What I learned for 20 years in London?
As of today, I have officially spent twenty years in London. I came here on 14th December 2000. If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you have probably heard me mention this – the decision to move to the UK was a big turning point in my life and the catalyst for my success.
Could I have managed this level of success back in Bulgaria?
Yes, and no.
Here’s what I mean:
If you know the things that I know, you can most certainly build a business anywhere. But coming here is exactly what allowed me to learn. I found myself in so many new situations, I met and spoke with a ton of wonderful people from all over the world, and I broadened my horizons. If I didn’t go through these experiences, I probably would not have tried to start a business. And so, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn.
If for whatever reason, I had to go back to Bulgaria right now and start all over again, I would definitely be able to create a business there. But that’s only because I’ve been through all of these experiences. And this is also why I always tell you guys – your mindset is the key to success. You need to experience things and reflect on them. You need to keep learning new things. Because this is how you get better. And this goes beyond business too – the more you know about the world and the people who live in it, the better your life will be overall.
So, looking back at it, I can confidently state that coming to London twenty years ago was definitely one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.
I came here looking for a fresh start. Before moving here, I was in a really rough spot – financially, professionally and romantically. I had just gone through a rough break-up, I was raising my daughter all on my own, and my work environment was straight-up toxic.
Even getting out of bed every morning felt like a massive struggle because I had nothing to look forward to. All I knew was that I can’t give up – I wanted to give my daughter a better shot in life, and that responsibility was what kept me going.
Looking back at it, with all of my experience and knowledge, I can definitely see how you might find the story a bit silly and overly dramatic. After all, we did have a roof over our heads and, even though we struggled financially, I still managed to put food on the table. But I was absolutely miserable. And this had to change. I didn’t want to be sad anymore and, most important of all, I didn’t want my daughter to suffer because of it. So, I packed my bags and came to London. Of course, it took me a while to get things started. Starting a business wasn’t a part of my plan. Or, well, it’s not like I had much of a plan, to begin with.
My idea was to go abroad, find a stable job and bring my daughter over and eventually find love again.
And I managed to achieve all of that, of course, but I also gained something fundamental that I didn’t really understand at the time – the opportunity to learn.
So, here’s my advice for today – never surrender to negativity. Even if everything feels like a struggle, even if things look terrible. And this is especially important if you are starting something new. There are countless opportunities out there. All you have to do is reach out to them.
Speaking of positivity, I want to share a quick story with you here.
When I first came to London, all I had were a couple of suitcases and a total of £500 in cash. But, being young and making a fresh start, I also felt the need to look good. In other words, I wanted to buy new clothes. Or, more specifically – a new pair of shoes.
I knew that it will take me a while to get settled in. I would need to find a decent place to live, a good enough job to be able to support myself and send money to my daughter back in Bulgaria. Cute clothes could only come after all of this was achieved. Still, no matter how I thought about it, I just wanted those shoes.
Before leaving Bulgaria, I had actually bought a pair of expensive shoes – I spent 50 leva on them (about £15) 20 years ago. And, yes, this was a lot of money in Bulgaria at the time.
So, I arrive in London with my brand-new fancy shoes, full of hope and excitement. Imagine my disappointment when, just a week later, they got damaged. I was both angry and sad at the same time.
And even though a friend offered to fix them up a bit for me, the damage was already done. It felt like everything was already falling apart. Don’t laugh, I know that it sounds a bit silly. But that’s what it felt like back then.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t really do much about it. I had very little money, and buying a new pair of shoes was entirely out of the question. Somehow, this managed to completely take over my mind. All I’d think and dream about over the next few days were shoes.
I’d walk down the street and, when there were no shoe stores to window shop at, I’d catch myself staring at the shoes of the people passing by…
Then, one night as I was coming home from my shift, I stumbled upon a couple of blue plastic bags. It was already late and dark outside, so I couldn’t exactly make out what was inside. I decided to take them home with me for further investigation.
But I was so exhausted that I just dropped them off by the door and went to make something to eat.
