Kate Kurdziej is on a mission to empower female startups and entrepreneurs to strike a better work/life balance by running their online businesses more efficiently and to eradicate the burnout and stress that can hold so many people back with slick systems and tech. She’s swapped the grey daily commute for a cold glass of wine by the pool after work after moving from the UK to France in 2021- She really is living the dream in a French farmhouse surrounded by sunflowers and vineyards and wants to help other women achieve this level of success too.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I had enjoyed a successful career in business operations for many years. I was working in a high profile job but the environment was toxic so I quit when I discovered I was 3 months pregnant- it was no place to grow a healthy baby. My son Oliver was born 2 weeks into the first lockdown of the pandemic in 2020- a very different global landscape to what I had imagined. Shielding a newborn from a deadly virus was an unexpected and scary situation, but it made my husband and I think deeply about what was important in life – it could all be taken away so easily. When my son was 5 months old, I was ready to work again. My husband asked me what it was that I really wanted to do? And I replied ‘I want to start my own business’.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
I was aware of a growing presence of online service providers, Virtual Assistants and Online Business Managers and during lockdown there was a huge increase in these kinds of roles. Having worked in business management and operations, the OBM role stood out to me. I knew that I wanted to use my corporate knowledge to support women to run their businesses the right way, in a way that supports them and frees up their time for other parts of life which bring them meaning. Olivier Consultancy was born from my kitchen table with baby Oliver in a sling across my chest.
How did you achieve awareness?
In the early days, Instagram was where I made connections. I also made sure I joined networking groups and when lockdown permitted, met local women in person- there’s nothing quite like real life connections.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
The business has never received any formal funding. I put in £250 of my own savings to get started and purchase tech subscriptions, but it’s been a recipe of time and perseverance to grow a sustainable and successful business where I now get to help women on a global scale.
What are the key successes?
I have three pillars of success in my business:
- Freedom- am I chained to my desk or do I have flexibility to take my son out for the afternoon or book in a well deserved massage?
- Meaning- do I feel fulfilled when I work and can see the transformations?
- Money- it’s not the most important but it’s up there. My initial goal was to equal my corporate wage whilst working part-time, which I have already surpassed.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Juggling child-care (or lack of) whilst growing a business has been a challenge. Planning Zoom meetings around nap times and feeding a baby at night then working in the day takes its toll. It’s been important to keep reminding myself not to compare my journey to someone who has 40+ hours a week to dedicate to their business.
What are your plans now/for the future?
I am planning to train the next era of online operations specialists! There is a huge need for quality service providers but a real lack of high quality, specific training available, so I hope to inspire other women to start their own businesses from their kitchen tables!
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
It’s the best ride you’ll ever go on and you’ll find out things about yourself that you never knew before. I’d do it all again if I needed to!
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
Get clear on what your goals are and what success looks like to you. As soon as you surround yourself in social media then it can be all too easy to take on other people’s measures of success which can leave you feeling like a failure.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
Karen Brady- Karen shows class in a male dominated industry
Hannah Nieves- a PR queen who has built an empire online
Mel Robbins- a brilliant coach and speaker for a dose of motivation in the morning
Michelle Obama- a lawyer in her own right and a powerful speaker
Judge Judy- a bit of a curveball but I aspire to be that witty and smart!
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
Nothing changes if nothing changes- so simple but so true. It’s helped me quit jobs and pursue more meaningful goals for years. All too often we get comfortable and think ‘I’ll do X when Y’ and then continue to complain about the situation. You can change it, but you have to take action!
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
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