TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
I’m a photographer and interior designer. As a photographer, I create exhibitions in galleries and I work for different magazines like Elle Decor, Schöner Wohnen, House and Leisure, H.o.m.e. Magazine etc. As an interior designer, I’m quite busy in designing my second own space. Last year I bought an old farm in Brandenburg close to the beautiful Spreewald. During the renovation works, I found out, that it used to be an old flax farm about a century ago. In the barn are still some tools and devices from which farmers used to produce linen out of flax plants and even a few fabrics from that time that are still hanging in the old looms. „Alte Flachsfarm“ became the name of my new business which consists in creating holiday accommodations and event space and renting them – to tourists or to people who want to host workshops, retreats or courses here.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
I grew up in the countryside of Bavaria but for the past 15 years, I’ve been living in Berlin. I definitely love the city but when I bought a tiny holiday house directly next to the river called Spree close to the Spreewald 4 years ago I realized: Nature is something I missed so much over the last years, so I spent at least half of the week there and the other time I spent in Berlin or I’ll be travelling for photo or interior jobs.
I renovated my small holiday house and found out, that I really love to share this beautiful location with other people, ‘cause it’s such a beautiful place. But it is tiny, so I started to look for another place I could renovate to give other people the chance to get inspired by extraordinary locations as well.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
So I have three businesses. And it has always been very obvious that I can’t do a nine to five jobs and that I have to be my own boss. At first, I studied communication design in Munich and afterwards photo design in Berlin. After my studies, I have always been self-employed.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
To find a balance for heart and brain decisions and to take it sportive when something doesn’t work out in your career like you wanted it to be. Often it needs that kind of disappointing experiences to get better in what you do.
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:
Definitely the creative market here in Berlin. It doesn’t matter how good you are. There are way too many super talented people who are sharing the market. And everyone tries to get a job by being cheaper than the other. Which is destroying the market and is super frustrating for all of us who are creatives. I found my solution by not only working for clients in Berlin but for working with clients internationally.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
Is that I now get paid more and more for what my work is really worth. And also that I am able to put up a clear boundary if a customer tries to pay my performance with less than it is worth.
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
I just don’t think about it. I try to concentrate on jobs I really like so that there’s hardly any difference between life and work.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
Old beautiful houses, good music, travelling to foreign countries and cities and nature.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
I just can’t do anything else.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
No one told me that I have to prepare!
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
I can’t even use Excel. So no. I’m only excellent in the common creative software.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMEN BUSINESS OWNER?
The huge disadvantage to be self-employed is that everything you have to do or decide to do it for yourself. The huge advantage is exactly the same for men as for women.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
I have more than one favourite business tool: my camera, my computer, my drilling machine and my chop saw.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
I got this piece of advice from my old mentor from when I was studying photo design: „Don’t ever have the feeling that you miss something if you stay in bed.“ Like now. I’m in the bed office today.
If you want to explore more of Caterina’s beautiful work, see the links below: