Rachel Kelly

Founder, Chief Lemon, Make Lemonade

Rachel started a co-working space in Toronto, Make Lemonade to give women a place to get shi*t done.




Rachel’s first “real” job was a typical 9-5 desk gig where she would spend most days daydreaming how she would redesign the office. When the reality of freelancing with an unstable paycheque hit her hard, she decided to turn a sour situation sweet. She spent a year researching coworking, studying the market, searching for an office space, battling renovation nightmares, 'till she was finally able to open her very own coworking space, Make Lemonade. Now she's on a mission to make sure women-identified entrepreneurs are connected with the resources to make their own lemonade.

Make Lemonade is a coworking space for women in the heart of Toronto. Born from the idea that creating your destiny can’t be store-bought, we’re on a mission to create a community of driven women who create, dream and get sh*t done. Tired of jumping from coffee shop to coffee shop with dodgy wifi and limited seating, we set out on a mission to create an office space that lived inside our imagination. Welcome to Make Lemonade, a design-forward coworking environment, where the coffee is strong, the lighting is bright, and phone calls can be made without worrying who might be making a racket beside you.

How did you get started?

I started with a list. I wrote down everything imaginable to open up a coworking space. From paint colours to contractors, to instagram hashtags - it was all on that list. Then, I just started ticking away, choosing to tackle the less scary first and bundle with the items I had no clue about. The best piece of advice I could give for venturing out on something like this is to dream big, ask a lot of questions, send the emails that make you nervous, and rock a good playlist while you’re doing it all. Sure, my life has completely changed since doing this, but I’ve always made sure to have fun while doing it.

What's the most exciting thing that’s happened since launching your company?

I’ve gone through the most personal development ever. Owning a business is no cake walk and everything I’ve learned has most certainly been the hard way through. All of the public speaking, stepping into my “boss” role, talking to a large community - all that had scared and intimidated me at some point - has helped shape me into who I am today….and I’m proud of where I’m at. I understand my values, my boundaries, what makes me tick, and what makes me happy. Since launching Make Lemonade I’ve challenged myself like never before and have proven to myself that I am capable of whatever I put my mind to. .

What's the biggest roadblock you’ve faced running your company?

Honestly, it’s the fluff. The fluffy vanity metrics that get so wrapped up in what I think is important. At the end of the day, when you’re running a business it’s the dollars and cents that matter. I don’t mean making millions and spending it on luxurious things. I mean keeping my company afloat and paying attention to our bottom line instead of how many like we got. Don’t get me wrong, that stuff is important too - but it’s taken me a long time to understand where the company’s priorities lie - and now, everything we do is all in an effort to keep it alive and healthy.

What do you wish you knew at the beginning?

That it’s all going to be okay. I mean, I knew that, but I wish I believed it more.

What is your favourite spot in Toronto?

Make Lemonade! Then, TD Centre Cows. I used to commute through this area on my way to my first job in the city. It’s a cool lunch spot to watch all the people pass through and just take a moment for yourself. .

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