Interview With Female Entrepreneur Madalina Tarabulea

Interview With Female Entrepreneur Madalina Tarabulea l Paperbeau.nl

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?

Rubikon Decor is an interior design studio that offers integrated and personalized services for your home. I believe that a house becomes a reflection of the owner’s personality and here is where the magic starts. I am specialized in designing beautiful and ergonomic spaces, with the best utilization of the available space, furniture, and decorations. With a low to medium budget, I help you bring a new vibe to your home, give a new purpose to different spots of your house, and highlight your personality through design. What I do:

1. Decluttering & Organizing Workshops

2. Decluttering Online Program

3. Webshop with DIY plant terrarium kits

4. 1to1 consultancy in Interior Design & Decluttering and Organizing

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?

Five years ago I started my journey with decluttering, organizing and redesigning my house after going through a difficult period. It was the first time in my life when I felt the urge to do it, as a metaphor for clearing my mind, leaving the past behind, and pushing the restart button for my new life. That was the moment when I realized how little I actually need to be happy. And that I just need to take action. In 2020 I turned my hobby into a business and this is how Rubikon Decor was born. It was a dream that came true, just at the right timing. It was summer, I was still processing the news that I won’t have the contract for my full-time job extended due to the Corona crisis, so I knew that that was the moment to take action and do something for Rubikon. Which I did and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken 🙂 Since then, I inspire other people to find the resources and motivation to bring a new vibe to their home.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?

Rubikon Decor is my side business – I have been working for over 10 years in marketing and now I am Channel Marketing Manager in a SaaS company. 

Rubikon Decor was born from my need to make order in my life, then to inspire other people to declutter their life & mind. Working in marketing helps me better understand how to approach people, how to highlight the changes you can bring to your life and wellbeing + how to speak out loud and clear about what I love most – decluttering and organization.

I think that for me this combination works best, to combine my full-time job with my passion, in a good (so far) balance of my professional life – double professional life and personal life. How is it possible? With a very good business plan for Rubikon Decor, with setting up the priorities and very good communication with my partner, who understands my need to invest my energy in more than one place. Sounds crazy, but it is fun and exciting 🙂

WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Start with your passion or hobby. Have a talk with yourself and see what you enjoy most to do, what brings you joy and how you could monetize it. This is, in my opinion, the key to success.  You love it and you have the skill set you need to be the best. You invest already your time and energy in it, so why not share it with more people & make a living out of it?

Second, it is super important to have a clear structure in your mind – what are the services you can offer, how you can do it, what are the things you need to do first. Try to put everything on paper, it helps you clear your mind and organize all thoughts and ideas you have when you are super excited about this new adventure.

The last part is actually to enjoy it. Everything is part of a process, so from time to time, give some time to yourself to just step back, admire what you’ve achieved so far and be proud of yourself. And then start working again :).

MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:

To decide what are the services I want to offer. I was not sure how to formulate it, as I cover a diverse and maybe a bit not so a usual palette of services, so I spent some time to put on paper what exactly I want and can offer and how to promote it. I knew I wanted to focus on decluttering & organizing, combined with interior design consultancy and, because I’ve learned that putting your eggs in multiple baskets is the best way to do a business, I liked the idea of having an online shop as well.

For me, it was hard to first decide what exactly I offer, how much I should ask for it and then how to organise the stocks for my plant terrariums. It was much more difficult than I imagined, much more materials & coordination than I initially thought. I had to put on paper the expenses + earnings, decide if I want or not to compromise some of the quality of the services to still have some profit (I decided to not compromise the quality, but to decide what is a priority to keep and what not, plus what can be used for the personal touch without impacting too much the overall cost of the product). 

I also made mistakes, the most painful one was with the jars – as I wanted a very specific model that couldn’t be found at a decent price in the Netherlands, so I had to order it from China. I didn’t approximate well the size and my jars were actually half of the size I expected, the cost was way too high for what I got and my whole plan was altered, as I had to sell them at a lower price than I planned + I had also problems with the plants (they didn’t fit anymore).

I just adapted my decorations + plants (I took super baby succulents) to the new conditions, I admitted and accepted that my profit will be much less and that was it 🙂 It turned out good eventually, but it was a hard lesson for me.

MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:

The first collaboration I had with a Feng Shui specialist, to do an online 4 weeks program about Decluttering + Feng Shui. It was the opportunity for me to put together all my marketing experience, my decluttering + organization methods into a form of a workshop and to present everything in front of a very diverse audience. Also, it was a beautiful experience to work in a team and to feel ready to present my ideas & methods in front of other people, in real-time, to educate them & inspire them to make better choices for their wellbeing.

HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:

It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. If you asked me 7-8 years ago if I could do it, I would have said maybe no. At that point, I was still struggling with finding the balance between work and personal life, defining who I was, what I liked, how I could be a very good professional.

After a lot of personal development courses, discussions, experiments and confidence I gained through different accomplishments, I am here now, with a full-time job, a business almost 100% focused on online and a very good personal life, full of events I attend and quality time with my partner.

I would say that the secret is only to put on paper the priorities + the business model for your business. In my case, 8-9h of my time goes now to the full-time job. For Rubikon Decor, I was super lucky to have had 3 months in the summer of 2020, when I lost my previous full-time job due to Covid and I was between jobs. That was the moment when I actually set everything – the website, business plan, marketing, etc. Then I just wanted to automate everything, to find patterns that can be replicated, methods to make my work as easy and time optimized as possible. This is how I came with the concept of the online programs that are pre-built, so the people can just buy and I can promote them + re-iterate. On the other hand, having already the stocks for the DIY plant terrariums helped as well. It was super time-consuming at the beginning, but now is just a matter of packing everything when I get an order and deliver it.

Also, communication is the key, especially if you are in a relationship – at the beginning of 2021 I put on paper all my plans for the first half of the year, I discussed everything with my partner, explaining to him how I plan to manage everything, time-wise + resource-wise, we came up with a common plan and I stick to it 🙂 

I AM INSPIRED BY:

Taking action & inspiring people around. I am motivated if I keep the things in the move, I learn every day something new, I get involved in interesting events & projects that are aligned to my values + business plan and I find inspiring people around, from whom I learn all the time. I am super active, socially engaged, so I find my inspiration around – in a nice design I see at an event, in books or magazines when I make some extra research, after a discussion with another specialist who just offers me another angle/ another opinion about how he/she is doing a specific thing.

WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:

This career chose me, I like to believe. Everything happened naturally for me, it was just a way for me to put my life in order. And this is how my body and mind find the solution to make some cleaning, I badly needed it. It was super organically, I felt the urge to do the decluttering + organization internally, in my body. Then I just followed my intuition to come up with my own method, and then it became a lifestyle.

So when I decided to share it with the other people, I just refined it + structured it and here we are 🙂

Same with the interior design, as it is highly connected to decluttering & esthetics. Since I was a child, I was fascinated by interiors. I remember myself walking in the evening/ night and looking inside the houses and imagining how the people there lived, after the design they chose in the house. I was always interested in creating a harmonious place for me, based on my hobbies + what makes me feel good. Then it was just working together with the people to discover their own style and to make it happen 🙂

HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:

I follow my intuition + I research a lot + I create my opportunities. I like to listen to my body and what direction it tells me to take, then I do a lot of research to make sure that I have the information I need & my ideas are applicable to the market. Then, I create my opportunities by interacting with a lot of people, being active in different communities, orientated to entrepreneurs, expats and others that are relevant to my business. I smile a lot, I believe in myself and then I just take action and optimize on the way 🙂

DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?

Yes, of course. This is how I started my business – to outline the services, price, benefits, marketing strategy, etc. For me this is the starting point of any business – it gives you clarity on what and who you are and what you want to achieve and how. Of course, it is not a static tool – you make it once and you leave it like this for years. It can be as flexible as you wish, you can optimize it depending on how different actions you take are perceived by the market, but it is very important to have a structure and to stick to it. A business plan will always remind you which were the main values that made you start the business + the progress you make + what you can do next to grow more.

MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…

For me, it worked perfectly to use Wix as the main platform for my website, the business version. It gives me all advantages of having an e-shop (with all information + payments integrated) + get the invoices, integrates a blog and it is also super user friendly and has different adds on that are pre-built and can be easily added.

THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…

Action, action and action 🙂 Don’t overthink, just make a plan, implement it, optimize it and reiterate it.

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