You offer consulting, coaching, and training for freelancers, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. Which of these is your main specialization? What inspired you to work in this area?
I am communications trainer; I help people with personal and business development by improving their communication in any way possible; with how they or their company communicates, or how they communicate with workers, investors, customers, and so on. It is all about figuring out who you are, and the best way to communicate within a space.
I was inspired by two of my mentors who are also communications trainers. I got to know one of them while studying business computing. A lot of my work has been inspired by the philosophy and methods of Stefan Merath, who is also a business coach, I have read also really good books which inspired me and they are part of my basic philosophy.
Before you start a seminar or training session, what is important for you to know about your client? How does a typical seminar take place?
If I want to get to know you, anything I’ve read about you in advance is unimportant. What I consider to be more important are things like why you are here, your energy, your voice - things like that. With all that, we can build something that is called rapport, and we work from there. I try not to find out too much in advance about my customers; especially if they are asking me for help, as that would lead to problems.
I offer two types of training. The first of these is open seminars. When I started working at betahaus, I got to know many people, and was asked for help by a lot of them. I then started offering seminars on things such as how to manage yourself, how to figure out what you really want, or how to motivate yourself.
I don’t feel the need to have a vision for my clients, but rather that they should have one for themselves.
How has working at a coworking space like betahaus affected your work?
Working from betahaus has shown me that people really are all different, and they each need the right circumstances and environment to work in. I also got a lot of creative input from various people here.
I have worked with some startups, such as Netzwiese, as well as some freelance workers within betahaus.
What kinds of problems do your clients usually face, and how long would a typical session take?
My clients have many of the typical problems: they don’t earn as much money as they want, they aren’t getting enough customers, or they are working too much and can’t develop themselves as much as they’d like to.
I have had a couple of clients who just came to make one decision, and that took about an hour for me. On the other hand, some people come to me to set up entire strategies, so they will go through both my seminars and be finished in about 20 hours. I’m also a coach, and I offer regular sessions once or twice a week to gradually develop a client’s strategy.
Could you tell me more about the Elevator Pitch?
The idea comes from America, and refers to a way in which people present their ideas. The name comes from the situation in which one would try to show their boss an idea while in an elevator, and present it in the time it would take to reach another floor - so about 20 to 60 seconds. I show people how to present their business ideas like this, and how they can attract attention from customers or investors with an elevator pitch.
Do you have any plans for the future?
I will have another workshop this year on management and communication skills for startup managers, which will be sponsored by the European Social Fund. I am also organising an adventure group tour, with a focus on personal development. We will be going to Nepal, and trekking through the Himalayas. I would like to do more things like that in the future - helping people develop themselves through things like travel.
Your portfolio shows us some of your recommendations for further reading. What would you recommend for people at betahaus to read?
There is one book written by Stefan Merath: Der Weg zum erfolgreichen Unternehmer. Wie Sie und Ihr Unternehmen neue Dynamik gewinnen. I think it’s one of the best books for freelancers and founders of startups or medium-sized firms.
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Republikken // Copenhagen, Denmark // Vesterbrogade 26, 1620 København V, Denmark
Le Laptop // Paris, France // 6 Rue Arthur Rozier, 75019 Paris, France
utopic_US // Madrid, Spain // Calle de la Colegiata, 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Nest 71 // Saravejo, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Milana Preloga 12, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Toolbox // Milan, Italy // Via Agostino da Montefeltro, 2, 10134 Torino, Italy
Edspace // London, England // Block D, Hackney Community College, Falkirk St, London, UK
Bios // Athens, Greece // Pireos 84, Athina 104 35, Greece
CoWorx // Kristiansand, Norway // Markens Gate 8, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
CRU – Loja / Cowork // Porto, Portugal // Rua do Rosário 211, 4050-524 Porto, Portugal
SPARK // Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Bleiburških žrtava, Mostar 88000, Bosnia & Herzegovina
StartUp Armenia Foundation // Yerevan, Armenia // 0019, 1 Marshal Baghramyan Ave, Yerevan 0019, Armenia
Tøyen Startup Village // Oslo, Norway // Hagegata 23, 0653 Oslo, Norway
Smart Coworking // Prague, Czech Republic // Václavské nám. 806/62, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Lighthouse // Tel Aviv, Israel // HaHaroshet 14-16 Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Isreal
Fueled // New York City, USA // 11, 568 Broadway, FL 11, New York, NY 10012, United States **Maximum 3 Days
Capital Factory // Austin, USA // 701 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701, United States
Público // Mexico City, Mexico // Puebla 403, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Area Tres // Buenos Aires, Argentina // El Salvador: El Salvador 5218, C1414BPV CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina // Soho: Malabia 1720, C1414DMJ CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
HubBOG // Bogota, Colombia // Cl. 98 #18-71, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
CIT // Taipei, Taiwan // 10452, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 玉門街1號
Of10 // Mumbai, India // Prudential, Ground Floor, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076, India
Kibar // Jakarta, Indonesia // Jl. Prof. Moh. Yamin No.1, RT.7/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310, Indonesia
Midori.so // Tokyo, Japan // Midori.so Nakameguro: 3 Chome-3-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 153-0042, Japan // Midori.so Nagatacho: 2 Chome-5 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-0093 // Midori.so2: 3 Chome-13 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan
Launchgarage Innovation Hub // Manila, Philippines // Level 2, Industria Mall, Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1110 Metro Manila, Philippines
Independent Studios // Melbourne, Australia // 39/40 Porter St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia
Urban Station EGYPT // Cairo, Egypt // 2 Wadi El Nil Mohandeseen, Cairo, Egypt
Nairobi Garage // Nairobi, Kenya // Nairobi Garage, The Mirage, Chiromo Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
BONUS: Cowork & Relax at the Coliving Space, Coconat // Brandenburg, Germany // Klein Glien 25 14806 Bad Belzig, Germany // Get €10 off your stay
Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them.
Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.
Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear.
Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.
Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different.
Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally.
Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.
Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.
Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte
Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.
Want to get in touch with Obst Digital? Come around betahaus | Neukölln and meet them here or send them an email to email@example.com !