I’m a shameless problem hunter. Always solving technical, HR, customers’ and personal problems. Developing communication, and exploring new work models and culture. Terrible messes, and some simpler ones too. Chronically, all day long. There has not been a problem-free day since I became an entrepreneur, yet here I am, ten years later. Burn out is my second name and stress hormone levels are constantly so high, it has become my normal state. Got to work with what I have!

Last spring brought a miracle along. Everything was going so smoothly, that I actually got bored. I went BLAAH every time I logged into Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or even just when I opened my Internet browser. BLAAAAH, when I read about digitalization or about new ways of working for the millionth time. “Been there, done that, and seen it all too many times”, my inner voice said, louder and louder. ”Do something else for a change!”, the voice screamed. Inbound and retargeting were pretty much pouring from my ears. I’m sorry, but we haven’t come up with anything exciting for sometime. We have been boring, very boring. Or at least I have.

After some self-reflecting, I realized, that the issue didn’t have so much to do with social media and its self repeating content. The issue was in me, and me only. I was in a rutt. I lived in the ivory tower of my beautiful business bubble, while only meeting like-minded social media-digi-people, not breaking one pattern. And I used to think I was ”brave and future orientated”. Hah! Bullshit. More like the definition of boring.

I finally realized where the problem laid – it wasn’t rocket science to figure out a solution. My surroundings didn’t offer enough stimulation, not enough real development or real problems to solve. Change wouldn’t come to me, I needed to go look for it. It was time to change location.

I decided to go and open a business branch in Fuengirola, Spain, with zero knowledge of course.
Bravely, I walked towards new problems, and problems I found! I got, what I asked for.

My bubble burst, and I had no reason whatsoever to open my Twitter for months. I now have real and concrete problems around me, and no time or need to look how clever other people are online. My newfound world meant, that I needed to change my views. This new world reminds me daily, how small my bubble with its tiny problems used to be. When one gets new stimulation, the brain also starts to work differently, and starts to create new fresh ideas. The mind literally explodes and opens up for all things new. Now I have new perspective, as I look at things from a beginner’s point of view, once again. As a newbie in international business, I see opportunities and room for improvement everywhere. Communication, global business culture and digitalization are on the top of my to-learn list.

In a new country, I needed to learn everything from scratch. A simple thing as a shopping trip isn’t so simple when you don’t understand the labels. A few mistakes later, I can at least declare I can handle shopping. Soon I can handle anything, just wait and see! As I’m learning new things in a new country, I have also been fortunate to meet new interesting people. My network has grown, and now includes the exciting entrepreneur circles of Fuengirola. I’m busy learning the Spanish labour laws, and try desperately to keep up with the superfast local talk (with no success so far). HR problems are totally on the next level as well as all every day issues – I love it!

Just like with my shopping, if one is too rutted and stuck in old comfortable ways, one should start over and do things differently (even if it means it’s not as convenient). Change and new challenges bring along creativity and development. For me, it was a totally different thing to start an office in Spain than it was in my hometown Helsinki in Finland. I’m humble again, as I went from pro to beginner in one day.

Uncertainty creates opportunities. Learning new things opens up new worlds – and new businesses.

After all the small and big problems, we have established our new branch in Fuengirola and hired our first employees in Spain. We are busy making sales deals with local companies, and business has started off well. We have come up with new services and more is still to come, when we put all the new ideas into action. When a company is brave and takes on new challenges, the customers benefit as well. I have already started consulting our customers on the Spanish markets and how to do business here. I can give advice on what to do and what not to do (while shopping or while doing business). Spain could be the answer for many Finnish businesses to grow. Is it worth it? Have you thought about it? Are you too scared to even think? Booooring! Stop hiding behind you laptop when the world and new adventures are waiting for you! I burst my bubble and created a new bigger one. Now I have an international bubble! An entrepreneur needs to be a pioneer, and ready to try and do new things. That’s how an entrepreneur can give more value and better service for customers. Open the door to life, and step out of the comfort zone. Step into new problems, and into new solutions.

Author
Irina Viitala
Portfolio Entrepreneur, Establishing Partner and Creative Director at Wannado

Wannado’s SuperAssistants are true freedom fighters and problem solvers of the business world. SuperAssistants are not bound to any time or place, and can work remotely, flexibly, and cleverly. Irina Viitala and Anna Degerholm founded the multitasker team, Wannado Ltd, in 2011. Today, Wannado has over 30 experts in the fields of marketing, digitalization, event production, and general office & assistant work. #SuperAssistants