#SelfStarterStories: From being a student to founding a music startup in London
This week's #selfstarterstory features Gergana Argirova, Founder of London Music Box.
#PickYourselfUK caught up with Gergana to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
What was your last job?: I have always hated working for someone else, so I don't really remember my last job. I think it was in college, where I was a waitress..and I didn't particularly like it.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: 6 years ago when I moved to the United Kingdom. I had just graduated with a Master's from a university in the USA and moved to the UK as I was accepted to do a PhD at Cambridge. However, instead of going back to school, I decided to start my own business.
I found a gap in the market, as there were no music/piano teachers working with students on the Autism Spectrum. I accepted the challenge and started training as well as developing my music tuition business- London Music Box.
We work with mainstream students and those on the Autism Spectrum (ASD), both children and adults, in one inclusive and supportive environment.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: I don't have any formal business education and it was challenging for me to set up and start a business when I didn't know what the steps were. I went with what felt right at the time and stuck to my passion and dream of one day being a successful business owner.
What is your favourite business book and why?: Oh, I love reading business books- I really like '' The 4 hour work week'' by Tim Ferriss and ''How to win friends and influence people'' by Dale Carnegie.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: I used to be absolutely obsessed with doing everything myself with a meticulous perfection. Nowadays, I have a few Associates who work with me.
What is your favourite marketing tool ?: If you are creative and bright enough, you don't need lots of marketing budget. Posting free ads on the internet is amazing as it makes your name pop-up everywhere (for free!)
How do you market your business?: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, posters, business cards, word-of-mouth, networking and socialising with people in general.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: 4 years ago
I got my first clients through advertising on an ASD forum.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: Just doing lots of advertising online!
Nominate one person/friend who believed in you from the start, and what would you like to say to them today?: Mildred- we loved our ''boss woman'' catch-ups! You were such an inspiration for me!
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Just do it! There is nothing worse than putting yourself through the ''what ifs''. Take a deep breath and go for it, and if for whatever reason it doesn't work- at least you've tried so you can move on!
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: Lord Sugar
I have applied for The Apprentice and got through to all stages, however, I wasn't picked for the new Season. I would like to ask him a few questions about the show and his career and have a laugh, as we share a similar his sense of humor!
To stay up to date with Gergana Argirova's entrepreneurial journey, please find her on Facebook below:
Gergana Argirova has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2018. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.