When I came to London in 2008 I needed a break to think of my future career aspirations. I left a small educational business back in Russia which I had really enjoyed as it had filled me with energy and satisfaction. It also had provided me with decent living, yet there was no development in it due to some factors I leave aside for now.
I enrolled on a course to get my second Master’s degree. But being an entrepreneur and having got used to being involved in various activities simultaneously, I could not just do my reading, so I started as a self-employed Russian language tutor parallel to my studies. I enjoy teaching and had been doing this for 7 years by then.
Since 2009 I got myself once again into a routine of setting a couple of companies, developing and marketing them till the moment when I stopped to re-think this again. I have always been involved only in projects I loved and believed in. True, there were tasks I did not like, but there was no single project I did not enjoy thoroughly. However, I needed to understand what I want from my life and more specifically – from my business life.
So I looked for answers to the question what is business about for me?
1. My life principles.
Significant part of my life in this world I spend at work, hence doing my business, growing my company. My life is precious and the time I live is nonrefundable. My business should reflect my life principles and values. I am vegetarian, I am strongly against speciesism, therefore when I am approached by companies producing leather clothes or meat and poultry, I say my firm no.
I know that our names live longer than we ourselves. Therefore, I want to be remembered in a good way, as a person who contributed to the development of our society, who changed somebody else’s life for better. That’s the principle I base my business decisions on. My company mission reflects this. Even more, I have just published a new unconventional Russian language textbook.
People have been talking a lot that “givers gain”. I can’t agree more with this. I have got so many examples of this principle working that I ought to believe in it. More than that, I want to believe in it as it makes my life so much more comfortable and meaningful. Yes, I feel better giving and so this works for my businesses – they work better giving, giving from day one, starting small and then growing the support. I’d never delayed giving to the rosy future. Giving is as important now as it will be later.
And as I want to live and enjoy my life and see the joy of those around me, my family, business does mean money for me as well.
Ignaty Dyakov is founder and MD of Russia Local Ltd, London-based linguistic consultancy helping international businesses expand in Russia. He is the author of “Rasskaz-Sensatsiya” Russian language textbook.
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