Rebeca Pacheco is a 36 years old, native from Sao Paulo - Brazil, established in Barcelona since 2002. 10 years later she founded Quilter Life Solutions - a Personal Concierge & Lifestyle Management firm born to satisfy busy people who lack time. Focused on providing all the necessary help from daily tasks up to important matters to foreigners and locals based here and abroad.
Where did the original idea come from?
Sometimes you just need to reinvent yourself! My background is in architecture and I worked for seven years as a project manager. When the crisis suddenly struck, I was pretty shocked and lost at first. I started doing self-knowledge programs and reading books to give my new life some inspiration. This led to the realisation that what I really enjoy doing is planning and managing things and helping people get organised. And actually that was what I was doing for the last several years.
I realised that many companies in this area are focused on corporations and employees, and most of the time it is a very standardised service based on prepared reports and commissioned contacts and providers. And this is not the kind of treatment I would like to receive myself when hiring for some help! I believe in the importance of a customised relationship and a personalised service, and this is reflected in the principles of my company.
How long did it take to get your business off the ground?
At the beginning it was just a dream, a long term project. But I got so excited and motivated, and it ran so fast and smoothly, that from the ﬁrst idea to the ﬁrst client, it took just six months. Although I believe a company should always adapt to the market's circumstances and clients' expectations, and this is endless. I am always meeting new people, enhancing the expertise and improving my services and designing new tools to be able to provide optimum quality services.
How easy was it to get the financing for your business?
Fortunately I did not have to ask for any financing, as I received my severance package from my previous job and also had unemployment benefits. I was able to take the benefits in one lump sum in order to help with the initial expenses. For my type of company no huge investment is needed. The initial expenses would include basically marketing and publicity expenses, which would depend on how much money you have available.
Did you find the paperwork difficult?
Not really. I asked an accountant to help me with the paperwork and it went really smoothly. There are so many things to take into account that I decided to outsource bureaucracy help to be able to focus myself on my company format, design and content.
Did you get help from any particular official organisations or associations (e.g. Chambers of Commerce)? If so, please describe.
I have been to Barcelona Active several times during the whole process, have attended different programs and classes, from taxation to efficient communication. I consider it excellent help for startups. They also have an assessment service for the paperwork. And everything is for free - which is a plus. The Cambra de Comerç de Barcelona also offers a good range of interesting programs and services such as market studies or selected companies directory for good prices. Regarding the International Chambers of Commerce, I have contacted them a few times and am still considering membership.
What is your business experience / background / qualifications?
I have lots of management experience, including different clients and projects. I am very ﬂexible and diligent, which is also my company’s ideology. Being an architect helps me design solutions and predict problems, and come up with the best solution as quickly as possible.
In addition to that, being a foreigner in Barcelona, helps me understand what the main difficulties and problems are when arriving here and also once settled, how to get help. Moreover as a mother, housewife and business woman for me it is easy to understand how things sometimes get out of control and be able to reestablish a pleasant routine.
What are the positives aspects about having a business here?
First of all, Barcelona is a great place to live. A very cosmopolitan city, fantastic weather with seaside and a good mixture of history, culture and leisure. There are many interesting startups coming from all over the world and the city is experiencing new initiatives attracting good investors.
And the negatives??
There are still few traditional customs regarding business. When you try to startup a new and innovative business format, sometimes it is difficult to explain and convince them it could be a success.
Are there any other useful contacts, tips or information you think would be useful to others foreigners entrepreneurs in Barcelona?
To follow your dreams. Don’t fear failure, life is always a challenge and if you don't give it a try you will never know. Be patient and persevere, stay positive and motivated. Sometimes the ride is long but there is gold at the end of the rainbow.
One more thing, learning to delegate tasks is also important. No one is a master of everything, don't be ashamed to ask for help or to outsorce duties. Focus on your job and what you want to sell or transmit to your clients, other non so important administrative issues can be done by others. And if you need anything, here I am to help you!