As an opener to the upcoming weekly blog posts, I will use the chance to introduce myself to you dear readers. My name is Vladimir Jovanovski, I am coming from Macedonia and for the time being, I am located in Izmir, Turkey. “Finding myself abroad and experiencing positive events in my life, were results of some negative consequences.” Remember the Yin and Yang. Without further ado, let me tell you my story.

Last year around this time the humankind started to experience an event that had not affected us for a century. The subsequent events from economic to moral and ethic, to medical and human rights issues, tumbled upon us with a speed of light; thus, many of us experienced challenging moments of being caught between the hammer and the anvil. Numerous businesses stopped working, a few were improving due to their increased demand. And I as a freelancer was fairly resistant to the global changes. I required only two things to keep my job: my laptop and a stable internet connection. At least I thought like that. I, too, was not excepted from the jeopardies rushing towards us like a tsunami.

Soon enough lockdowns were introduced, long stays at home became daily life, and touring the rooms was considered physical activity. That’s where I did my mistake. I possibly thought that my laptop’s charging cable is resistant too to the changes of places and the bends I was exposing it to. And then on one pleasantly sunny April’s day it cracked and gave up on carrying the electric currents. Acquiring a new one, was huge trouble since the shipping companies were overwhelmed and were promising the delivery in at least three weeks. Indeed I got the new charger within their promised time, but for me, it meant losing a long-term client and being prevented to do translations. That was the beginning of an end and a starting point of something else.

When one door closes, another opens.” I took this time to think about what I was engaged in the last several years, should I continue the same struggle or start creating something on my own. I felt like it was the right time to embark on a more personal and engaging journey, to start my initiative, and work on and around it; hence, I would be able to be in control in time of unexpected developments. The ideas were pouring one by one, researching on my smartphone on the internet became my new daily routine, and I was committed to find something that will encircle all of my learned skills: history, art, writing, translating, a little knowledge of Turkish sign language, critical thinking. It was also a time when I took online courses about arts and philosophy in order to understand more about people’s ways of expression.

It did not take long until I came up with an idea to start publishing a digital magazine. However, to start anything like that, “I had to learn several other skills like designing, editing as well as collecting and dealing with content material; and on top of them to find a way to learn business management and build up an entrepreneurial spirit.” Luckily, after constant search and countless clicks, I encountered an opportunity I was needing the most. That was the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) program, which is created in such a way that a person aspiring to start a company, will be supported to go abroad to work in a company operating in the same business sector and learns the lacking skills firsthand. That possibility was a perfect match for my necessities and I set off to fulfill the program’s requirements.

The first one was to write a business plan, a totally new endeavor in my life. It was pretty demanding, but also quite an amusing process because I was learning new things while writing it. I received great help from The National Centre for Development of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Learning (my Intermediary Office in Skopje), and the support from their side during the application process was immense. Afterward, I had to find a suitable Host Entrepreneur that will receive me, spend five months with them, and allow me to learn the skills I lack. The search was narrowed down to organizations that publish a digital magazine with content that they independently produce. It took a couple of days to make a list and I started to send e-mails with an aim to express my desire for improvement and learning.

Also, the fortune at this point was on my side and a representative of the Pi Youth Association send me a positive reply. Pretty soon we had an online meeting to exchange thoughts and opinions about possible cooperation, to hear how they work, what they would ask from me, and what should I expect after my commence. It was such a pleasure to communicate with them and to learn that they will host me because it made me feel that a bright light is on the horizon. “It added a huge amount of optimism on the way towards achieving my aim, and after their acceptance to the program as a Host Entrepreneur, the path was cleared for further preparations.” One of them was writing a proper commitment plan together with Pi Youth Association, which included monthly activities dedicated to my learning process as well as to my active participation in enriching the magazine both in content and design. Hence, I believe I could not ask for anything better than that.

In a conclusion, I would like to state that as long as we keep our willingness to find solutions in the most difficult moments, we will encounter an opportunity that can bring us a life-changing decision. Thereby, at this very moment, I made my decision and can say that the die is cast.

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