Getting paid to do what you love
Some people are so incredibly great at their passion, that they have actually found a way to get paid to do what they love. For me that is the absolutely best definition of entrepreneurism. Thankfully it isn't a one-in-a million natural gift that excludes almost everyone but a privileged few.
It's so exciting to know that “ordinary” people have found a way to monetise what they truly love. I was very fortunate to meet one such lovely young lady, Cristina Francescon, when I was in Milan last year who inauspiciously acted as our most delightful tour guide. Not even a year later she was featured in Conde Nast Traveler (surely the pinnacle of any career) in an article entitled “Milan's Secret Side: The Quiet Italian”.
I found it so fascinating that she could make a business out of doing something that she truly loved and was excellent at, that I wanted to hear more. She took the time to answer some questions for this article.
1. What made you decide to work for yourself and become a personal shopper?
I would consider myself a Personal Shopping tour guide. I have been a Personal Shopper for at least the last 15 years, giving people suggestions on what to buy, where, according to ones' preferences. I decided to do this for a living nearly five years ago, when I moved to Milan to follow the love of my life. It was January 2006. I was still living in Florence where I used to work in the hospitality business. I got to know a celebrity from the US (extremely popular worldwide!) who, after five minutes, asked me for shopping assistance in town. That was a unique and unforgettable experience. Thanks to this, I realised I could dedicate full time to this wonderful job! I love finding new places: stores, boutiques, workshops. When I see something beautiful (all the time, actually!) I would love the world to see it (and to buy it) too!
2. Who are your typical clients and how do you meet them?
My typical clients are very high end clients, mostly from USA, then Australian and Asian; discerning clients who love the excellence of things “Made in Italy”, or rather “Made in Milan”. I am proud of being Italian: I am surrounded and overwhelmed by the beauty of a dress, a handbag, a bicycle, a chandelier, a boat and so on. Everyday I face beauty in thousands of shapes. My activity allows me to share this beauty with whoever appreciates beauty, elegance and comfort.
3. What has been your best /worst experience so far?
I can say that I love human beings. Each one with his / her own taste and style. I try to fulfill one's shopping wishes. When a client is happy I am happy. So far, I cannot say I experienced unhappy clients.
4. Has the economic downturn affected you?
The economic downturn did not affect me that much. Let's say that the worst time was just coinciding with the beginning of my business. It is true that I deal with high end clientele, though I can say that I see no waste of money. I can see a good spending power which does not mean to “throw money to the wind”. My clients know what they want. The factor “value for money” is quite important though not that relevant sometimes.
5. How would people get in contact you if they wish to benefit from your services.
They can contact me via e-mail at cristina[AT]mcfrancescon.com, also through my basic website www.mcfrancescon or by phone at +393490508360.
Cristina is an example of someone who knows what they love and that passion is reflected in their business. A workday may not consist of 9 to 5 but is clearly a joy for her every day.
“The best entrepreneurs play out on the edges and take calculated risks. They challenge the way they performed yesterday.” - Robin Sharma
Something to read: “Talent is Over-rated What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else” by Geoff Colvin.
Something to watch: JK Rowling “The Benefits of Failure” - Harvard Commencement Speech 2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkREt4ZB-ck
This article was written by Lois Wilson . It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Royal Gazette.