Woman of the Week 16th January 2012
“With nothing in my saving account due to loss of a partnership and redundancy, I ended on a new friend’s couch and invested all my strong will, money I had for food and my sleepless nights of sadness in to starting duda does – to live my truest purpose in supporting people in my unique way and to create something worthy, as life is too short.”
Read Duda’s inspiring story below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
My name is Duda Jadrijevic and I run ‘duda does’ a Personal life organiser/Private PA business in central London which looks after overly busy people in London. After my move to London in 2006 I was trying to find out what I would really become passionate about in a vibrant city such as London. After few years in marketing I realised that my true passion lies in organising people homes and managing their time.
NewYorkers have private PAs for decades and concentrate on what they want to do, what they are best at and delegate their to-do lists to private PAs, so why not London, I thought?
I founded ‘duda does’ in 2009 and have since a stable set of clients yet would love to see more women looking after themselves. As an entrepreneur, my team and I enhanced our services supporting more female entrepreneurs as their pay as you go, yet most reliable small business PA and private PA in one.
What was your main motivation behind starting your business?
After New Years day in 2009, my partner whom I moved for to London in 2006, has left me without any warnings beforehand or explanation as to why. We lived together for 3 years. I lost not only my most trusted friend in one day, but also all his family whom I became a part of and all friends from his side. I was not allowed to ask why and moved from our beautiful home in West Hampstead within 28 days in a state of deep shock, fear and feeling of utter abandonment. Up until today I don’t have an explanation and have never heard from anyone if I were OK or wanted to meet for a coffee.
The only way I could survive is to re build the shadow of a woman I became. I dug deep and knew I had to gain back my strength. The only way was to realise again who I was and what do I want from life, if there was such thing. I was grieving for a long time yet didn’t take one day off work . Luckily, life lessons like these can give momentum to what we have always supposed to be. My intuition came back and I had nothing to lose. I wanted to create and build things in my life the way I believed in them. When I was made redundant end of the same year, I jumped from the cliff, so to speak and knew I would swim well and happy. Like a salmon, I swam all my life against the stream.
With nothing in my saving account due to loss of a partnership and redundancy, I ended on a new friend’s couch and invested all my strong will, money I had for food and my sleepless nights of sadness in to starting duda does – to live my truest purpose in supporting people in my unique way and to create something worthy, as life is too short.
What challenges have you faced?
My biggest challenge was a tremendous loss of network. Money can be earned faster, yet to grow relationships take a long time and one has to keep vibrant and optimistic.
Another challenge has always been the fear that no one will ever know how good I am in what I did, and watching well connected competitors grow.
How have you overcome the challenges?
I trusted my ability and my personality to find its place when the time is ripe. One of the most important tools I used to overcome any challenge was my spiritual and personal growth as well business development. I read one book a day, walking from work to work, on the tube, at any spare moment and learnt from those who did it. I also looked for potential business mentors who might want to support me and have found only few advice here and there but I observed some public entrepreneurs I related to them.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
Watching ‘duda does’ grow slowly but surely and waking up every morning trusting my instincts that I am doing the right thing. Particularly at the most difficult times. In addition, I guess my biggest achievement is that I am still here after a life changing experience that nearly cost me my desire to live.
How do you balance work with relaxation?
I learnt to enjoy simple things in life. So 2 hours of reading a book that feeds my soul is considered a holiday in my working life. I work 16 hours a day and try to see my friends regularly, I take walks along the Thames and baths in the evenings. One holiday a year on the Croatian coast in the summer recharges my batteries for the whole year.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I imagine I had a choice to leave it all and go back to work fro someone else. The thought of it hasn’t even got digested, I already bounce back with a solution to a problem. I remind myself that I survived the bigger loss and that l should also have fun doing what I do.
Who inspires you?
Steve Jobs is the only person that has ever inspired me. He swam against the stream, trusted his instincts and talents and wanted to grow as a person and entrepreneur. I related to that and admired him.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Listen to who you are when no one listens. Put all you energy in what you love to do. Always trust your gut instincts. don’t compare yourself to anyone, your path is unique and ask for help when you feel you know the right person to ask. Don’t aim to be liked by those you want to attract for your business. It takes few seconds to feel if they are interested or not.
What’s your favourite quote?
Never, never, never give up! Winston Churchill
Do you have a business philosophy?
Perpetuum mobile (lat) – Perpetual motion
What’s your goal for the next year?
To raise awareness amongst Londoners that our support exists and to support women in ditching the ridiculous ‘superwoman trend’ that leads to an unhealthy and unhappy life.
Personally, I would love to move to my dearest London area and get a labrador called Jack.