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.
Every time I prepare for a talk on Time Management I face the same face expressions. Women you are fully prepared for another lecture on how they have to ‘get organised’ & manage it all by themselves because every time manager would advise so and because we live under the influence of media – the request for you to ‘get organised’ is written all over the wall & you just ought to do so as it’s becoming a norm in general.
Well, I’ve got some news for you! You don’t have to get organised – instead you should get clever & open to new ways. You might think at this stage… ‘And this comes from a time manager?’
‘Getting’ organised will not bring you success.
Focusing on your strengths will.
What about your weaknesses? Well, I say – delegate!
To suddenly get organised is a big mislead and it’s misused by so many time coaches and magazines. First of all, to get organised is a long process. If you are not already organised, you most probably won’t become so easily.
Secondly, there is never a list of ‘Top 10 steps to get organised’ that will work because we are all different, so what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. So how can anyone write a list that will bring you further in your every day life with your ups and downs. Add lack of time and motivation to it and voila – they have put you up for a ‘failure’.
To ‘be organised’ requires a) organisational skill & b) discipline.
Organisational skill is not rocket science neither is it any better than a creative skill or trading skill you might use that brings you success. It is just a different skill that you might not have like I don’t have mathematical skills. So for anyone to become organised, I say the chances are low.
Unless, of course, you want to shift your focus from your strength to work on your weakness. But I would simply call that ‘self sabotage’.
It’s the same problem as if I’d have been asked to become disorganised. Even though I am creative and full on in life, I will certainly fail in becoming something I am naturally not.
So no, you are not lazy, you are not failing if you ditch your ‘to do list’ for a weekend with your family and friends or have a fabulous life in the office but your house is a complete mess.
Now let’s get to discipline. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you failing in this. That’s the most natural response to life I’ve known. Some people have discipline because they were trained since early age. Ask most people if they enjoy it and I give you £5 if you prove that I’m wrong after the person passes a psychological assessment. They might enjoy the result (monetary or other rewards but to love discipline as a way of living is another matter).
I am the first one to say it’s not enjoyable. It might help me in many ways (like using it as it is my strength and I started a business doing exactly this for other people) but it also stands in my way for the majority of my time. I find it difficult to rest and to enjoy the moment (so I get help there with my assistants who book holidays or a life coach who helps me keep the balance etc). The only reason why I am very good at discipline and therefore triple organised is because I was trained since young age, having had a very dedicated career as a musical performer (music and dance).
If anyone ever says to me it is possible to get to like discipline, I would simply shoot back asking if their children ever got to love homework! Yeah, right.
And so again, you are not failing if you start to de-clutter your house and don’t finish it off the next morning. Or if your resolution to become more organised fades out within a month. You are not alone & nothing is wrong with you.
Yet something is still wrong with the picture of being disorganised. It’s the fact that you are not feeling in control and satisfied. It bothers you & you don’t feel on top of things.
So what can you do about it?
Change the action that didn’t work until now (becoming miraculously organised if you are naturally not or inventing 40 hrs in a day if your problem is lack of time) and try a different approach.
Same actions bring same results, that’s old news so why are you behind and not doing yourself a favour?
If you are forward thinking, an achiever, modern & savvy; person who understands that taking realistically practical steps will lead you to your goals while you feel great about your journey then by now you are already adding 2+2. Right?
Delegate your weaknesses & focus on your strengths.
Weather this is making money & building a career while someone else is opening your mail, paying bills and waiting for a plumber, or being a better mum spending your free time with the kids while someone trusted and motivated is de-cluttering your home, or you need your business to flourish but there are too many hats to wear so instead of burning out and losing out you get a PA that you pay as you go.
Managing a life or a small business is not much different from running a company like Apple, just as a valid example (and having read the mind-blowing biography of Steve).
Great managers focus on their contribution to the bigger picture & delegate their weaknesses to other experts. That doesn’t mean they don’t have control. Quite the opposite. Micro managers who want to do everything by themselves end no where. if you don’t trust me, read for yourself.
So if you are one of the achievers, then the only thing you really owe to yourself and to your success (whether in your private or business life) is to take action that will work and by doing that allow yourself to try different ways. Get your priorities right, do what it’s important, delegate what you can’t handle alone and only then you will get back in control.
We at ‘duda does’ are just part of a support. Whether in advice, doing things you dislike or don’t have time for or just simply to introduce new way to life. NewYorkers are doing it for decades, why aren’t we?
Duda Jadrijevic – email her here
About the Author:
I run “duda does” – a Private Life organising business for time starved Londoner with a focus on female entrepreneurs & Teacup Ltd supporting businesses (from small city businesses to big global companies) with Admin and Research ad hoc support.
I started my first business end of 2009 and started my 2nd business in January 2012. I am also involved in supporting female entrepreneurs with my personal inspirational story and drive as seen here
We are interested in making female career driven women aware of help that they deserve plus connecting with like minded entrepreneurs. – Access their pages here