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Various career paths: Satu Rämö writes bestseller crime stories to balance a career in digital communication where brevity and concision rule

Rämö is able to lead a life that is truly her own as an author and entrepreneur in communication, as her business competence allows her to maintain sufficient profit margins and keep her finances in check
Kuvassa näkyy Satu Rämö punaisessa mekossa. Taustalla näkyy kirjanjulkistamistilaisuuden rekvisiittaa.
Satu Rämö’s first detective novel, published in summer 2022, has already sold more than 100,000 copies. She celebrated the publication of her second crime story, Rósa & Björk, in mid-March. Photo: Aalto University / Roope Kiviranta

Until now, Satu Rämö, MSc (Econ.), has considered her work as an author as her secondary occupation that has been made possible by her job as an entrepreneur in the communications sector. Dividing her time as an author and a communication entrepreneur has involved constant balancing and risk management to make sure that the company is making sufficient revenue.

However, last year, Rämö’s career as an author gained new momentum, as there was major buzz around her Hildur crime story published in summer 2022 in the book sphere and the book also became a bestseller. Rämö has already published her second crime story, and based on book reviews and advance interest, this second thriller, named Rósa & Björk and also set in Iceland, is expected to reap success.  

Nevertheless, Rämö does not consider financial success as a means to an end.

‘I always tell people that it’s really nice to make money, I mean it’s great, after all. Not because money makes you happy but rather because it allows you to do the things you like and want to get better at. When your finances are in order, you get to do the things that you enjoy.’

Kuvassa näkyy Satu Rämö veden äärellä Islannissa ja päällään islantilainen villapaita.
Satu Rämö has been running her communications company in Iceland for around twenty years now. Photo: Satu Rämö

Finding entrepreneur’s freedom appealing

Satu Rämö established her company already back when she was a student. She initially used her company to provide consulting and advertisement agencies with various work related to communication. Her entrepreneurship was founded on the idea that you can do interesting work in interesting companies while maintaining your freedom.

Rämö built her company’s range of services based on reflection on what she is personally interested in, what she can do, what others want to buy and what clients are willing to pay for. She was able to find a combination of services related to communication where there was a match between the entrepreneur’s and clients’ wishes.

‘At the School of Business, I learned to understand difficult concepts, such as how inflation occurs or how you read financial statements. And as I knew how to put these things into words, summarise them in an understandable way and affect people’s behaviour through good stories, I realised that this was my strength on which I was able to build my own entrepreneurship,’ Rämö explains.

She built her customer base gradually, and even though her life already took her to Iceland around twenty years ago, she continued working for Finnish clients. The job description built over the years enables Rämö to lead exactly the kind of life that she wants to lead.

Kuvassa nuori Satu Rämö seisoo ulkona auton edessä.
When she was applying to the School of Business, Satu Rämö was worried she was “a bit too much of a reckless hippy”, but after graduating, she noted that the school had been just the right place for her. Photo: Satu Rämö

‘I find that working through my company is more fun than being an employee and I’m also able to charge more for my work. While entrepreneurship obviously also includes a lot greater risk, I know what I’m capable of and once I’ve also learned to price my work right, everyone wins,’ Rämö says.

School of Business taught Rämö how to have a say in things

At the School of Business, Rämö learned to understand why people and companies work the way they do. Understanding this logic allows you to also best influence things.

‘Back when I applied to the School of Business, I somewhat struggled with the idea that I won’t fit in, being a bit of a hippy, as men in suits and bankers carrying briefcases are so not my style. But once I was done with my degree, I noted that the School of Business had been just the right place of study for me! The overall sense there was very forward-looking and they encouraged you to make combinations of subjects, even in strange ways,’ says Rämö, whose studies included Finnish language and communication, economics, marketing, Spanish and Finnish literature.

Satu Rämö seisoo islantilaisen kylpylän vesialtaiden edessä.
Satu Rämö explains that adopting a business mindset has been tremendously beneficial for her. Without it, she would not be able to live a life that looks like her as a crime story writer and an entrepreneur in communication. Photo: Satu Rämö

‘I learned very quickly to understand how decisions are made and how you can influence them. And how you can make people want good things instead of harmful ones, such as consuming single-use items. As a matter of fact, I feel like studying marketing and advertising is one of the most responsible choices you can make during your studies.’

For each project, Rämö makes sure that the profit margins are in order and her pay is sufficient. As an entrepreneur, she wants to keep up with the times and make sure that she is offering products and services that sell. As an author, she also calculates the opportunity costs for the time she spends writing. Her degree as a Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration) has been helpful in this process.

‘Having adopted a business mindset has been tremendously beneficial for me, and if it wasn’t for it, I would not be able to lead this life that is truly my own like I do now,’ Rämö says.

School of Business provided tools for entrepreneurship

When Satu Rämö was a student in the early 2000s, there was barely any talk about entrepreneurship at the School of Business, and the start-up culture had also not emerged yet. Rämö regrets that she missed the emergence of the start-up culture but is happy that it took wind the way it did.

And even though her Master’s degree in Economics did not directly teach her to become an entrepreneur, it nevertheless taught her to think about different scenarios and consider all the aspects to think about when signing an agreement, for instance.

‘When I became an author, I realised that I’m going to need the help of experts well-versed in contract law as I needed my contracts to be in order for all kinds of scenarios. After all, it was possible that my books wouldn’t sell, but it could also be that things would go well and my books would be popular. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t put my earnings at risk by acting too hastily.’

For anyone thinking about their future place of study, Satu Rämö highly recommends studies at the School of Business. She points out that the School of Business is an excellent choice for those who want to have a say in things and do something brand-new that may not even exist just yet.

‘When I graduated, there was no social media and Instagram yet, but now that’s where I make a big part of my revenue. The School of Business provided me with tools that have allowed me to make use of this new channel,’ she says.

‘I also made great friends and created wide networks that have supported me in my career. And thanks to working in communications at KY for a year and editing the Kylteri paper, I was also a nearly qualified journalist when graduating.’

Kuvassa Markus Puhakka seisoo puutarhamyymälässä, ja ympärillä näkyy viherkasveja.

Various career paths: Markus Puhakka develops a family-run horticultural business and enjoys gardening in the spring

Puhakka, who also considered the profession of a wilderness guide, studied marketing and international business management at the School of Business. Now he combines his business expertise with garden work in a Finnish family business specialising in horticulture.

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