Irina Georgieva – CEO Interview
When did you know you wanted to start your own company?
Throughout my whole life I was witnessing the dedication and passion my father had for creating his business. Then in my teenage years I started working closely with my father saw the freedom that running your own business gives. That’s when I knew that I want start my own company and achieve as much as he has and more.
What was your original idea for this company, and are you still doing that (or did you pivot, if so, what is the new focus and why)?
The original idea was to bring more business opportunities to small companies around the world by giving them direct access to potential business collaborations and eliminate the need to rely on the middleman. This is still at the core of what we do.
How long did it take you to finally take the leap, and what was it that pushed you over the fence?
I had this idea for a while whilst I was working after graduating from business school. What finally pushed me was a shift in my mindset. I was never going to be prepared enough, rather it is best to just start and learn as I go. I spent close to two years researching and developing our solution.
Who inspired you to pursue your dream, and why do you think they believed in you?
My father gave me the confidence to start my own business, he believed in my entrepreneurial passion and enthusiasm. My father pointed out that I should take a chance and do what I love rather than spend years feeling incomplete doing something I am not as excited about. So I did.
Who is your favorite mentor and why?
At the moment Ray Dalio. He has thought me so much wisdom with his principles. I still use it as a workbook to guide me through my entrepreneurial journey.
What was the hardest thing about starting your company, and what did you do to make it through the first stage?
As a young female entrepreneur it’s still a challenge to get people to take you seriously. I just worked harder and never stopped trying.
What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
So far it’s to hire new employees with a 2-3 months probation period. We made some initial hiring mistakes which cost us efficiency and time.
What has been the most amazing thing you have experience while running this company?
Seeing users publish “buy” and “sell” business deals. It shows us that they are finding value in the platform and keeps us motivated. Also user feedback, it’s incredibly valuable to continue improving our product.
What is the weirdest thing you have experienced while running this company, and how did you react to it?
Weirdest thing would have to be the amount of free trials we have used, especially in the first months of operations. It just shows how you must be resourceful and smart with your limited finances.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made while running this company?
Hiring my current team. The company culture works great and I really feel like I can rely on my employees.
What is the biggest mistake you made while running this company, and why do you think it happened?
Micromanaging. In the first 3 months I was organising everybody’s task, allocating responsibilities to the point that it became so time consuming that this was the only thing I was doing. It showed me that this approach doesn’t work and I must hold each individual accountable for their own process.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your company?
It has increased the number of new users we get on the platform and the engagement has also been on the rise ever since.
What keeps you passionate about your company?
Focusing on the vision and hearing how new users are delighted with our solution and knowing it is valuable to them.
What daily routine have you developed to help you take care of your mind, body, and soul?
Wake up at 6-6:30am. Do morning yoga, then 30min of tea time with an audiobook.
What one thing would you like people to take away from this interview?
Just start, believe in your goals and work hard.
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About the Community
On the podcast, Sean talks with entrepreneurs about the reality of their struggle to succeed, as well as answering questions from the community, and sharing nuggets of wisdom from his own life.
Discover through these amazing episodes the courage to open your mind, heart, and soul to the world so you can be the best entrepreneur possible, respect the people you work with, and improve the world with your company while not hurting others or yourself in the process.
Sean is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor based in SE Asia for over 12 years. He is passionate about Psychology and helping others improve themselves.