 hits on their site. Brands such as Michaels, Comodo, American Express, Food and Wine Magazine, and others hired them for consulting and SEO services.

 

Along the way, Jeffrey and his team created custom SEO software that worked in tandem with WordPress (a popular software platform for content creation) that allowed them to optimize their clients’ sites. They ended up sharing it with the WordPress community, and as a result their plug-in now has more than two million downloads. SEO Design Solutions mostly focuses on software sales to the masses. Though it had 17 people on staff when it was based out of Chicago, Jeffrey’s team is now mainly virtual. He works with contractors who hail from all around the world, including Serbia, India and Korea, and he communicates with them daily through Skype.

Jeffrey embraced SEO because it was a necessary skill for the times. He recalls that when he first got into this field, companies utilized things like the Yellow Pages, newspapers, and magazines to reach their customers. The Internet brought a whole new era. Websites were something entirely new and “We just had to jump into it,” Jeffrey says.

Search engines became the preferred search method versus bulletin boards, which were the first communities online. Jeffrey says he has witnessed the evolution of the Internet. He began using computers when he was eight years old and was programming his own games even then. As he got older, it was “really quite natural to utilize computers” to promote his business, he says. Eventually, they reached their biggest success, getting the key phrase SEO on the first page of Google for his company.

Jeffrey works late, and he’s always one of the last Coseodesignsolutions logoLabbers to leave at night. He always makes sure that his client work is done, marketing and administration tasks are handled, and that his teams are coordinated. He’s in his office a lot, but he puts in 12-hour days by choice. He really loves what he does.

Jeffrey says he loves the Fairfield CoLab space and the grit of the entrepreneurs around him. It brings him back to a more artistic time in his life where you had the support of others and people to bounce ideas off of. You can see in his office the creativity he possesses. It’s full of bright colors and designs that create a wonderful atmosphere you notice when you walk in.

He welcomes the new challenges his business presents each day, like navigating Google’s increasingly tough algorithms, which is why this kind of business is good for him. And he thrives on using effective time management and creativity to make his clients’ visions–and his own–realities. Because as he puts it, referring to a quote from Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank, “A goal without a timeline is just a dream.”

www.seodesignsolutions.com
www.seodesignframework.com
www.seoultimateplus.com


23257
Natalie Brader is the Fairfield CoLab’s first intern. She started her internship in late March of 2016 and will continue through August 2016. Natalie has an interest in business administration, marketing, event planning and community development. She is currently a sophomore at Fairfield High School and actively participates in high school cheerleading, dance and drill, majorette, choir and is also taking college credit courses along with her core curriculum . Natalie has an eagerness to learn and grow as an up and coming young professional

CoLab Happy Hour Hangout and Tour –

goats
Happy hour social meet and greet for everone who’s interested in what this Fairfield CoLab is all about! @ The Arbor Bar – 5:15pm June 30th.

Here’s the facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/917483351644093/

This will be a Happy Hour event so the Colab board members will be hanging out and socializing starting at 5:15, and showing the space a little later on.

Come when you can, have fun and see what’s been going on!

The CoLab is a non-profit open professional workspace being built in the Bonnell Building above The Arbor Bar on the square. It’s primary mission is to incubate connectivity, productivity, and creativity by bringing people together. http://ffcolab.com/

Good news and updates from the FF CoLab!!

hole-in-the-wallHello FF Founding CoLab Members!

Things are rocking and rolling on at the Fairfield CoLab – take a solo walk through any time during the day (doors are open) and scope out the progress!

OR

Better yet, come by on a Saturday afternoon when we have regularly scheduled work days, say “hello” and take a gander at the building progress.

 

 

 

 

 

A few noteworthy milestones in the life of the FF CoLab:

1) We are officially registered as a 501c3 non-profit with the IRS
what does this mean to you?
You and your friends can contribute tax-deductible donations

2) We have a functional website and membership structure: www.ffcolab.com

What does this mean to you?
You can see more about the CoLab on-line and share the good words with your friends and networks

3) The building looks waaaaaaay different than when we first started talking about the possibility of a CoLab

What does this mean to you?
You might not recognize the space, but you’ll feel much more comfortable when you walk in – walls have been torn down, there’s exposed bring, drop ceilings have been removed, floors are prepped for re-finishing, and painting will happen SOON (like, this Saturday – details to follow)!

4) We’re hoping to open within the month of July – yeah, that’s right
, soon you can WORK and HANG OUT in the actual FF CoLab.

Have a question? opinion? idea for cool stuff at the CoLab? want to get more involved, but aren’t sure how?

We’d love to hear from you 🙂

Fairfield CoLab Board of Directors

Anna Bruen and Tai Ward, Co-Presidents
Kevin Riley and Minca Borg, Co-Secretaries
Joey Del Rey, Treasurer
Adam Plagge, ex-officio, FEDA representative
Roland Wells, ex-officio, Bonnell Project representative

Thanks for the support FEDA!

Happy to report FEDA has agreed to contribute at least $10,000 to the Co-lab project. This will be +$8,000 in equipment and +$2,000 in discretionary use funds. There are contingencies attached in terms of other fundraising and commitments for office space prior to release of funds but I see a pretty clear path forward to achieving them.