It wasn’t until much later, after I had already had dinner and was preparing for bed, I remembered about them.
So, I went over, took a peek and discovered not one, but two(!) brand-new pairs of fashionable shoes. To top it all off, they were also a perfect fit! As I was sitting there, wondering what to do, it hit me. I had been praying for shoes for so long. I decided to take this as an answer to my prayers. My wish came true!
Call it what you will, but I like to believe that this happened to me for a reason.
And, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to be preachy with this. I’m not going to tell you that you have to pray every day or something. But I do it, and it helps me get through the rough times. It helps me remain focused and motivated. I feel like I have a lot of things to be thankful for and this is how I express it. This is actually a really important part of my life.
This also inspires me to support positive and charitable causes. I’m actively trying to support and help the people. Actually, I have quite a few people on my team who come from less-than-fortunate financial situations and I am very happy that I can provide them with a solid job. Some weeks ago, for example, I helped them set up a fund to help a village that got hit by a typhoon in the Philippines. I helped them build a church that actually was a shelter during the typhoon for 40 people for 3 weeks. Now I want to help them to rebuild their villages. If you wish to help, with anything you can please follow the link to GoFundMe. I have sent them the first art we collect 1806 £ they were so happy
Essentially what I’m trying to say is – don’t be afraid to dream. Dream big. Aim for the stars. Well, you should still set up actually achievable goals.
You can go from working a standard, tedious nine-to-five job to a business leader. This is a realistic goal and very achievable. Just don’t expect to become a millionaire overnight, because, well … that doesn’t happen.
My life is a perfect example here – I went from a small-town girl who believed that cleaning is all she’ll ever be able to do in life to a successful entrepreneur, business leader and investor. My first business – my cleaning company – now has over 200 employees. And yes, it took time. It took me the better part of twenty years. But I achieved it. And so can you!
If your goal is to build wealth, for example, split it up in smaller segments. Aim to secure your financial stability first. Then, aim to improve the various aspects of your life one by one, while saving and investing the majority of your income. Then, continue to expand your business, start new companies, work your way up with smart investments. Some years down the line, you’ll look back and see that it was all worth it. You will be able to say “Yes, I achieved my dream”.
Goal-setting is very important. That’s why I make so many videos with goal-setting ideas, methods and so on. When you decide that you want to achieve something, your approach changes. Your mind will keep working on the idea “in the background”, while you’re doing other things. And, most of the time, we don’t even realise that it’s happening.
Also, there is something about living abroad that I want to share, as my mother often tells me – “Toni, come back to Bulgaria, enough with England already.” But, afterall, I live here. Why?
Because England gave me incredible opportunities to learn countless new things. And, yes, not the country itself, but the situation in which I was in, was important. I received the opportunity, to not only learn and experience many new things but to express myself in a way, in which I had not even thought of, while I lived in our homeland. I love Bulgaria and everything Bulgarian very much, but at the moment, my life is here.
A couple of years ago, I set a goal for myself and I wrote it on my wall of goals (this is why I keep talking about goals – two-year, three-year, five-year goals, etc.), that I want to buy a five-bedroom house, where we can live with my daughter and her partner so that we can help each other. Realizing this goal took me one year.
As I mentioned above, when you set a goal for yourself and write it down somewhere, that has a huge impact on your mindset. Your mind will keep working on that idea, while you do other things and you will find a way to meet your goal.
Here comes a very fine moment – you have to be an optimist at all times. You should not have a negative approach. Do not tell yourselves “This is too difficult” or “No way, that could happen”.
Now, my dream is to help others. To have this website and our group continue growing.
You are going to make mistakes
That’s unavoidable. When I was just starting out, I made a ton of mistakes, because I was inexperienced. Nobody taught me how to build or run a business. Nobody taught me how to manage people or interact with customers. Experience was my teacher. I didn’t allow the temporary problems to bring me down. Instead, I embraced the idea that mistakes happen and I just chose to learn from them.
