4 min read

Unpacking the First Month's Lessons of an Entrepreneur

Unpacking the First Month's Lessons of an Entrepreneur
Geesje, Michel and me after a dinner celebrating working together at WERK VANZELF

Okay, here we go. A new topic. This is my first blog about entrepreneurship, focusing on the first lessons I've learned. It's been almost a month since I started as a partner at WERK VANZELF. At WERK VANZELF, we assist individuals and organisations with a need for help to develop, make changes, or restructure.

But wait, one step back, how did I get here? In the past years, I've worked with Michel and Geesje on different occasions, and all the encounters felt right. So when they asked me to join them, I was given an opportunity I couldn’t resist. During my biking tour, I thought about it thoroughly and decided to wholeheartedly say yes. Perhaps the very first lesson comes from this – you don't have to do it alone, and the power behind that is enormous.

Starting a business brings new thoughts and to do's your way, and I find myself doing many things for the first time, which I, by the way, find amazing. Even though the tasks that come with it aren't always enjoyable. I'm figuring out how to manage my own time tracking, write a good proposal, open a business account, deal with all those VAT numbers, and so on. Despite these topics not necessarily making my heart beat faster, I derive a lot of joy from rediscovering, learning new things again. This might be step two of the lessons I'm already taking away – learning new things gives me a lot of pleasure.

Lesson 1: You don’t have to do it alone.

But let's stick with the first insight for a moment. You don't have to do it alone. It helps tremendously, not only on the practical side of things; I have people surrounding me that have walked the talk, but also the instant support system around me. We're in this together. There's a safety net when I have questions or even when I don’t and I also notice that I contribute to solving the issues at hand. It's team work; and the effect of synergy is significant and very enjoyable. It's not just that I learn faster and that there is already an established network; it's also that I simply have more fun. I've had deep conversations, shared our dreams and visions, and there's more to share on that front. I notice that the connection and the bond result in me experiencing a lot of joy and a sense of purpose in my work. A very valuable lesson: work can flow naturally this way.

Lesson 2: Learning new stuff is fun.

Lesson number two I take away from the first month is that I love learning. I already knew that, but it also brings so much joy to my daily work. By adopting a different mindset, commonly known as the growth mindset, even things that aren't very exciting, like doing the administration, suddenly become more enjoyable. So by opening up your mindset, looking at it from the perspective of a curious child, seeing what you can learn from it, at least for me, it fills me with new energy. My boyfriend has said several times in the past weeks; it's really different how you end your workday now compared to before. You seem more cheerful. It looks like you have a lot more energy.

Lesson 3: A sense of purpose and energy management.

The latter goes hand in hand with feeling fulfilled for me. I believe with WERK VANZELF we're working towards a beautiful mission. Namely, helping people from a place of trust. And in this way, I believe I'm contributing something good to the work landscape, where there are still many opportunities. At the same time, I'm also more aware of what drains my energy and what gives me energy. Working for myself I feel like I have greater flexibility, although I also believe that with good agreements, this works in employment too. Some things just need to be done, but I make sure to spread them throughout the day with energy-giving activities. For me, that could be going outside, a yoga class in the morning, a shower break. This extra flexibility combined with the feeling I contribute gives me more energy and a sense of purpose than before. The side note I want to add is that at the moment the workload is easy to manage. The challenge for me is to maintain this when I start working on more projects. Will keep you updated on this!

Lesson 4: Be patient.

I think I'll be tested on this many times to come. It's a bit contradictory because I consider myself a patient person when it comes to being patient with others. But to myself, I'm not so patient. Because entrepreneurship also involves searching for assignments, writing proposals, and having coffee meetings, it’s also about investing. The first proposals have already been sent out. But it's not like I had a paying assignment right from January 1st. I've also sent and received the first invoice by now. But it's a different way of looking at things. It's no longer that I get a fixed salary every month. And eventually, I'll set it up that way. But for now, I'm still building up my savings. This new structure presents many opportunities and possibilities. I look around me and get new inspiration all the time; it's funny the content or surroundings didn’t change, my perspective of what I can do with it did. Which is wonderful and at the same time, it makes me a bit restless. Because I want to delve deep, get started! Here I am reminding myself: be patient.

Lesson 5: It’s easier than you think.

When I was at the chamber of commerce, I felt nervous about ‘the birth of my own business,’ but in the end, it’s not that hard or difficult. The most difficult part is to simply make the decision and start. So let’s go with this experiment!

So those are my first lessons after a month of pioneering. I'm curious if you find this content interesting. I'll keep alternating the content with things I encounter in my daily life. So I hope you’ll enjoy!

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