An Interview with Katya Dimitrova, Co founder of 'Burgas Co - Living'!
Her Expat Life spoke with Katya Dimitrova, co - founder of Burgas Co - Living, recently to find out what its all about as we partner with them to give our members the best discounted rates for Co - Working and Co - Living.
1: Congratulations on co-founding 'Burgas Co Living'! What has been the most impactful work you have done over your career?
Thank you very much! Well, it's very hard for me to say just one impactful work, because everything I've done so far has its time and place in my life. My profession is an urban planner, so during my career I was part of a team that worked on huge projects like planning new cities or dispersing existing ones. After that, I worked for several years at the Municipality of Burgas, where I enjoyed the opportunity to work on making my hometown a better place to live. After that I started working in our family company, where my projects were not so big and impactful, but to manage a project on your own is a real challenge. I'm still doing it, but at some point I realised that I wanted, that I needed to incorporate something more, something different into my daily life. Although if I had to point to just one thing, the most influential thing in my career, yes, it would definitely be the creation and running of Burgas Co- Living. It's something very different to the other things I've done up until then, and the first project I've managed from idea to realisation and running the place.
2: As a female entrepreneur, what have been the biggest challenges you faced opening a Co Work & Co Live space, and how did you overcome them?
Oh my gosh, everything was a huge challenge, especially because I had no experience with these kinds of projects and businesses. First of all, the renovation - the Burgas Co - Living is a very old communist building, used in the past as a sanatorium, which has not been functioning since 1990.
It was almost demolished. We had to replace almost everything - the pipes, the electrical wiring, new internet infrastructure, a new roof, windows, walls, paint, furniture and not only the building, but also the yard, the courtyard, which is almost 8,000 square meters, is not an easy task.
When you're used to creating city plans and all of a sudden you start being an interior designer and making drawings of furniture, yeah, it's a challenge. Not only that, I had to understand all these construction processes and manage them properly.
At that point, I thought, when we're done with the renovation, everything will be easier. I was wrong, very wrong. The problems and challenges have only just begun. Getting people (digital nomads, remote workers, freelancers, etc.) to come to a city, in such an unpopular country, in a place many people have never heard of, is a huge challenge.
Not only that, but the things involved in running a Co- Living, like housekeeping, administration, organising community events, to connect the digital nomad community with the locals, all of that is a challenge, and I had to learn all of those things in the process. But from my life journey so far, I've learned that the most important thing is to keep challenging myself. Only in this way can I develop myself, my skills and be more successful in what I do.
3: What inspired you to open 'Burgas Co Living space?
I love travelling, discovering new worlds and cultures, meeting different people. Unfortunately, for now I can't organize my work processes in such a way that I can lead the life of a digital nomad, and I have to be in Burgas most of the year. So I found a way to bring the world here. Yes, I'm not a digital nomad, not yet, but I live with this kind of people from all over the world and that's a real treasure for me. I've met and continue to meet people from different countries here, people from different backgrounds and lifestyles, different cultures and education, but they are all amazing people. It is so easy to become friends and live with them. And now I think of another challenge - saying goodbye when someone leaves is so hard. I thought it would get easier at some point, but it hasn't yet. Even though I know we will keep our relationship and meet them again sometime and somewhere, it still hurts. But all those connections and friendships that remain independent of places and time, they are all priceless.
4: What is your advice for other aspiring women who want to advance their careers or start a business?
Just do it and don't be afraid. I know it sounds like a cliché and that there are many forces in the real world that make things difficult, but the worst part is being afraid to try. They just need to realize what they really want, what makes them happy, what they can do with passion and get started. Yes, sometimes it takes patience, sometimes it takes very small steps forward, maybe a few backward. But this is the right way of learning and the way we take our life lessons. We need to lead the main role in our lives, but not be mere spectators in it. When you have an insurmountable problem (because when you start your own business, you're going to face new and new problems every day, and that's normal), just breathe, let the light come in, and focus on your bright future. And you will realize that meaning and significance are much bigger than any one problem. The universe always supports good and pure intentions.