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 Veronica Athanasiou (MiC nickname ‘’Oroklini mum.’), Solopreneur at Oroklini Social Media, which offers the creation and administration of business pages on Social Media platforms.
Hi Veronica. How and when did you come up with the idea for your business and what inspired you to become self employed?
It all started after returning from an abrupt change in lifestyle: from working as a Biology and Science teacher in Nicosia for 10 years I decided to join my husband in an adventure to Sydney, Australia for almost 5 years as the wife of the CEO of a Cypriot Bank serving the Greek ex-pat community there. We were treated like diplomats as there is no Consul General of Cyprus in Sydney and I got involved in PR, Fundraising and Facebook. I saw how successful businesses used the platform to promote themselves amongst friends and their social acquaintances. Networking at its best! Once I returned to the quiet life in a beautiful village like Oroklini, I wanted to convince all the local business owners to start a page on Facebook for their businesses back at the start of 2012. As a consultant and community manager I could work from home and still take control of my household and my 3 growing children while allowing my creativity to be put to good use in a controlled manner.
What business achievement are you most proud of?
I am cooperating with an Australian company and my international fans love the name Oroklini, so putting this Cypriot village out there is a very rewarding feeling that I’m very proud of.
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?
Yes, just before meeting the people at Cyprus Independent Business Network I thought there was no business potential in my idea but then I finally got my first paying clients and then Australian clients followed and now I’m ‘surfing’ the recession wave.
Being your own boss means there are no mentors to learn from. Who do you go to for business advice?
I follow influencers on my business area, well known social media managers like Mari Smith, who lives in California and offers free webinars of which I have attended 2 in the last year with lots of tips and information. Also Marketing strategists like Heidi Cohen, web and graphic designers, bloggers, SEO specialists and social media platform specialists. I spend 2 hours a day – at least – reading the latest news and developments on social media from my twitter lists, Facebook interest lists, groups and Linked-IN stream.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming self employed?
I didn’t know I could be so creative. I always thought I was a good tailor but not a good designer and it seems I can come up with some original ideas when needed.
Do you feel you have achieved a good work/life balance?
Much better than when I was employed and everything was set and had deadlines. I enjoyed it very much but it was exhausting when combined with having my first 2 children.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring ‘Mumpreneur’ starting out today, what would it be?
Follow your dream, believe that you can achieve it, visualise it and work on it. When you feel you can’t create something new don’t push it, step away and enjoy your children. The ideas will sort themselves out in your brain while you’re at it. (I wrote an article for Babysitteroncall.com.cy on this)
What are your future plans for your business?
Hands-on workshops at affordable prices for business owners who want to learn a few tricks and do their social media marketing themselves and live networking to promote my blog that offers information and how-to articles on social media for FREE.
Thank you very much for your time. Best wishes for continued success and happiness, both in your professional and private life.