I spent 18 years as a 9-5 office worker. Having had 2 kids while juggling a demanding job and never ending business travel, I live under eternal maternal guilt.
So I started my business venture in my spare time, not to make my life even more unbearable, but to build a pathway out of regulated hours and dependency on an employer.
One night I was putting my kids to bed. I sat on my daughter’s bed to kiss her good night when she said something that shaped the way I think about business forever.
– Mummy, are you going to bed too? – she asked.
– Not yet, baby, I am going to work for a few hours.
– Why do you always work so much?
– Because I have to travel tomorrow and I won’t have time otherwise.
– But why do you need to travel?
– My boss wants me to, he wants me to attend a meeting in another country.
– So he’s a bad person, because he takes you away from us!
– No he’s not a bad person, he’s doing his job too. He also travels away from his family.
– Then, who decides that you have to travel and work so much?!
– The business owners. They decide how to run the company, how people work there. That is why I want to build my own company, so, that I decide for myself when I want to travel and when I want to spend time with you. I’ll be the boss.
– Will you be a good boss? Will you let other mums be with their kids?
That brought tears to my eyes, and at that very moment I gave myself a promise that whatever business I build, the requirement to allow anyone working with us to have the freedom to decide how much time they want to give to work. I’m eternally excited and motivated by this mission. I’m sure great examples exist, but I believe it’s absolutely possible to build the business around the people, and not vice versa.
So we’re a small team now scattered around the world. Some of them I never met in person! My vendors, partners and employees live in Armenia, Czech republic, Bali and Chile or simply are mums (and dads!) in London.
I have discovered so much talent, skill, experience, brain power and motivation in these amazing people, only because I’ve decided to think outside of the 9-5 box.
I constantly ask myself, "How are we going to be able to work together when we are 20? or 100?" I play around with the idea and I imagine some sort of task dispatcher system, jobs for grabs, time flexibility management systems…maybe we’ll innovate in this space at some point, or maybe someone else will, and we’ll use it, but it’s the direction we want to go in.
My company motto: no one has to compromise. And it’s not only about the customers, quality, standards of service. It’s about our team as well.
No one has to compromise their loved ones.
Olga is a mother of two and the founder of “No White Walls” a successful HMO property development business which has expanded to also provide an innovative marketing, letting and tenant community platform for HMO specialists. Find out more about “No White Walls” www.nowhitewalls.co.uk and Olga on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/olga-nechaeva/