Christian Rodríguez Bergadà
Christian Rodríguez Bergadà is the owner of the personal assistant company, Barcelona's Guest—in this interview, he tells us how the company got started and his experience of doing business in Barcelona.
Where did the original idea come from?
The idea sprung up from the real and well-known fact that the figure of Personal Assistant was not present in Spain. However, we did have a wide market of Americans living in Barcelona, who were demanding these services which are rather commonplace for them.
How long did it take to get your business off the ground?
In the beginning, it was not easy. During three years we worked really hard in order to start our business, working sometimes for 15 hours a day and then reinvesting all of our earnings.
We saw this experience as a Master’s degree, we knew that it would cost us a lot of time and money, but we were going to learn so much more from it. If we worked hard, everything would work out in the end.
What do you wish you’d known when you started?
To be honest, there isn’t a thing I would change from when we started. Each and every single one of our mistakes has brought us to where we are right now.
No one ever creates a business that works perfectly at first. During the first few years, a lot of things improved since we were always taking note of all of our mistakes.
How easy was it get the financing for your business?
We made the decision to create our own Personal Assistant company well before we left our previous jobs. This allowed us to save the money necessary to start the business.
Did you find the paperwork difficult?
Absolutely! Everything should be easier at the beginning of any business and its creation should be encouraged. Bureaucracy makes opening a business slower in many occasions, and generates a waste of time and of money. However, we weren’t as unlucky because we received help from Bufet Iglesias, who were in charge of the whole bureaucracy process.
Did you get help from any particular official organisations or associations (e.g. Chambers of Commerce)? If so, please describe.
We looked into the kinds aid we could receive but, in the end, we decided not to apply for any. The conditions of these kinds of aid did not seem too attractive to us, and, in our case, we already had the resources we needed in order to start.
What is your business experience / background / qualifications?
We are absolutely thrilled by the work we’re putting together, and the great response that our clients are showing us!
Being able to assist the people who have started a new life in Barcelona allows us to constantly meet new families, interact with new cultures, and there isn’t a day in our job that looks like something that we've done before.
We most certainly feel proud to have such wonderful friends in the world!
What are the positive aspects about having a business here?
Barcelona is a very fascinating and cosmopolitan city, and it is currently one of the most attractive destinations to live in.
If what you have is a business in the service industry, then Barcelona is perfect. The possibilities in this city are endless, the weather is amazing, and the culture and food are unbeatable.
And the negative aspects?
Currently, without any doubt, the crisis that is affecting Spain is one of the most negative aspects we have come across. However, with a bit of optimism, even the most negative aspects can turn into a learning experience for your business.
Are there any other useful contacts, tips or information you think would be useful to other foreign entrepreneurs in Barcelona? Please describe.
It’s absolutely necessary to count on the services of good professionals in order to get through the whole legal and bureaucratic process, and to dedicate as many hours as your business requires. If you put in the time, you'll see the results.
If you invest time in your business, then results will show without a doubt.