I’m Maria Jalkanen, a 28-year-old mother, a passionate entrepreneur, an advocate of organic food and someone who always wants to make the world better than before. I am the creative director of Foodin, a Finnish family business on a journey to create a food culture where everyone has the opportunity to choose more sustainable and ethical food options.
I have always strived to make the world a better place with my own actions, which also reflects in our company’s mission. We entrepreneurs have every opportunity to change the world to a more sustainable direction. We are, first and foremost, builders of something new. That places us not only with a wonderful opportunity to make good decisions, but also with a duty of making good decisions.
I’ve always been kind of stubborn and wanted to do things my own way, which is why, I think, I also ended up as an entrepreneur. I feel that as an entrepreneur, I get things done fast and well. I wouldn’t stand for someone else to say what or how I should do something – especially if I felt it was the wrong way to go. It’s so important to me that I can stand with my back straight behind every decision and act I do.
I’ve always been kind of stubborn and wanted to do things my own way, which is why, I think, I also ended up as an entrepreneur.
It’s sometimes nerve-wracking to be in charge of your own work. Even simple things sometimes take a huge amount of time. I’ve had to learn to put up with waiting and the fact that things don’t always happen the way I would like to.
To counterbalance this, I get to do work that is so meaningful in every which way. It is wonderful to see the impact and result of your own work in a concrete way, every single day. Getting feedback is also always rewarding.
If I were now asked what I wanted to know before I became an entrepreneur, I would have answered “nothing”. Post-wisdom is useless because all experiences have made me what I am now. The “absurd insanity and blue-eyedness” of the early days are certainly things that have taken me more forward than backward.
The “absurd insanity and blue-eyedness” of the early days are certainly things that have taken me more forward than backward.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, one sometimes comes across the argument that “an entrepreneur is not or should never be on holiday”. While in the past I might’ve found it somehow pointless to take a vacation, today I take a much more appreciative view of the vacation. I feel it is a necessary time for myself to be truly creative, innovative and effective. However, I can’t be completely in the dark even on a holiday – I check my email in between and take care of the most urgent things. This brings peace to me and makes it easier for me to enjoy my holiday.
For the future entrepreneurs, I advise this: believe in yourself and your idea. Listen and learn from others, but only do things that feel good to you and are right for you. Don’t be afraid of failures, they will come anyway. Rather, think that every failure or challenge is an opportunity to evolve and learn.
Learn more about Foodin at foodin.fi.