Back then, I was very impatient. I was quick to anger, and I was overprotective of my company. On the really bad days, it sometimes felt like everyone was trying to make things difficult for me on purpose. Of course, that wasn’t the case. And, with time, I changed my approach. I am a lot more patient today, and I see things differently.
There is one thing that still drives me up the wall – when people keep making the same mistakes over and over. And, well, I’m pretty sure you can see why.
Making mistakes is fine. I expect people (especially those who are new to their job) to make mistakes and I don’t blame them. What really annoys me is when they refuse to learn. That’s a bad approach. And not just for my business, but for their personal life and future as well.
Always give it your all
If you are doing something, you should always try to do it right. You shouldn’t do it half-heartedly. Now, if you ask me, this is pretty self-explanatory.
But, apparently, for a lot of people, it isn’t that obvious. I mean, I can understand where they are coming from, and it’s hard to blame them for this mindset sometimes, but it’s just a lousy way of doing things. It’s not going to get them anywhere.
If you have a mediocre “just good enough” approach to everything, you will get mediocre results. You will live a mediocre life. I mean, if that’s the way you want to do it – fine. But don’t go complaining about it, because you did it to yourself.
And, yes, I know that people aren’t required to care about my business. As a matter of fact, this is one of the core advice that I give to aspiring entrepreneurs and new business leaders – don’t expect your employees to care about your business. Nobody will ever care about it as much as you do.
What I do expect is that they respect themselves and their labour. I want them to care about the end result and how it affects everyone else. Because, if everyone does things half-heartedly, if we never put any effort into it, then the world would be a pretty dark place, don’t you think?
I believe the problem here is that people treat their job just as a source of money. They don’t care about the act of doing something correctly, they just want to get their paycheck and get back home. But this mindset doesn’t just magically go away as soon as you walk out of the office.
If you give it enough time, it will spread to the other areas of your life as well – your personal life, your relationships, and even your hobbies. And, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like this at all.
Always learn new things
I only managed to achieve so much because I was open to learning. And, again, if you’ve been here for a while, then you probably agree with me here. Learning new things is the key to success. Skills give you the advantage, the competitive moat, which allows you to actually achieve your goals.
Your goal could be anything – landing a position in some company, opening your own business, creating a product or selling it and so on. All of these things have a skill requirement attached to it.
This is precisely why professional services are in such high demand. Yes, the internet makes it easy to connect with people and to find employees. But there will always be people who are so good at what they do, that they stand out. Naturally, these people will be able to charge more for their product or service.
So, even if something horrible happened and if I had to start all over again, I am 100% confident that I can do it. Over these last twenty years, I worked on learning more about:
- Conventional advertisements (and lately – digital advertisements) and branding
- Website development and optimisation
- Social Media Marketing
- Long-term Stock Market Investments
- Real Estate Investments
- Healthy living and wellness
And, since I always aim to learn more, I’ve also got some goals set up for this. In 2021, I plan to go through a couple of cryptocurrency courses and I also want to learn how to meditate better. I will, of course, keep working on my current projects, and I will do my best to expand the Facebook group. I love helping people and sharing what I know, so this is a permanent goal for me.
Be positive and work on your mindfulness.
Now, I know that most of you probably aren’t interested in spirituality and whatnot, so I keep this part short.
Now, in closing, I want to share a big dream of mine. A long-term goal that I’ve been working on for a while now, and I really want to achieve. I want to create a sort of retreat. A 100% organic and eco-friendly retreat. I know that one day, I will be able to make this.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to do it, and I don’t know where it will be. Maybe, I’ll manage to do it here, in London. Or, perhaps, I’ll have to do it in Bulgaria. I’m still in the long-term planning state. But I know that I really want to achieve this and I won’t give up on the idea. I aim to achieve this in the next five or six years.
For now, my attention is mostly focused on running my businesses, investing and growing my blog and YouTube Channel. Oh, and Kangen Water, of course, because it allows me to help people in a unique way. And that’s the most enjoyable thing for me – helping people. Hearing people’s positive comments about how my videos helped them change their lives for the better is just amazing.
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