Me, myself, and I.
Hi, my name is Miriam Betuel Saracut. I am a guy from Romania who wants to make a difference by becoming an entrepreneur and investor. But let’s start from the beginning. I was born in a small town named Alesd, near the Oradea city not too far from the Romanian border with Hungary. I was born in a normal family, my parents were ordinary people, from the middle class. My father did work in a cement factory outside the town and my mother stayed at home and took care of me. After six years my sister was born and they decided to move to a small village near a small town named Sebes, in the center of the country.
After one year after we moved I started school there and for the first eight grades I went to school in that village. I was a B student, neither too good, nor too bad. As a child, I was an introvert, maybe because my family was the only one who had a protestant religion in the entire village (Romania is a country where more than 86% of the population is orthodox). Because of this, my relationship with my parents was a good one, but also sometimes they were too protective. If they were thinking that something wasn’t safe they wouldn’t allow me to do it, they were very strict. So I think this thing makes me feel that I am a little different. But I think that was good for me because those things shaped me. When I finished eighth grade, I started high school. That was the point where the change came because in high school I started to meet other people, make other kinds of friends and I started to open my mind, and easily I became an extrovert. I can’t say that was easy, I had to think about many things and thoughts. That was the moment when many of my fears and questions about me, life, people, and the world started to come out from the bottom of my mind. Ninth grade was a year of making comfortable with the new status. At that time I started to read, of course, I began with books by Jules Verne and also a Romanian author, Pavel Corut, who did write books about the adventures of some Romanian spy. I also saw him as a mentor in business, or at least in business ideas. He was my first mentor in this journey.
At school, I was still a B student, with no improvements, but also no declines in the almost first two years, but at the end of the 10th grade, I started to don’t care too much about school and started to smoke and miss the classes. Also in that year, my mother went to Italy to work, because at that time in Romania life wasn’t so easy. I think that’s why I wanted to be some kind of rebel guy. I kept it like this until I finished high school. After that, I did go to college in Alba Iulia, a medium town, not so far from my home, and with an ok university, for me was pretty good because I didn’t want to put my parents in the situation to pay a lot of money for my studies so it was perfect. There, of course, I changed myself more. Now I wasn’t anymore an introverted guy like in the first eight grades, now I was a big mouth and this helped me to make many friends, some of them with the same vision as me. Of course, because I was young I also wanted to party, and spend my time doing fun things so most of my time was spent with a few friends in coffee shops almost all day. This helped me to change many ideas and discuss many more with many other people, time did pass but nothing was changing. About college, not too much to say, I didn’t use to go to courses, I just went to exams and that was it. Also because of the lack of interest, I didn’t finish it. I still have a few exams to pass and also I still have to get my degree. I was supposed to take that degree in 2016, but I don’t worry about it, I want to end this chapter of my life next year. Also, that was the year when I met Elena, a beautiful and smart girl who will become my wife this year. She helped me and supported me all the time and I’m feeling so lucky that I’ve met her. I am truly thankful for this!
After I finished college, I had some jobs in the following years, until one day when Elena told me that we should leave Romania and come to the UK to work and make some money for our wedding. It was a hard decision because my mother was still in Italy, my sister went to college in Timisoara, which is not so close to home and my father should remain alone at home with all things on his shoulders. But I agree with Elena that we need to take this step and leave Romania too because this could help us to make our lives easier. And in this way, we left Romania and came to the UK. Here we changed two cities and several jobs until we managed to get hired by Amazon where we are paid enough to consider this a good job. Now after two years in the UK, and enough money earned, we want to go back to Romania and start to make our dreams come true. And Also here is the point where I ask you to join me in this journey and see how much we can grow together.
