With around a 90% failure rate, start ups are far from being safe bets. Follow me on my Start Up adventure to find out if I manage to rise to the challenge of placing Fred in the winning 10% !

My name is Mira, I’m a Brit who moved to sunny Nice 17 years ago and have been hopelessly in love with the Riviera ever since.

I’ve been running my small chauffeur company, Friend in France, for the past 10 years but I’m now about to embark on a very ambitious startup project.

FRED is a reservation platform and app for drivers, but it represents far more than a career leap for me. It’s an opportunity to prove that, as an ethical entrepreneur, I can create a multinational with a far reaching and positive impact on society. I can’t wait to share my vision with you all over the coming months/years !

In the meantime, here’s the story that lead me to this exciting stage in my career :

Before business

Nothing predestined me for an entrepreneurial career. Until 2008, none of my relatives would have described me as a “leader”, in fact, I’ve always been very shy (I turn bright red every time I speak in public). For 5 years I was a secretary in a real estate agency before being made redundant when the company suddenly went out of business in 2008.

The turning point 

During my first interview at Pôle Emploi (the French unemployment agency), I had to choose between “job search” or “business creation”. At that precise moment, the trauma of loosing my job transformed into an opportunity to seize! I wasn’t born in France but I chose this country for the quality of life it offers and the human values it defends. Becoming my own boss is the best decision I ever made. Without financial support from the French government during my first two years of business, I may never have discovered my entrepreneurial spirit.

An entrepreneur without a vocation

I quickly realised that I would have to overcome my lack of start up capital and experience by an excess of “resourcefulness”. I made appointments with the owners of the most successful holiday rental agencies in the area (because business was booming for them) and asked if they needed a particular service for their clients. Several answered “English-speaking and reliable drivers”. A few months later, with a chauffeur licence under my belt, taxi insurance and an Opel Zafira (the only car my finances would allow) … “Friend in France” was born. The companies with whom I had set up partnerships kept their promise and gave me a chance to prove myself by offering my chauffeur services to their customers. Almost 10 years later, these companies still exclusively use Friend in France for their transport. 🙂

My “business school”

I often say that “Friend in France” was like a baby…It gave me sleepless nights, was bad for my love life, drained my financial resources and I worried constantly about it’s future…but oh my goodness, I loved it so much !

“Friend in France” is still in business and long may that be the case! I have a deep emotional attachment to the company and my team. They have taught me such a lot.

I didn’t go to business school, but thanks to “Friend in France” I learned how to manage a small business, create a team and build customer loyalty. My lack of experience sometimes cost me a great deal but it also allowed me to create a company according to my own values.

This “baby” may not have given me an enviable bank account, but it certainly gave me confidence in my abilities, it taught me to overcome obstacles, to push my limits, to communicate my vision and never give up! These skills are invaluable for my new challenge: FRED!

How did you find your vocation? Or are you still looking for it?