Interview with Rob – Silver Holidays

(Country: Portugal, Native country: Holland)


Veronica: Hello, Rob. My name is Veronica from tropical Australia. I am here to talk to you about your business.

Rob: Nice.

Veronica: So thank you. Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed for our blog. What is your name and what is your business?

Rob: I’m Rob from Silver Holidays in Vilamoura and my business is rentals, management and real estate in the Vilamoura area.

Veronica: What is your home country and your native language?

Rob: I’m originally from Holland and my native language is Dutch.

Veronica: What was your professional studies before you started your own business?

Rob: I didn’t study that much as I started my own business when I was 19, to be honest.

Veronica: What did you do at 19?

Rob: I did the International Business School in Holland and I done two times a training period here, but I didn’t finish my studies.

Veronica: So how come you came to Vilamoura?

Rob: I came to Vilamoura because my family was renting a holiday house here in Vilamoura. And with that company, I’ve done my training periods two times for the summer, for 2 or 3 months, then going back to Holland. I failed my exams and I decided to start my own company in Portugal and skip school.

Veronica: At the age of 19.

Rob: I was just 19. Yes.

Veronica: That’s pretty amazing. So tell me about your product or service and why did you choose to offer this?

Rob: I thought when I was 19 I got the opportunity because I was doing my training period here in Vilamoura. I got to know a few owners and because I didn’t want to study anymore in Holland, I decided to try and start my own company in Vilamoura, offering villa rentals with the connections I had already before. So I started my own rental program in 1998 with 11 rental properties.

Veronica: That’s awesome. You already answered the next question, which was Why did you decide to start the business in the in this new country? So describe the difference between working hours and free time, comparing when you first started the business to after it became profitable.

Rob: Um, it’s still pretty much the same, to be honest. However, when I first started the rental business, it was just me and my ex-girlfriend. We were only doing rentals. Since then we have diverged into management and property sales as well. But when I first did the rentals, I was also doing the cleaning and the laundry. So that has now been taken away from me because the office is dealing with that. But I still don’t have a lot of free time, to be honest.

Veronica: So how many people do you have working for you?

Rob: 11 people in the office.

Veronica: Now, how did. Okay. How did the idea of your business change from the start to finish?

Rob: Well, the market changed a little bit and after a while I got many more rental properties. After around ten years of doing only rentals and management was really a little bit bored with that. So I started to do the real estate in a more intensive way, and I hired staff to look after the rental and the management business instead.

Veronica: Did you use any inspiration or knowledge from your home country to come up with your business idea?

Rob: No, not really.

Veronica: Do you have any tips for someone who is just starting out with entrepreneurship and business?

Rob: Just work very hard and don’t give up.

Veronica: What is one lesson from your experience that a migrant entrepreneur can learn from?

Rob: See the surrounding areas where you are? Also talk with some expat communities to help you get along. Help you getting on the ladder. Just be honest and promise what you say and then hopefully it will turn out to be okay.

Veronica: Perfect. So you’re a very busy person. Thank you for your time. Do you have any last words for the people who will read this?

Rob: If you’re thinking of coming to Portugal to start a business, please be welcome. Portugal is a great place to visit, so it would be great.

Veronica: Thank you very much, Rob.