My career as a woman

By Hila Peled

My first job

 My first job was with the food industry, running a small pasta factory. So there I was, finding myself with 16 employees, all men, who initially strongly opposed to receiving instructions from a woman. It took me a couple of months to gain their trust.

For a year and a half, we worked together in a fruitful and successful collaboration. From almost a break-even position, I was able to turn the factory into a very profitable company. Later it was sold to one of the largest companies in the industry.

Here comes the BIG job

A year and a half later I left. I planned to take some time for myself and breathe. I haven’t really breathed for a year and a half. With my inner energies, of course, I immediately started looking for work. A week goes by and I was accepted as a marketing manager at the institutional division of one of the largest food companies. At that time, there were hardly any women managers in this industry. The company’s entire management was all male. I was the only woman accepted to work and managed over 30 men’s marketing system. Looking back today, it seems to me as conquering the Everest.

Several years went by. I was very successful at my work and received the recognition as assertive but fair manager. I did not accept getting no as an answer and used my out-of-the-box thinking many times.

I left the company after when I no longer believed in the way it was progressing. It seems I was right and the company was almost wiped out of the market.

Moving to London

About 20 years ago, my partner who is a high-tech man, decided it was time to stop being an employee. He realized the world of high-tech belongs to young people. He understood that the 25-30 years old who interview him for employment didn’t even learn what he already forgot.

After the dotcom bubble collapsed, we moved to London. No job or even promise for a job. It was quite a challenge.  After years of non-stop work, the stress that comes with it and the whole effect of being a career woman, one of our decisions was that I would take a break.

I thought of studying psychology and learn how to walk instead of running. Lol. If you want to tell God a joke, tell him about your plans!

A few tensed months later, my partner got a good job with a great salary. But along with it, he told me that in order to secure our future, I had to think of creating an online business. He didn’t have time to teach me the high-tech world. “You have great business and marketing experience, think of something. I’ll build it and the rest is on your shoulders”.

Back to business

The year is 2002. I have no internet background or knowledge how to set up an online business. It was like he was throwing me into a stormy ocean and I don’t have the tools to get to the shore. I was to succeed or drown.  

We realized that we should build a location independent business so we can run it from anywhere in the world. At the time, no one was thinking about ‘digital nomads’ or working remotely as a lifestyle. It is to our credit that we’ve anticipated the future of remote working , a trend that keeps on growing.

Three months later, I’ve established an online business, had several employees and understood all the right internet buzzards.

Till June 2003, we had a thriving online business. In 2006, we’ve launched our second Internet-based. In between, we had endless ideas but we’ve decided to take some time out

Living the nomads’ lifestyle

In 2013, we’ve started our nomads’ life. Traveling and living periods from a couple of weeks to a couple of years in each place. We’ve left Israel and landed in London, moved to southern France, Madrid, Andorra, and then with just personal rucksacks, we headed to the third world.

A startup in the jungle

We’re in 2014, living on a mountain with a gorgeous view of the Costa Rican jungle and the Pacific Ocean. My daughter and partner managed to convince me to get out of my comfort zone in favor of building a new social startup.

All and all, we’ve invested two and a half years of hard work and personal investment with small success. It started in Costa Rica, continued in Panama City, Bulgaria, Tbilisi Georgia and ended in Berlin.

New Beginning in Berlin

Berlin changed each of us. We each turned to different paths. I started giving advice to various businesses and finally found the time for myself. I’ve started expressing myself in painting, hilapeled.art. I was always fascinated by the human experience and in my paintings, I give a glimpse of my soul.

Walking through Berlin streets, meeting immigrants and locals, I realized that Berlin has non-standard Real Estate Business opportunities. Not just large Investment in buying, renovating and selling a property.

So I’ve started another business, easymoveberlin.com. Since 2002 I wanted to do real estate. I also have a good eye for internal design. In 2003, my daughter and I were watching endless TV shows about housing, renovation, and real estate. Occasionally on weekends, I’ve participated in real estate investment conferences.

My father was for 35 years a real estate contractor. Today I understand that I got the love for the real estate field from my father. Since I was 8 years old, he took me along to his business meetings.

Well, life has its own inertia and I turned to other business fields. In Berlin, I felt very strong to do what I put on hold for so many years. When I started with the easy move Berlin rental real estate service, I made some important networking connections with figures in the field. I was blessed to meet extraordinary people I would not normally meet.

I realized this was just the beginning and I felt confident about finding the next big thing in real estate.

Harp idea is born

As they say, when the person is ready, the opportunity knocks on the door.  On Friday noon, a fellow artist friend sent me an article about abandoning rural areas in favor of the big metropolitans all over Europe in the past decades. The article was essentially about the problem of abandoned villages in Spain.

At first, I ruled it out. My friend was trying to convince me to set up an artist’s village in such an abandoned village. He asked me to consider it since I have the ability to pick up such a project.

I promised him that I would investigate the issue of abandoned villages and consider the idea. At the same time, easymoveberlin business started to take off. My daughter Rotem decided to take the business management in her own hands.

 

I realized that there is something big about abandoned villages. I’ve also added my understanding of the changes that are happening in the high-tech world and the growth of remote working.  And of course, I had my own personal experience of seven years of the digital nomad lifestyle.

In one magical moment, I realized exactly what needed to be done.

Why Harp?

Remote working lifestyle is spreading fast. More and more freelancers and high-tech employees are switching to remote working, and of course driven by the Corona virus.

Living in big cities is turning into a nightmare. They’re expensive, polluted and with on-going traffic jams. My research on digital nomads showed that they are basically looking for an affordable and healthier life with work-life balance and a desire to return to green areas.

Another research I’ve conducted was to find a popular, developing and safe country to have the first Harp micro-city. My choice was in Portugal.

My journey to Portugal began in June 2019. I’ve traveled the country and explored many areas with the potential to be the right place for Harp. I’ve considered what’s right for our customers and what’s right at the business level.

I began networking in a country with an unfamiliar language and unknown business culture.

Making business as a woman

Many years I am living the business world. I have never felt awkward or different in my acceptance as a woman in the business world. The real estate business is very masculine. This is the first time I had to prove that I am a woman who understands the real estate world as well as any man.

I needed to work hard and win the trust of male real estate professionals, mayors, and others.

 

What’s next?

 

The rest as they is history…

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My first job was with the food industry, running a small pasta factory. So there I was, finding myself with 16 employees, all men, who initially strongly opposed to receiving instructions from a woman. It took me a couple of months to gain their trust.