Team-building: 5 Lessons from Onboarding First 100 People

Nina Wieretiło
8 min readSep 21, 2022
Source: Alex Gorbi on Unsplash

During the New Year’s Eve of 2020 I had a life-changing conversation. I was employed in my corporate job back then but to earn extra money I used to mentor people applying to universities abroad, as a contractor for a couple of educational agencies. The agencies I worked for were all repeating a bunch of the same, costly, annoying mistakes and I was just tired with putting my face out there as their employee. During the party, I told all about it to one of my old friends and she replied with a simple “Why, then, don’t you just do it all on your own?” Lots of weird stuff happened during that party later but a thought that stuck in my head is that I had been just stupid for not having thought about it earlier. Quite literally, the next morning I was setting up my own Wix webiste and Facebook page. Perfectly Personal, my personal brand helping students apply to foreign universities, was born in January 2021.

During the first year, I stayed in my corporate job and helped people before or after work. When the demand increased, I used some help from a couple of freelancers — other people studying in universities abroad. By the end of 2021, we have served 100 clients and generated five-digit (EUR) revenues. I have exceeded my expectations, but also came close to burnout. I knew it was the time for finding cofounders and streamlining the processes involved in serving the clients. By pure accident, through shared connections I met my current cofounder, Marek, who was already working on building an all-in-one online platform for applying to universities abroad. By that point, I had my brand, clients and revenues, while Marek had funding (public grant) for building a platform that was meant to do what I just needed for my brand to grow into something massive. We shared equity, joined forces and in March 2022 launched EduCat platform together. To me, September 2022 has been a breakthrough month for us, as we have not only found our pre-seed VC investor, made record revenues and got invited to one of Poland’s two top watched talk shows, but also reached a point, where we have 100 people on board — each of them studying a different combination of degree-university around the world. It is an important moment to me as I am only 24. Just 2 years ago, I have been a project manager at a corporate job where a big project involved managing 10–20…

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