Marchela Georgieva is the co-founder and COO of Capto, a company on a mission to automate repetitive manual tasks that consume time, energy, and team motivation.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Absolutely! I started my career at PwC when, right after university, I joined the firm’s London office. I started out in the company’s financial audit department, specialising in the Banking & Capital Markets industry which essentially meant that I was spending most of my days auditing the financial statements of the world’s largest banks.
Excited for the opportunity to work with some pretty remarkable people and the chance to get my ACA qualification (which is the equivalent of the Australian CPA), I jumped right into the corporate world.
I was working long hours, getting lost in spreadsheets, using the evenings and pretty much all the weekends to study for professional exams. Life sure was active but once all the exams were over and I had my qualification, I quickly realised that I needed a change.
But I wasn’t ready to leave PwC, yet, so I joined the firm’s Financial Services tax department helping private clients with their personal tax affairs. And I loved it! The team was fantastic, the clients were super intelligent, mostly self-made high net-worth individuals and the learning curve was pretty incredible.
Combined with my auditing experience before that, I was learning a lot about business and relationships and with that, I was starting to spot too many inefficiencies at work that were making me more and more uneasy because too much time was wasted on manual repetitive tasks and overcomplicated processes that I frankly didn’t want to spend my time on.
That’s where the real interesting part of my career started. One day I had a meeting with the director who hired me in tax and told her that I needed to take some time out, reflect and figure out what I wanted to do next.
Fast forward a few chapters and I’m flying to Singapore on a three-month sabbatical, travelling solo through Southeast Asia, filling up my memory bank with adventures the auditor of my past could only dream about.
That’s when I realised that the next big thing for me was a much bigger change. I wanted time to travel, learn to code, study French, do more with my photography and travel blog and going back to a full-time job that was unexciting and too manual too often was simply unimaginable for me.
When I returned to London, I negotiated with PwC to work only 6 months of the year, using the other 6 to learn and do all the other things I was passionate about. Fast forward again another year and I met Alexis Chevallot who not only became my life partner but also the co-founder I started Capto with.
Coming from a technological background, Alexis’ day-to-day job was automating inefficient boring tasks, just like the ones I was seeing everywhere in audit and tax.
With his technological expertise and my business knowledge and experience we decided to create a company that helps businesses automate tasks and processes that are currently costly, inefficient and draining of team productivity, motivation and creativity at work.
So we set off to create workplaces where people no longer have to compete with software and robots to do their job but are instead empowered to do work that’s innovative, challenging and fulfilling. And that is what I work on today!
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Ever since we started Capto, the workdays can’t be more diverse than what they are right now. At this initial stage of the company development Alexis and I are the go to people for almost everything so what we do each day really depends on what the business needs are.
So my days usually start with a 1 hour home-gym session, or a 30min self-guided yoga. I used to intermittent fast almost every workday but more recently you’ll see me prep a quick healthy breakfast and a cup of coffee before I get on with work.
I have breakfast together with Alexis which is turning into our little tradition which we absolutely love, maybe because all work talk is completely disallowed ha ha!
After breakfast, we run through the to-do-list for the day and brainstorm ahead of the meetings we have coming up that day.
I then get on with my calls which I try to schedule such that they’re all clustered together so once they’re all done, I can focus on the outreach correspondence I have to send to potential partners or clients, any blog posts/ social media publications that I need to write or whatever else needs done that day.
I always take a break for lunch though and most days I take a walk before dinner to freshen up and get some cooking inspiration. Regardless of how busy the days are I always take the time to prepare dinner and usually listen to a podcast or have a call with friends or family in the meantime.
That’s usually my time to slow down and catch up on my personal messages and calls to keep my parents and close friends happy. Once a week at least though we go out for dinner during the workdays to change the routine which actually helps a lot!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Honestly, ever since we started Capto this has become one of my absolute favourite questions to answer because one of the main personal reasons we wanted to start our own company was to be able to be fully in control of our location and the way we work. So the short answer to the question is absolutely YES.
In fact, my current role was purposefully designed to be flexible and to allow me to work and manage everything remotely.
As I speak, I’m in Italy working remotely from here for a few days before heading to France to see Alexis’ family and meet a client there. And honestly, this not only fits perfectly into my life and routine but the flexibility and the freedom to change location and still have a meaningful personal conversation (albeit via Google Meet or Zoom) with all the people I work and hope to work with is simply incredible and I truly love it.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I consider myself very fortunate that it was quite early into my career when I realised that life isn’t and shouldn’t be all about work and building up.
It’s all a question of what we place our value in and what we think is important and meaningful but for me personally being able to enjoy life outside of work, travel, be present and build meaningful relationships is as important as doing a purposeful work.
In fact, this is one of the main values that I constantly reflect on as we build Capto because we want to nurture a company that empowers people to balance work and life passions without any pressure or constraint.
My life right now is all about balancing my work and personal life and the possibility to work remotely from different locations is how I achieve my balance.
I’m an avid traveller with passions for mountaineering and photography and being able to work remotely gives me the chance to explore the mountains, take my photos and wander round the streets of new places whenever I shut the laptop completely at the weekends and that for me is simply priceless!
Keeping the balance is just so important to me which is why we built Capto with the idea to become the go-to company where people join for the working experience but also the freedom to express themselves freely and go passionately after their other projects and ideas outside of work!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Ever since we started Capto, my routine has changed massively, in a great way.
I now change location a lot more frequently which actually fuels my energy and creativity quite a lot. With that, I’m learning to truly switch off at the weekends and make the most out of them which is something that was simply not possible when I was living full time in London. I’m enjoying the change a lot!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
So so many but if I have to shortlist I’d definitely recommend:
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
- Think and Grow Rich
- 12 Rules for Life
- Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
I absolutely love reading. Last year in March when I had to do an emergency return back home from Chile and spend two weeks in quarantine, I spent a lot of my time devouring books.
I’ve also become quite the fan of podcasts and a few of my absolute favourites at the moment are:
- On Purpose with Jay Shetty
- The Startup Story
- The Tim Ferriss Show
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
There’s actually not much that I can’t live without when it comes to gadgets but I definitely keep my laptop, Kindle and camera close.
Apps wise, I have to shout out anything Google, Deezer (for my workout music and podcasts), and Maps.com for all the times it’s helped me find my way when hiking.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
That’s an interesting one! I’ve listened to so many podcasts that have already helped us sneak peek into successful people’s lives to some extent at least but it would be interesting to read how Tony Robbins, Elon Musk or Kara Golding (CEO & mother of 4) go about their days.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
We live in a noisy world where it’s often too easy to compare and make decisions based on the outcomes of someone else’s story or other people’s expectations and that can be distracting and exhausting.
If there’s one thing I constantly try to remind myself is to stay focused on what I find meaningful, purposeful and worthwhile doing and if that thing is 100% work, then be it but if there is anything else I’d love to try out, experience, taste or learn (as is always the case), I always ask myself: “Well, if not now, then when am I gonna do it? – And I do a bit of planning and just go for it.”
That’s how I keep my balance, stay focused on my own journey and don’t get distracted by all the noise around so I’d encourage anyone out there to be present, stay focused on what makes them happy and fulfilled and create their own story, empowered by their personal values and definitions of what is important and what it means to be successful!
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