Albert discovered how to avoid the paperwork pileup
Marketing consultant Albert Virtanen immerses himself in other people’s small business stories. He’s all about finding new, meaningful ways to connect with audiences. Sometimes, the heavy workload tests his time management, but he’s figured out how to keep paperwork in check.
Albert Virtanen describes himself as entrepreneurial, easily excited and ‘a little rebellious’. It’s no wonder he took his first steps into self-employment while still in school. Back then, Albert gained valuable experience in the world of solo work, developing new skills and helpful habits – most often through trial and error.
‘Sometimes it came down to eating canned tuna. Times were tough, but I was so full of ambition. I started life as a sole trader and quickly realised money doesn’t just magically appear. You need to work before you can send the bill. Then there’s payment periods on invoices. In the end, you might not see earnings for months. That was one vital learning…’ Albert recalls with horror, remembering how his solo career started all those years ago.
Albert toggled between employee and entrepreneurial lifestyle
In the next 10 years, Albert balanced the thrill and fulfillment of self-employment with the steadiness of employed work, alternating between the two lifestyles. One constant trait was marketing: Albert’s career has always been closely tied to it – either through his own businesses or in his work with others. Towards the end of 2018, Albert began to feel like the time was right to launch a new company.
‘I no longer saw myself in my work. I didn’t feel the fire of that story I was a part of.’
Albert now dives into his clients’ everyday, exceptional lives
The idea of forming a new company took time to evolve. In early 2020, Albert handed in his notice at the old 9–5 and, with a decade of learnings crammed into his mind, launched his newest venture. He had pinpointed a gap in the market: how was it that so many small to medium-sized businesses were lacking a clear vision of how to tell their story? Albert’s company was born – a strategic marketing consultancy just for small businesses.
‘Lack of experience can sometimes lead to unenlightened decisions that don’t help achieve business goals. My company’s aim is to provide experienced marketers who already have a 360° view of marketing. It makes more sense to buy a small amount of what you really need than a lot of what you don’t.’
Albert’s company sees itself as an extension to other companies, adding a missing element of marketing expertise. ‘You don’t have to recruit permanent staff. You can just buy services from an experienced marketer a couple days a week,’ Albert explains.
His customers are mainly small- and medium-sized companies, so Albert gets to dive right into the daily lives of other entrepreneurs – no corporate barriers or fake narratives, just enthusiasm and a sincere belief in their company’s place in the world. This is what he helps communicate.
‘Doing things between people makes the work meaningful. There are definitely marketers who feel passionate about marketing itself. More important to me is working with small business owners and actually helping them. To be part of their story.’
Albert’s learnings drive his company forward
Albert’s decision to start his new business wasn’t made overnight. Years of experience in the marketing industry had grown into good networks, and Albert already had customers knocking at the door. This meant lots of work – sometimes too much – but his business thrived from the outset.
‘This is something I learned in my first business. If at all possible, find your customers in advance.’
With a prebuilt customer base, starting a business felt safer than before. On top of this, Albert’s previous adventures had taught him the importance of keeping track of business finances.
‘I had alarm systems in place from the start,’ Albert says.
‘Each month I have a short call with my accountant to look through all the numbers. And I can check most things at a glance in Holvi, just by pressing a few buttons. There’s no uncertainty.’
With finances under control, it’s easier to make smart decisions
One of the most important parts of self-employment is ‘strictness in money matters’ – that’s how Albert sees it. Housekeeping may not be a sole trader’s favourite pastime, but its importance can’t be overlooked.
‘You need to know how much money is in the account now, how much is leaving soon, how strong is your cash flow, how much you owe in tax – these are basics. And the easier you can see them, the better. Holvi gives you a clear overview of practically everything you need on a daily basis.’
And when Albert has a comprehensive overview of his company’s finances, it’s easier to make good decisions.
‘When I need to buy something for the company, I check Holvi’s dashboard – does it make sense to invest now? My office was dusty and I needed a new hoover. It was so distracting! One glance at my cash flow in Holvi told me if I could afford it.
‘Do it now’ is Albert’s favourite saying – and it’s served him well
Albert likes to use the term ‘do it now’, and it’s easy to see how it relates to his self-starter, enthusiastic nature: it’s better to handle admin sooner. Getting things done right away is like a superpower that keeps the business owner’s daily life in order.
‘I can manage most of my finances on the go, from my phone. That way things don’t end up on the To Do list – and it’s so liberating. I remember the time I couldn’t bring myself to hit ‘send’ on invoices. Horrifying. Holvi put an end to this. It’s simplified the way I run my business.’
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