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Andrea Wesselényi

Síelők Bt.

 

I am the founder, owner and manager of Síelők Bt., the company under which the Hungarian Ski Portal sielok.hu operates. It is a market leader in its category, the largest and most popular website dedicated to winter sports in Hungary. The website contains updated, useful information for those interested in skiing and other winter sports as well as giving visitors an opportunity to contact others with similar interest. The site is entirely supported by advertisers. Currently we have over 500 sponsors both domestic and international. My tasks include the management of the site, which entails finding and/or producing relevant daily updates and maintaining contact with sponsors.

I received my Business Administration degree in 1987 from the College of Trade, Catering and Tourism. Because of my fascination with and study of foreign languages, my goal was always to find employment in tourism. I’ve earned advanced certificates in four languages and during my student years found employment in a variety of situations from where I’ve gained practical experience in the trade. After college I was involved in a student exchange program for a year and the following year worked at a travel agency. It was after this that I chose to become a full-time mother (gave birth to my first child at the age of 25 and the second at 29).

During this time I came to realize that I could never work again as an employee because an 8-hour shift simply did not fit into my role as a mother and wife. It was during this time in 1996 that I came across an article about the internet. It was not only inspiring but I immediately realized that this was my new means of gainful employment. I located a service provider and signed a contract. Along with the contract I was also handed a magazine entitled Internet Guide and within its pages I found a writing contest. The opportunity was not to be missed and I submitted an article about my introduction to the internet. The editor in chief liked my article and asked me to continue to write for them; in fact I was their contributing writer for several years.

Guided by other articles that appeared in the magazine, I began to learn about the mysterious world of building websites. I believe that as women, we are more open to learning new things and I immediately saw the possibilities. Having learned new tricks daily, I was able to improve the visual and functionality of my own little website – although, at that time it was still amateurish.

Despite this, the website where I published my articles, surprisingly received an increasing number of visitors and feedback. Today this format would be considered a blog.

The initial site and the responses it received gave me the idea that it would be well worth developing other, more sophisticated sites. The next step was to acquire domain names for topics that were of interest to me. I continued to develop my skills and shared my plans with my brother, who luckily is a program developer. He shared my enthusiasm for developing additional domains and wrote a program that gave my formerly static pages a more dynamic look.

I was so pleased that from then on, content development became easier and much faster. Judging from the feedbacks I received, it appeared that of the sites sielok.hu had the most potential. Many people wrote to encourage me that there was a great need and that they were glad that someone finally began to develop such a site. Soon after, advertisers began to materialize and at that time I singlehandedly carried on the work from year-to-year. Once the page provided enough income I did hire help, but I never had to take a loan to maintain operations. It was operating solely from created income. Today, I work with a staff of 10 and half of these people are full-time employees.

Regardless of the medium, a site is truly successful only if both its readers and advertisers are satisfied. We are fortunate to be in that place now as we receive much favourable responses from readers and members of the virtual community and our advertisers appear to be equally happy. Ninety percent of our advertisers continue their contract with us for additional years which would indicate that they feel it is profitable for them to advertise with us. We have over 500 clients, both domestic and international (mainly in Austria) and it is very satisfying that advertisers are now seeking us out as we have grown to be a major player in the field of skiing. We are also fortunate to be working with people who are highly motivated and able to work independently in their roles.

The site was also officially recognized a number of times within the profession (in 2006 the site was winner of the eFestival, in 2009 it was voted the Website of the Year). We were awarded “Hungarian Quality Content” and “User Friendly Website” awards from the official Hungarian body responsible for internet content. While it is heartwarming to receive these official awards, the daily recognition from readers, business partners and advertisers is much sweeter.

 

Advice to Beginners

 

Be sure to find a topic that is close to your heart. Think about the things you wanted to do when you were a child, what were the things that gave you pleasure? If you are involved in things that are close to your heart and you are truly enthused about them the creativity and motivation will flow freely.

If your knowledge is lacking in something that is hindering your progress, do not hesitate, immediately set out to learn. Whether you sign up for a course, find a tutor or research the learning material – just do it. At my first job, it bothered me that my typing speed was very slow.  I signed up for a typing course to enable me to type with all 10 fingers. This had been a tremendous improvement because I save a great deal of time since today written communication is an essential part of business and everyday life.

My on-line marketing skills were honed by the auto-deduct method, I sought out US experts in the field on the web, read their articles and newsletters regularly but I also attended conferences and presentations locally.

Be curious! Whenever you have an opportunity for an interchange with market experts, be sure to ask questions. You never know when you’ll hear something that will be of interest to you now or later.

 

Future Plans

 

Eventually, I would like to develop a group, a base system, where my business will function smoothly even if I’m not directly involved with the details on a daily basis or even if I choose to take a longer vacation. I would like to structure the inner functions in such a way that allow me to concentrate on the strategic decisions.

If I succeed in realizing this goal there will be more time for the things that have fallen to the wayside because all my time was obligated to work. I would like to continue learning new things, continue to develop my skills, help others, travel and appreciate the work of the masters and perhaps sometime just to sit and read.)

The most rewarding feeling in one’s life is to know that you have created something from nothing and that something took on a life of its own. I feel that a family and a business are very similar in this way and I find a great deal of joy in both.

 

PROGRAMOK

 
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