From UX/UI to real estate and still remotely
By Rotem Peled
I want to begin with saying UX is not appreciated and is not understood! Dear UX'ers your skills and knowledge is an advantage for everything in life.
Now let’s travel to 2012.
I grew up in a house where both my parents were entrepreneurs. I was educated from a young age to be location independent. When I was 20 years old, they told me, “whatever you do, don’t limit yourself to a place”.
When I was 10 years old girl, I used to love watching TV shows about real estate. I liked everything about it, from real estate investing to apartment makeovers. I didn’t much like school at that time, but hell, did I love this type of shows. Instead of Bob Sponge, I’ve watched real estate. It was clear to me that real estate is what I’ll be doing in my adult life.
How come I did not?
I was 19, serving the IDF military service, working around the clock while planning what I will do next in my life. I signed up 3 times to a real estate course in a college near my base. They never had enough people signing up, so they never opened the class.
Towards the end of my service, I went to an agency in my neighborhood. It was RE/MAX. I was 19 years old, without any real estate experience, still in IDF service. I was looking for a job with them to start right after my IDF service ends.
Around that time that I was accepted to my future dream job, I and my closest family went through one of the most difficult times in our family history. Details are not important but it did lead me to take a different path.
Back to being raised by entrepreneurial parents. It was time for me to figure out what I want to do in life… I and my mom started to design jewelry for fun. Then friends wanted to buy our pieces which lead me to open my first online jewelry shop.
So I’ve self-learned online marketing. It was 2013. I’ve experienced the power of online groups and communities. I was able to get high traffic to the new site with zero marketing costs.
I was 21 years old, with plenty of ego boost by the IDF. I had a crazy need to prove mostly to myself that I can do it alone. So I did plenty of mistakes. One of them was not researching who is actually buying online at that time.
But the traffic was good (:
Then started a period of my life as a digital nomad.
I and my parents traveled around the globe for several years. Which we wrote about extendedly on Our Story
I ended up learning product design and was the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and CPO (Chief Product Officer) of a startup I’ve built with my team. My father, a well-experienced web developer with a business background and my mother who has lots of business experience, marketing and strategy.
We did some things very well and some not…
That was going on for three years. We started as a three-person team on a mountain overlooking the jungle and the ocean beach in Costa Rica, to a 12 employees company in Tbilisi Georgia. We did it all, pitch decks, presentation, development, marketing and all SHABEM of a startup. Our goal was to create a SAAS (Software As A Service) platform for topic-based online communities. Forbes Georgia integrated our product on their website and other follows it.
Now we are in 2017, moving on to Berlin so we can get into the European market. Wow, the bureaucracy was insane. We understood that not all of us were able to work in this startup. To be honest, we had such a long way to go still that I said I am done. I was 25 years old, still living under my parents’ umbrella, looking to make it big one day. It seemed like it’s going to take forever.
Not taking a break after the IDF service? changing “my dream career”? I am not sure what made me make a stop. Maybe I was just tired. Not sure exactly to be honest.
If I will write what I’ve learned from it all, this blog will become the longest blog post in history.
I became a freelancer: I had clients that I provided them with product design, from prototype to a complete UX/UI design. I had others that I’ve created their website with my added value as a marketing consultant. In many cases, I gave them so much more info and tips than they asked for from my several years experience. In my first week as a freelancer, I’ve made 1200 EUR.
Finding an apartment in Berlin was crazily difficult. I was lucky. for my parents, it took nearly 8 months to find an apartment. From time to time I’ve helped friends if I could, as I really understood their pain.
One day, my mother said, “there’s an opportunity here in the real estate market in Berlin and I’m not sure yet, but I’ll see.”
Meanwhile, my father started to work for a big international company and my mother worked as a business consultant for too many companies.
I’ve introduced my mother to a young couple my age. She worked as a tour guide and her partner was doing online trades seeking his next big opportunity.
During the conversation with them, complaining about the complexity of finding a Berlin apartment, my mom came up with the idea of a business that helps people in the process.
My mom suggested that he’ll run the business while she’ll consult him and put the initial funds. Of course, they contacted me for the website.
They didn’t really understand what and how to go about making it a working business. We all did some homework and came up with the first concept.
The rental market in Berlin is frustrating to the renter as much as to the Management Companies or brokers. The demand is so high while the supply is quite small. For one apartment you’ll get 300 people standing in line for viewing and submitting their application.
These “application” is a long list of documents required to be able to rent an apartment in the city.
Both renting and renters needed something that will make their life easier. After three weeks I’ve found myself so much into it. I was so much happier waking up in the morning. I gave them my contacts and built a beautiful website. After two months I was the main person moving the business forward. My business partner had figured out this life is not for him.
My mom trusted me fully and so I’ve hired another freelancer to work with me.
We helped many clients and the business is doing GOOD. This business, Easy Move Berlin, had opened my appetite for real estate. I didn’t fully realize how being a freelancer UX/UI designer had made me feel depressed. Suddenly I had my work, made money and also had time to live.
You see, with technology moving forward so fast, working in hi-tech means living around the clock. You choose your hours, and every time I didn’t work or didn’t learn about a new trend or upcoming technology changes, I felt like I am going backward.
Working with companies in Berlin is different. They have limited working hours. There is no one to talk with after 6 PM or in some cases at 7 PM. I didn’t have any guilt.
At some point, working on Harp started. I was on the air between Portugal and Berlin all the time. One week here, two weeks there.
How do you run a company on the go?
The first step was to hire the right person to do the physical requirements. Mostly viewing an apartment and receiving the application form. She works as a freelancer and it’s only based on demand so I won’t have unnecessary expenses.
The second step is getting a good tablet with a keyboard and kickass internet package. Most of the work is done online. Client relations, marketing, finding the apartment… We digitized whatever we could.
My user experience background leads to results and abilities. It helps me understand better my clients, their pains and how to build for the business and bring the results they need.
We live in days that nearly every business has the option to be 100% remote with some local support.
If you have any questions about how and the process shoot me a message.
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We’ve asked for €10 Million and eventually raised €500 Million We are very happy to announce that we have raised 500M EURO for Harp Micro
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