ALMA: Access to Language Methods for Increasing Migrants' Abilities to Start Their Own Business

alma: Access to  Language Methods

ALMA: Access to Language Methods for Increasing Migrants’ Abilities to Start Their Own Business is a European cooperation project aimed at stimulating migrants to begin a new business, to inspire and provide them with practical guidelines in order to start and run a successful company within a new cultural and linguistic context.

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Role Models' Guide / Profiles

The guide introduces active entrepreneurs with migrant background who have become successful thanks to their language and intercultural competences in the partner countries. Promoting real people with real stories, the project provides clear picture on what knowledge and skills are important and needed to be improved and what steps migrants should take towards establishing and running an own company.

See profile in: English Български
Photo of Tetyana Seradjim

Tetyana Seradjim

My name is Tetyana Seradjim and I am 26 years old. My beauty studio is located in the center of Sofia, on „Pernik“ Str.

I arrived in Bulgaria eight years ago. I came here to study after applying for a programme which allows Ukrainian citizens with Bulgarian origin to study free. I live here with my brother and I have a permit for permanent residence.

I’ve always wanted to do something that brings me pleasure. Therefore one day, nearly two years ago, in 2018, I decided to start my own business in the beauty and wellness sector.
I’ve always dream of having my own company and to be the one who determines the rules.
I feel happy when my clients leave my salon satisfied, with a smile on their faces and of course, feeling much more confident.
In the beginning I received moral support from my family. Their faith and confidence in my abilities helped me a lot. That’s one of the things that everybody needs when starting their own business.

In advance I did some research and I also had to seek some legal advices.
I’ve got an accountant who was recommended by a friend and she is doing a great job.
To start a business I use my own finance. My relatives also helped me in this.
I don’t have a particular target group. My clients are both men and women from all ages.
I don’t have a website, but I communicate by phone or by using Social Media.
I advertise the salon through Social Media and I’m also using shopping websites where people can find different promotions, vouchers and so on. I also
use business cards and flyers.

I created the network of my business contacts step by step. It happens naturally after some time.
Actually, I don’t talk much about my business. I discuss it with my closest friends and family. If someone asks me for advice or needs help, I’m always ready to cooperate.
There are many different things that motivate me along the way, but truth to be told - it just makes me happy and I definitely love what I do. It makes sense and it makes my days complete.
I think if you wish to have a successful business you always have to sacrifice something. As in your personal life, we’ve got to make some compromises in business. When you work with other people you must respect their needs and wishes. However, I never make compromises in regards to the quality of the services we offer. That’s a law.

What is important to be successful, hmmm. The most importmant thing is to have the willingness and desire to work. I think everybody who wants to be successful should be hard-working and to always strive to improve themselves.
My personal benefits come from the fact that I determine how to run my business. That’s essential. I also like to communicate and interact with different kinds of people.

COVID -19 crisis was a real test for me. We’re all experiencing a lot of intense emotions during these ever-evolving times, and entrepreneurs are no exception. To make it worse, there’s an additional level of stress as we try to do best for our customers.
At the beginning, the clients were afraid and canceled their booked hours, but now we are returning to normal, despite the reduced schedule.
To run a successful business, there are many skills necessary which a person have to have, but I think the most relevant are organisational skills, persistence and to be able to communicate successfully with others.
You’ve got to be a professional in what you do and to always improve yourself, to develop your business constantly and to be aware and up to date with the latest trends in the field you are working in.

In terms of soft skill I think one needs to be a good listener, to avoid conflicts and last but not least, be patient, after all running a business is not a race.
In my opinion with the right motivation and perseverance in your work you can achieve anything you want even if you don’t have a lot of experience.
I think that it is extremely important to learn the native language well. In my case I found many Russian speakers and managed to develop my idea before I could speak Bulgarian. If I hadn’t been able to communicate, I wouldn’t have had such a success.

In the beginning there were some difficulties. I couldn’t find important information in regards to the business I wanted to start. Not everything is concentrated in one place and it’s hard to find details about the sector. You have to search for information from many different sources.
I had quite the long adaptation before starting my business.

My advice is to communicate and interact as much as you can with the locals. You always learn new and interesting things and you never know what might be useful in the future.

And last but not the least - do your research well and study all the possibilities out there. Never give up, especially at the beginning when it’s usually hard. Don’t count on too much on other people, do as much as you can on your own. Of course, ask for help when you need to.