I am starting this series of business story articles, with a friend i have known for many years, Liuba Voichuk a young mom that launched a language school. Liuba story is inspiring, it is a story of a female entrepreneur, a young mom, and an immigrant, it can’t get harder than that. In addition to that Liuba works remotely for a company, thus she had the perfect way to approach entrepreneurship.
I remember contacting Liuba when she launched her school. At the time i was also considering launching a language class. But whereas i did nothing to concretize this step, Liuba worked hard and brought her idea to life. As mentioned by many, ideas alone are worthless, taking action and executing is what counts.
There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them – Seth Godin
Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything – Scott Adams
Dreams are a dime a dozen. It’s their execution that counts – Theodore Roosevelt
The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.
It’s easy to have ideas, it’s very hard to turn an idea into a successful product – Jeff Bezos
Liuba Voichuk – CEL Language School
1- Tell us a bit about your small business, and how it was born.
In 2020 on the 25th of July I have launched my little Language School – Centrum Edukacyjne Luma, with the acronym “CEL” meaning “goal” in Polish.
How did everything start? I got fired 🙂
It was the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic, and the department where I had been working as a Business Development Specialist got closed. I had an idea of my language school for a long time, since I always loved tutoring no matter where I worked. No work, pandemic time – perfect motivation for my own business.
2- How did you get the idea for your business?
When I was at High school back in Ukraine in 2008 I won an exchange program called FLEX and had spent a year in the USA studying at school and living with the host family. I saw a different approach to education which I loved. I wanted to combine my Ukrainian and American experience into a efficient way of teaching. There are so many possibilities of how to teach and I felt that traditional language schools / any kind of schools are just useless and boring. I fell in love with studying the way it was organized in the States and I wanted to show others how simple and fun it is.
3- When did you know you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
Honestly? Never thought about it seriously. I did not have anyone in my family owning business and even my mom was begging me just to find a normal job. However, I love audacious goals and chanllenges. If it’s easy – it’s not about the development, so I added a tiny bit of a challenge.
4- What does a typical day look like for you?
Waking up at 5 a.m., working till 6:30 a.m. as a Head of Sales Administartion in a Swiss company connected to investments, driving my child to the the kindergarten, coming back at approx 8 a.m. and getting back to work from home or office for a Swiss company 90%, and 10% of my time I spend for my school. Approximately 8 months after I launched my school, I delegated it to teachers and administrator for me to develop myself in parallel in sales. It was super hard because suddenly I became a manager at both positions but I loved all the learning.
5- What motivates you?
Growth. People. Results. I am really motivated when I have people around myself with the same values and desire to makes positive changes, go ahead and do not waste time. Life is too short.
6- What goals are you still working towards achieving?
There are a lot of them. For example, developing as a sales manager by building a bigger team and organizing work the best way possible, expanding my school by building partnerships and enriching our portfolio, developing the sides of myself where I know I’m not the strongest. Of course, one more important goal is to balance work and life.
7- What strategies did you first use to market your business?
It’s a funny story but it worked 🙂 6 years ago I have created groups on social media for Ukrainians knowing that one day it might help me with marketing but it was never the main reason for it. I was organizing different events, helping people through that group, shared useful tips there. When I decided to open my school, 80% of students were from that group because people knew my name. It was building a brand. Of course, now it’s not enough and we are focusing on alternative ways of marketing like SMM, targetting, etc to involve Polish people since we do not just have Polish for foreigners, we have English and German for anyone.
8- Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting?
Yeah, 25th is not the best date for registration, it’s better to start on the 1st of January if to take into consideration taxes, social insurance rules, etc :). If to talk seriously, first 6-8 months at school it was me doing 80% of all the work. I burnt out as a teacher pretty fast. The only thing that I would do differently – delegating more. I was afraid of delegating but when I tried it, I loved it.
Related: The first rule of management is delegation. Don’t try and do everything yourself because you can’t -Anthea Turner
9- Did you have any challenge being a young mom and an entrepreneur?
Hmm, let me think, no sick leaves, no vacations for the last 2 years. Other than that I am fine. It was my choice. I knew I would spend less time with my child than regular office worker mom would, but I want my daughter to see a happy mom no matter how trivial it might sound. Of course, it’s difficult to combine motherhood and career but I am happy of whom I am, so nothing to complain about. If you want – you can, even alone with a child abroad. It gives more power to fight for a brighter future.
10- Did you feel any challenges for being a woman entrepreneur?
I think I felt the challenges that every entrepreneur might have felt, but it was nothing to do with me being a woman. Once I couldn’t rent the office because of my Ukrainian passport but other than that being a woman entrepreneur didn’t complicate my life.
11- What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
I enjoy freedom. It’s much easier to come to work, know your duties, follow the instructions and leave. There is no big boss at my school or even at Sales team. I am the one organizing my day routine, others’ days routines, giving instructions. I cannot say I don’t want to do something, no way. It’s all about having the responsibility for the general outcome and not just for my own piece of a puzzle. I like this responsibility, it keeps me in tune all the time. I enjoy that there is always room for development and improvement, I love how it changes me.
12- What advice would you give to someone just starting a business?
I do not think that I’m in a position of giving advice. I can only say that starting a business is not a big deal, developing it is much more challenging, so it’s crucial to build a reliable team.
13-Any business or entrepreneurship role models?
I am fan of Ray Dalio and his way of doing business, thanks to my colleagues. I recommend everyone to read his book Principles. It will tell a lot about the business model I am trying to follow and which is super efficient in my opinion. It’s all about meritocracy meaning that the best idea wins. It’s about learning from the mistakes, it’s about audacious goals and working with the right people. Totally worth reading.