Our Woman’s Power Hour profiles and celebrates women who are storming the short stay industry and this edition is showcasing Stephanie Rolando from Roomr an exchange platform where accommodation space gets traded for help around the home…kindness rewarded as the strapline says!
How did you come to found your company and what were the biggest challenges you faced when setting it up?
I’ve worked in property for the last four years so I understood first-hand the difficulty with finding affordable rent in London. The idea for Roomr came about when I was looking for a place to stay myself. After a stressful amount of time looking for the right room, in the right place within budget, I came across an advert for a cheaper room in exchange for child care. I thought the idea was great but needed to be done in a safer way. The more I delved into the concept, the more I realised how needed it was as not only is it a way to solve housing issues in London, it also brings a much needed sense of community into the City which for many of us, can often feel very lonely.
The biggest challenge I came across when setting up was getting new customers to trust me and the company, It’s very much a chicken and egg scenario as in order to build trust you need them to take a chance. This trust came with time and once I’d proven my capabilities by having successful matches, I was then able to showcase these stories which in turn built more traction.
What is your advice for the next generation of leaders and change-makers?
My advice would be to surround yourself with the right mix of people. I’m a big believer that you are only as good as the three people you spend the most time with. I’m fortunate to have a strong network of support and they have been my lifeline. Avoid the ‘yes men’ and get advice from those who genuinely care about what you’re doing and want to see you thrive.
How do you keep self-motivated?
Routine, healthy living and exercise keep me the most motivated. Routine is important for me as it keeps me on track, my days are so varied and I’m often travelling all over London so this can be challenging but getting up early and keeping a morning routine is key. Dedicating time for rest is important too – When you’re running your own business you often feel guilty for taking time off and find it hard to ‘switch off’ but I’ve learnt to enjoy those moments and not be so hard on myself as coming back from a day off always put me in a productive mind-set.
Biggest lesson you have learnt about yourself?
Despite the feeling of security while remaining in the the comfort zone, I’ve learnt that I actually work best when out of my comfort zone.
Best piece of advice you were given?
To take each day as it comes.
Who is the individual you admire the most?
My grandmother, GG. Her story of moving from Mauritius to London with an 8 year old son, teaching herself English, working her way up to a senior position and only retiring at 80 makes me think I can do anything. She’s the Queen in our family!
Holiday destination of choice?
I’d love to go to Mauritius again to visit family, its truly paradise there.
Your Favourite city in the world?
Barcelona is one of my favourite places as it’s got the perfect balance of metropolitan city, sun and beach life.
How do you celebrate your achievements?
Humbly.. I really don’t celebrate enough and it’s something I want to work on!
I listen to a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk interviews – He can be controversial but his ‘get stuff done’ attitude is very motivating.
Want to feature in our Next Power Hour? Email Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org for your submission.