Expat Entrepreneur: Nadine Kazerounian
British expat entrepreneur Nadine Kazerounian tells about her image consultancy business in Spain, and that in order to gain trust among local business culture it's important to show up at events and be a networking pro.
Name: Nadine Kazerounian
City of residence: Barcelona
Name of company: Praxis Image Consultants
Date of company launch: 1996 in UK, 2009 in Spain
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going.
I actually run two businesses that complement each other nicely. First, I am a qualified image and impression management coach working with both corporate clients and private individuals. I like to say “I sell confidence” –- I help people look and feel more confident so that others respond to them more positively.
Most people consult me at some important change point –- whether in their work or their private lives. So I’ve helped people through the difficulties of redundancy and divorce, as well as through happier events –- weight loss, starting a new business or getting married. Though I have men clients too, most of my work is focused on helping women move their careers forward.
My second company is a multi-level marketing business with Forever Living products. We are in the health and beauty market, so you could say I help people look good on the outside and feel good on the inside.
It’s taken me about a year to be established in Spain because I had to develop a network of contacts again (I was Chair of a women’s networking group in the UK, and a very active networker generally).
Now I am better known here and I have found some great people to collaborate with. So far, this year has been very exciting. I’ve co-founded a group for women business owners called Womenpreneurs Mean Business, and I’m also collaborating with other coaches and consultants in a new venture called Enhanced Evolution.
What do you like about doing business in your country of residence?
Undoubtedly the best thing is the new people I have met and am now working with. They are a mix of Spanish and expats from around the world, and they are so creative and inspiring, Just like the city of Barcelona itself.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in your country of residence?
My main frustration has been the language. I did learn some Castillano before leaving the UK, and my husband is a native Spanish speaker. But it takes time to become fluent, and I hate not being able to express myself properly. But I’m getting there, and once I’m fluent I’ll start learning Catalan because I live outside Barcelona.
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
The main things that held me back were the language and lack of contacts –- I had a few friends here but no business contacts. So it took time to get established. Women’s networks like EPWN and BWN have been an invaluable help, and I’ve made some lovely friends (again, some Spanish but from all over the world really). So if I have problems I now have a support group to turn to.
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
The personal image business has not really been affected because professional people always need my services -– whether they’re changing jobs or looking for a promotion -– or even just wanting to hang onto the job they have by acquiring that ‘stand out’ quality that employers look for.
And the Forever Living business has really taken off because so many people are looking for additional income these days. Or they’re looking to create their own financial security after redundancy by starting their own business, and it’s a low cost, low risk way of doing so.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in your country of residence?
Network, and that includes social networking. If you’re not using the internet to connect with others through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., then you’re missing a trick.
Also, there are so many great groups in Barcelona, and if you’re not yet fluent in the language then you can use them to tap into the English-speaking market. There are so many fantastic, creative people to collaborate with. And people really do want to help.
How does running a business in your current country of residence compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
Where shall I begin? Obviously the legal, tax, social security, IVA etc. are all different, so you need to get some professional advice about different forms of business entity.
Also, it takes longer to get people to know, like and trust you here. So you need to be patient and consistent. Keep turning up to networking events. Offer help where you can -– I give free ‘tasters’ so people get a feel for what I do. And also I give out lots of Forever Living product samples –- people here love a freebie!
Would you like to add anything that we haven’t addressed in the questionnaire?
My contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org and my website: www.PraxisImageConsultants.com.
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