Nadja Raabe is the founder and Managing Director of FindQ, a mother of two, a female entrepreneur, a former dancer, a choreographer and a teacher. She is a woman who can dig up the most fascinating stories about her life as a dancer, her travels around the world and the inspirational women that she met along her way.
She knows Berlin like the back of her hand, and she can talk with the same excitement about Architecture, Art, History and Real Estate. She will speak with warmth about the people who stood by her side all those years, and she will give the best advice to anyone looking for their dream home in Berlin.
After gathering experiences and knowledge for many years in the Real Estate Industry, she decided that it was time to go on a fascinating journey in the digital world, and gathered all her knowledge on her membership site of her company.
Nadja talked to Female Founder Space about her life journey, entrepreneurial ventures, the Real Estate Industry, Covid-19 and female empowerment and solidarity.
Nadja Raabe: A small peak into her life journey
First, let`s go back in time: Nadja Raabe started as a freelance entrepreneur and founded Mothersfinest.biz in 2004, At home in Berlin in 2008, and later BerlinHomes. With the foundation of FindQ, she has arrived in the digital age. FindQ, active since 2019, is an innovative, modern and socially committed company focusing on real estate marketing and advice.
FindQ also carries the same values as Nadja herself, promoting sustainable and socially responsible projects and striving to give something back to Berlin.
FindQ carries the same values as Nadja herself, promoting sustainable and socially responsible projects.
From a dancer to an entrepreneur about real estate. Talk to us about this journey.
Her life journey from a dancer to a female entrepreneur involves a lot of talent, a lot of determination, tons of travelling and coming across diverse and inspiring people; People who were always present to lend a helping hand and help her conquer her dreams.
“That is a very long journey, full of coincidences”, Nadja Raabe says, laughing. She starts narrating her life story years back when she was only 14 years old and an aspiring dancer in the making. One of her teachers in the Dance School immediately saw her talent and urged her to appear on stage.
For Nadja, dancing is something much more than an art form; it is a passion and love. Nadja Raabe can talk for hours about the history of dance; she can recall names, dates and facts.
And sees the connection between the BAUHAUS period and 100 years later, howwomen start building opportunities.
“My biggest influence was Merce Cunningham”, she tells us. Merce Cunningham was a choreographer at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 50 years. “Merce Cunningham, who created his own direction towards Post Modern Dance, (he collaborated with the composer John Cage). Nadja met both in person. Nadja says:“John Cage was not only Merce Cunningham’s partner. He taught us that silence is just as important as music”.
When the conversation shifted to her travels, it was difficult to keep account of all the places that she has been as a dancer. “Italy, France, Switzerland, Canada” are just a few places that she traveled to as a choreographer and dancer.
Before FindQ there were many other projects. What did you learn from these experiences and how are those connected with FindQ?
Her new adventure started by finding a job in the film industry in Germany, where she also met the future father of her children. They moved to Berlin together, had a family, and this is when she decided to become a solo entrepreneur.
“I was participating in a solo entrepreneur program for some months, and this is where I met more women entrepreneurs and got inspired by them”, Nadja Raabe says to us.
Nadja at the time was teaching English to children, organizing events and birthday parties, since her own children were in Kindergarden age. Her interest in Real Estate started growing when an Italian friend of hers asked her to put her creativity into practice, transform an apartment, and the rest is… history.
“We started growing and became a small company with our own website for Real Estate in 2006”. It was a lot of work” she says.
Such a fantastic story. Do you feel that meeting, so many inspirational women in your life helped you improve as a person?
The idea of belonging in a network came to me around the year 2015, and a dear friend of mine invited me to become a founding member.
At this time, we were helping refugees to find housing in Germany. It was a time of political upheaval in Germany. It made us understand how important it was to help each other.
My friend has this ingenious idea to build a network with women businesses. We would recommend each other for work and help each other out, without big investors or big companies involved. It was all about giving and taking back.
How was the idea of FindQ born?
The idea of FindQ was born after realizing how time-consuming and difficult it is to find an apartment in a big city in Germany.
After talking with many colleagues and many people searching for a place, I had the idea; to create an application that would make the procedure easier for both sides. In Germany, this procedure can be very long and frustrating.
For example, real estate agents would schedule 30-50 viewings for a house. At the same time, people who are looking for a place will miss a lot of background information, which could change their decision process dramatically. Sometimes, the photo of listings may not correspond to reality, or the apartment is not what the potential buyer expected it to be.
An easier and more digital process application will help both sides: the idea for the app was born. “Let’s talk more about neighbourhoods. Let’s talk more about Berlin, its streets, its character and its diversity. Let’s not produce another data-driven app, let s tell the stories of each city. And we will start with Berlin”, Nadja Raabe says to.
Google just stops at the door of the apartment. findQuick.de starts here. This year the new website for members is active and online.
With the growing real estate prices, does it still make sense to invest in private property and benefit entrepreneurs?
Now, this is what I call a horse and a zebra. The horse is about wanting to own your apartment without paying rent forever to somebody else.
When you buy a house, it’s forever yours; it’s your wealth and your investment. That is the classical idea of investing in real estate, and it makes complete sense. Sometimes two people with two salaries will be paying less monthly for a mortgage and utilities than renting a house from a landlady/landlord.
And then there is the zebra. The zebra is about investing in Real Estate by starting very small. For example, many people begin with small investments, like apartments in small cities or student cities. Then they rent those apartments to increase their income gradually, but not greedy. These people can actually live from the the ROI in the end: it`s a do-it-yourself-pension idea.
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Do you think that the outbreak of COVID-19 affected your business?
Definitely. People were more reserved in autumn and winter 2020 to buy, some lost their jobs or were “on hold”. For many people the situation changed drastically, so they could no longer afford a mortgage.
We still gave a lot of individual advice and we keep giving a lot of workshops online. Now we are on the way to be able to give online advice via findquick.de.
Did COVID-19 also bring opportunities, along with the threats?
Yes, COVID-19 also brought opportunities, like building solid relationships through Social Media. You suddenly get to know someone very well by talking to them online. So on the other hand we got to know people through digital formats such as podcasts.
As a woman entrepreneur, have you faced discrimination in the Real Estate Industry?
Yes, I have faced discrimination. Of course, there are also good examples of male colleagues that I keep in touch with me, who have been always supporting me. On the other hand, I have also experienced disrespectful situations. Real estate is a man’s world, but it changes slowly.
What steps should be taken to achieve gender equality in the Real Estate Industry?
That’s a good question. It is essential to have f.e maternal leaves when you are working on a big company. And something that has also to change is to see more women in leading positions.
What is the morning routine? Do you have any tips?
My morning routine is simple, and I really enjoy it. When I wake up, I enjoy being alone in the kitchen while having my cappuccino.
Being a female entrepreneur can sometimes be a lonely journey. You were among the first members of the female founder space academy after its launch last year. What is your impression, and can you recommend it to other female founders?
I learned a lot from Female Founder Space. I have a favourite class called “How to build your brand”. It was really interesting to understand that these are tiny steps that I had to take to improve my brand and build consistency. That can really change a lot. And I can already see the effects of the courses in my case.
The courses helped me improve our presence in Social Media. I would totally recommend it to other female entrepreneurs.