- Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Timo Aleste, I work with youth, I am an entrepreneur and also investor. I have studied at TalTech, and later at EBS. In the entrepreneurial sphere, I am active in the field of manufacturing and real estate. I work with youth at the Southwestern Advantage where I have been since 2007. For the last 4-5 years I’ve been a mentor there, I help them grow, develop and earn money.
- What is the most memorable thing from your UNI time which has supported your success?
What helped me the most was taking on the challenge to go to the US to sell books. My first year went well and I did better than the average, compared to others.
- How did you manage your finances when you were studying? When was your first work experience?
When I was going to University, I still lived with my mother who has raised me by herself since I was little. My first working experience was while studying in high school, in 10th grade I had to mow the lawn which was physically exhausting and the salary was also little at the time (25 kroons in an hour).
At the time of University, I was working for Hilton Hotels call centre. I was doing that only on my first semester because my schedule got stressful and I had only a little bit of time left for studying. In the spring I started to work in an army as a guard (I liked it a lot but the salary was small). After my first year of selling books in the States (after the first year of uni), I got into sales, and not much later I also trained other young people to sell in the same field.
- Looking back, is there any subject you feel that you should have focused on more?
Definitely financial related courses.
- 3 skills to develop that are needed in entrepreneurship?
Time management and planning skills
2. Entrepreneurship and real estate
- How did you get into entrepreneurship?
At first, I went to study logistics. My first experience of entrepreneurship was at the Southwestern summer program in the US. I was responsible of things like: how many clients I reached and closed, how many hours of work I put into it and I had to manage my finances myself as well.
- Where did you get your business ideas and how long did it take to execute them?
I got the idea of getting into manufacturing from my friend who drew a roof truss on to a napkin and showed it to me. He explained what it is and how it’s done. I didn’t know what to think of it at first, so I didn’t think about it simply because I didn’t have the knowledge. We were both willing to accept if it wasn’t going to work out. But everything turned out well
- Which part of being an entrepreneur is the toughest?
Many people lack in consistency, or the knowledge of when to stop if the business isn’t sustainable anymore.
- What kind of advice could you give to a person who wants to become an entrepreneur but does not have a „great business idea“?
I would suggest you to develop and acquire the skills that you think that a successful entrepreneur would definitely need. Choose an entrepreneurial role model for yourself. Now, when you get an idea, you will already have the skills to move forward with it.
- Real estate is a hot topic at the moment. What should we keep eye on while purchasing real estate?
It depends on the purpose of the purchase but do your research and look for many opportunities. Don’t purchase the first apartment, that you find right away.
- How to find the financial support to purchase real estate if you don’t have enough capital for it? What to keep in mind?
You can always start a business with a friend or a business partner (50/50). Your visions have to be the same or you are more likely to have disagreements. Also, it’s easier to manage investments together.
Editor: Tea Teesalu
Translator: Marlen Kuusk