Start your own company & we help you succeed!
“Why would you leave a corporate career for life in a startup?”
I was one of the lucky kids in school – I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: a General Manager in a hotel. I went about achieving this goal pretty well for a few years – I went to hotel school, got great grades and eventually I was recruited by Hilton to join its Elevator Program, which should have fast-tracked me to General Management within 7 years. They shipped me off to London and South Africa for placements during which I was exposed to all departments within a hotel. It was probably the best experience I could ever have wished for, and I still can’t believe they paid me to do it!
Seemingly, I did a good job as I was shortly offered a job at the massive Prague Hilton where I worked my way through 5 different promotions over a period of 9 years, always hungry to learn more and ambitious in my drive for more responsibility. However, despite the many promotions, I felt that my growth was stymied in a way. I was filled to the brim with ideas on how to improve the way we did things, but due to the rigorous corporate structure, it was almost impossible to implement any of my ideas. Slowly, I started getting frustrated at the abundance of bureaucracy, the lack of modern tech adoption and the mostly-slow pace of innovation.
I needed to escape the bureaucracy!
At some point during those years, I met Richard at a social event. We hit it off immediately, and found lots of common ground and ended up many late nights drinking and talking about the many challenges of our industry.
One night he suggested that instead of our discussions, I should join him at Mews. That really didn’t fit into the roadmap for my life, as I was right on track with my career and was making a great salary. Why would I ever leave that security?
But he planted the seed, and I started mulling it over. And then, really, what did I have to lose? I had just turned 30, with a solid resume and no responsibilities in life. If it all went miserably wrong, I could always find another hotel job. And if it didn’t, well, the upside could be that we change our entire industry forever, and for the better. Who wouldn’t want to say that they’d been a part of that? So, against all well-intended advice, I quit my job and jumped at the opportunity.
The personal challenges of life in a Start Up
What was the biggest challenge? Well, much to my surprise, it was surprisingly easy to scale back my spending patterns. I had never really saved much money or given any thought to what I was buying, but with the outlook of not having a salary, I simply stopped buying unnecessary junk. My only expenditures for the first 3 years of Mews were food and rent… and birthdays were the perfect time to ask my family for new socks.
In the early days, I would always dress up in a suit, just in case a client wanted to meet me. It took a few years to start dressing down and get comfortable doing business in a t-shirt. Today I have 1 suit left (in case of emergency) and depending on the client I may (or may not) put on a shirt. It’s the best feeling to know that there is no HR department in the world which challenges us on it.
As a good employee, I was trained to come to the office at 09h00 and never to be late. At Mews, we do not follow strict times and some of the team walks into the office at noon if they feel like it because they then work through the night. We do not dictate the working hours, but we let the team decide who works when, and if a challenge arises they solve it between themselves because we constantly communicate on Slack.
It’s certainly never boring
Since starting at Mews, I joined a team of people who are all super-talented in their own right, beyond any of the talent I had ever encountered in hotels. I’m lucky to work with amazingly talented developers and graphic designers, who are truly world class in their fields. In order to keep up (and not look like an idiot most of the time), you are pushed to your limits to work and think harder and faster than you ever have.
I still learn so much every day at Mews. Slowing down is simply not an option, decisions have to be made fast, and mistakes corrected even faster in order to survive and build a solid brand based on happy customers.
Here at Mews, business changes so fast and our accelerating growth throws new challenges at us each day. This prevents boredom, and we have a pretty solid core-team with very little turnover in our talent.
Decisions are ours…mistakes sadly too
One of the best things about life in a startup, is having complete decision power in every part of the business. Just 3 months ago we decided to change our complete backoffice operations. We had a session with our team, as we were frustrated by the amount of manual work we were doing, due to the usage of SalesForce and other old style software – how could we truly claim that we could help hotels break out of their bad habits if we were staying frustrated with our own? We pulled the team together and decided on a new strategy that same day. Two months later we had cut our current systems and implemented a mix of Pipedrive, Zapier, QuickMail, Proposify, Squarespace, Xero, Desk, Intercom, all integrated, all automated. And we’re still on the lookout for other systems which will make our work more fun and automated.
Having this power is incredible, and seeing positive changes in the business based on good decisions make it all worthwhile. Sadly, not all decision work out well, and we made some expensive, very bad decisions at times too (more about that another time). Luckily we always kept our wits, and corrected mistakes with priority. The biggest pain is still finding the right people to join the company, who will fit the culture and are equally committed and hard working.
I have fallen in love with the freedom and power to set our own direction for Mews without excessive interference. When we hire a new employee its more important to us that they fit into the team. If we feel like we could not spend 3 hours at an airport during a layover with that person, we simply don’t hire them.
What is the Mews Entrepreneur Programme?
We set out to become the largest hotel platform in the world … a BIG ambition, and for this we are looking for talented partners.
Unfortunately, most of the really talented people at locked up in corporate hotel jobs and may not want to take as much risk on their career as we did in our early days. To combat this challenge, we found a simple solution: we share the risk with you, and set you up for success.
We want you to work with Mews, but without the corporate structure of actually working for anyone. You are your own boss, build your own team, and make your own money for your own company.
How does it work?
We are looking for people with a strong background in hotels, having worked with PMS solutions for a number of years. If you are bored and need a new challenge… join the startup life!
In a startup, it’s always good to have a business partner with whom you can share the pains and frustrations. Personally, I do not think I would have survived the many years without the support of Richard and I’m pretty sure he’d tell you the same. For many reasons, and it seems to hold up pretty well in study after study, but you give your business a higher chance of survival if you’re not alone.
Mews will supply all the training and system solutions to get you started. We use a number of integrated solutions to automate most of your administration, accounting and use solutions which remove the need for traditional cold-calling. We aim to remove 80% or all admin traditionally involved in sales (remember making sales proposals in Word?) – this is all automated, so that you can focus your attention on talking and supporting your customers.
We are looking for people which speak our local language and understand hotels. So, the moment we identify a potential customer, we will pass the lead on to you, and you are to meet the client, and convince them to start working with Mews. It’s up to you to sell Mews and once signed, you will need to spend a few days with the hotel to get them onboarded. Once the hotel is live, you remain the first point of contact and support.
When your list of clients (and revenues) grow, you could decide to grow your company too in order to obtain a larger market share and we encourage you to then reach out to some of our great partner companies so that you can also support their quest for growth. As a first target, though, we would like to get you to be self-sufficient and independent within 8 months.
It’s in our best interest to have you succeed, and we will coach you every step along the way to ensure you become a market leader in your own right.
CEO & Co-Founder