2 years C.inc and my most valuable lessons

It has been a while, since I wrote. Not that I stopped writing entirely, but as I was busy working and writing for my clients I somehow found it difficult to find themes to write for myself. 

But.. this week on March the 22nd to be precise, it has been 2 years ago since I the founding of my own company. Giving birth to C.inc. 
I am unsure if I feel it is ‘just’ two years or ‘already’. 
On one hand it feels like I’ve been doing this forever, but on the other hand it also just feels like only yesterday I started doing it for myself. 

So this calls for a celebration. 
Has it all been fun and sunshine? Not really but it has been such an incredible learning curve. 

Lesson I
Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups. When you decide to venture into business as a freelancer, a lot of people will say; I that is so cool I am going to hire you for a project later. The truth is that rarely happens and all the really cool jobs come from those you least expect it. (See lesson 3 also.) 

Another important thing is payments, but I’ll leave the details on that one up to you. I will tell yo this: I have become a lot stricter when it comes to my payment terms. ;-) 

Lesson II
Dare to say ‘no’ once in a while. As a freelancer the world is your playground and you will float on wave of opportunities. Because of the uncertainty that goes with your freelance status, you tend to say yes to opportunity that comes along. But if you were truly honest to yourself, a lot of the times those jobs don’t pay as well as the effort you need to invest into them or the brand or client does not fit your DNA. 
And despite all these warning signs from your gut warnings you agree to doing the job. Don’t, trust your gut! It is (almost) always right. 

Lesson III
Be trustworthy
The world is too small and you always, always run into people in your business more than once. Even after you’ve known people for what feels like an eternity, they can turn into a new client or a partner. It happened to me more than once in the last two years. My phone rang and just like that I had a new assignment coming from someone I’ve worked with years ago. 

Lesson IV
Enjoy the ride. Make sure to make fun along the way. As much as possible. Because the energy you get from enjoying what you do and doing what you enjoy is priceless. 

I could not have done it without the support of my family, friends and a couple of specific people in the last two year. One is my mirror and has been my most loyal supporter for over a decade. I love you and I would move mountains for you. I am proud of who you’ve become and thankful you are still a part of my life. And then to the one who reads my soul, the one that talks me back on track when I lose faith through limitless love, the one for coffees, the one that I can just sit with without saying a word, and the one that is my lifeline and brings joy. I could go on and on about you, but you all know who you are. And I am grateful that I can call you my friends, you’ve supported and criticized me, offered a shoulder to cry on and shared your positive energy with me. I’ve got nothing but love for you. 

On to the next 2 years!


Free fallin'

That particular quality of being always aware. Always on. Or is it a curse? Setting your standards as high as possible while being agile and trying not to disappoint anyone at the same time.. But how is that sustainable in any way?

For over 20 years I’ve worked on developing those traits on a daily basis. My first boss, under which I worked at the coolest amusement parc of the Netherlands, has always been supercritical. Towards herself and those around her and there was not a chance on earth I’d ever let her down. I did absolutely everything in my power to live up to every single one of her expectations. At the tender age of 20, this meant negotiation the deals with our supplies. The small ones and the biggest ones. On top of that, I handled at least 500 job interviews a year and wore the huge responsibility of managing 180 employees on a daily basis. My colleagues were as driven and hungry for success as I was and collectively, we did everything we possibly could to live up to the expectations anyone could have of us.

However, it was not all cakes and ale though. 90-hour workweeks, threats, theft, slashed flat tires, it was all part of it. And despite all of those hours of hard work and the blood, sweat and tears that goes with it, it has been the phase in my life in which I’ve learnt and grown the most. It’s the basis of everything I’ve done ever since.

I guess that working for big brands in leading positions in the decades that followed have distinguished who I am in many ways. It’s safe to say I’ve ‘become’ my jobs. I became what I did. So when it was time to spread my wings and start my own business there was this huge fear. A nagging fear. Who would I become without a clear job title and dito framework at a company?

I’ll tell you this. I’ve discovered that the closest feeling that comes to mind after having made such as decision resembles a free fall. The lack of a fixed salary, a solid set of colleagues and a standard office automatically entails the lack of a clear identity deriving from those elements. On the other hand, such a free fall offers a load of new possibilities, insights and the chance to meet the most wonderful new people. I love this phase of my life and I am honestly not sure whether I’d want it any other way anymore. Ever.

That jittery feeling of wanting to get things done as quickly as possible is still there. And yes, I am continuously searching for new ways to meet up to everyone’s expectations (especially those I’ve for myself) and I'm still having trouble saying ‘no’ from time to time, but at least now I am free to live my own dream(s) and foremost: there’s not a day that goes by without meeting new, inspirational and exhilarating new talents. I truly came to believe that free falling is the only way to go when you’re in need of growth. Because as we all know, the magic happens outside of your comfort zone.