Founders / Interviews / Software Engineers & Developers

Balancing the Grind with Veselin Stoilov, Founder of VEVS

Veselin Stoilov is the Founder of VEVS, an e-commerce website builder designed to serve companies from key vertical markets.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Hi, my name is Veselin Stoilov and I have a long history of building web apps. I co-founded 17 years ago, and since then, together with my team, we have sold our apps and software to more than 40,000 clients from all over the world.

More recently, I have been working on – an e-commerce website builder designed to serve companies from key vertical markets. VEVS sites are designed and developed to meet the needs of multiple industry niches and are equipped with relevant software for doing business online, such as rental software, appointment systems, classified listings and more.

I have also been married for 16 years now and have 3 beautiful daughters.

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2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

My daily routine has changed a lot over the past couple of years. I used to work a lot more and would often stay in the office for 12-14 hours a day, every day!

Now, I opt for a better work-life balance and because of this, I feel more productive and better organised, spending less time in the office and working fewer hours, all whilst getting the same amount, if not more, work completed.

I usually wake up at around 05:30 – 06:00. I then spend an hour checking my most important emails before I leave home. On the way to the office, I drop one or more of the kids at school.

I believe as an entrepreneur, it is very important to develop a good work-life balance so doing little things such as taking the kids to school allows me to spend that little extra time each day with my family.

In the morning, I have meetings with my team members that I work with on a daily basis, and we discuss what each one of them is currently working on.

My core job role is to constantly review, test, and look for ways to improve what we do, so I am in continuous contact with my colleagues all day long. However, as of late, I try to spend the afternoons out of the office, often with my family and using my mobile/laptop to stay in touch with my team.

In the last 6+ months, I have started to exercise more often, so at the end of the day, I try to be either in the gym or going out for a long walk in the park. Of course, I spend the evenings with my family but I try to make it a priority to do some form of exercise each day.

Usually, before going to bed at about 11 pm I check the next day’s tasks, as this helps me to wake up the following morning with a clear schedule for the day and goals to accomplish.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, my current role definitely allows me to work remotely. The beauty of offering an online service for clients is that it is all offered online. This means that both myself and all my team can work remotely if needed.

Like I have mentioned previously, I choose to spend my afternoons nowadays out of the office and simply use my mobile/laptop to stay in touch with my colleagues and our clients.

I love to travel, whether it be on family vacations or annual skiing trips. Travelling and experiencing other areas of the world is a great hobby of mine.

Without the flexibility of remote working, I wouldn’t be able to do any of that. Because of this, it allows me to go on family vacations and not have to worry about being in contact with my team, as I am always one call or email away, and as long as there is an internet connection, I can get everything I need to get done.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

As I mentioned earlier, my daily routine has changed a lot over the past couple of years. I went from working 12-14 hours every day, to cutting that almost in half, and the reason for that is all down to work-life balance.

To me, it means being able to enjoy the fruits of your labour, spend time with family and friends, and focus better energy on my businesses, when I am under working hours. I think that one of the greatest issues when it comes to entrepreneurship is that it is often perceived as a ‘hustle’ and ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ career.

When in fact, entrepreneurship is a way of further enriching your life, creating a life of freedom and purpose, whilst enjoying yourself in the process.

I have found that since creating a better work-life balance, I perform better for my businesses, and this is crucial in their success.

The way I work to achieve a good work-life balance is to devote a specific amount of time each day for work and for life. I go to the office in the mornings and spend the afternoons/evenings with family and friends. This means that every day, I am creating a work-life balance.

If there is one tip I can recommend, it is to learn the skill of doing more in less time. And by that, I mean learning to focus more in the time slots you are working, in order to complete work without distractions. This will help you reduce your working hours, and increase your time spent with family, friends and pursuing your hobbies, all of which play a big role in your success.

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

I won’t call it a habit but a skill, and it is knowing what and how to prioritize. This, in my opinion, is the number one skill one should have. You will never have the time to do everything you want, so learning how to not only prioritize, but choose the right priorities is vital.

It is not only valid for your job duties but your day-to-day life too. Being able to choose whether or not it is a good idea to go out and drink a couple of beers with friends or deciding to go to bed early and be fresh in the morning, will have a direct correlation on your level of success.

Another example is being able to decide what product your company should focus on and what not to focus on. These are called trade offs, and with each trade off, you are choosing one thing and giving up another. It is up to you to choose which trade is more important, and which trade off is going to ultimately increase your chances of success in life.

Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy yourself once in a while, but on a day to day basis, adopting this view and this mindset, will help gravitate you to knowing what is going to propel you forward and what isn’t.

6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

A book I would recommend to anyone is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s an astounding business book that offers lessons on mental attitude and fundamental principles of business.

Another book recommendation is Reality Transurfing by Vadim Zeland. This book really dives deep into how to transform your own reality, using principles of physics theory and applying them to real life examples and situations.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I make sure that the people I work with do not have to wait for my approval to do something.

For example, if I postpone something or I don’t have the time to complete a task that will take 1 hour, it is only delayed by the amount of time I need to complete it, therefore it delays my day by 1 hour. But, if 3 people are waiting for me to review and approve something, and each of their tasks take 1 hour, that means I am delaying 3x the amount of time, or in other words, 3 hours worth of time.

Time is of the essence, especially in business and by creating a system whereby my team does not need to rely on my approval for everything, it reduces delays, resulting in a more productive workflow and overall better operations.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I would choose someone unpopular, someone who does not have thousands of employees or 10+ management levels within their company.

These are the people who really have to know how to balance their lives, as they do all kinds of daily tasks and rituals. They do not have personal drivers to take their kids to school, nor someone to do their daily shopping, and on top of all that, they have to successfully manage their businesses.

This puts them in a position of delegation, and what this leads to, is an immense ability to pick the tasks that are going to drive a) their business forward and b) their life forward.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

My parting thought is this – ‘Work hard at the wrong thing and you will not succeed’. I believe that you should not work hard at what you do not love. When able to, you should always do what you love, because then, you will never have to work a day in your life.

The reason I believe this to be true is because if you do not do not create a career around something you enjoy doing, you will never learn how to balance your work. Now, if you don’t know what you love doing, then try as much as you can. Go and work at a supermarket, a bar, at a marketing agency, as an electrician.

Try as many things as you can, and at some point, you will learn what’s worth doing. The earlier you find out what that is, the better!

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.