10 Feb Mum and Entrepreneur Lena talks about Fun, Finance & Family
Lena Perepelova is a passionate advocate of change in education. It is her strong belief that if the general public had a greater understanding of finance, business and economics it would diminish inequality and improve social equilibrium. Lena currently manages two entrepreneurial initiatives: FunFinance Academy, a virtual business school for kids and Women Investors Club, a supportive community helping to empower women by providing them with financial skills.
I am 44, married and have two adorable daughters. I was born in Russia but spent my twenties in the Netherlands and feel more Dutch than Russian. After living 10 years in Spain, I have grown to love this country. I live in Madrid and consider this place my home, at least for now.
In my 20s and 30s I worked for big companies and travelled the world. I have enjoyed my corporate career and success which make me feel proud. I left this employment however, to give full attention to my kids. I have never regretted that decision.
Today I have a diverse portfolio of activities which allows me to do what I am passionate about with enough time left for my family.
I am an active investor and make sure to spend time learning, meeting other investors and researching new opportunities. I started FunFinance Virtual Business School for Kids as I wanted to fill the gap in our educational system. If taught early on, economics, business and entrepreneurship can help our kids find their path in life. These are essential skills currently not available to everyone.
Growing an online business school was expensive and required all my time and dedication. I chose to postpone my ambitious plans and today I focus on advocating and only do occasional teaching and consulting.
Through my active involvement in different expat communities in Madrid I started receiving requests for talks, courses and seminars for women. Today I offer courses and private classes to help women improve their knowledge of finance. I am useful if you need a quick boost to your accounting skills or are lost between all the different investment options on offer out there.
Finally, I make sure to have most of my evenings and weekends spent with my family. Our daughters are 6 and 8 and still prefer spending time with us. My husband and I fully ‘exploit’ this opportunity for as long as it may last. I know that in a few years time our girls will want less to do with us……..
It was not always easy, especially in the beginning I felt lonely and out of place. Most important for me is the feeling of constant learning and meeting new people, which I missed during the first 3 years as a full-time mum. I love my independence and the fact that I am the one who defines my direction and priorities. This is a big advantage compared to working in a large company.
Finally, I value the flexibility to arrange my agenda: I plan my weeks and days around my daughters’ schedule and always make sure I pick them up from school and put them to bed. The later is a big advantage in Spain, where few employers allow for flexible working hours.
I personally believe that in the first years of their lives children deserve our undivided attention. Becoming a mum and staying at home with my children was a priceless experience, which allowed me to learn about myself and become a fuller person.
Combining Family & Entrepreneurship
Time with our kids is limited; their childhood will pass far too quickly. Life is long and there is plenty of time to start new things, including a new business. Here are my 5 top tips for those mums who consider entrepreneurship:
- Dedicate a special effort to win the commitment from your partner and family; you won’t manage without their help and support.
- Find people ready to pay for what you have to offer before you spend money on creating fancy branding and a sophisticated website. Make a prototype, simple nice-looking presentation and get out there to sell your product / idea.
- Personal contacts are the key, no real business can be built from the comfort of your home. Don’t hide behind social media and email, set up physical meetings, sit across from people and talk to them.
- Feel comfortable with numbers, learn about finance and accounting.
- Focus on what you do best and what you enjoy doing.
- See this as one of your many life projects and experiences, don’t try to build a unicorn, reserve time for your family and self-care.
I am happy with my life right now and would love to continue my current activities. I see a lot of space for personal growth and satisfaction in what I am doing today. I do, however, need to dedicate more time to my health and self-care. It certainly becomes more urgent as I am reaching a more mature age.
I would like to grow my community, Investing is for Women, and welcome more women who want to learn. I also personally hope to find a few more “investment-buddies”.
I would like to travel again and will be looking for opportunities to visit European cities to meet new communities of women and talk to them about my favourite subjects, such as child education, finance and investing.
The best way to connect with Lena is through LinkedIn or by joining her Investing is for Women community on Facebook. You are welcome to write her directly for financial advise or help with your business idea. Lena welcomes invitations to connect with your community for talks or seminars and is open to collaborative proposals.