Hi Susie, please can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
I grew up in rural Yugoslavia, under Communist rule. Guided by my parents, a professional couple who encouraged independence and creativity, I quickly developed a strong entrepreneurial drive of my own. As the threat of war loomed at the beginning of 90s, I decided to move to London to begin a new life.
I arrived with only £30 in my pocket, not knowing anyone here and hardly speaking any English. However, being assertive and hard-working, I found the challenge exciting. I appreciated England and the opportunities it offered me and so, after training as a Psychoanalyst and working within the NHS, I opened my own psychotherapy clinic. This marked the beginning of my entrepreneurial life.
What is Seventy Thirty?
Founded at the beginning of this century, Seventy Thirty is the first exclusive matchmaking company built on a relationship psychology model, providing a quintessential, world-class matchmaking service to a sophisticated and particular clientele, those of affluence and influence.
I chose Seventy Thirty as the name for my Company upon reading an interesting article on a study conducted regarding the mindset of highly successful individuals. Establishing that these successful people spend on average 70% of their time working and 30% socialising, Seventy Thirty was thus the optimal work-life balance for a happy, healthy existence.
What made you realise there was a gap in the market for an exclusive luxury matchmaking service?
At the beginning of 2000, during one of my private practice sessions, an aristocratic gentleman requested my advice in helping him to find love, someone special whom he could share a deep intimate connection with, a companion. After conducting my own research, I discovered that ‘introduction agencies’ did not provide any form of luxury service, and did not use a relationship psychology model like the one I wished to introduce.
You have also recently published a book on relationship psychology, how was the writing process for you?
I’ve just publish my second book last week titled “Happy Gay Marriage & Successful Gay Dating” alongside our Managing Director, Lemarc Thomas, a Psychologist and Gay relationship expert. Writing my first book “Exclusive Matchmaking Book” felt incredibly liberating; I gained so much knowledge from my clients over the 25 years of work and felt it was the right time to share my personal journey with the public.
Alongside Seventy Thirty, you invest in startups. Please could you tell us about some of the projects you have been involved with so far?
Sure. Instead of putting all my money in one business, I prefer to make multiple investments. This increases my possibilities of success and reduces the risk involved. I invest in a diverse range of industries from software and gaming, to restaurants and even an upcoming jewelry brand.
In your opinion, how should a startup seek funding?
There are endless possibilities. I think a good place to start would be to go on hundreds of networking events and look for a way to find and approach an investor. There are so many ways to generate strong interest and revenue – you must use creative, out of the box thinking to maximise your chances of success.
What advice do you normally give to startups?
In my opinion, I believe that it is difficult to start a business if you are not ready to risk almost everything. The first piece of advice I would suggest is to be very aware of this.
Focus is the second most important factor. When I say focus I mean; you don’t go on holidays and have a fun time while you are starting up, because there is nobody on this planet that would care about your business like you do. You are focused 24/7 and you think about and build your business – even if it’s in your head when you’re in bed!
What is the main cause of a small business failing?
In my opinion lack of focus, not listening to people who know better, running out of money, and being delusional about yourself and your business idea. Sometimes though some people just aren’t made to be entrepreneurs.
I see being an entrepreneur as like being a gladiator: fighting alone to survive by making our own decisions and taking risks. We are the only ones who will fail if we make that wrong decision.
Happiness is …
Being with my adopted daughter and watching her grow into this amazing, intelligent and fun girl. She is 9 years old and she already has a mini business plan on how to start a horse riding school…
What does the next 12 months hold for you?
As I am now done with working 15-18 hours a day the next 12 months I shall continue traveling around the world with my beautiful daughter, continue doing my philanthropic work, probably invest in another start up, and I might even get going on the third book!