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How Severina Ditzov manages different roles and helps entrepreneurs in Austria

Updated: Mar 20, 2023


Severina Ditzov is a self-employed business consultant and a legal professional with a law degree from Universities in Vienna and Sofia, Bulgaria.

For almost 3 years, Severina has been assisting the Self-employed in Austria by providing business consultations.


She's also a mother, a wife, one of the writers of the guidebooks on self-employment in Austria, and an active member of our community.


Recently we had an opportunity to sit down together and ask Severina a few questions about her work and self-employment.



Services

Severina helps small and medium-sized businesses with legal topics related to registration, business development and optimization of business operations. “In simple words, I help businesses organize smooth workflows, so they can concentrate on developing their services and scaling.”

“In simple words, I help businesses organize smooth workflows, so they can concentrate on developing their services and scaling.”

Severina’s second venture is an NGO Austria for Beginners. She found it 7 years ago together with her “partner in crime”, Miglena Hofer. The organisation helps its members to settle down in Austria by providing them with legal consultations, help with the Austrian administration, etc.

Severina Ditzov and Miglena Hofer, founders of Austria for Beginners

Severina’s new passion is supporting companies with working operations - hybrid working models.

“The idea became very popular during the pandemic, but it was known before that. The hybrid working models give small and middle-sized companies the possibility to organize their working operations in a way, so they can save money from operational costs and attract the best working force.”



What inspired you to start your journey with the law?

"I didn’t plan to become a lawyer, but after analyzing what I like and don’t like to do, I decided that it’s the best fit for me and that with law studies I will have more opportunities in the future.

It wasn’t easy to find my place in the world of law. First, I worked in a law office with a public organization (the Red Cross) in the court. I tried civil and criminal law.

It took changing a country and learning about Austrian laws from scratch, to find out that corporate law is my area and that I want to work with small businesses."

"It took changing a country and learning about Austrian laws from scratch, to find out that corporate law is my area and that I want to work with small businesses."


What do you like about being a self-employed business consultant?

"I like the flexibility and the fact that I’m independent and don’t belong to any big corporate structure. Being a self-employed business consultant and a lawyer gives me the possibility of choosing my clients and more freedom.

Of course, it comes at a certain price, though - as we all know, self-employment has its drawbacks. "





What can you tell us about your work day?

"In the morning I grab a cup of coffee and make breakfast for my daughter. I feed my cats, then I bring my daughter to kindergarten and either go back home to work or go to the office in the 7th district of Vienna.


For years I've been working two days a week at the office, and two days a week from home.

I take every second Friday free because I figured out that I am more productive that way and I can actually finish more tasks during the rest of the days.

"I take every second Friday free because I figured out that I am more productive that way and I can actually finish more tasks during the rest of the days."
One of Severina's assistants

I schedule my work based on the 90 minutes rule - I split my time into 90 minutes slots and take short breaks between them.

I usually try to schedule all my consultations in one day (usually Tuesdays), so that I can use the rest of the week to finish the work for my clients. When consultations take place, they are either online or in person (depending on the clients).


But this is, of course, a good day scenario. There are weeks or even months when all this is impossible. During such months I pay attention mostly to the deadlines and schedule my work in a way, so I don’t miss them."






What was the biggest challenge during your career?

"When I moved to Austria, I didn’t fit the local labour market, so I was basically unemployable. It was really difficult to observe how six years of legal studies in Bulgaria didn’t count here for anything.

The fact that I have to repeat nearly all of it, was frustrating. Then the idea of Austria for Beginners came up, so I was able to implement my knowledge there and help people in my situation. Then the next step was business consultancy."



Do you have rules that you stick to when working with your clients?

"When working with new clients I try to develop an understanding of their goals. I always ask my clients what career-related achievements they deeply desire, because the law and entrepreneurship are not a one-way street.

"When working with new clients I try to develop an understanding of their goals."

There are different ways to accomplish business milestones.

I think people work with me, because of the personal relationship that we build and the way that I work."



What are the biggest challenges that independent business consultants have to face today?

"As a mother, I would say juggling different roles, and finding the balance between running a business, being a present mother, and having some kind of personal life."

Family trip to Hallstatt

How do you acquire knowledge about the industry?

"The process of learning for a business consultant and a lawyer is a never-ending journey. Fortunately, Austria offers a lot of courses that help upgrade knowledge.

I also learn a lot about entrepreneurship, through being one. One of the things I learned about it (the hard way), is that it’s not enough when entrepreneurs are good at what they offer, because they have to learn and upscale their knowledge about entrepreneurship itself too. It’s very important."



Why should we hire you over other consultants?

"I think my clients chose me when they learn about the way I work and the relationship I build. I’ve gone on their road as well, so their fears, troubles, and passion are familiar to me. I think they can feel that I understand and can relate."



How does client confidentiality work in your profession?

"In Austria, there are specific strict rules about company/client secrets. We are not allowed to disclose any kind of information about our clients and their operations unless there is a court order about it."



How to correctly handle a relationship with a business consultant?

"When you hire a business consultant be honest about your wishes, goals and motivations. You can always try different consultants but choose only one strategy.

As I said before, the law is not a one-way street and if you take fragments from different strategies and different consultants, it might not work out for you."



What helps you get by with self-employment?

"I try to delegate as much of my work as I can, so having a virtual assistant is a big one for me. I use many different managing tools, and many different calendars (personal one; business consulting; one for Austria for beginners)."



What did you think about the process of writing a book/ what were the biggest challenges?

"We wrote the guidebooks during the first year of the pandemic, so everything was new and scary.

I think the coordination between the whole team and keeping everyone motivated were the hardest and most important tasks. Thankfully, I wasn’t in charge of these!"



Why did you decide to partner with self-employed in Austria?

"First of all, because I liked the founder of the platform. I don’t believe in partnerships out of obligations, it never worked for me.

Besides that, I saw the big potential of the platform and the existing demand for information. For years, there hasn't been a lot of accessible information on self-employment in Austria in English, which I found very frustrating.

"I saw the big potential of the platform and the existing demand for information. For years, there hasn't been a lot of accessible information on self-employment in Austria in English, which I found very frustrating."

I think there will be even more demand for information. Right now we live and navigate from one global crisis to another, and I think that the next years won’t be easy for anyone, so more people will be trying to take the business into their own hands. In my opinion, entrepreneurship will still get more popular. We saw such development during the crisis of 2008-2009.


The platform and the guidebooks teach about the very first steps, which every entrepreneur who wants to move to Austria, has to make."



What's your advice for newcomers who want to register as self-employed in Austria?

"Prepare for the registration before moving to Austria. Do your research first and see what steps are required to become a self-employed person in Austria, because sometimes the process may take up to 6 months (especially in Vienna)!"





To meet Severina online, register for the upcoming webinar on types of self-employment in Austria and bogus self-employment!



You can also book private business consultations with Severina Dztov HERE.




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