Joost | From management trainee to social entrepreneur
By Eleni Meraki
I chose to study Economics as I found it an interesting perspective to explain our society. After graduating I applied for a traineeship and started my career at a renowned company. I learned a lot in those two years but didn’t feel like I was making an impact in this world. At the end of my traineeship it felt like a crossroad; left was the consultancy field, right was entrepreneurship.
5 THINGS ABOUT
IDEALIST | SILENCE RETREAT | LAUGHING LOUDLY | BORN & RAISED ON A SMALL ISLAND | AIM FOR THE MOON
LEAP OF FAITH
Entrepreneurship was always something I aspired, but I didn't have that one amazing idea I wanted to pursue. I just felt a huge drive to find out how I could contribute to a better world. The plane crash of Malaysia Airlines - in which a dear friend of mine died - shook me awake. I instantly realised how fragile life is and how important it is to live a fulfilling life in the now instead of planning the future.
My 2-year traineeship came to an end and they offered me a permanent position. I turned it offer down without knowing what I was going to do. I deeply trusted that it would all be all right as long as I would follow my heart.
A couple of weeks later I got in touch with Aim For The Moon - a collective of entrepreneurs that build purposeful ventures. I started freelancing there and that was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.
This is about 1,5 year ago and I am now involved in several initiatives. Together with Aimforhthemoon I am now creating my own company Holys - together with Eva van Heeswijk. It is a company that enables (future) entrepreneurs to attain a more balanced life by exploring their inner journey. Participating in and sharing experiences is at the core of our mission. I teach a module in my friend Jaspers’ initiative - Start Your Business on a Boat – and am very busy with my latest project “Rave For Humanity”. A party with a purpose.
RAVE FOR HUMANITY
I was touched by a video on social media about refugees and decided I wanted to improve the situation of those in need. Later that week, I was at a party and the idea came up to organize a fundraiser party: the Rave for Humanity. The party provides a platform for five courageous Amsterdam-based creative entrepreneurs that are dedicated in doing good for the refugees. All funds raised will be donated to their initiatives. If you are into disco, techno, house music and you want to do good, you should come party with us.
The moment I quit my job I had saved enough money to live for two months. Within a couple of weeks, I got a freelance job for a couple of days a week. I never really calculate, if something feels good I just do it. Of course I had to make big cuts in my spendings but I was willing to do so. This uncertain way of living is absolutely not suited for everyone. It worked out for me so I just continue living like this.
With a group of volunteers, I set up Rave for Humanity. No one is paid for the time invested in this project and our initial working capital was only €750,-.
THE TOUGH TIMES
- We had limited preparation time to build a team and company culture for Rave for Humanity. In fact, only a couple of weeks. Cooperating this quickly with new people requires a lot of trust and the ability to quickly adapt to change.
- As an entrepreneur, there is always work to do. It is very important to relax from time to time to take a bird’s eye view and retain the creativity in your work.
- Not having a financial buffer can cause stress sometimes. I always have the feeling that it will be all right and it actually always is.
5 INSIDER TIPS
- A small group of committed people can move mountains. Build a devoted team with diverse skills and you can manage to get almost any job done.
- Follow your heart and don’t let it be out voiced by the mind. The mind always perceives a gap between your current position and your destination. Don’t let it hold you back.
- You are not your project. Do not attach your identity to your project.
- Read the book Purpose Economy if you are into social entrepreneurship. It perfectly describes why people will always be willing to create fundraising projects. It enables personal growth, helps to build meaningful relationships and enables to contribute to a greater cause.
- Ricardo Semler inspired me a lot. Watch here his Ted Talk.
Written By Eleni Meraki
Eleni is the founder of Guts & Tales. She lives in Athens and enjoys roaming the world as much as she can. She is a multi-passionate entrepreneur with big dreams and a big mission; to empower you to live a life you truly enjoy living.
Click on the About Eleni tab to read her full story.