Polona Potočnik (Slovenia/Language Services) and Fabiola Gabriela Abritta (Spain/Real Estate)

Fabiola Gabriela Abritta and Polona Potočnik

New Entrepreneur
Name & surname: Polona Potočnik
Country: Slovenia
Sector: Language Services
Have you already started your business?: Yes, I have, on 1 September 2017
Name of business: Word Your Magic jezikovni atelje (Language Atelier), Polona Potočnik s.p.
What is your business?: WORD YOUR MAGIC Language Atelier is a language specialist and service provider—a corporate brand specialized in content and copywriting (storytelling), translation, copy-editing and proofreading in Slovenian, English and Spanish, working magic with words to make your business skyrocket.

Host Entrepreneur
Name & surname: Fabiola Gabriela Abritta
Country: Spain
Experience (years): 14
Sector: Real Estate
Name of business: Rural Tenerife
Website: www.ruraltenerife.net

Period of Relationship: 21/02/2019 – 21/08/2019
Duration of Relationship: 6 months

Which obstacles made Polona even more determined to pursue her entrepreneurial goals?

Once upon a time, there lived two incredible women who knew exactly what they wanted and they were passionate about life.

One lived in Tenerife and had been running a successful real estate business for more than 14 years while raising two young adults, taking care of Roque, the dog, and Paris, the cat, a whole bunch of other people and their businesses. Apart from being a businesswoman, she was also a natural-born teacher, making sure, as teachers do, that she had everything under control.

The other one came from Slovenia to Tenerife because she knew Spanish and computer skills are vital in expanding her market. She knew exactly what she wanted and that was to be at the top of the game with her language atelier, the business she started in September 2017, which was the best decision ever.
It was gut feeling. The NE knew that a Spanish-speaking country was the place to be and one night as she opened her FB app, there it was … Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Exchange post from Rural Tenerife. That was it. She knew it was meant to be.
However, she also knew that when you go abroad, you start from scratch and have to (again) prove your worth, but she nevertheless set off with the purest of intentions.

Creative and artistic by nature, the NE was a free spirit who had previously been working on her own, alone and from home most of the time, and even when she was an English teacher at two primary schools, she had all the freedom she wanted. Even though she was always in contact with her clients and business partners as she was selling her language services as well as having a coworking space which she shared with other entrepreneurs, she was independent and that presented a major challenge during the course of the exchange.
Meanwhile, through trials and tribulations of “raising her child”, Rural Tenerife, the other learned to be organized and demanding to herself, her business partners and her clients; she had to learn it the hard way and kept two faces: a business and a private one.

They could not have been more different in terms of temperament and energy, work style and habits, but they had a clear goal and while each had their own expectations, they have managed to reach a compromise by both taking a step back and rationalize. As the host tried her best to think of a task that the NE would find interesting and satisfying, the young entrepreneur did her best to adapt her work so as to meet the HE’s expectations. While the NE needed to adapt to new Spanish terminology, completely different work processes, strategies and standards, coupled with the HE’s impulsive temperament, the HE found the NE’s work and language strategies way too complicated, elaborate and time-consuming for her business, yet they both tried to find something positive in every situation and managed to make it happen.
As for the prospect of future collaboration, should the NE be contacted by any potential real estate property buyer or a tourist looking for accommodation on the island, her HE will be the first to receive a call.

Working from 9am to 6pm with a two-hour lunch break, the NE’s set of tasks included: Calendar and booking management (Airbnb, HomeAway, Google Calendar), basic phone correspondence and assistance in Spanish, preparation of pre-booking and booking confirmation material and email correspondence, documents to be sent to the clients in English and Spanish, translation of real estate documentation and other relevant material (EN-ES, ES-EN), promotional publication: photo editing and poster making (Photoshop), writing and translation of promotional texts in Spanish and English, publishing real estate properties and adds online, Spanish-into-English translation and copy-editing of HE’s website content, creating contact database (business card list) and mailing lists in Excel, writing a comprehensive user manual in Spanish and providing English private classes to HE’s daughter, to name but a few. All the work was closely monitored by the HE, providing constant feedback and guidance.

While the NE achieved her goals, having acquired an invaluable set of computer skills and greatly improved her level of Spanish, in particular, the HE benefited from the NE’s language services by gaining new material to have everything at hand for her future projects, a comprehensive mailing list and database, and a “private” English tutor for her daughter as she was soon to start her studies in the U.S.A.

Two women with very different ideas, characters and temperaments came together, and while going out to dance the night away is one thing, working together can be a completely different story. While professionalism, commitment, reliability, structure, order, focus, clear goals, hard work, prioritization and time optimization may be a must-have in a business world, it is also respect towards each and every one what makes a great (business) partnership, it is what makes a client, a work colleague come and stay.  

Seeing both the pros and cons of entrepreneurship, this experience has made the NE even more determined that, for her, being an entrepreneur is the only way to be in order to be fulfilled and fully develop her potential. She will work as hard as ever to never again have to compromise her freedom and creativity nor sacrificing her knowledge and expression, but she is beyond grateful for being able to learn from a master of her craft, the HE.  

Once upon a time, there lived two incredible women – Superwoman.

Concluding Remarks

Polona Potočnik (NE): 
The exchange was supposed to take you on a higher business level, yet it was a personal growth on so many levels – seeing your “professional” self in the eyes of another successful entrepreneur, a master of their craft.
Fabiola has taught me to prioritize (task prioritizing); that my time is precious and should be distributed wisely. That there are tasks that need all the focus and excellence in the world, but there are others that can be done much faster without compromising (so much) on the quality.
I have gained invaluable computer skills and improved my knowledge of Spanish beyond words.
Even though our work styles, temperaments and personalities could not have been more different and working together in the same office was indeed a challenge, it was just the lesson I needed to be stronger and prepared for a sometimes harsh business environment.
At the same time, it has made me even more determined that I need to work on my own, that I am not willing to compromise my knowledge and my expression for anyone, but I am beyond grateful for where this exchange has brought me. I am so blessed.”