April 20, 2019 – Continuing our look at the foreign entrepreneurs trying to succeed in Croatia as so many are emigrating, meet Mariann from Hungary, translator and photographer.
1. First and foremost, why Croatia?
It was not my choosing actually. My family came here in the early 90s before the war. My father was a representative of a big company in Hungary and in between became an important member of the Hungarian embassy. He was sent to Croatia to make connections here. After his mandate, so to speak, expired, we as a family, stayed here. We were constantly on the move – from one flat to the other, never owning a home here (flat or house), in Hungary only.
I started my education here, skipped kindergarten and was “hurled” into primary school. That was a shock for me. Then came the war. For a year we came back to Hungary and then returned again when all was quiet.
2. Tell us about some of the differences of your expectations of running a business in Croatia and the reality.
I’m a translator (court interpreter), copywriter and emerging photographer. I work with Hungarian, English, Croatian and German.
As my business is the result of a long time being out of work, I had to make something to earn money. The bureaucracy here is a big impediment. There’s no understanding. When you start off on your own, there’s almost no one to help you, apart from Plavi Ured and the governmental institutions don’t actually do anything to help you, they just do anything to be a huge block to your development.
3. What (if any) bureaucratical issues have you encountered and how did you overcome them (i.e. any advice to the would-be entrepreneur?)
Consult Plavi Ured in everything. The employment office is no help whatsoever.
4. How is your product or business perceived in the Croatian market?
It’s tough to work with/against agencies. I say against because agencies take the job from individuals.You can’t achieve a rate that would be accepted by clients – direct clients won’t pay you that much. They look for the cheapest, which is most certainly the lowest quality of translation they will get.Our trade is not respected. Our official rates are not accepted.
5. What were the opinions of your friends and community, were they supportive of your idea,or…?
They were supportive, but didn’t see any positive outcome. There’s still much to do and develop in order for my business to prosper.
6. What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced in business in Croatia?
Clients not willing to pay in advance. That’s the only way to ensure that clients will pay for your translation. At least the direct clients. Going after a client, who didn’t want to pay and didn’t answer my calls or emails. I had to come to Hungary from Zagreb to urge him to pay.
7. If you knew then, what you know now, would you have come?
I’ve been living here for more than 30 years now. I’m considering relocating. Most probably to England or Scotland. Hungary is my second choice.
8. What are 3 things you love about Croatia?
People being laid back and liking coffee, quicker service than in Hungary, wonderful nature (mountains and lakes).
9. What are 3 things you would like to see improved in the business climate in Croatia?
Less bureaucracy, the ease of setting up a business, more support for businesses.
10. How is it working with Croatians in terms of a business mentality?
It’s tough. The Hungarian mentality is way too different. We’re more sincere and have more responsibility.
11. Advice for foreign entrepreneurs thinking of coming to Croatia?
I think you should wait a few more years for the government to ease the restraints when setting up a business. Croatia will open itself more for the foreign market and will want foreigners to invest here, but the institutions should work into their hands.
Have someone you know here to guide you through the process.
You can learn more about Mariann’s translation services on Tralangia.com.
To learn more about the foreign entrepreneurs trying to make it in The Beautiful Croatia, check out the heroes we have covered already.
Are you a foreign entrepreneur trying to make it work in Croatia and would like to promote your story? Contact us on [email protected]