March 2019: Dreams don’t work unless you do and how we’re embracing the virtual reality.
When writing my 2019 goals last year, I promised to myself that this year, I’ll finally make my company fully location independent. Running a location independent business with a global audience has been the vision from the very beginning and something I’ve been working very hard to accomplish over the last 5 years. I don’t remember it, but my partner Orestis has recently reminded me of the day when I came up with my dream. It was back in July 2014, we were in Greece visiting our friends and also attending his cousins’ wedding. It was a beautiful, hot and sunny day. After spending a few days at our friend’s house in Patra, a small town in Peloponnese, we’ve been driving back to Athens for the wedding. I’ve been gazing through the car window, mesmerised by the most stunning mediterranean sea views, with blue horizons surrounding me all around and said:
“I want to create a company that I can take with me anywhere I go, so that I don’t ever have to sacrifice beautiful moments like this for having to be at work. I want to be able to visit my family whenever I want, without having to take holidays. I want to be able to spend summertime in Cyprus, and have more days like this in my life. I want to be able to join you when you travel around the world to your conferences, without having to take time off. I want to create a company which will allow me to fulfil my passion for creativity and entrepreneurship so that I can wake up every morning feeling excited about spending my day doing what I love and working with people who inspire me”.
This is when the dream was born. Ever since, I’ve been relentlessly driving that vision forward.
This is WHY I do what I do.
5 years in the making and over 200 clients later, the vision of leading a remote team and serving clients all around the world is finally coming to fruition. The internet has opened the globe and provided us with unlimited opportunities which allowed Visuable to operate not only in the UK where we’re based but also across Europe and lately all around the USA too. Our recent expansion across the Atlantic made me rethink our business strategy and the way we operate. We’re currently still seeing some of our local clients in person, but our aim is to transition to purely virtual communications by the end of May 2019. Why?
I want to make my vision of time and location freedom a reality so that Visuable keeps operating no matter if I happen to be in the UK, Cyprus, Poland or anywhere else.
As a company, we want to fully embrace the remote working culture so that we can find, hire and retain the best talent, no matter where they choose to work from. We want to offer our team time and location flexibility, as those are the key values that Visuable was founded on.
Operating remotely is more convenient and efficient for both us and our clients. Rather than having to travel to and from meetings, we focus on creating fun and engaging experiences whilst serving our clients virtually. Just recently, we’ve switched from in-person design briefing meetings followed by countless emails back and forward to finalise design concept and ideas, to fun and exciting Creation Calls, where our clients can be part of the brand visioning process, contribute their own ideas, choose colours, fonts and ever explore ideas for their logos right at the front of their eyes. This has been a revelation - not only our clients comment that it’s ‘fascinating’ and ‘mesmerising’ to experience and be part of our creative process, but we also reduced the back and forward with design concepts, making our clients happy with our work, faster! Our clients get better outcomes and faster turnarounds without having to even leave their own house or office and as a result, we reduced time needed to produce those designs. This in turn reduced our costs and therefore increased profits, creating a win-win situation for both.
Being able to tap into the new age virtual business models offers unlimited opportunities and allows for ongoing innovation. We’ve now stopped local, in-person networking and are trying out new, more effective methods of meeting globally based customers online and developed digital products that can be sold to anyone, anywhere. This in turn have opened limitless possibilities for us in terms of bringing new products to any markets we wish to be operating within in the future.
As a company, we like to innovate and stay ahead of the curve and we see going virtual as a huge competitive advantage for us this year.
You might be wondering how this new virtual business model translates into our working culture, since me and the team will not operate from the same office. I’ll let you onto a secret - we never did! Inka, our key designer is based in Finland. She started with us back in May 2018, but after few months in Bristol she returned to her home country. For the last 5 months, she has been serving our client’s from the comfort of her living room (or a co-working space if she prefers). Taking into consideration cold Finish winters, she was more than happy not having to commute to work in the snow! She came to visit us in Bristol in January and I am flying over to Finland to visit her in May, which makes for a fun way of keeping our working relationship alive whilst exploring new places to work from and also experiencing new destinations. Clients are often surprised when they find out Inka doesn’t live in Bristol and have been serving them all the way from Finland and admit that they’ve not even realised.
When I am in Bristol, I work from a private member’s club called The Square, where is see our clients in-person. Or, on the days when I have lots of overseas calls, I simply work from home. For over a year now, I’ve been taking regular months away and worked form Cyprus. I have a home office there but I also like working from the garden, various hotels and cafes and sometimes even from the beach - because, as long as there is wifi, it really doesn’t matter where I work from. I’ve invested in systems that allow me to run Visuable from my phone (if I want to) and I’ve switched to a phone contract with calls and data package that can be used all around Europe.
So in this new global virtual reality, my typical day usually looks like this:
get-up, coffee, PT session or SPA
homemade breakfast with my partner
reply to emails, check for new enquires and catch-up with the team
prep for today’s consultations
3-4 sales calls and sending proposals
lunch break: audiobook, journaling or team co-working catch-up over Zoom
2 brand consultations and report write-ups or business development activities
Admin, social media and team communications
Dinner, movie, friends, life...
As you can see, this set-up allows for doing all the important things in my life, every day - those are relationships, self-development, fun, fitness and nutrition. Previously, there was no way I would be able to handle 5-6 appointments in a day and still have time for a breakfast with my partner, lunch break, fitness routine and an audiobook. Now, all this is possible.
In fact, right now I am working on reducing the amount of appointments so I can focus on driving the vision and growing the company further.