Demolition #2 – Opening the hallway timelapse!

Demolition progress from 1/17/2015. Took down the left over framing, pulled open the hallway opening (minus some structural supports which we’ll reroute soon!).

Next Steps & Some Pics

We are ready to incorporate and establish a board of directors!

Friday’s Co-laborators discussed requesting board nominations from founding members. Which lead to the question who are founding/voting members?

It’s proposed for $35 you are established as a founding member with voting rights and access to the space for the opening month.
Founding members are also asked to collaborate on one of the committees charged with getting us off the ground.

Proposed committees are:

Marketing (promotion, creative assets)
Organization (Events, Co-working organization, By-laws, Membership)
Building (Design, Materials acquisition)
Fundraising (Private funds, Grants)
Finance (Pricing, Accounting)

So pony up your $35, submit a nomination for the board and select your committee (you can post nominations and committee choices on this thread).

Cash or checks payable to Fairfield Co-lab. Drop’em off at Bonnell (Roland), FEDA (Adam) or at the mobile Lee Ross office.

Nominations should be in by February 6th and vote will go up February 8th for the initial 5 person board. The board can make by-law changes and expand as need be after the initial vote in.

Connect on facebook or via the contact page on this site.

Saturday work sessions continue

Join us this weekend for more demolition mayhem. We made great progress last week, but still have lots of work to do.

Every Saturday, 10am – 6pm

adam and kevin opt

Throwing together some surface renders…

[sdf_row id=”sdf-row-1″][sdf_col id=”sdf-col-1″ width=”1/1″][/sdf_col][/sdf_row][sdf_row id=”sdf-row-2″][sdf_col id=”sdf-col-1″ width=”1/1″][sdf_text_block id=”sdf-element-0″ module_width=”1/1″ top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”” text_alignment=”left” font_family=”” font_size=”” text_color=”” entrance_animation=”No” entrance_animation_duration=”” link=”” link_title=”” target=”None” nofollow=”no” class=””]Talking to Chris Sorflaten and Jeremy Pappin about local wood products for conference table, cafe island, counter-top, etc. For an example of their work, check out the Cider House bar.[/sdf_text_block][sdf_image id=”sdf-element-1″ module_width=”1/1″ title=”” alt_text=”” image=”http://ffcolab.com/wp-content/uploads/options-1-and-2.png” top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”” entrance_animation=”No” entrance_animation_duration=”” image_alignment=”left” image_size=”sdf-image-md-6″ image_shape=”square” lightbox=”no” link_title=”” target=”None” nofollow=”no” class=””][/sdf_image][sdf_image id=”sdf-element-2″ module_width=”1/1″ class=”” nofollow=”no” target=”None” link_title=”” lightbox=”no” image_shape=”square” image_size=”sdf-image-md-6″ image_alignment=”left” entrance_animation_duration=”” entrance_animation=”No” bottom_margin=”” top_margin=”” image=”http://ffcolab.com/wp-content/uploads/options-1-and-2-base.png” alt_text=”” title=””][/sdf_image][sdf_text_block id=”sdf-element-3″ module_width=”1/1″ class=”” nofollow=”no” target=”None” link_title=”” link=”” entrance_animation_duration=”” entrance_animation=”No” text_color=”” font_size=”” font_family=”” text_alignment=”left” bottom_margin=”” top_margin=””]+ design brainstorm for the base of laminated OSB, as one monolithic structure…! (check out http://www.doolittledesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/OSB-Bench1-120…), kitchen design w two surfaces[/sdf_text_block][sdf_text_block id=”sdf-element-4″ module_width=”1/1″ top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”” text_alignment=”left” font_family=”” font_size=”” text_color=”” entrance_animation=”No” entrance_animation_duration=”” link=”” link_title=”” target=”” nofollow=”no” class=””]kitchen design w two surfaces[/sdf_text_block][sdf_image id=”sdf-element-5″ module_width=”1/1″ title=”” alt_text=”” image=”http://ffcolab.com/wp-content/uploads/kitchen-cabs-and-tops.png” top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”” entrance_animation=”No” entrance_animation_duration=”” image_alignment=”left” image_size=”sdf-image-md-6″ image_shape=”square” lightbox=”no” link_title=”” target=”” nofollow=”no” class=””][/sdf_image][sdf_text_block id=”sdf-element-6″ module_width=”1/1″ top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”” text_alignment=”left” font_family=”” font_size=”” text_color=”” entrance_animation=”No” entrance_animation_duration=”” link=”” link_title=”” target=”” nofollow=”no” class=””]
Wall-mount bars x 2[/sdf_text_block][sdf_image id=”sdf-element-7″ module_width=”1/1″ title=”” alt_text=”” image=”http://ffcolab.com/wp-content/uploads/wall-bar.png” top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”” entrance_animation=”No” entrance_animation_duration=”” image_alignment=”left” image_size=”sdf-image-md-6″ image_shape=”square” lightbox=”no” link_title=”” target=”” nofollow=”no” class=””][/sdf_image][/sdf_col][/sdf_row][sdf_row id=”sdf-row-3″ last=”yes”][/sdf_row]