Ana Andres – Cofounder of TidyChoice
Ana Andres cofounded TidyChoice in 2015 to help Londoners find trusted, reliable cleaners easily online. Ana is a telecom engineer, computer scientist and business innovator holding a PhD and numerous patents. After having difficulties hiring a reliable cleaner, Ana applied her technical expertise to create a seamless solution. TidyChoice have grown quickly to become London’s leading domestic cleaning service.
How did you balance being a mother and professional?
I have balanced both worlds accepting that, to be happy, I needed to give them both enough time and energy. I have been lucky because I have always had a lot of energy. Shortly after starting TidyChoice, I became pregnant. During my pregnancy and the first months of my son’s life, he was with me at work. Work and family were one. On occasion, Daniel could be heard in the background of business call! You have to be adaptable.
What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career?
Personally, I sacrificed an easier family life when I decided to go for a riskier, less well paid and busier role in my own company. Professionally, I know I could have followed a traditional career development in the ranks of a large company. However, we only live once! This ride has been much more fun.
Who inspired you and why?
My daily source of inspiration is my grandmother. She is amazing. She is 94. She has had a more difficult life than any of us, surviving a civil war, raising 4 children on my grandfather’s small salary and doing this while enjoying life to the maximum. She takes good care of herself and is always happy. She is proud of who she is, and she has so much energy, even at 94. She recovered from catching the Covid virus and is still kicking strong.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
Your career is a marathon not a sprint. Do not sacrifice your principles and dreams to fit into a place. Keep on looking until you find the job and place where you naturally fit. And if you get tired of searching, create your own environment, start a business.
Do you think women feel intimidated in business?
No. I think that it is men who are usually intimidated by ambitious and energetic women.
Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?
Either having breakfast or about to go for a walk with my family. We usually go out on the weekends for a ride around Hampstead Heath. We buy a tea to go in a local cafe and enjoy a stroll together.
What do you love about your job?
My job allows me to use my brain to full capacity. It also helps me feel useful. I enjoy challenges and being pushed to give the best of myself.
What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?
Starting my own business. At one point I thought I had left it too late in life. Now that a few years have passed since I co-founded TidyChoice, I realise that I still have a long professional life in front of me. It is never late to start a business.
What’s the worst career decision you’ve ever made?
I do not recall any. I always made my decisions consciously of the consequences and none of them have surprised me negatively.
How do you organise your time?
I am a woman of stable habits. I wake up early, have a routine and plan my week on my calendar on Sunday evening so not to rush through the week.
What do you think is your greatest strength?
Resilience. I have been told I am a strong woman. I consider this to be a compliment.
What do you think is your greatest weakness?
Lack of patience. I know that I would have been better off in certain situations if I had been more patient. I struggle waiting for people to do things and sometimes to them myself so I do not have to wait.
How do you make decisions?
I would love to say that I balance the pros and the cons rationally and then go for the option that makes more sense, but it is rarely the case. My decision process is a bit more complex. For big decisions, I can spend weeks if not months thinking and researching. Then, I can make the decision very quickly based on instinct as much as data. Often I follow my instinct and so far it has worked well for me. It is as if I am training my instinct to make good decisions.
What do you read?
I used to read a lot in my twenties but less so now. Mostly, I read mystery novels to relax.
What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve got to?
No secret. For those that like challenging themselves again and again, I would say, persevere. Not giving up is what gets you there, even if it takes time.
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