Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Early Risers

Rochel Burstyn

These five entrepreneurs started their businesses very young and today have flourishing companies. What’s their advice for anyone who dreams of working for themselves?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

 Mishpacha image

 

D

ANIEL GEFEN

London-born-and-bred, Gefen began married life as a campus rabbi in California, but soon found himself out of a job. He returned home to London with his wife and baby boy and took a job as a cashier at his father’s grocery store. But he wasn’t happy. “I found the work unchallenging,” he says.

His wife pushed him to find something more suited to his talents, so he went to Work Avenue, a Jewish career-services organization in Britain, where a business advisor shared an idea: virtual secretaries. He’d heard the trend was picking up steam in the United States, and Gefen agreed it could be a growth area.

Gefen, 25 at the time, began calling everyone he knew to land clients. Eventually, his company launched: Jet Virtual, a telephone answering service that provides a remote, full-time receptionist. Clients’ calls are diverted to a professional secretary, who transfers calls, takes messages and payments, and manages schedules.

Building on his success, Gefen then started Jet Virtual Offices, a company that makes small businesses appear larger and more impressive than they are by allowing them — for a small monthly fee — to have a business address for meetings in locations such as Regent Street, Wall Street, Grand Central Station, and Beverly Hills. (Gefen has agreements with the office owners in those locations and only pays per usage.) The idea was a spur-of-the-moment brainstorm. “When a client asks if you provide services, the answer should always be yes. One day, a client asked me if I offered virtual offices. I said yes, while quickly googling to find out what that was!”

Within two years, Gefen was working 16- to 18-hour days and feeling frustrated with his unreliable workers, who would come late, when they showed up at all. Especially awkward was when his secretary, 30 years his senior, took out her bad mood on a client.

Those seemed like dark times and Gefen was ready to give up. “Suddenly, I had a crazy idea: I fired all my employees and outsourced every aspect of the work to my competitors, down to administration, invoicing, and chasing payments.” That move freed Gefen to work on the business instead of in the business.

“At first I was literally working out of a hotel lobby,” he says. “I was there so much, I was often mistaken for the manager. Eventually, I realized I could live absolutely anywhere in the world and within the year, moved my family to Israel.”

Today, Jet Virtual and Jet Virtual Offices run themselves, with Gefen only checking in about one hour per week.

 

With all that extra time on his hands, Gefen went looking for new ventures. In October, he launched GetFeatured.Media, a PR agency that guarantees businesses-brand exposure through placement in major publications, and on radio and podcast broadcasts.

Gefen isn’t done yet. Next on his list is the launch of a company he’s calling Gelt. The firm will set up wealthy Jewish investors with Jewish businesses looking for investment.

Words of Wisdom

Key to Success

“I’m continuously working on my business — creating better systems, making new deals — and not getting wrapped up in the day-to-day details that go into working in it.”

Related Stories

Danny in the Lions’ Den

Binyamin Rose, Jerusalem and Aryeh Ehrlich, New York

Danny Danon, on the verge of his second year as Israel’s ambassador to the UN, goes on the counterat...

All the Fake News Unfit to Print

Sam Sokol

The claim that Donald Trump pushed fake news to aid his election to the White House has put the nefa...

Israel on a Tightrope?

Ariel Ben Solomon

Barack Obama’s final slap-in-the face legacy won’t be so easy to untangle, according to Dr. Eran Ler...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you