#Meet_The_Oleh: Helena Baker
Immigrated from London, UK
Aliyah Date: January 2019
Currently living in Tel-Aviv
Works @English Speaking Network as Founder
We found Helena, an inspiring young entrepreneur, working to build a business in Israel as an Olah Hadasha. If you are looking into the world of freelancing or want to take your small business to the next level, scroll down for her tips for success!
I moved to Israel because I felt ready for a challenge and something different. Given my passion and love for Israel, it was a natural choice. The decision to move to Israel was actually spurred by a recent visit, where I had truly felt like a visitor, and I really wanted to transform my homeland into my home.
So how does someone launch a freelance career and a business in Israel?
"When I moved here, I thought it would be easy to transition from freelance writing in England to Israel. I quickly realized it was much harder than expected. Here, I didn’t have the network I had back home, which I had spent years cultivating, with my feet on the ground going to countless events. Not only that but in Israel, the challenge is much greater with language, cultural and taxation barriers. It was a rocky and difficult move."
With a desperate desire to create an English speaking network she could rely on, Helena felt she couldn’t be the only one, so she decided to create “English Speaking Networking”, a network for English speaking business owners in Israel to connect with each other, gain referrals, and learn from one another. In just six months Helena now has three branches in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Ramat Beit Shemesh with plans to add more branches in 2021.
What would be your advice for Olim interested in opening a small business here?
First, I advise you to have an Israeli accountant. Don’t take the first one you meet with. Make sure they are a fluent English speaker and don’t be afraid to switch accountants, even if it’s a bit more expensive.
Networking is important –there are a lot of English-speaking events. Go to them, it will help you grow your personal brand, connect with people, and by doing all that important follow-up, you will find business will come. Network naturally.
If you meet someone in your field or even know of someone in your sector, message them, and say you’d like to meet up. Workaround their schedule, but you’d be surprised at how many incredibly successful and well-known professionals are happy to meet for a coffee. Truly, Olim want to help Olim.
If you want to kickstart your professional connections, reach out to Helena and get involved in English Speaking Networking!