Dubai: Originally from Estonia, Natasha Rudatsenko is a Dubai-based serial wellness entrepreneur with a passion for fitness and longevity of life, while also proactively advocating biohacking, the science of losing weight to enhance brain function.
Rudatsenko has been in Dubai now for over 13 years, launching multiple health-related businesses, comprising of a yoga studio, an educational platform on functional medicine, a home detox kit and dietary brand, and a soon-to-be-opened health and wellness clinic.
Serial entrepreneur’s growing years
“I didn’t learn much from childhood, I unfortunately had to learn the hard way. My money-related beliefs were awful and of a very poor mind-set. I did not have strong money management skills; money went away as soon as they would come pretty much throughout my entire life,” shared Rudatsenko.
She did however invest some efforts into educating herself about smart money management through books like ‘Richest man of Babylon’, ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’, ‘Millionaire’s Mindset’, ‘Profit First’ and few others, which she “highly recommends” everyone to read before starting a business.
No one starts anything new at being excellent at it. It is okay to fail your first and sometimes even recommended to succeed in the future
– Natasha Rudatsenko
“Even though I did finish Estonian Business School in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, I feel like theory didn’t teach me anything. I had to set up businesses, run them and fail them to learn. I contribute success of my third business to my first two failed ones. This is life.
“No one starts anything new at being excellent at it. It is okay to fail your first and sometimes even recommended to succeed in the future, just make sure you don’t get into a serious debt. Don’t start your business with the debt, and don’t invest more than you can afford to lose,” Rudatsenko added.
Gathering funds to launch a business
When asked how the serial entrepreneur managed to gather enough money to launch her first start-up, Rudatsenko revealed that she invested Dh350,000 of her own money at first.
“My first ever business was a yoga studio, back in 2012. I was incredibly intrigued by ‘hot yoga’ (a vigorous form of yoga performed in a very warm and humid studio), so I started going regularly to what was then the only ‘hot yoga’ studio in Dubai and it was pretty packed every day. This is when I had my ‘aha’ moment, I just knew I had to set up my own one and do it better,” she said.
“So literally within few months I flew to US for a ‘Bikram Yoga’ training, which was already pretty costly, in the range of $10,000 (Dh36,729). I was a real estate agent back then and I remember vividly I have set the goal to earn it to fulfil my dream of completing the training and setting up an official Bikram Yoga Studio. At that point it was a lot of money for me. But I did achieve the goal.”
In 2011, Rudatsenko graduated and flew back to Dubai, and went back to real estate right away. This is when she knew she had to make some money quick by investing the money she had saved up, and upon quickly finding a partner on her arrival, they decided to launch the business together.
“In 2012, we opened a yoga studio and it was a success! At that time, I was a co-founder, a yoga teacher, a manager, and a real estate agent all at the same time. It was intense, sometimes I would be teaching 4 to 5 classes per day and worked on rental and sales deal in between,” she added.
“Then I sold a penthouse and I felt like I needed to invest into a new business, because as time will show I cannot just have one business at a time. Some people may say it dilutes energy, for me it was energising.”
From funding one business to two
Rudatsenko’s next business adventure was an organic food manufacturer, ‘Muncherie’.
“I sold my yoga studio to my partner at a time and moved on with my new endeavour. I invested around Dh500,000 of my own money into it – half of it was the money from the yoga studio sale and another part was real estate commission But long story short, I burnt through all of it,” she shared.
“Not a pleasant story of my life, but I take full responsibility for all the mistakes I have made. And there were mistakes, now looking back at it, I am aware of it. Even though we did get into pretty much every UAE store, including all Waitrose and Spinneys outlets, it was a flop in the end. And hundreds of lessons came from it. And this is what I call a real life Business School.”
You learn from every step and eventually you get better at this thing called – business
– Natasha Rudatsenko
Then came another hot yoga studio ‘DRYP’, and ‘Health Nag’, an educational platform on functional medicine (an approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease) with a wellness clinic nearly underway as well.
“You learn from every step and eventually you get better at this thing called – business,” remarked Rudatsenko.
Entrepreneurs face threat of burn out
Running any business can be challenging, and burn out is a problem for business owners, especially as managing routine operations get hectic, and business owners face more demands and try to develop the ever increasing skill set that is needed to run their businesses.
“Many entrepreneurs for sure can relate, it is easy to get burnt out. You have multiple responsibilities for obvious reasons and multitasking can get heavy at times. But the need to save is stronger so you just keep going. But at the same time a founder who is burnt out, can’t often make smart decisions. Then it is a vicious circle,” the serial entrepreneur explained.
In Rudatsenko’s case, the operating expenses on a monthly basis is around Dh110,000, she revealed.
“We are consistent with our regular customer base and we have a lot of loyal regulars. Once you love what you do, it’s hard to stop. Look at me, it’s been almost 13 years and still you will always find me on the mat, DRYP’ing.”
3 tips that would help fellow entrepreneurs start their own businesses
Here are some business tips from Rudatsenko, given her experience as a serial entrepreneur:
• Do not put money into being the best at everything too soon.
• Take your time to test the market and identify the demand first.
• Watch your cash flow. This is the main reason why most start-ups are failing too soon.
Making prudent use of business profits
When asked whether or not Rudatsenko invests the money she makes, aside from investing profits to grow her own businesses, she admitted that she was constantly re-investing into new concepts.
“I would say I live on 30 per cent of my profits and re-invest the rest into my new businesses. I don’t invest in stocks or crypto or anything like that. I don’t have the passion for it, I don’t understand it and I have no control over it,” she explained.
“I only re-invest in good-for-community businesses. If I see a market gap for a quality health product or service, I then have a natural urge to fulfil it. This is what happened with ‘Health Nag’. It was born in parallel with the ‘DRYP’ and then it grew to become an independent brand, which now allows me to invest into our upcoming clinic. I believe this circle will continue.”