Startup Balkans

Sofija Daceva: What does entrepreneurship mean to me?

Sofija Daceva (the founder of Matryoshka) shared with us her take on entrepreneurship, and on her previous experience as an entrepreneur. Enjoy!

I’m often asked what entrepreneurship is to me. And I must admit that the answer is not straightforward. Many people associate entrepreneurship with just having a business idea. However, I believe that entrepreneurship is something much more complex. The key to entrepreneurship is not about having the idea but implementing it and bringing it to life. It is about spotting an opportunity and often taking a high risk to make that idea a reality.

Speaking about ideas, I must mention that a common mistake is not discussing our ideas with others. I made that mistake, too. When I was younger, I believed that once you have a business idea, it is best to keep it to yourself until you’ve fully developed it. I did it mainly because I was afraid that others might steal it if I shared it with someone.

Over time I realized that, in fact, I should do the opposite. So, when I started to share my idea, all of a sudden, I began to receive valuable feedback from people from various backgrounds. That helped me to continuously improve the idea and reduced my risk of failure. I realized that entrepreneurship is about connectivity, not about being an introvert and keeping it all to yourself.

At the same time, I adapted the lean startup methodology. It’s about building a minimum viable product, testing it, asking for feedback, and then rebuilding it again, taking all the feedback generated into account. This model saved me both time and finances, and I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t start sharing the business idea in the first place. Don’t be afraid to share your idea, and share it with as many people as possible.

Now, going back to entrepreneurship – it is also about falling many times, but being persistent and finding ways to move forward and grow yourself and everything around you. Accepting failure is also crucial.

As an entrepreneur, you have to build self-discipline, communication skills, risk management, network, time management, and technical skills while dealing with legal, finance, health, and day-to-day operations.

When I started my entrepreneurial journey, I forgot about office hours. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I actually worked from 9 to 5. To bring my idea to life, I had to solve problems daily, and I needed to solve them fast because time is crucial. Back in 2016, my idea was just words written on a piece of paper. Now, five years later, after seeing the product finally coming to life and the added value it brings to my targeted customers, I believe that I’d repeat the whole process again in a heartbeat.

About Sofija: Sofija Daceva is the founder of Matryoshka, an R&D company based in Skopje. Sofija is also a creator of the WICE, the ice cream made of wine, and the WISE additive, a multi-functional natural food additive from grape marc waste. On top of that, Sofija is a passionate entrepreneur eager to share her experience and learn how to skyrocket her business.

Ivana Sabo