The Netherlands has an increasing number of female entrepreneurs. According to the Chamber of Commerce (KVK), there are now more than 715,000 women who are entrepreneurs. Relatively speaking, 37 percent of all entrepreneurs in the Netherlands are now women. At the time, it was 34 per cent. Relatively many women are active in business services and especially the health sector. Astrid is one of them. Her life motto? Do not whine, just do it.
Astrid is the founder and owner of Succes met je Webshop. And while the Chamber of Commerce registration may suggest otherwise, it does not necessarily feel like she owns a business. Its mission is to help 10,000 online merchants reach their webshop goal in 5 years.
“If you want to achieve something, you have to act, even if you have to do something that you have never done or that you find exciting. Success does not come easily. Instead of complaining that it’s hard, I think it’s smarter to see what the cause is and then solve it. I am also not very good at people who complain (personally or professionally) but then do nothing to solve it. ”
I started my first company in 2010 (an online store). I was studying in Utrecht at the time and living in Brabant, so I had to travel a lot, which made a part-time job more difficult. I come from a real entrepreneurial family, so I quickly got the idea to start my own online store. I worked at my webshop on the train, during college and on the weekends. And in the evening at home, I packed the packages. It turned out to be an ideal combination. After my studies, I was employed for a little over a year, but I did not get enough satisfaction from that, so since 2012 I have been a full-time entrepreneur. Now I no longer have an online store, but I do have a consulting business that helps webmasters make more money on it.
“I want to be able to do what I enjoy most every day. I have friends who sometimes get tired of it being Monday again the next day and they have to work again. I never have. I am always happy when I can work again because I really enjoy it and get a lot of satisfaction from it. Maybe it’s also the benefit of doing business that you can create your own ideal job.
Plus I see that there are really many webshop owners who can never get paid from their webshop. I think 80% of the ‘smaller’ webshops never make more than € 10,000 in profit on an annual basis. I know from personal experience (but also what I see in the customers) that you can really get a good income from a webshop, as long as you have a good strategy and are willing to do what is necessary. So it is also a motivation; I want more webshop owners to make a living from their business. ”
“I do not necessarily see female entrepreneurship differently than when a man is an entrepreneur. I see in my environment that women do business in a different way. Less hard and businesslike and more on emotion. Less focused on hard goals / numbers, but more on other things such as working with joy and passion. Maybe that’s what is meant by female entrepreneurship. In the ideal case, I think it’s a combination, so to steer by numbers and have a business attitude, but also to be concerned about why you do what you do and what makes you happy. ”
What makes it successful?
“I think I’m successful because I see that my customers are able to pay a good salary from their webshop through my education. That they can make their business profitable, can scale up and as a result can terminate their employee jobs. Or no longer be financially dependent on their partner. It makes me proud that my webshop training and coaching contributes to this. In addition, because I can make a good living from my company. I am financially alone with 2 children and I am not dependent on others. ”
“I do not work as much as I used to, even though my business is still growing considerably. I also see this as a success: a good balance between work and private life. ”
“I have learned a lot from the business coaches I have worked with in recent years. The most important thing is actually to do business on my own terms. I have arranged my company in such a way that it makes me happy. For example, I only work during children’s school hours, and I have all the tasks that I do not like or that I am not good at outsourcing or automating. My business, of course, first had to have a solid foundation. When I started this business, I had a particularly hard time gaining brand awareness, being visible and therefore building a clientele. And steering by numbers, that’s really something I’ve learned. In the end, you can only grow a business if you know your numbers. Only then will you know which buttons you can turn to increase the result. ”
Expand your business
“The advantage of an online company like my own is that almost anything can be measured. I see where visitors come from and through which channels visitors become customers. So by looking at the numbers carefully. In addition, I do a lot of marketing and make sure that I am continuously visible among my target group. For example, I did a challenge last week. For a week, the participants will each day receive a video from me with a tip and a specific task that they can get started on. There is a community where they can ask their questions and where I occasionally go live to provide extra tips and feedback. The advantage for the participants is that they work very concretely and practically with the growth of their webshop that week and see real results after the week.
And for me, the benefit is that I get clients out of it for my training and coaching. People can first experience for free what it’s like working with me and what it does for their turnover for a week, and then decide whether they want to become a customer or not. I do things like this regularly and often get myself a lot of customers. So I think marketing and visibility are the most important things that drive business growth for me. And in addition, just offer good services and provide good customer service. I want my clients to get real results with my training, because in the end, their success is also my success. ”
“I want everyone who dreams of a successful online store to achieve it. That people can get a good salary from their webshop so that they can stop their work in paid employment or are no longer dependent on a partner or benefit. Or they can make their hobby their job if they want to. That I can inspire a lot of e-commerce entrepreneurs to grow that webshop. And personally: I want that if someone starts a webshop and needs help, or if someone has a webshop that is not running that they know I can help them with it. That I know from my own experience (with 2 own webshops) and 12 years of e-commerce experience what it takes to achieve good results. ”
“Make a good plan before you start, but do not wait for your plan to be perfect. It never will be. Just start, gain experience, look at the numbers and adjust along the way. And do not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. It sounds very cliché, but it really is; growth comes outside your comfort zone. Since I got over my fear of holding webinars, overcame my fear of phone calls and started making sales calls, my business has grown tremendously. Entrepreneurship requires courage and perseverance. If it was very easy, everyone would have a mega successful business. ”
It is precisely those who do not let themselves be stopped, who know what they want to achieve, and who are also willing to do what is necessary, who achieve the best results. In turnover or number of customers, but for me especially in being happy with what one does and what one can do for others.
And also: get help from someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve. Let yourself be coached by someone who knows how it works in practice, then you not only get much further, but you also get faster success. I also see this in my customers: on average, it takes about 5 years before an online store is really profitable. But after following a workout or coaching, you can reach your goal much faster and more effectively, and you can be profitable much faster. Do not reinvent the wheel yourself! “