Year 1 – A Dream
At the beginning we had an idea…and a dream. We didn’t quit our jobs and dream to become enterpeneurs.
We needed a solution for Mark, who at the time as a native English PhD researcher working at a research institute in Poland, was frequently asked to edit scientific papers for his collegues. He didn’t like to refuse. So he spent a lot of time working on other peoples texts, in many cases quite far from his area of expertise, that often had little time to actually write his own papers! And there was Dorota, MBA and CFO of her family business who at a coffee shop together recalled clearly that ‘if an opportunity comes grab it- there is a business there […]if there is a need then you need a business’
There was a dream too for Dorota coming from Poland and Mark from England, to find a way to have 2 homes is both countries. We wanted to find for our children, who were very young at the time, to feel comfotably native to both countries. It seemed like an imposible dream in the pre-Covid era but the dream that came true. They sometimes do 🙂
Native Speakers Online
In 2013 there was one more motivation, a golden opportunity to access EU funds for e-commerce start-ups. Perfect for us. We only needed to be a start-up with a business that has been never introduced on the market. We could apply for significant funds for the development of a platform that could be fully automated. Sounded perfect for us- earning as you sleep… 🙂 So we came up with the idea of a website which would combine a pool of qualified English native speakers and scientists for who needed their services. Profile creation, ordering, payments all arranged online. The website was to be launched as nativespeakersonline.
We were very excited, refining the idea in the evenings after work when the kids finally went to sleep. We managed to fill in a very very very long EU application and clicked „submit!” It was meant for success…but to our disappointment the application got a firm, but friendly, rejection! Although dissapointed we thought, no worries, we will take onboard the experts comments’ and apply again. And so we did…The application got rejected again.
Maybe next time?
They say 3rd time lucky so we re-applied for the 3rd time taking onboard even more advice… but it was not to be! We thought, it does not matter how many times you fail, but whether you still find strength to move forward. So once again improved our idea…and we got rejected again. This time – no you didn’t guess it – we didn’t apply again. But we did not resign either.
After a year spent dreaming, applying, playing with budgets, we believed in the idea so much that we decided we would invest what money we had towards the project, and created the website nativespeakersonline, a significantly smaller scale version of our idea. But this is the next year story. Keep up!