This is one of the interviews I took more than a year ago, when we didn’t yet know what challenges lay ahead of us, in every respect. On the bright side, the woman behind Dei Events is the same – if not, even stronger, more determined to run a successful business in a world where many other entrepreneurs have had to give up on their dream.
As I listened to our conversation, I was reminded of what life was like then and how much has happened in the meantime. It felt like it wasn’t a year, but ten years ago. Throughout the interview, we talked about everything, the exciting complications the universe has in store for you, life as a mother, as an employee and as an entrepreneur.
What should you know about Dei Events?
Andreea Achim runs a thriving business, quite literally, in a world of invigorating and natural colours & fragrances – Dei Events. We’re talking about a place where she creates custom floral arrangements designed for any important occasion in your life or simply to make a nice gesture for someone who means a lot to you.
Let’s get to the interview!
Find out what Andreea thinks about the world of entrepreneurship.
Manu: How did you decide to start this business?
Andreea: I graduated from law school, and in the past, I managed a team of over 100 Avon sales consultants, which helped me a lot on the sales side. When it comes to Dei Events, for me, it all started as a challenge, because I was convinced that I wasn’t good at the artistic side and I wanted to prove to myself that I could. In the meantime, floral arrangements became a passion of ours (mine and my husband’s).
After our wedding in 2017, I got in touch with the woman who did our floral arrangements and asked her to tell me how this kind of business works. It was early spring, which means wedding season was coming up; and she told me that if I wanted, I could go to the shop and help her. After a few months, I felt ready to run a floral shop on my own.
M: Did you ever think about giving up?
A: Maybe I had a fleeting thought before I gave birth to my little one, because I didn’t know what was next, and whether I would be able to continue running the shop. But, we’re still here!
M: What is the biggest challenge you face, as an entrepreneur, in your field?
A: There are several challenges. The first would be to keep the client happy so that I am satisfied with what I have achieved. I believe in a job well done. Rather than doing a sloppy job, I’d rather not do it at all. The second challenge would be to keep your doors open on the market, given the competition.
M: What do you do on days when you can’t find the motivation for the work you have to do (to keep your business afloat and help it grow)?
A: I read books on financial education, personal development. And every time I have doubts about my work, I look at my Facebook page and as I see the arrangements immortalized in the images I post there, I gain confidence. I believe in self-motivation and I know that the power is in me. I know myself very well and I know where to look for what I need to move forward, day by day.
M: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since you started your own business?
A: Do something you’re proud of & it well. If you’re going to do something, do it right. Always give 100%.
M: What do you consider to be the most notable difference between being an employee or an entrepreneur?
A: Freedom. The fact that you manage your time as you wish, that you have the power of decision, that the money goes straight into your pocket. After all, even if you’re passionate about what you do, one of the main reasons you started your own business is because you want to earn money (more than if you were employed).
But when I have to pay a bill, I can’t pay it with passion. I think it’s important not to start on the road of entrepreneurship with a wrong perspective (e.g.: I set up a shop, in 3 months I’ll get my investment out and I’ll earn another 5000 euros a month), but to start everything with passion and not to have very high expectations (at the beginning), financially-speaking.
M: How would you characterize your business, in a word (except “quality”)?
M: What would you advise an entrepreneur who is just starting out?
A: Don’t dive in head first. Be cerebral, don’t have high expectations from the start, put a lot of passion into what you do, be dedicated, never feel like you’re working too hard, because the moment you hear your customers are more than happy with your work, you’ll find your motivation.
2020 – a crazy year
I kept in touch with Andreea during the pandemic, and a few days ago, I asked her a few additional questions to inspire other entrepreneurs who want to start a business in these times when there is barely a ray of sunshine in sight. I wanted to find out more about how she has adapted, as an entrepreneur, in a time of economic uncertainty, when many businesses have closed their doors.
M: What was your first reaction as an entrepreneur when you realized that you and your business were facing a pandemic?
A: My first reaction was to stop working for 2 weeks, during which time I analyzed the situation and looked for solutions. As the flower exchange in the Netherlands, the biggest supplier, was closed, I turned to local producers. Producers with whom I am still working and whom I am very happy with!
M: How has the past year been for Dei Events?
Although it was a pandemic year and there were no events, we focused a lot on delivering flower arrangements.
M: What have you learned about business in the past year?
That you should always reinvent yourself, look for solutions, and not give in at the first dead end, even if it’s a totally new obstacle for you and everyone else, like the pandemic was.
M: How do you feel as an entrepreneur today compared to last year, before the pandemic?
I feel much more prepared, more experienced, and much more confident in my business.
MY CONCLUSION-Support Small Businesses
After talking with Andreea, it occurred to me that entrepreneurship comes with many challenges, more so when you start on this path while seeking fulfillment on a personal level as well. Especially when a child comes along, and when you least expect it, a pandemic of all things, you have every reason to give up. You feel like it’s all too much, too hard, too stressful. But if you manage to silence all the worries, stress, and background noise, your dream can adapt to anything! Let’s support small businesses!
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