MoneyTalk With Theodora Vardikou Entrepreneur
Could you please tell us a little bit about you?
My name is Dorita and I am thirty one years old. I was born in Greece and I studied accounting in Athens from 2005 till 2009. I moved in London in 2011 following my fiancee, who I then married and now we have two amazing children. 4 years later I studied Pilates in order to change career and fit my profession into my new life. That was always my dream.
What inspired you to launch Pilates with Dorita?
My love for Pilates started when I was fifteen years old as rehabilitation after a spinal operation. I realised Pilates is the safest form of exercise and can provide a pain free life and I fully embraced the method, wanting to become a teacher myself. Unfortunately, in Greece back then was no school which could support a course including me - the “spinal fused” person - so I had to wait till I moved in the UK.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about watching my clients change their life. Leaving the pain behind and lead a new, pain-free life. I admire people who are determined to change their daily habits, creating new ones involving Pilates in order to have a better life.
The amazing part in my career is that I can do all that by working flexible hours as a free lancer. This gives me the freedom to cover my personal needs as an entrepreneur and the needs of the family. It is very important to balance both roles in my life: mother and teacher. I am happy that by teaching Pilates is possible and I can earn money, something which looked impossible as it sounds like a hobby job.
What was the biggest lesson you learnt in your career?
The biggest lesson I learnt is that I should not underestimate the earnings a freelance job can provide.
I used to be an employee for a maritime company after graduating from the accounting school and I believed all my life that earning a monthly salary is the safest way.
I am glad I took the risk to try and run my own company, using myself as the product and improving myself to earn more money. Indeed it made me wiser business-wise as I was covering all position for myself from the accountant to the marketing person. I broadened my horizons, took a better look at my competitors and improved what I was offering.
What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?
My relationship with money was always good as I had studied accounting. All my life I was good with mathematics, and saving money was my number one achievement.
What does financial independence means to you?
Being independent financially for me means that if I have to be unemployed for any kind of reason, I can still survive. At least for x amount of time. It also means not to owe money on credit cards and/or any other loan providers. I know it is tough but I always had a rule to myself not to borrow money.
What’s the one thing you indulge in?
Holidays!! No chocolate, no expensive clothes but sun and sea!
I can always spend my savings there :)
What is the best financial decision you have ever made? And what was the greatest long term investment?
My best financial decision was that I spent all the savings from being an employee on my Pilates degree. I studied at one of the best Pilates schools, Body Control Pilates, which was pricey, although I can tell now it was worth it: I got my money back in the first 8 months of working as a Pilates teacher.
Buying the Reformer, a Pilates machine, was my greatest long-term investment. It took my teaching to another level, the clients are all excited to use it as it is very beneficial and it is better paid for me comparison matwork.
What you wish you have done earlier in terms of financial planning?
Nothing at the moment. All planning happened on time and naturally improved.
What would you recommend to young women?
I would highly recommend to young entrepreneurs to attend workshops for marketing administration, accounting and social media management alongside studying for their profession or job.
Luckily I do not believe I have made any major financial mistakes so far, or suffered any delays to my planned strategy. This is not because I am a genius. It is only because I had good fundamentals on the business management part of my company by caring about accounting and attending many workshops for marketing.
My aim is to keep myself up-to-date, which means continuing to educate myself about my profession and any new marketing opportunities.
This can be my advice: invest in your studies. Do not avoid paying expensive degrees and/or additional workshops, they will keep you up to date and bring you income.
Favourite book and podcast?
What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School
What is Vestpod for you?
I heard about Vestpod from a friend and as I had no interest in podcasts I said to myself give it a try. And yes, I can admit it caught my attention!!
I love to read the personal experiences of real, hard working women. I love the way people express themselves. For me it is a motivation and a supportive tool. I love the fact women talk about money as it is a common topic for men, not women. It is lovely to share our achievements, our dreams and our strategies make them come true.
Where can we find you?
In a couple of days on my website: Pilateswithdorita.co.uk
LinkedIn: Theodora (Dorita) Vardikou
Facebook: Pilates with dorita
Thank you! xx Emilie & Christina