2 years 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 
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!


How I ended up with C.Inc

First things first: I’ll always be 39 and I’ve always had quite unusual jobs. By choice.

The journey of my professional career began when I was a mere twelve years old as I landed my first job as a leek planter. This specific art form requires the utmost focus but even more so a lot of love. Love for leek, mind you. Mine was kind of average. That’s probably why I quickly moved on to my next career challenge. At the age of fifteen I switched from leeks to selling ‘frikandels’ at a camping snackbar. For those who don’t know this phenomenon: frikandels are a typically Dutch fried delicacy Germans like to stuff their faces with.

Although this proved to be a way better match than leek planting, I soon found myself a real job in the wondrous world of grownups. At the age of 18 and freshly graduated from high school I became part of the then newly opened entertainment parc Walibi Flevo where the wonderful Director Internal Sales quickly took me under her wings. Through very hard work and grit, she enabled me to climb my way up to the position of Assistant Manager Internal Sales; responsible for every single income source, except for those coming from admission fees.

After fleeting adventures as a Board Secretary, Training Consultant and Management Assistent I ended up with my first love (career-wise not love-love-wise) after Walibi had been transformed into Six Flags Holland and my boss kindly requested me to come back. I hung around for the five years that followed and it’s safe to say that this truly was the most incredible period of my life. 20-hour workdays. A supervising team with the average age of 20 years and nothing but love. For each other, our team and our work.

The jobs that followed after this life changing chapter were similarly challenging and satisfying. Handling the channel marketing and managing the biggest rebranding in my career at JETIX (which later on became Disney Channel) children's content became the center of my marketing universe. I suddenly found myself managing the extremely popular pop band XYP (in close collaboration with Gary Barlow). Thanks to them and the three top ten hits we’ve landed, 2007 will be etched in memory forever. Soon, more of the coolest kids content followed. The annual ‘Feest van Sinterklaas’ - which left kids (and thus parents) with numerous sleepless nights beforehand (thank you excitement!) another #1 position in the hit charts with ‘Coole Piet’, the launch of Disney Channel and extremely successful properties such as High School Musical in Belgium and the Netherlands marked this fast-paced chapter of my career.

ALDA Events was at the other side of that spectrum in many ways . Uncountable late nights, live events from sundown to sunrise and hundreds of thousands of visitors (versus viewers) tons of live content and only the very best DJs in the world. I’ve been privileged enough to be part of the very first world tour of the youngest #1 DJ ever (I AM Hardwell) and that of Armin van Buuren (5 times #1 DJ of the world and the biggest DJ world tour ever). It goes without saying that combined with the launches of completely sold out editions of Amsterdam Musical Festival and The Flying Dutch these last couple of years have been eminently astonishing and enerving in so, so many ways.

All of my jobs had one important thing in coming though: the responsibility for - and caretaking of a team and it's talent. And it’s simply that one thing I love to do the most. Bundling forces and using talent in order to create the most efficient and best possible team dynamics. The roots of my current business at C.Inc.