We have many working mothers in our MiC community, whether as employees in companies or self-employed and running their own business.All have one thing in common: trying to achieve a harmonious work/life balance under sometimes very stressful circumstances.
Being your own boss however, has the added pressure of financial responsibility – when there’s no monthly income guarantee the daily challenges seem greater. On the other hand it is endlessly rewarding to be fulfilling your dreams and ambitions, and these mumpreneurs often are an inspiration to others.
Our interview blog puts the spotlight on these entrepreneurial women among us: who are they, what do they do and how do they do it.
Today, it is my pleasure to introduce Julia Papageorgiou, (MiC nickname ‘Julia’), founder and director of JPP Marketing, a highly successful e-marketing services company based in Limassol.
Hi Julia. How and when did you come up with the idea for your business and what inspired you to become self employed?
I was already mummy to Andria, and had Nayia on the way, and I had always been very interested in online marketing, back from when I worked in London. And suddenly, the opportunity came up, and there appeared to be a gap in the market, so I decided to stop working and focus on studying some more in order to build and freshen up my knowledge in this area. Then after focusing on my newborn for a few months, I decided to start consulting for a while, I enjoyed the flexibility it offered, and then slowly it began to grow into enough work to set up a company. We now offer online marketing services to businesses large and small, and we specialise in Search engine marketing primarily and web analytics.
What business achievement are you most proud of?
My company was the first agency in Cyprus to become a Google Adwords Certified Partner, that for me was a very proud achievement and has been key to our business achieving recognition for the expertise we’ve developed.
A lot of new start-up businesses run out of steam when the going gets tough. Was there ever a time when you doubted yourself?
I would be lying if I said that you don’t doubt yourself at times, but I knew that there was a demand for what I was setting out to create and a lack of providers, so my gut told me to keep going. I think if you feel that you are on the right track and you can see things moving, you should stick at it!
Being your own boss means there are no mentors to learn from. Who do you go to for business advice?
There are still many people to learn from, all around you. Through my work contacts and also through networks of other female entrepreneurs, I’ve found opportunities for more clients & work or projects to get involved in that interest me.
There is also a great scheme called the Network of Mentors for Female Entrepreneurs in Cyprus which is precisely for this purpose, to support & encourage women starting out or thinking about starting up their own business.
I also like to get involved in helping other start-ups through supporting great initiatives like the Cypriot Enterprise Link and Hack Cyprus, these are ways to find other like-minded people and discover new resources, great people and build a support network.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming self employed?
That I can survive on very little sleep!
Do you feel you have achieved a good work/life balance?
I think it varies, some periods it tips very much towards work, but I always make time for the things that matter, so if I have to leave work early to go to a birthday party or watch a ballet class, then I will work extra hard the day before, so that I don’t miss out on these things that I see as very important. As my Mum didn’t work, it meant that she was always there for me when I was little, I want to be able to do the same for my girls as much as possible.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring ‘Mumpreneur’ starting out today, what would it be?
Don’t give up – bad times are almost always followed by good times and you will be tested several times before things start to go your way. I’ve also learnt that it’s important not to stress about missing out on certain things, we can’t be superhuman, and we can’t be in all places at all times. I explain to my kids that mummy works because she has a job she loves and that it’s important to keep doing what you love and following your personal aspirations, even after you have a family.
What are your future plans for your business?
We are fortunate to have a number of great loyal clients who we work with very closely and enjoy working with. I hope we will keep enjoying their continued loyalty as well as the growth and development that we have experienced so far. We have some exciting projects in the pipeline and we’re really enjoying what we do as an agency, which for me is the most important element.
Thank you very much for your time. Best wishes for continued success and happiness, both in your professional and private life.