In the fourth episode of “Young Entrepreneurs Talk”, I am showing you to another successful female entrepreneur – Antoniya.
Boy, it seems women are beginning to inch their way into the field of entrepreneurship these days.
Antoniya originates from Bulgaria, but she has lived around the world and now is settled in Izmir, Turkey, where she bathes her skin in the sunny waters of the Aegean Sea.
Let’s see what she had to share with us.
- Tonka, you have been chosen as my next guest of the “Young Entrepreneurs Talk” rubric. Could you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences and tell our readers why do you see yourself successful in what you do?
Hi, everyone, my name is Antoniya, but you can call me Tonka as everyone else. I am a creative entrepreneur, the person behind pErix and the founder of the Etsy Superstar community.
My work is focused on creating a better world – a world where we respect each other, the Earth, and all beings. I’m moving towards this goal with my recycled brand pErix & my consulting work at SheHustlin.com where I have creative & solopreneurs start an online business with a solid strategy. I do that because to me, the way of the future is through inclusiveness & small business economy.
After my educational adventures in Hungary & the Netherlands, I moved to the Aegean coast and now live in Turkey. I always see the glass full. It’s just easier. People say that one word that describes me is “creativity” and I don’t disagree. Another one is a “hustler”. 😀
- In an effort to stick your head out from the masses, what are your methods and what makes you really unique among all others?
My favorite quote in the world comes from Oscar Wilde:
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
To me, one of the most important things you need to do to be successful is to be yourself in every aspect of your work & life. And I know that’s difficult because everyone is telling you what you need to do or how you need to behave. But that will only cause you a burnout. Be yourself, it’s easier and your uniqueness will shine. Every client I’ve ever worked with loves me. They appreciate my work, but they remember the personality and that’s why they come back for more.
Another, more practical, tip is to just show up and do great work. Honestly, especially online, the standards are so low, that if you show up on time for meetings, prepared and ready with ideas, keep your deadlines and under-promise and over-deliver, you’re going to have a great success.
I’ve worked with consultants who charge hundreds of dollars for work I had to re-do. Just perform well and you’ll get noticed.
- Would you mind sharing with us some hints as to how you secure customers?
My best tip, if you’re just starting out is to leverage the power of marketplaces until you build your brand. For example, if you’re a designer, go to Etsy.com instead of building your own website from scratch. If you’re a freelancer, go to Upwork.com to start building rapport. If you create online courses, start on Udemy.com or Skillshare.com to get some traction.
I think too many of us try to do it all alone when we don’t need to. Leverage others’ audiences first!
- I am sure you juggle many daily errands. What’s the spicy secret?
It’s a total mess!!! No, well, sometimes it is, but mostly I’m a very organized person. I have four notebooks and schedules and to-do’s everywhere. Writing down everything is my secret. Just unloading the brain.
Lately, I’ve been applying the can-do vs should-do approach. For everything I’m going to do I ask myself: is this just something I can do, or is it something I should do? And going even deeper – do I WANT to do it…
- Do you have a role model with whom you would love co-operate? Who would be that person?
Oh, that was Jesus Christ, but lately, I’ve switched to Marie Forleo. Haha.
When I was younger, I couldn’t find anyone to look up to so I choose Jesus. He seemed like a cool guy – kind, forgiving, wise and loving, and he came back from the dead, you know. I really admired the strength he had in kindness. I always aspire to that.
Nowadays, my role model is Marie Forleo. She is an outstanding person and everything, I think, a creative entrepreneur should be. She hustles with love, and that’s what my goal is as well. One day, I’ll definitely meet and hi-five her.
- What errors over the course of your career have helped you grow and turn you into the person you are at this very moment?
I don’t see my choices as errors, but rather as lessons. For example, a few weeks back, I had a message from a client who wanted to return two products he bought for some reason. I told him to send them back and I’ll refund. So, he replied that he’ll be sending them back that afternoon and I thought we are good. I issued the refund just to see another message from the buyer that he couldn’t post the items back until the next day…. Long story short, he never did.
This mistake thought me an important lesson: wait for the damn items back first! Ha-ha, I’m never going to issue a premature refund again!
I think what really helped me grow into the person I’m today are limitations. The more limited we are, the more creative we become. I love it! Plus, all the inspiring people who share their knowledge with us online… It’s amazing how much you can grow by watching YouTube videos! (Svet signing here: “Of course, educational videos, guys!”)
- Is there a universal formula or the ultimate success? Or, do you have one for yourself?
No, of course not. Whoever told you that is most probably not very successful.
Sure, money is nice! It feels great to be able to pay the bills with work that gives you joy.
But the ultimate success is the lack of regrets, I think. And never stop moving. Get up after you fall. That’s success.
- In addition to your hectic work life, what do you enjoy indulging in during your leisure time?
Leisure time? What are you talking about?
Just kidding, in fact, I’m a huge advocate for work-life balance. Don’t kill me, but work is NOT the most important thing in life.
When I don’t hustle, I watch superhero series and do all kinds of do-it-yourself projects. I love crafting, hiking, camping, yoga, my pets, and nature. I also love writing just for fun & drinking good wine (or rakia, or whatever) in good company.
I also love cooking, luckily for my ever-hungry husband & pets!
- Up until now, do you have any regrets?
Only one but not work-related. I’ll share it anyway because it’s important… My wedding’s best man, my brother from another mother, passed away too early, 27 years-old. My only regret is that we could not have that trip that we were planning & go to that festival we talked about so much. He went without me. I’m sorry we couldn’t make that memory together.
So, don’t wait for next year, next week, or next month… Do it now! Go call your mum, now! Go see your friend, now… You never know!
- Did you enjoy this interview?
Actually, I was a bit disappointed that there are only ten questions! I enjoy talking about myself like most of us… But for a different reason: it’s very reflective! When I look at my answers, I think: is this who I really want to be… And in this case, the answer is definitely YES!
Tonka is one of those people that you haven’t even met and you know you are going to hit it off at once (For the record, we did). Besides being a hustler, an EARTH superhero, and a very beautiful lady, she is also married, so hands off, guys!
Check out her shop on Etsy and if you want to gain more knowledge about this great platform, follow her Facebook group on that.
And one last thing. Antoniya’s recycled tote bags are on sale until the end of February with the code EARTHSUPERHERO.
I just ordered two. Thanks, Tonka, for having you here! : )
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