“I always tell myself that if I help even one person, my work makes sense.”
Shares Daniela Matuchova – the Natural Vision Improvement Teacher and the founder of the vision centre – ProVitalis.
Daniela used to wear glasses for nearly twenty years. When she was on maternity leave with her first child she discarded the glasses and after some time she realized that her eyesight improved spontaneously. That’s how she found out that her vision can be improved naturally.
Little did she know that this discovery will set her on a new career path after she gave birth to her second child. Her son was born prematurely. As a result he is visually impaired. Doctors told Daniela after four operations that her son will be only able to recognise dark and light, which practically meant he’d stay blind. Daniela was looking for any possibilities to help him and she came across the Bates Method.
Since she couldn’t find anyone in Slovakia who was teaching this method at that time, she decided to study it at the College of Vision Education in England. She not only finished the course, but became the first ever teacher of the Bates method in Slovakia.
Her journey is far from easy or straight forward. In our interview Daniela shared how she made her career change work despite the initial financial struggles and limited time available due to taking care of her kids.
Where do you come from and where are you based now?
I was born in Revúca, a small historic town, known as the place of the first Slovak gymnasium. I spent four beautiful years in this grammar school. My next steps took me to Bratislava, the capital city, where I studied accounting, auditing and economic statistics at the University of Economics.
After five years of university studies, I returned back to my hometown and started working at the local tax office as a tax auditor and later as a Head of the Control department. Here I met my future husband and in 2003 I moved with him to Banská Bystrica where we live till now.
As a child did you have a dream job?
As a child, I had no specific idea what I wanted to do. They were more like children’s, a little, naïve dreams (teacher, doctor, etc.). I remember when I was in my first or second year of elementary school, I was asked by my teacher what I wanted to do in future and I replied that I wanted to be a figure skater. I didn’t deal with the fact that I couldn’t skate at all. I loved figure skating competitions where I was charmed by beautifully dressed dancers on ice. I had no idea how much hard work was behind it. 😊
Even in the eighth year of primary school, I still didn’t know which way to go. That’s why I went to grammar school, which gave me another four years to think about.
At grammar school, I thought for a while about going to study medicine. But the thought of not being able to help people and having to watch them die has deterred me from making this decision.
In the end, I decided for economics. I can’t say it’s something I longed for. It just worked out that way.
When and how did you discover direction for your ideal job, career or business?
I wasn’t looking for my dream job, it found me itself. 😊
The turnaround in my career came after my second child was born. My son came into the world prematurely, three months before he was due. Complications and problems brought about by this situation meant that I never returned to the career in economics that I had studied for.
My life changed dramatically in an instant. Personal and work-related, too. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have before and after your name, how many languages you speak or in what field you stand out. The moment you think about whether your child will be able to breath without breathing apparatus, or will be alive, when you ring the door of the Intensive Care Unit again, the work and career after returning from “maternity leave” is the last thing you would deal with at that moment.
As the number of diagnoses increased, all hopes of a return to my original work gradually melted.
In addition to taking care of my two young children, I devoted my time to finding different alternative methods and therapies that would help my son. His serious vision problems led me in my search to the Bates method of natural vision improvement.
Since I couldn’t find anyone in Slovakia who was teaching this method at that time, I decided to study it at the College of Vision Education in England.
I have always admired women who were able to study during maternity leave. For me, something like that was unimaginable. Despite everything, at the age of 38, I decided to study. Four weeks of intense stays away from the family. And then work at home – in the nights studying and writing tasks assigned to us by lecturers.
And during the day, in addition to caring for two young children, I had to find “volunteers” who were willing to come to my home to work with them in order to improve their eyesight. In between it some projects and reading study literature, etc., of course all in English. I started around 11 p.m., after finishing work around the kids and the home, and ended at about 2:30 a.m. My son was waking up several times during the night, so I don’t even talk about sleep…
It all took a year and by the end of the study my body couldn’t take it any longer – I was sick. But in March 2013, I received a diploma and took exams to become a member of the Bates Association for Vision Education.
Through a natural progression of events, in 2014, I eventually established the ProVitalis Centre in Banská Bystrica, where I began providing vision education services as the first ever teacher of the Bates method in Slovakia.
How did you recognize your genius – what are you best at doing in your career or business?
Many people tell me that I have the gift of the word. I don’t know, maybe there’s going to be some truth, since I’ve already been able to write and publish two books. 😊
I remember my studies in England. We also practiced with real clients under the supervision of our lecturers. I once worked with an older gentleman who, at the end of our meeting, told the lecturers that someone had finally properly explained things to him over the years.
