In October 2004, I founded my first company, Artis Consulting & Training. I was a fresh student barely starting to practice what he was learning in the faculty, trying to embrace the freelancer’s professional perspective with a great deal of enthusiasm.
Even though I made several business plans and I tried to make my business run as an entrepreneurship, some inner and outer obstacles have made my life hard. I took them as lessons so that I could at least support the clients who wanted to develop their own businesses and that worked for them. I found freelancing much more appropriate for my personality in the Romanian business environment.
Initially, many of my friends and family members considered my stubbornness in keeping the whole operation running some way as a problem behavior. Only after about 10 years some of them started to understand that actually, my choice was much better, compared to the alternative of being hired and depend on a “stability-providing” job.
In October 2018 my business is celebrating 14 years since I started it. This year, my company tripled its income compared to the previous year. After serving hundreds of clients and customers, some would consider this quite a platform for professional independence. So theoretically I should be throwing a party, except I’m not.
Even though my company lasted for 14 years and has made an impact on my professional life, it’s never going to reach the 15th celebration. Why? Because I’m closing it down. I’m closing it down like a business should be closed: with numbers, and not with emotions. I am putting some of my emotions in this post.
In 2004, I was hoping for a positive perspective on the Romanian economy. Until 2008, things went pretty good, except those were the years I was gathering experience, reputation, and clients. Then the big problem wasn’t the crisis, but how the Romanian Government acted against small entrepreneurs, forcing the exit of almost 400.000 SMEs. From the Romanian Government’s perspective, the small entrepreneurs are just right to be racketed and condemned for their dare to be independent. My company survived that period having the economical activity frozen. Then the things slowly started to go well again since 2012, exactly until 2016 came and the main political party in Romania, PSD came again to power in a coalition that would terrify the small businesses. Again, I folded, regrouped, and kept trying to keep up with all of the fiscal and legislative demands.
If someone doesn’t succeed in business, it’s not right to blame others (e.g., “Fuck you, PSD and all the idiots who voted for it!”). An entrepreneur and a freelancer must accept the responsibility for the failure as (s)he should enjoy the results for the risk-taking. It took me some years, but after a while, I managed to solve some of the psychological issues which were still keeping me economically present and functional in Romania. I came to a conclusion that would have definitely served me any number of years ago. Coming to the awareness of the value of the services and products I am offering, keeping a business open in Romania is only the product of a self-sabotaging mind, a limited masochistic double-bind that only plagues those who don’t know that one can now open a business virtually anywhere and work remotely. The technology is offering and even more, it is demanding for us to use it as a borderless tool to reach clients and customers anywhere they might be interested.
Keeping a business administratively opened in Romania when it can as well be registered in Ireland, Cyprus, Malta or wherever else is a clear sign that:
- you do not treasure your time and you are inviting others to abuse it;
- you have money to throw as invisible indirect taxes to the Romanian state, next to everything else you really have to pay;
- you don’t want the customers who really deserve your level of expertise;
- you are letting a bunch of derailed politicians elected by a declining electorate control where you are professionally going;
- you are suffering from severe myopia letting emotions cloud your ability to work with numbers;
- your mind is still stuck in the previous century and you belong to the past, not to the present;
- you have too strong ties with certain people in this country and the idea of disappointing them is keeping you behind;
- you are stuck on a mouse wheel and you can’t escape the inertia of having to do only the urgent things;
- you don’t really care about what happens to your work or your efforts.
Why would potential international clients be scared away by a company registered in Romania? Well, Romania as a country, is:
- behind Botswana, Vanuatu, Malaysia, and Mauritius in the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom;
- Behind Rwanda, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kosovo in the 2018 Ease of Doing Business Index;
- behind Oman, Bahrain, and Tunisia in The Global Entrepreneurship Index of 2018;
- higher in the Global Slavery Index than Cuba and Latvia;
- with higher values than Kazakhstan, Mozambique, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Oman, and Kenya in shadow economies of the world ranking for 2018;
- behind Brunei, Bahrain, Oman, Belarus in the Human Development Index for 2018;
- behind Brunei, Bahrain, Trinidad and Tobago, Malaysia, Seychelles, St Kitts and Nevis in the GNI per capita index for 2017;
- behind Kazakhstan and Indonesia in the World Competitiveness Ranking for 2018;
- behind Cape Verde, Botswana, South Africa, Timor-Leste, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Ghana, Colombia, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, and Guyana in the Democracy Index.
So I have presented you with several reasons for which in my opinion 14 years of operating and administering a business registered in Romania is not an accomplishment, but a sign of mental sickness and undermining one’s professional confidence. I am
not (later edit, summer 2019) saying that you should leave Romania. One may operate a business in another country, live in Romania (only if you want to die young and crazy – later edit, summer 2019), or wherever and still manage to perform certainly better than in Romania. The hallucination of economic independence is neglecting the fact that running a business registered in Romania is definitely like working for free for the Romanian state just because you made the poor business decision to put your flag here.
If I had had more self-confidence, more self-esteem, more business daring, I would have taken this decision many years ago. No amount of money is worth the damage a business in Romania is causing to an entrepreneur’s health (later edit, summer 2019: get the fuck out of this country before it puts you in the grave young!).
Artis Consulting & Training, rest in peace! Now, that you celebrated 14 years, it’s time for you to die! I am setting myself as a goal that by the beginning of 2019, my company will be closed down. No more event organizing, no more publishing. In 2019, I intend to start fresh in another place. What place?
I don’t know, I don’t have the time yet to find out. (Italy, for starters, but I don’t intend to remain there – later edit, summer 2019). As soon as I am closing down this time-seeping black hole, I will have time to approach another country much more respectful with entrepreneurs, as Robert Kiyosaki says.
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