Today we are talking to Valentina Ruffoni who Ali met as part of a networking challenge! Valentina is formerly from UK and now lives in Madrid. She is the Founder of Eat Out Madrid and co-chapter host for CMX Connect Madrid which is for community builders and community curious people out there!
Valentina, what has led you to Madrid?
How do I make this short? OK in a nutshell, my background is in entertainment and events, I left the UK to work on a cruise ship in 2010 and by 2012 I had met my now husband. We then moved to Abu Dhabi in the UAE where I became a flight attendant and in 2016 we decided to move to Madrid.
My degree is in events management and after graduating in 2009 and not having the patience to find a job in my field in London left for the life of cruise ships and travel as an activities host. In 2014, we decided that the lifestyle of living and working on a ship for long periods of time was not for us anymore and we both by chance were offered jobs in Abu Dhabi, UAE. This meant we could be in the same country as each other. 2 years later, after working my way up to a service trainer, we decided the culture, heat and working schedules were not to our liking and we headed to Madrid.
I dabbled in English teaching where by I taught ballet and hip hop to children in English while setting up Eat Out Madrid. We then were offered to open a new cruise ship which we took and then in Jan 2019 I said “that’s it, I am committing to Madrid”.
In the short space of time I have relaunched Eat In Madrid, branched out to Eat Out Barcelona, started an audiovisual and events company with my husband, become one of the CMX Connect hosts for CMX Connect Madrid and a global ambassador for Duo Lingo hosting a weekly English club at the Irish Rover Pub.
When did your business journeys start?
My business journey started the day I created Eat Out Madrid which was actually before I arrived in Madrid in 2016. At the time I did not see it as a business as the prospect of money was not in my mind. I have since learnt that a business doesn’t necessarily mean an income but a time of growth, ownership and real life experiences and if there is a time where an income can be made then that is great also.
You are both entrepreneurs running multiple businesses – please give us your personal top three tips for time management.
- Organisation. I made lists of lists to keep up to date with where I am. Trello is a great resource to use which I actually learnt from Cepee.
- There is always time to eat. I cannot stress enough the importance of eating and taking breaks. I have spoken to so many people who tell me they just don’t have time to eat. Planning out your day and scheduling specific break times will not only allow you to be more productive but stop yourself from getting “hangry” (Hungry and angry = not a good combo)
- Prioritise. This is something I am still working on but prioritising what needs to be done on certain days or at certain times will also lower your stress levels and stop you from overloading yourself each day. With multiple businesses it can be hard to juggle them at times so making decisions on what higher on the list to be completed will help you achieve more.
Offering Experiences – in this social media led life, give us your thoughts on the place for adventures and moments?
Experiences are something we all crave, going out for dinner just doesn’t cut it anymore, people want more than that. They want to learn a skill or leave with new knowledge on a subject.
With social media at the forefront of our lives we are glued to our phones to keep up to date with what’s happening around us. We crave any type of content that will be noticed, liked and shared. With that being said social media has enabled us to reflect on memories from past experiences thanks to its memory.
Valentina – how has building community changed the way we do business and how do you think this will develop in 2020?
Having communities of people that believe in your values will help you grow. The importance of having brand advocates is huge especially with social media and the rise of influencers.
It has been argued that you should start a community before a business which I guess I have done with the Eat Out/ Eat In Brand. In doing so and creating a relationship with members, when you do have product or service to offer that are more likely to give their time and money towards it.
Going forward in 2020 I believe more companies will adopt the idea of creating communities around their businesses in order to attract a wider audience and utilise free marketing based on word of month. They will realise the importance of advocates of their brands and having a go-to group of people to ask for feedback and advice on future ventures.
If you are in Madrid, plant to visit or know someone coming, please join our community at Eat Out Madrid to get recommendations on the best places to eat and drink in the capital.
If you like to Eat In and need to know where to buy ingredients for your favourite meals then Eat In Madrid is your go to place.
Or if you are based in Barcelona or plan to visit anytime soon, this is our newest band of the Eat Out Brand, Eat Out Barcelona offering the same principles as Eat Out Madrid.
And finally if you are building a community like me here in Madrid and want to meet other professionals. Join us at our monthly events events.cmx.com/madrid
What is one thing you will each achieve before the end of 2019?
I’d like to reach 6000 members in Eat Out Madrid by the end of the year. (Sorry I am a numbers girl)
What is your superpower?
Wow, I am not sure I have one. I guess I am really good at multitasking. I do have a party trick though…. I can touch my nose with my tongue, does that count?
What would be your advice to the younger you?
Stop having boyfriends and turning down opportunities because of that!
One quote you live by?
Everything will be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end.
I am waving my magic make it happen wand – what dream are you daydreaming about?
The first daydream is very materialistic and that is the dream house.
What’s the preferred method of connecting with you?
For me as Valentina Ruffoni
Thank you Valentina!