Because of everything that happened, Nick and I were separated for so long. So, next to my work computer, I have a picture of him from one of those instant cameras that I took on the first day that we opened the school. It’s always next to me—let’s put it that way. He’s an amazing partner, in business and in life. He’s always been there.
The impact of the pandemic started around the time of my birthday, March third. I wanted to spend it with my better half—Nick. We run Logiscool together here in Bulgaria, but he has another business in Germany, so he goes back and forth a lot. I had plane tickets to join him in Germany for March first. I ended up moving my ticket to the tenth, then the fifteenth. I kept thinking, let’s see what’s going to happen and hopefully things are going to get better. But it just got worse and worse and I ended up forfeiting my tickets. We didn’t see each other for another seven months. Half a year into the business then—BAM!—you’re closed. As a master franchise, we had the obligation to open the first school in Bulgaria and then, six months later, start looking for our partners. In September 2019, we opened our first location, and in March 2020, we had to go online. We had to move all the kids online, which was a big challenge because we didn’t offer online courses up until that point. It was totally new so everybody was like: “Okay. What are we going to do?”
When one door closes another one opens, as they say, and that’s definitely true. Every bad thing that happens, good things come from it. Now, we even have official online courses based on all the feedback and everything that we’ve done over the last months all over the world. Now, I have kids studying with us that are far away from Sofia, in small towns—they wouldn’t have had this opportunity otherwise. I love this aspect. Things were hard but this transition gave us other tools that we didn’t have before. Even though COVID happened and everything was closing and it felt like the world was going to end, we still signed contracts with two new partners for three locations—one is a fellow Hult alum. People still see the benefits of getting your child learning programming from an early age, learning how to use a computer, and not just be playing on a phone or tablet, but actually be creating what you want to be creating. That’s giving them a whole other outlook on life. Teaching kids these skills, just seeing them smile, that makes it all worth it. I know why I’m doing this. Yes, it is a business, but it’s a social business—you’re doing something that’s an investment in the future of the children. I’ve had my own business before and I’ve worked in corporates but I’ve always wanted to do something that you can wake up and be like, “Okay, let’s go to work,” with a smile. Having a purpose, something that makes sense and that you’re in for the future. Doing it with my significant other makes it even better because he believes in it, I believe in it, our parents believe in it. It’s just something that everybody can get behind and they support it a hundred percent. Most Logiscools around the world, most of them are family businesses.
Forget about a social life, forget about anything, you’re all in. There’s no Saturday, Sunday, there’s no Friday night out, you’re going to be working 24/7 so, having the support of the important people around you is important. The difference between starting a business at 21 or at 32 is that you have a lot more experience. You already know that you want to have your own business, you know yourself much better and what you want to do. But you have to have support and know that for the first few years, you’re not going to sleep. Two-thirds of my life has been outside of Bulgaria—but Bulgaria has always been home. Nick and I, we know why we’re doing this—we both want to live in Bulgaria, both our families are here, we both want to have our family here. But to do this, we need to do the groundwork first, grow our network, and make Logiscool successful. It’s definitely been challenging—this is something that we’ve both put our hearts and souls into. But we want to make it happen so we can make our family happy.