I changed my life. I am now an entrepreneur

I want to share an article of mine when reporting from the European Youth Event in Strasbourg.  As I see it it won’t be published anywhere so I decided to post the story in my blog. It’s a little bit self centric but I think it has to be shared.

May 10, 2014, Strasbourg, France – Being entrepreneur isn’t easy but when you have an idea just focus on it. That was the main point expressed during the panel „I changed my life. I am now an entrepreneur“, part of the European Youth Event held in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Around 80 people were in the audience listening to three successful entrepreneurs – Dimitra Didangelou, Stefan Köppl and Ismail Haznedar who shared their experience telling more about what is like to be an entrepreneur and how and why they started their own business.

„I just did it. I didn’t even have clients at first and it was a bumpy road but that was one of the best decisions in my life“, explained Stefan Köppl, founder of Indiecampers, a camper rental company based in Portugal. The Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme helped Stefan to develop his idea in a successful business model. The business exchange programme offers new entrepreneurs the possibility to work up to 6 months alongside an experienced entrepreneurs in another European country.

„If you want to have an impact you should open your own company“, argued Stefan Köppl. Yet, he admits that is could be difficult to move from a nice income to no income for a while. Before moving to Portugal the founder of Indiecampers had a well paid job in Austria.

„Failure is part of the programme“, is the opinion of Dimitra Didangelou, the founder of PSY-CHE, a company offering psychology services trough web magazines, online workshops and events based in Greece. „You don’t become an entrepreneur to have a success. Yes, of course, you don’t want to fail but you just wake up one morning and want to try“, emphasized Dimitra, who also benefited from the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme.

„It is decision that really changes your life. The previous professional experience helps you a lot but it also good to have some savings“, explained Ismail Haznedar, founder Stratejik Isler, a consultancy company focused on strategy development and Executive Vice President of Junior Chamber International (JCI). „When you have an idea just focus on it and go with the decision you made“, advised Ismail.

„The ideal thing is to find what makes is unique, what is your niche“, explained further Ismail Haznedar, answering the question how to compete with big companies. In his opinion if your business is unique the big firms won’t disturb you and after a while they could become your partners and outsource so of their services to you.

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