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Starting Up Smart: Five Lessons From An Entrepreneurial Journey In Dubai Let's be honest, if the UAE was a business startup, it would be considered one of the most successful companies in the world.

By Anna Skigin

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Dubai is a very special place to us– it was definitely not a part of our journey before we started Frank Porter; however, following a visit to the country in 2017, we decided the UAE was the only place to begin our niche property management company, with an Airbnb focus.

As well as being an all-round inspirational place, where people are encouraged to be proactive, inventive, and entrepreneurial, the UAE as a country has implemented valuable tactics that have helped the region grow into the world-renowned, cosmopolitan hub that it is today– let's be honest, if the UAE was a business startup, it would be considered one of the most successful companies in the world. That being said, even though the country makes it easier in many ways to start up by yourself, it's not all roses and kittens, and there were definitely valuable lessons I learnt along this journey. Here are a few of them:

1. SET GOALS, AND STICK TO THEM This is where business plans can come in handy, as they allow you to pour your thoughts onto paper, define these notions, and then refer back to them, or stick to them at every part of the journey. It is very easy to drift from the path that you have laid down for yourself, but it's important you stick to the big picture in order to make your brand a success. Additionally, your motivation has to be big enough to overcome the challenges ahead– without motivation and hard work, nothing is really achievable in business.

2. WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO WILL BUILD YOU UP, NOT TEAR YOU DOWN At Frank Porter, we have armed ourselves with not only a reliable and hardworking team of employees, but we also have extensions of the business who have assisted us from the start. We worked with a fantastic corporation set-up company, who helped us with everything from visas, to rules and regulations, and everything in between. We have an SEO company who have helped us increase our presence online, plus a helping hand who writes beautiful content for our blog.

3. ADAPT AND EVOLVE WITH THE FASTPACED NATURE OF THE UAE In a fast-changing world, if your business does not adapt, and embrace changes, you will naturally fall behind. As we grow, the needs of the business change, so we must continuously adapt to these changes. For example: we are providing more styling and furnishings advice to our clients than expected. This has now been incorporated into our business model as an additional service.

4. BUILD A SOLID BRAND A brand is much more than just a logo– a fact most people forget. While this is still a part of the brand creation, it is definitely not the core of what could potentially be a successful and engaging brand. When you are starting a brand, question it from every angle– the more information, answers, and data you arm yourself with, the more successful the brand will be. Feeling uncomfortable is normal in this process– embrace it!

5. LEARN FROM FAILURE, AND DON'T GIVE UP It is very important to recognize the patterns you're repeating that are not bringing you success. Instead of keeping down this same treacherous path, it is vital to your company's success on how quickly and forcefully you move to change these unfriendly patterns. Finally, too many people let fear and failure stand in the way- it's important that you keep going, stay strong, and focus on goals you've set yourself.

Related: The Entrepreneur Manifesto For 2019: Forget The Resolutions

Anna Skigin

Founder and CEO, Frank Porter

Anna Skigin is the founder and CEO of Frank Porter, a hassle-free Airbnb management company launched in Dubai in 2017. Frank Porter maximizes returns for the owners, by renting out properties short-term via platforms such as Airbnb,, and their own Frank Porter booking site.

With a strong background in hospitality and extensive international experience, Anna understands quality and brings that to everything she does. An accomplished leader, she inspires a talented and international team, ensuring five-star guest experiences and higher returns for the hosts. With her extensive professional background, Anna is involved in every aspect of the business, from strategy to operations, and seeing that the Frank Porter standard is never compromised.

In the business of property management, there needs to be trust. Anna understands that inherently, having worked with international clients in all domains– from being a private banker in the prominent Rothschild group in Geneva, Switzerland, to client advisory at the world’s leading auction houses, Sotheby’s and Phillips, in London, UK. A serial entrepreneur at heart, Anna has previously successfully developed and launched an Italian new-style restaurant concept PANZO in London, from the ground up.

Anna has a good eye for styling and detail, having worked with and around art and design extensively throughout her life. Her creativity extends to all aspects of Frank Porter. With uncompromising dedication to quality and excellence, Anna aims to grow Frank Porter on an international scale. Anna is a dual Russian and Canadian national, having studied finance and economics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She has a master’s of art and design degree from Christie’s Education in London. Fluent in English, Russian, and French, Anna enjoys yoga, skiing, art, and literature.


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