Born in Belgrade in 1974. Got my ZX Spectrum at the second grade of elementary school and then I learned Basic (a programming language). I started practicing karate at the age of 9 which changed my life forever. Soon, a skinny kid became a fearless fighter. And I remained such but nowadays in doing my business.
My entrepreneurial engagement started as early as the 2nd high school grade. The first ten years I worked as karate instructor and taught karate to kids. Several thousand little ones of elementary school age attended my school. It was the time when karate was the most popular sport to be trained in ex-Yugoslavia.
I attended my university studies at the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education. Started one of the first private fitness clubs in Belgrade – called The “Fitness Club Joe” and it successfully operated for the following 15 years. We worked at several locations in the city and trained tens of thousands of people. It was a small fitness club with a gym, aerobics and karate section. Sometime in that period I also started my first lessons in DTP, management and advertising.
Later, my interests leaned toward the history of ancient martial art methods of the Chinese, Japanese and Okinawan karate. Decided not to persue sport karate anymore, wrote a serious book about ancient karate, held self-defense and fighting techniques courses for police and army officers and the members various other security services during the war years. What came next was my starting of Karate Club Tsunami and from that moment on I was active in promoting the traditional karate for next ten years.
Now, I have almost 30 years of practicing karate and the 5th Dan Black Belt behind me.
My internet business started in 2002. I started small web shop during the economic sanctions period and had successfully sent thousands of orders worldwide in spite imposible conditions to run startup. Soon we became the main competitor to the largest United States multimillion company in this field. I have learned a lot about the use of credit cards, customs practice and postal services, as well as about SEO, e-mail advertising, DMCA and optimizing a web site. All that took place in Belgrade, under limitations of the sanctions, without a formal firm, from my bedroom over a dial-up connection. :)
From the earned money I made and opened Cotton Club a lovely café in the city center. …And it failed.
I spent some time abroad, gaining experience in the construction and hospitality industry at my old man’s hotel in France. I still love construction engineering so much that if it was not for my web involvement I would now probably be a construction industry entrepreneur.
I returned to my home country and started a series of dating sites with a friend of mine. We made a huge success and meanwhile realized that in Serbia there was no way to pay the membership fee for a website. We were the first company in Serbia to offer website payment services by sending text messages, through the 042 phone access code and the 0900 phone line. Immediately after we made those services possible to all local webmasters and launched an affiliate system by the name “Balkan-Cash”. I made plenty of mistakes then but after all those were just the beginners’ lessons about the development and promotion of websites, doing business, running a firm and bookkeeping.
At that time Internet was still in its infancy but we already had quite a good command of PPC, black-hat SEO, spam techniques, for which reason we were “secretly” engaged by many respectable companies. After all, we realized that it was not really our final goal and decided not to work for others but to learn more and develop our own business. In the next few years, we launched tens of projects. Today’s modern term for it is “startup” but for us those were all just projects. Most of those web projects were success and made good money, but some of them were failures. Of course, we learned the most from the failures.
In 2006, I launched AdriaHost because in our region we could not find a decent web hosting provider for our websites.
In 2008, we launched a major company for providing services to media companies – text message music wishes and voting, a 0900 phone line quiz and various promotional services. We had contracts with more than 100 media companies. In the second year of doing that business we earned over a million euros and had over 90 employees. Nevertheless, situation in industry changed and we closed the company two years later. We were taught a life-long lesson about the national legal systems, corrupt inspectors, unfair competition and the complicated administration.
One of the reasons I decided to shut down the company was my determination to change my lifestyle. For years I worked 12 hours a day and eventually my job cost me good health. Once an elite athlete has gained 30 kg and fell ill with asthma, hypertension, GERD, chronic Achilles tendon inflammation, very sore back and several other health issues. I spent a lot of money on doctors and medicaments. After 5‒6 years of regular medicine intake without success I decided to change things forever. I took off weight without dieting and cured my asthma and hypertension naturaly by eating more healthy. This will be a separate story in this blog including advice on nutrition, lifestyle, organic foods and microtraining.
Two years ago I decided to sell Adriatek company. I am still a consultant.
Today, I am the proud owner of Adriahost.rs web hosting company providing services to 9,000 companies. We have employees in several countries, datacenters in the USA, the Netherlands and Germany and a little super ninja team in Belgrade.
The idea of this blog is to write down some of the great anecdotes that have happened to us on this way.
Well… That much in brief, and for more detail, read here.