Oleksandra Zubal: Done and MyDone

Issue 13

Hi friends! Welcome to “Procrastineur”, a newsletter about struggles and successes in modern entrepreneurship.

Welcome to the 4 new subscribers who joined us since last Thursday! Join 45 procrastineurs by subscribing here:

It’s Thursday, July 29, 2021, and this week’s founder is Oleksandra Zubal:

Oleksandra’s Story

Background

Oleksandra’s first big move was to learn English. As a Ukrainian, she understood that communicating beyond her home country was the best path toward growing her career.

Her second was to study applied linguistics, a mix of languages and computer science. In fact, Grammarly, perhaps Ukraine’s best-known business, employs a number of applied linguists.

When Oleksandra was starting out though, Grammarly wasn’t around. In fact, Ukraine’s respected tech sector was just getting off the ground. Oleksandra expected to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and run her own business. He had a company which sold water coolers sourced from China. Oleksandra had even accompanied him on business trips a few times!

Oleksandra joined the IT world straight out of university. Her first job was with an outsourcing company, then with Software AG, a huge German software developer. While she was there, Oleksandra started to learn to code so she could automate some of her job and make it easier. From there, she joined a few other companies, always starting as an engineer and being promoted in a few months to management.

Five years ago, Oleksandra had a daughter. She took a step back from the corporate world and started freelancing. That work gave way to lecturing for an evening coding class, which eventually turned into an online class.

When she joined the IT world, Oleksandra thought it was temporary. 15 years later, “temporary” has taken a backseat. Today, she works as a Project Manager. She recently turned down an offer for a 35% pay raise because she loves working with her team. As it happens, that same team are her co-founders for MyDone.

MyDone

15 years of IT coding and related work will leave you with some bad memories. Headaches abound when you’re stuck in the middle of a complex problem, and add in work to be done with other departments in your company - Accounting and Human Resources alone add plenty to your plate.

Oleksandra’s team knew their methods for tracking projects were insufficient. They knew there must be a better way. So they decided to make one.

Combining nearly 70 years of IT building and management experience, they have worked to build a project management tool that will integrate with the different departments, making delivering reports and staying on track simple.

Through Y Combinator’s Startup School, Oleksandra and her team learned to hone in on just one priority. They deliver status reports each week, using MyDone to help them build MyDone into a greater product.

Through MyDone, Oleksandra and her team hope to help small businesses and startups beat the odds and become successful. 95% of businesses won’t fail on their watch.

Oleksandra’s Advice

  • The best time to start is now! Build connections. Build your product. Build your expertise. You’re comparing yourself to your past. Keep growing.

You can connect with Oleksandra on Twitter as @OleksandraZubal. Want more info on their story?

Word from Will

I knew that Oleksandra was from Ukraine, but listening to her speak I really couldn’t have told you that she learned English as an adult. Throughout our conversation, it became obvious that she not only has interest in a lot of different subjects, but when she sets out to learn them, she’s very thorough.

It’s hard to bet against the stat that 95% of businesses fail within five years. If I was a betting man, though, Oleksandra would be at the top of my list for people sure to improve that number. She and her team will do well.

This is the first project management tool I’ve written about, so of course it’s my #1 recommendation. MyDone’s team is fielding requests from anyone interested in it, so be sure to sign up on the site for access! Oleksandra and her team will certainly appreciate your input.

Build on.

Will