California-based Desiree Doubrox is a serial entrepreneur who started her first business when she was 12. She would take dance lessons in the mornings at a studio, then give dance lessons in the afternoons at a local playground. When it came time for her playground dance students to give their recital, the event was so popular that Doubrox and her mother had to find a larger venue. As someone who has been an advocate for the arts, women, and diversity, Doubrox has always had a knack for identifying specific needs then strategizing solutions to fulfill those needs. During her expansive career as an entrepreneur, she has been a model, dancer, DJ, music-video producer, publisher, and the owner of a yacht-cleaning service, modeling-agency, women’s networking community as well as a real estate agent, broker, and investor.
At the age of 65, Doubrox has no plans of slowing down anytime soon and is committed to building her current business, HomWork, a co-living and co-working in luxury homes, which she describes as “Airbnb meets WeWork for women.”
This last year has created even more exigence for shared living communities as shutdowns have intensified the isolation and loneliness that many single women already feel. When Doubrox first conceived of HomWork in 2017, her target audience included mature women professionals and entrepreneurs who were single, widowed, or empty-nesters looking to duplicate their lifestyles short-term, long-term, or as a drop-in—including the digital nomads who had the freedom and flexibility to travel.
Call it a home away from home. Doubrox appreciates travel with no boundaries, and the international aspect was important to her. Her summation of HomWork is, “Live where you work. Work where you live. Anywhere in the world.”
HomWork provides a template for work of the future for high-achieving women who want to live and work in upscale properties, feel safe in doing so, and share companionship with like-minded women with all the perks of living in luxury homes that have the amenities of a business suite with high-speed broadband, video/podcast studio with green screens, quiet spaces, yoga studios, offices, and classrooms. “As a member, you can enjoy Networking Sessions, Coffee & Conversations, Book Clubs, Wine Tastings, Movie Nights, MasterMinds, and Summits,” she says, “all designed to keep the community connected, especially during our current climate.”
When Doubrox launched HomWork, she was surprised to receive pushback on the venture. “For the first time, I was dependent on investors. Some people told me that it would never work because I was an older African American female. What they didn’t realize is that when someone says yes to what you’re doing, it means that they believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. And that’s priceless, which is the reason why I’ll do things just to support someone’s dream, especially women in business.”
Ten years earlier, in 2007, Doubrox founded An Empowered Woman, a global networking organization dedicated to women entrepreneurs supporting them in starting, fixing, and building their businesses, through masterminds, seminars, videos, podcasts, and live events.
Doubrox, who had worked in real estate since 1989, wanted to involve more women in investing in real estate. “I decided the best way was to lead by example,” she says. So, she began by inviting women to her home in Westlake Island, CA, for educational and inspirational talks by business leaders. These meetings expanded into themed Second Sunday events that would take place at luxury hotels, yachts, polo clubs, and more. Then the housing bubble burst in 2008, “and no one wanted or was able to afford to attend these fancy events,” says Doubrox. However, An Empowered Woman survived the housing crisis, the organization has reached millions of women around the globe, Doubrox still has access to over 1 million women, thanks to her board of Influencers.
Business in a Box
Meeting the demand for growth, Doubrox is offering the business in a box through a one-week training at the Rancho Santa Fe, CA, signature property for those interested in replicating HomWork’s live-work-share model. Potential hosts do not necessarily need to own homes, and Doubrox will guide individuals through the process of acquiring a property and making it HomWork ready with big-picture items like marketing and branding, to granular details like menus and linens. They instantly become a part of and can enjoy the benefits of the HomWork worldwide community of women professionals and entrepreneurs.
Second Sunday Series and “Let’s Talk Success” Launch
Beginning on Sunday, January 10, Doubrox is launching their virtual 12-city tour, including Paris and other cities as more countries begin to open up. This is to attract and connect their members, mentors, host property owners, and Let’s Talk Success, a podcast series featuring women who have built million-dollar businesses sharing their stories, challenges, victories, and secrets to success.
HomWork is a membership-based community where for $497 a year, a member receives all of the above mentioned and has access to homes worldwide. For $297 a year, a member can showcase their guest room/house, a vacation rental on HomWork.
Membership also includes video and podcast interviews marketing your business gaining more visibility, credibility, and revenue opportunities. As well as weekly marketing masterminds, summits, classes, podcasts, awesome events and discounts on partner services. Residency for HomWork has been temporarily stalled at some of their locations because of Covid-19, but those that are open are happily adhering to the Covid protocol.
As the world emerges from the Covid cocoon with its layoffs and quarantines, business models like HomWork will provide a much-needed respite. Says Doubrox, “In 2020, ‘resilience’ was a word that defined us. For 2021, I think it’s going to be ‘community,’ which we will all be seeking to reestablish, especially women. And there is going to be no better place for the businesswoman than HomWork.”