Inspired by the response to my article, 2018 Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs and How to Overcome Them, I initiated this series of interviews called, How to Grow as an Entrepreneur. The interviews are a mentoring experience for women across the world, an inspirational relationship based on trust and mutual respect which benefits anyone reading about and reflecting on the amazing journey of each of these women.
Meet Katja Matosevic, CEO & Co-founder at Geo Target/Geo-marketing. Katja moved to Italy in 2009 and started from the scratch. She worked for years as an associate for a company and then in 2014, due to fibromyalgia, she had to reinvent herself. When she gained her strength, she started her own company. During that process, she started practicing yoga to take care of her health. Katja loves yoga, meditation, and is serious about healthy eating.
She loves Neuroscience (related to human behavior that uses that in retail too) with a holistic approach. All that is the basis of human behavior captures her interest. She loves working with numbers and statistics and says that integrating ‘behind the scenes’ is what makes the difference in retail.
1. This series is about raising awareness among women enabling them to take the entrepreneur baton in their hands. Do you agree the baton needs to be passed on and why?
This is a great opportunity to show that becoming an entrepreneur at any stage of your life is not only possible but moreover is a new exciting and rewarding journey! Entrepreneurship has no gender. It’s not an easy decision to leave a job and a secure income to become an entrepreneur. The questions that arise provide us with opportunities through the entire experience; Do I have the skills to place myself in a competitive market? Will I succeed? What If I don’t? You turn around and you see a vast parterre of men entrepreneurs. And here is where a woman feels alone, left with all the questions. This where we must be reminded that we are equal. The goal is to improve strategic planning, build finance policies and procedures, explore viable ways to finance your business each business cycle by strengthening capacity and reducing costs.
2. Tell us about your entrepreneurial pathway? What helped you the most to kickstart the journey?
Due to health problems, I had a hard time to keep up with a regular job so I started my own. I was always a proactive person with a clear vision of not “how” but “why” I wanted this kind of change. Health issues were just a first glimpse of light but the real kickstart was when I was able to find my “why”?
I wanted to challenge myself, to put into action my vision, to gain financial freedom along with the freedom to manage my time.
It doesn’t mean that I work less. At first, you’ll work m ore than you ever did before but on your own terms and the passion you put in will replace all the hard work.The kickstart is an inner mindset change. From inside out.
I used to give less importance to my health, I see now how lucky I am to stay healthy. And when I see amazing women like you come and fight through it all I’m inspired? It’s important never ever to give up. And to listen to your own body. Tough things in life teach us much. We just have to stay open-minded, listen and not get discouraged. More easy to say than to do for sure. But not impossible. As I said we are all more brave and strong because we are aware.
You know, before it occurred and knocked me down I never thought much of health. I was super active. Working with all the energy. Traveled. Horse riding, Rollerblade. I felt invincible. Till I couldn’t even get out of a bed. Not being able to make two stairs. With pain in whole my body with no relief and no cure.
But at the end, if life gives you lemons… You make a lemonade! After all the tears, anger and self-pity you have no other choice than to be brave and fight back. Claiming your life back. Not as it was. But make the best of it from where you are.
3. Wow, Thank you for sharing that with us, Katja. What’s your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs on not missing out on promising opportunities?
Know your worth. You’re more than you think. You have more strength that you can imagine. If you have an idea, go for it. Don’t ever be scared getting out of your comfort zone. That’s the place where miracle happens. You make them happen by acknowledging how much power reside in you. Learn from every step you take, evolve, grow and start. Just start. Do not wait for that perfect moment – there’s no such moment in life. Start with what you have and are and make changes along the way. Be open and flexible.
4. How do you acknowledge and manage your barriers or obstacles? As an entrepreneur are you the type of person that’s takes risk? How do we tackle these risks?
I look at obstacles and barriers not as my enemy or a source of stress and trouble but as opportunities to learn and evolve. In fact, be grateful for the obstacles as they will make you grow both personally and business related. When a problem occurs it’s a wonderful indicator that something is ready to change for better.
Regarding taking risks I firmly believe every opportunity hides some level of risks and subsequently, every risk hides an opportunity. I am prepared for both. There are ways to manage risks efficiently. Be aware and do your “homework”, learn about potential market, your competitors, be informed, and never stop learning and listening.
One thing I’ve always noticed about entrepreneurs or self-employed people I’ve interacted with is confidence, what’s your golden advice on keep that light burning. Doubt is part of every human being. We all deal with doubt. Even the most successful entrepreneurs. Does it stop them? No. So Acknowledge it. Accept it. Move on. Don’t let it rule you. You are in charge always.
When you lack confidence remember all the great things you’ve already achieved in your life! There’s an interesting technique you can use called: ” Act as if “. Act as if you already have the confidence you’re aiming to have. It’s a very powerful role play that puts you right on the track. It’s all about what we believe in. You can choose what to believe.
As Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” Choose your beliefs wisely.
5. Who are the most influential women in your life?
It’s a very close friend of mine struggling with an invalidating disease. Her courage is a never ending well of inspiration for me. She never ever gave up. She taught me to live in the present. Not to carry “yesterday” with me and not to be obsessed with “tomorrow”. All we have is now. And this is where all the actions has to be summed. Moment by moment. It’s a wonderful lesson for all areas in our lives.
6. Last question here, please tell me one book/movie that changed the way you looked at things in life with your favourite quote.
When I was only 16 I’ve read a biography of Muhammad Ali. Was so inspiring. I’ve read 600 pages in one single night. One of the best quotes ever that I cherish and remember myself daily:
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
Thank you, Katja for being you, please continue to Empower and Inspire Women worldwide.