The English translation of the Smocka interview : Entrepreneurs talk about how it is to be your own boss: “Dare to take risks!”

On May 2nd, I got an email from a journalism student who asked if I’d like to meet her for a 20 minutes interview about the Shark Tank event, in Luckan Integration, where I participated as a shark. 

Here below, you can read the English translation of the interview, which was published in Swedish.  

Entrepreneurs talk about how it is to be your own boss: “Dare to take risks!”

Oana Velcu-Laitinen is a career coach and started her own coaching company Velcu Coaching, two years ago. Between Autumn 2017 and Spring 2018, she developed and taught the Entrepreneurial Competence module of the course, Introduction to Business. The course was part of the integration program, joint cooperation between Helsinki Luckan and Arbis. At the end of the course, a Shark Tank event was organised where Oana was invited to be one of the sharks.

“We helped the participants understand how to further develop their business ideas. To understand what the next step is.”, Oana says.

Velcu-Laitinen explains that it is easy to start a company, in Helsinki. It is a question of few hours to fill in the application and the bureaucracy is minimal. For the first year, she received a startup grant from the state-owned company Newco Helsinki, whose aim is to increase the number of established companies in Helsinki. 

“It’s a good experience, because the application forces you to sit down and analyze your business idea. It’s important to think of who your target audience is and how to promote yourself.”

Velcu-Laitinen says that those who want to found a business need a business plan. Many new entrepreneurs have optimistic expectations of future income and expenses.

“It’s wiser to build your business based on realistic expectations. The stream of revenues can be a big problem, so it’s good if you have a financial adviser. The future is, of course, full of surprises, you can face difficulties and successes that you never thought of.”

Oana’s tips on starting your own business:

1. What are your interests? Choose one and make it your job!
2. Be courageous and confident – believe in your idea.
3. It’s worth taking the risk, but think how to minimize it.

Without other people, there is no meaning to what we do

Because we have days when we don’t see the impact of the work we do or when we don’t get a confirmation of it, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. We might just be in a mood that messes with the quality of our thinking. Maybe it’s time to take a break, i.e., meditate, take a walk or a nap.

Purpose guides our behaviours unconsciously. The more we are aware of what drives us, the more we can align our goals with our behaviours. As a result, we take actions that bring the feeling of fulfilment.

When it comes to professional purpose, one way to become more aware of why we do what we do is to think of the impact that our work has on colleagues, clients, suppliers, family, society, etc.

And yet, as much as we become conscious of the value of our work, use affirmations and surround our office walls with empowering sentences, moments of emptiness and professional purposeless are to be expected. I have moments when I look into the eyes of the individuals I work with and have no clue if my hard-work is helping them. We need words of appreciation or any other kind of feedback to be able to assess the impact we hope to bring.

When in doubt, it’s good to remind ourselves of the past validations and say to ourselves, “Well, I did say something at some point in my past when I saved someone’s day.” And allow ourselves some rest. It will be a better time to keep on aiming at doing a good job.