Monthly Archives: February 2018

Home Office at the Hindu Temple

When employees move away to become digital nomads, this does not have to mean a loss for their employers. On the contrary.

From Jens Kügler

H. has two appointments on weekdays. When the morning sun rises over Bali’s capital Denpasar, she gets up to answer the evening e-mails of her customers from Germany. Before she goes to bed at night, she responds to the “early morning” correspondence with Europe or joins Skype conferences. In the meantime, the occident sleeps—and H. has time and peace all day long to do her work.

Nobody’s calling. Nothing distracts her. She can fully concentrate on her business. In the shadow of some palm tree? Or in the café under the rotating fan? No—not quite so romantic. Most of the time, she does her work from her air-conditioned home, where she sits on a comfortable office chair—and relaxes her eyes on a Hindu house temple next door. She takes a break whenever she wants.

Sometimes she compares the tropical island with her German hometown Stuttgart. And it doesn’t do well. For hours she searched there for Wi-Fi-cafés and hotspots, often in vain. And very often, the internet access was only available for a fee. The occasional power cuts on Bali are less of a hindrance at work, she says.

What’s H. working on during the day? For the most part, it’s classic back-office activities for her former employer, a Stuttgart business law firm. She conducts correspondence, answers client inquiries, writes offers, sends out PDF invoices and creates content for the website as well as for relevant online magazines: legal articles.

Until two years ago, H. had done all this in the office of the law firm in Stuttgart. Then, an East Asia holiday trip changed the life of her in her late thirties. She only returned home to quit. She took her savings. Moved to the island. Became self-employed and started first as a blogger and with marketing activities on social media. Finally, she made an offer to her former employer, who had been reluctant to let her go. Today she works for him again—as a freelancer. Ten thousands of miles away but not less reliable and competent.

On the contrary: Her former employer benefits from the know-how and international contacts that H. has established in the meantime. On his behalf, she looks after clients who have to do business with partners in Indonesia, Australia or Singapore. She has made herself familiar with the legal systems of these countries and can advise German clients on their expansion. And vice versa. With this line of business, she now also serves customers in her own name and for her own account.

As mentioned before: H’s employer did not want to let his former employee leave. Today he is happy with her decision. So my appeal to all entrepreneurs is: If your employees feel the wanderlust, let them go—if ever possible. Those who want to change their lives are guaranteed to be more motivated if they can. H. is not the only example of this.

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Women Start-Up Differently. Why?

Quite simply because men and women are not the same. These differences in nature also determine the existence of entrepreneurs. They even have an impact on success. A positive impact—for the still far too few female founders.

From Jens Kügler

Once many men said that women better don’t drive cars. However, today it has been statistically proven that women have fewer accidents. So they drive better.

And what about being boss? Is that nothing for women? One might think so as there are still far fewer women than men who start their own business. Above all, there is only a marginal number of female executives on the boards of large companies.

But there is one thing similar to car driving: Companies founded by women survive longer in the market. In other words: statistically speaking, they are more successful. Why is this so? The management consultant Jana Jabs explains her opinion about this on an article for the platform Women take longer to decide. They do not make “lonely decisions”, as men often do, and hardly act in a way of trial and error. They hold more conversations in advance, they practice closer networking and gather opinions. On the one hand, they have stronger self-doubt and are more cautious. They don’t take as many risks as men do. But once they have decided to found a company, they plan their business more realistically.

Men seek success. They want to be bosses in order to determine and realize themselves. Women often start their own businesses because they do not get adequate jobs and salaries. Or because they simply want to secure their existence. In Germany, women on average receive more than 20 percent less salary for the same work than men. Another motivation is work and life balance and time for their family. Many female founders initially run their business on a part-time basis and are therefore more flexible than employees.

What kind of business do women start? Very often, the business purpose originates from their life reality. So we find many female-run online shop for children’s clothing, fashion shopping clubs, mobile cosmetics studios, vegan cafés or decoration and gift article trades. Sounds like a cliché? Yes, absolutely. But the percentage of male founders in these areas is just as low as that of women among car dealers, builders or craftsmen. Only in some sectors with high social competence, such as human resources development or management consultancy, the proportion of both sexes more or less equal.

Do women not only drive better, but also lead better? Possibly—if we look at the fact that they are less likely to crash their businesses. How many possible start-ups by women do NOT start because of self-doubt? And how many jobs do NOT get created? That can hardly be estimated. More women courageous in setting up businesses would certainly bring advantages to the economy. Perhaps politics should take care of the climate for female founders and provide more impetus.

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