Work, work, and…work
Until at some point in my second year of college I was just reading books and thinking about things but one day, talking with a friend about making money, he proposed to me to join his mother’s team as an insurance seller. That was an opportunity for me because I had the occasion to learn how to sell. Like any other guy of my age who is also a student, I wanted to do something to make money so I took that opportunity. Before starting the job I had to study for an exam for a degree as an insurance seller. Without that degree, I wasn’t able to perform in that field. So for that, I learned for like a month. This exam is only once or twice in the year and is at the national level, and is in a specific city in Romania. So to take that exam, I had to go to Bucharest. I went there, I took the exam, and after a few hours, they told me that I passed it. I was happy because I was thinking that from now on it will be easy, but…WoW. After I came back from Bucharest I started to learn the products that I should sell, it was life insurance. From my point of view, if somebody can sell life insurance, he can sell anything. It is the hardest thing to sell or it was for me. When I started this job, some of my colleagues talked about this job as an extra income, like a business, it looks like for me too but not so much, so, at the beginning of my contract with that firm, they ask me if I want to give me some extra money, like a bonus, when I make a sell (like leverage on stocks market). Of course, I said YES, give me your money, but I was so excited that I didn’t give too much importance to the whole sentence, and that part that I didn’t care about said that “you have to stay in our company at least 18 months, otherwise you have to give back to us all bonuses we give to you”, in my head was “yeah, I will stay, yeah, just give me some money”. And in this way, I started my career as a salesman. I started to do all the things that my team leader tells me to do, call people, tell them what you start to do and how wonderful it is, tell them that you want to see them, and tell more about your new job and the opportunity that you want to give to them. I did all these things, I started meeting people, many of them older than me, I was only 21. How do you think that a 40 or 50 age-old man will act when a 21old guy tells him that he may die soon and his family will have nothing? I tell you, they looked at me like I was the guy who wanted them dead. Of course, the age, the inexistent experience about selling and psychology, and not enough effort from me, brings me after 4 months to the point of giving up, and guess what, I give up. In those 4 months, I did only one insurance which still exists today. The other 2 or 3 didn’t resist, the guys paid just the first payments and that was it. After I left, I thought that was it with the insurance agency but after a few months I received a letter from the insurance agency where they informed me that I have to give them money because I didn’t respect the contract terms and I left earlier, so because of that I had to give them back 3200 RON (like 900$), if not they will sue me and we will solve this problem in court. For me it was bad news, I didn’t have a job so I couldn’t pay them, so somehow I managed to talk with them and I convinced them to pay monthly like 200 RON (like 50$) until I finish the whole amount. So at that point, I started to search for jobs because I needed money so, after some searchings, I find a job as a front desk operator in a gas station, it was fun there, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people and with some of them I become friend, also I had the opportunity to learn a lot of things about how to communicate better with strangers and the best part, from the economical view, I had money to pay for the lesson what I learned from that insurance agency, (that lesson is: don’t take money which you didn’t work for and if you say something, respect your word). After almost one year at that gas station, I find another job at a porcelain factory, in the HR department, but there was worse for me because I couldn’t integrate and I couldn’t perform so after just one month, I left, and I find another job as a seller agent in a company that sells office supplies, but after a few months I had to quit again because the market in that business segment was so saturated and I admit, I didn’t give 100% of me to make that to work so the company was closed and I had to leave. After I left the sales agent job, I find another job in a bags factory but I didn’t resist there because was so boring (I know, maybe is not such a good reason, but for me at that point it was) so I started to go to work in construction with a friend and his father, that job was nice, I’ve learned some stuff and I earned a lot of money, after firsts weeks I was able to pay everything that was left to pay to that insurance agency, so now I was with no debts. But I didn’t resist too much at this job because I have two left hands :-)) and it was hard for me to keep up with my friend and his father so I left again and I get hired to a cardboard factory where was nice, I liked working there, was fun and I learned how to use a huge machine to cut the cardboard. I worked there until we left the country and came to the UK. Here in England, in the beginning, we found a job at a mushroom factory. It was interesting but the payment was too low and we started to search for other jobs. After two weeks some neighbors told us that the company where they are working needed people so we decided to apply there and they accepted us. It was a salad factory. It was interesting to see how different kinds of salads are mixed and packed. The worst thing was the temperature, it was cold as fuck. All the time we were going like we were ready for snowboarding. After three and a half months we found a job available at Amazon in another city, but this wasn’t a problem because before finding this job we bought a car so we were able to make it. This was the job we were looking for. Good payment, not so hard job, and yeah…it wasn’t cold finally. Now, after one year and eight months, I still say that it is a great job, but only because you can learn some things. And yes, sometimes it is hard as hell but it could be fun also. Of course, there are some bad things too, like people, don’t get me wrong, not all of them, usually, the management team who have some big issues. Anyway, let’s say that for now, I’m glad that I’m leaving.
