Björns Blom Bod 1983-1986
I have created opportunities in my mind since I was a child. BjörnsBlomBod was the first small business I opened when I was about six years old. My first little store was an outlet business selling flowers from my parents’ commercial garden, which they had threw away in the compost. I replanted the flowers and sold them a little cheaper. I got away with free rent, despite the competition.
Björn Nilsson Hardwork Productions 1996-1998
In beginning of 1996 I had the idea that Internet could be something where I would make some money. The business description of my first registered company at the Swedish Companies Agency (Bolagsverket) was for a long time “Jingles and sounds for your website”.
This was also how I presented the idea to the local municipality (Norrtälje kommun) the same year.
They did not understand anything. I had to explain what a homepage was – but they choose to give me some small founding anyway to start to make music.
I made no profit but I did built a music studio and had a lot of fun. I also started building websites and did some consulting assignments as “internet consultant”.
A couple of years later I decided to go all in. I sold everything I owned. My apartment, my motorcycle, my studio equipment, everything I had, and I filled my new store with skateboarding and snowboarding apparel. My new residential address became the same as the store. I built the interior with the help of my welding skills and some old scrap that I borrowed from the scrapyard (.. during non opening hours).
I opened Boardzone, my skateboard/snowboard shop, in August 1998. Location was Jakobsberg Centrum, Stockholm, Sweden.
There is so much to say about Boardzone. It might come at another time. But basically .. I just did it. The strange thing was that I knew exactly what I was doing. Almost always.
The biggest return was the connections to all young people, my hangarounds, which I got to know and follow for a while during their childhood.
I also opened one of Sweden’s first online extreme sports stores, developed my programming skills and built a solution that kept track of the inventory of my shop and linked the physical store with the web-based solution.
I used the website to switch to the IT industry a couple of years later, when I started at Ericsson.
In 2000 I sold the store to the pizzeria on the other side of the wall and they expanded their business into my old place.
I joined Ericsson in 2000 and have since 2003 worked mostly at IBM as a project manager. I have been involved in so many different projects. An example of recent years is the implementation of IBM’s WeFly app, an iOS app developed by IBM for a large Swedish airline. Video from youtube, published by IBM Client Center Nordic.
In early 2005, Annika (who I would marry a few months later) and I started a shop in Hornstull, Stockholm, Sweden.
I missed the life as shop owner and wanted to make use of my knowledge from my earlier experience. Starting a small shop with women as the main target group also meant a new twist to me.
The store was open until the landlord put a large building container in front of the entrance to carry out some renovations. We got to break the lease early.
Fröken Höken 2009
A few years later Annika and I started a secondhand shop in Hökarängen Centrum. We had that shop six months. Here we sold second hand stuff and also the stuff that was left over from the previous store a few years earlier.
Canevi Consulting 2010
During 2010 I started my own consultancy company. I was my own and sold my services as an IT consultant to a large Swedish bank.
Matklart Stockholm AB Matklart.se 2011-2018
In 2011, I started Matklart together with Annika, in parallel with my consulting business.
Matklart.se was also the business that I have managed the longest, until Annika passed away in the fall of 2018.
The basic idea was that Annika cooked her magic food in the catering kitchen that I built in connection with our home.
After this first step – creating the actual food – we tried a variety of concepts:
1.) I installed an Internet store solution based on WordPress and Prestashop. Here we offered different services where the customer was either offered to buy ready-made food, packed in a bag and delievered on Sundays or Mondays, ready to be consumed for the remaining five days of the week. We also offered something called “big pack” where families could buy larger containers of our ready made food. We also offered plain old-school delivery of regular catering.
2.) When we started in 2011, Rosersberg in Sweden (where we lived) was facing an expansive development with extensive construction ongoing. I quickly started selling food to the construction booths that were lined up around the area and also gained the confidence to have access to the gate code and was thus able to come and go without problems. In this way, the company became an exclusive food supplier. The idea spread to the surroundings and the delivery area grew to other parts of Stockholm.
3.) We tried the festival life.
4.) Slightly later, I cleared out half the house, literally, and opened a restaurant in our house. For this, I removed existing rooms in half the house and built what was needed for Annika to try out her dream of running a small restaurant.
5.) We also tested the concept “food at work” where we, in collaboration with Kungsholmen’s Office Hotel, set up a display fridge in the workplace. Payment was unmanned and was managed by using an Ipad connected to the display fridge where the customer paid with cards via the Izettle payment system. We could follow the sales minute by minute and then fill the fridge with what the customers were interested in. For doing this I went to Kungsholmen during the evenings or nights and filled the industry fridge. The people who worked in the environment understood the concept and sales started quickly.
With Matklart we had a lot of fun.
The necessary permits were difficult to obtain, and I delivered the food by bicycle to begin with in the immediate area when arguments about increased car traffic were first presented as an obstacle to building permits of the catering kitchen.
As we all know, there are no obstacles or problems, there are only challenges, and the company continued to grow during more expansive periods. Later with several employees, both drivers and kitchen staff.
The downside? During these years there was not many hours of sleep. I worked constantly. Weekdays. Weekends. Day. Often night. I was convinced that we would get this one to fly. It was close. Unfortunately Annika passed away before we could really celebrate the victory of a truly thriving company that we had built from scratch on our own.
So what happens now? Well – in 2019 I stopped developing businesses with the long term goal of making money. Instead i focus on my NOW while I am sharing my healing journey on for example Instagram.
2019 has also been about breathing and enjoying life. Taking care of me. Reading. Writing. Working out. Eating food that I enjoy. Sleeping. Meditating. Healing myself.
During 2020 I will connect my NOW with my FUTURE.
I will continue to find out what makes me happy right now and experiencing it fully.
I will also find an optional alternative heart surgery that will make me really, really old.