Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tanja Saarinen Chávez, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Numinos LTD., located in Helsinki, Finland.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Numinos Coaching specializes in intercultural communication and coaching inclusive leadership skills. We offer companies and organizations unique training to understand cultural differences and diversity. Our mission is to help leaders to understand cultural dimensions so that diversity can be harnessed into the company's strength and innovation. By leading a multicultural team correctly, a company can improve its performance by more than 30%! This is why intercultural communication has been identified as one of the most important skills needed by leaders who work in different countries and across cultures.

Tell us about yourself

I have been living around the world since I was 18. Having worked for many years in international environments and feeling out of place in other cultures, I have experienced first-hand that intercultural communication does not come with ease. It is stressful to be constantly thinking about saying or doing something wrong and trying to understand all the cultural norms besides the language barriers! This is why I decided to start my own consulting business that will help companies and leaders communicate with people from different cultures effortlessly and reduce cultural barriers and misunderstandings.

It definitely motivates me to see how people get those "eureka" moments when they understand the reasoning behind someone else's behaviour. For example, why your colleague is always having a hard time setting a meeting date for the future or why someone prefers sending emails and agendas instead of phone calls. Seeing how with small adjustments, for example, understanding cultural dimensions, organizations can achieve big changes motivates me day after day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

At the moment, the biggest business accomplishment (besides starting a business) is getting internationally recognized. Having started a company in Finland and now getting requests for workshops and relocation training from different parts of the world has been amazing!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Balancing the time between being a mom and a business owner. As an entrepreneur who works with clients from different time zones, it is sometimes challenging to keep up the routines required at home while working odd hours due to time differences.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. This may be a cliché but start a business doing something you love. When you are doing something that you like, you will keep on learning more and more every day with ease.
  2. When your company starts operating globally and hiring international talent, don't assume that every culture is the same. You cannot lead a multicultural team in a universal manner. Your company has to adapt to lead in an inclusive way and take into consideration different aspects of intercultural communication in order to engage and motivate employees at all levels.
  3. Be ready to pivot your business strategy. Sometimes you have to restructure your ideas to find the route to success. So be flexible in your strategy and decisions.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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