Let’s make some money
I was in the first year of high school when I started to think about making money. I read in one of the books, written by that Romanian author who for me was the first mentor, that if I want to be free I need to start a business. At that moment I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my life but I did know that I wanted to be rich. I was fifteen years old and at that point, my road to freedom started. I started to read more books from that author because I didn’t think that there are more books about self-growth and financial freedom. This author who did write books about spies was also a spy in communism so I assumed that he knows something about how to become free (now looking back, I can say that he knows something but not enough, there is a lot of missing information). If you are asking yourself how did that guy write such things in those adventure books, I can tell you that this author split every book into two parts, first part was about the Sci-Fi adventures of that Romanian spy and the second part of the book was about personal development, business, and finance.
So that was the beginning of this journey. In the next two years of high school, I read many of these guy books, and also all the time I was thinking about how to start a business. Of course, I didn’t have any experience and any idea how to start a business but this didn’t stop me in my last year of high school from starting a hustle. I started to buy blue jeans from a friend for like 3$ and I started to sell them to my group of friends, relatives, and colleagues, with 10$ – 15$, but this didn’t last too much, maybe 3 or 4 months and also I didn’t sell to many pairs but for me was enough. At that moment I realized that this dream of mine could be possible. That episode of my life gives me the mindset to don’t give up on dreaming and making steps in the entrepreneurship way. This was my first “business” tentative. After this, I take a long break from trying to hustle. But I didn’t quit reading, learning, and trying to develop my skills and mindset. The main thing is to not give up even if you don’t see the opportunity. So until in my third year of college, I was on pause, but because I never give up I started to go to some congresses and entrepreneur meetings where a few entrepreneurs from Alba Iulia came and talked about businesses and issues they have in their companies. In the meantime, I and Elena started to make some handmade crafts for Christmas that we wanted to sell but nobody buys them. So we were thinking of making something more specific, we had the idea to graft some little presents from paper for mother’s day and that’s how we start to make quilling. So we started to do those quilling crafts and we also started to put photos on Facebook with our work and in that way, we started to have so many requests that we couldn’t manage it but this didn’t last for long because we knew that it was only temporary. Yes, we made some profits, the return of investment was really good but we had to find something else because we understand that this can’t be scaled. In the meantime, I started my first blog about business, my passion for this domain grew and I also wanted to share what I knew and what I read and learn with others. So I started to write, I did it in the Romanian language for Romanian people but because I had no patience and because I wrote only when I had time, not weekly, that blog didn’t have success, but from here I’ve learned that if you want something you should work hard for it and you should be persevering.
Also in this period, I still had a job, because the little ideas didn’t produce too much money. But one day when I was still at work someone called me to invite me to a product presentation about some vacuums and bedsheets, I was like “ok, let’s see what this is about”. We went there, me and my girlfriend, and the whole presentation was so odd because the guys who presented those products told us that the products are so good and so cheap and I started to make fun of them because was so obvious that they are lying but they insist so much to sell their products and somehow they managed to make us a good offer (that’s what I thought then) that we decided to buy those products (some bedsheets and a professional vacuum cleaner). Why did we do it? Because we had an idea, to start cleaning cars and houses, so we bought those products but after that, we did some research and found that we paid too much for those and actually they are cheaper on the internet (we paid almost 2000$ but actually worth 500$). Yes, we get scammed, but we were thinking “ok, that’s it, next time we will be more careful”. So in this way, we start our business. In the first three months, we recovered half of the amount of money that we paid on the vacuum and the other products (and don’t forget, at that time also I and Elena were employed), this showed us that we have a good market and we have a product that solves a problem in that market. But because at that time we were thinking about our wedding and how much money we will need so to make all money that we need we decided that we have to suspend our business and go to the United Kingdom to work, and we did it, just after three and a half months we stopped everything and come in the UK. But this didn’t stop me from continuing to keep learning, read and plan business. All the time I tried to improve myself, so while we earn money we also earn experience and new skills. That’s why I started this blog, and that’s why I started it in English. I wanted to improve my language skill and also to share with others what I already know about business and try to inspire others to start this journey in the business world.
Soon, me and my fiance, Elena will go back to Romania because we earn enough money so we can afford wedding expenses and also house expenses, and of course, we have enough money to restart the business and make something great.
My story is not ending here, I will keep you up to date about everything that I do and the way that everything is evolving. So stay tuned and grow with me!