What do you think about the growing trend towards time and location freedom?
Is this the culture that you would like your organisation to embrace?
Or are you the traditional type who likes to have an office?
Please let me know in the comments below!
My second MBA module was in full swing in March, with two assignment deadlines hanging over me. Luckily, I am the type of person who prefers to prepare in advance rather than stress out last minute, so I’ve written all my assignment way before deadlines, which helped with keeping the stress at bay throughout submission times.
Are you the type of person who plans in advance or are you the last minute type?
For my systems, structures and operations module, I had to write a global business growth report for a procurement marketplace company. This involved analysing the company competitive advantages and suggesting how they could improve their value proposition in order to become the market leader. It also involved analysing emerging trends in e-commerce and suggesting how the company could leverage them in order to expand outside of Bristol and scale globally.
It was a fascinating module and one that I’ve learned a lot from! It has given me insights into how it’s like to be in charge of running a global organisation and made me much more aware when it comes creating a company vision and choosing KPI’s and how my choices impact the decisions I have to make going forward and activities I should be focusing on.
Have my assignment research influenced me to finally go for it and expand globally? Most likely so. I’ve been reading so much about emerging trends, online business models and running global operations that I must have started implementing what I’ve learned within Visuable.
What do you do to keep yourself healthy, happy and full of life?
I am the kind of person that always strives to improve and become the best version of myself. Last year, I’ve started my journey with personal trainer. I’ve been wanting to get leaner and stronger so that I feel happy and full of energy every single day. Working with my PT and health coach Anna has been great for me as I finally stopped being lazy about going to the gym and making excuses and stated to exercise regularly.
TOP TIP: when choosing your PT, make sure you pick one that you aspire to! My PT Anna is exactly the type of woman I aspire to be - fit, healthy, beautiful and self-care conscious - working with Anna inspires me to work on myself so that I become the best version of me I can ever be! Anna’s guidance spills way outside of just fitness and nutrition, she positively influences my mindset and makes me BE the person who chooses healthy lifestyle.
Lately, I’ve even started to seek out activities outside of the gym floor. I’ve decided to try out a cuban dance fitness class called Pilo Exercise and I must admit that I absolutely love it!! After just first session, I’ve been feeling that I am more relaxed, happier and that I have an increased zest for life.
Pilo Excercise concept was started by Pilo Selguero Pesa, a cuban born fitness instructor who brought his afro Caribbean moves to Bristol and started what seem to be a Pilo Exercise movement. Honestly, when I am in his classes, I am always thinking to myself: “this is a brand done right”. The fitness studio resembles a dance floor at a latino party (minus the cocktails) and Pilo gives 100% energy to the room every single time. He have managed to attract a devoted crowd who attend his classes week in, week out and created what seem to be a fandom effect. During the workout, Pilo pulls attendees from front rows onto the stage, and lets them perform a few exercise routines for him. This helps to keep the energy high and enhances the brand experience for everyone in the class. Pilo exercise classes are truly exceptional and I really look forward to seeing this brand expand into a national Pilo revolution. It certainly has all the right ingredients to do so. I just LOVE when people get their brand experience right!
So with Anna and Pilo taking care of my fitness routine and helping me get fitter, leaner and stronger, I thought to myself: “why not take my self image to the next level by investing in upgrading my personal style too?”. I always advise my clients to work with a personal stylist in preparation for their photo-shoots to ensure they look and feel their absolute best for their session and so that we can get their personality to really beam through the photos. I am a big believer that the clothes we wear affect our mood and how we see ourselves and I’ve been feeling that NOW is the time to breathe some fresh air into my wardrobe with some SS19 pieces.
I’ve decided to work with my friend and my client Michelle, who I see as the most stylish person I’ve ever met. Michelle has this effortless sense of style about her and I am always inspired by the way she looks. Ahead of our shopping session, I’ve spent some time browsing through Pinterest and finding looks that I wanted to try. I then sent my style moodboard to Michelle and she explained which of those will work for me and which ones I should forget about. Michelle suggested what colours I should wear and what types of trousers / tops / dresses / shoes etc will suit me well. The biggest take away must have been that I’ve been getting my colours all wrong. I always picked muted autumn tones as I thought those suited me whilst Michelle suggested I should be wearing blacks, whites and splashes of colour to highlight my youthful, vibrant and creative personality. Working with Michelle to improve my personal style has been incredible - we’ve spent the whole afternoon trying out countless pieces and we’ve found a style that I now feel represents who I am and what I am about. Working with Michelle has been a refreshing experience, and one I’ll be sure to repeat in the near future. In fact, I’ve been shopping non-stop ever since.
P.S. If you’re wondering how to find those super humans, here are their websites:
Wrapping up the month with Visuable Brand Manifesto and looking forward to sharing my business insights and personal experiences with you next month!
define your dream
Follow your passion
Know what you stand for
open your mind
invest in yourself
Find your people
Choose a road less travelled
work hard, Offer value
Be nice, do good, have fun
Always have PEOPLE'S’ best interest at heart
Do what you love, Love what you do
Live you dream
Lidia is a passionate, inspirational and transformational Creative Director. Her clients rave about her ability to extract a clear vision, turn that vision into a reality and create an online identity that they are proud to show off.
From an extensive career in marketing, photography and web design to a successful business owner, Lidia is synonymous with innovative, insightful, high-quality work.
Lidia created Visuable in early 2015 and has worked with 200+ brands, transforming their visual identities in a way that has not only lead to business growth but also inspired personal and business confidence.