Before graduation, each student was interviewed by the lecturers, where they evaluated their study results. I was very pleased when one of the teachers told me that she would immediately recommend me to her clients.
It was a great satisfaction for me as my living and study conditions were not easy at all.
Another example of the fact that maybe I really have the gift of speaking and attracting my listeners is my lectures. What happened to me was that I had a three-hour lecture and somehow, I forgot about the time. No one interrupted me, so I talked for four hours instead of three. 😊
What is your ideal job or position in business now? Why you do what you do right now?
I love to create. I love to write. Just now I am working on a book for small children with poems and activities for vision stimulation.
I love to work with people. I love to teach and explain.
And finally, I´m delighted with any positive feedback.
I always tell myself that if I help even one person, my work makes sense.
Work and life balance – what does it mean to you and how do you keep it?
My working life is largely limited by the needs of my handicapped son. I am fortunate that my son can visit a daily care centre, so I have 8 hours (from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM) that I can use to work, create or relax. If I want to do something outside of those hours, I always have to make a deal with my husband first, because there’s always someone to stay with my son.
So, whether it’s a face-to-face consultation, a lecture outside of Banská Bystrica or even online talk in the evening, I never make a decision without my husband’s knowledge. I try to get any work done within the 8 hours I have.
At the beginning, I tried to accommodate every client and went to work even on a Saturday or Sunday, which was of course at the expense of the family. Today, I only work on weekdays.
Sometimes it turns out that I combine private and professional life – I sit on the sofa, holding my son on my hands, he listens to a fairy tale from my phone and I write an article or social media post or I work in Canva, all on my phone.
Thanks God, for the smart phones. 😊
What have you learned on your dream job journey? What were the most difficult things you had to overcome?
For me personally, probably the hardest thing was to realise my own value, my price. Before I started my business, it took me for about a year to decide how to set the price of my service. I wasn’t taught to ask for money.
I later realised that if the service is free of charge or the price is too low, people don’t appreciate it. On the other hand, there were people to whom the price seemed too high and bargained. It frustrated me a lot.
In the end, I realized it was just my problem. First of all, I have to be satisfied. The prize must reflect my know-how, which is unique and has no competition in Slovakia, the years of study and especially my time I devote to the client. My time is a very precious commodity.
Ever since I started my business, I’ve been learning basically all the time. For example, I learned how to conduct a personal consultation or workshop, how to get clients, how to promote my services, how to use social networks, etc.
I learned how to write and publish a book and how to raise funds to fund it, how to distribute it to readers. I learned to work in various programs, such as graphic design programme Canva, etc.
I love challenges and every day offers me something new.
How did you manage starting your business financially?
The most expensive was my studies in England. At the time, I received a son’s carer’s allowance of 194 euros from the state, which was very little. I needed money for school, literature, accommodation, air tickets… I was helped by my husband, a close family and sometimes strangers.
When I decided to do business, I needed space to work with clients. I rented an office and arranged it with furniture that I bought at a discount or someone gave it to me. I had very few clients in the beginning. It happened that there was a month when I didn’t have one. I then paid the rent from the carer’s allowance.
Since I was offering services that no one knew, I had to become more visible, so I started writing articles about the Bates method and sending them to various magazines. The first article wasn’t published until a year and a half later. Later, they also published articles in other magazines or on the Internet.
Gradually, I appeared on radios and television, giving speeches at conferences at home and abroad.
Things changed when I published my first book in 2017. Clients have started to come and my financial situation has improved. But then came the pandemic and various measures, which caused me to have to close down for a few months. Personal contact was limited and that made me do online consultations.
In this period, I wrote my second book, which was published in May 2021. In December 2021, her English version of The Miracle of Sight – Stories from my clinic was published as an e-book.
Which 3 tips would you give to someone who is right now considering changing jobs, career or starting freelance?
- Be good at what you do – it doesn’t matter if you’re a pastry chef or an accountant, if you want to succeed, you need to constantly work on yourself and educate yourself. Clients need to feel your passion, only then you can expect to be recommended further.
- Plan – before you make any decision, consider all for and against. Make a budget and create a financial reserve so that you can survive even in times of crisis. Especially nowadays.
- Don’t be afraid of challenges and take advantage of opportunities – if you never take the first step, if you keep worrying, dealing with “when is the right time”, then you will probably never get to a good time. Every challenge moves you on.
Author: AdriAna Kosovska
I work with women in 30s and 40s to help them to find and thrive in their dream career so their career not only looks good on the outside but also feels great inside.
Certified coach, founder of ZERO TO DREAM JOB and TALENTED WOMAN
Helping unfulfilled professionals and freelancers in 30s & 40s create a rewarding career