Get empowered and inspired by reading this interview. Discover the problems she encountered and overcame successfully. Let it inspire your next career move & how to make your dreams a reality.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
I own 2 businesses, both in the domain of B2B-training.
DECAtaal is focused on language and communication training. Companies contact us for French, Dutch, English and German courses. And if they need help with assertiveness, how to do good phone calls, improve their meeting skills, … they can also contact DECAtaal. We often work with other language schools or communication institutes as partners. I manage this business by myself and I work with several freelance trainers. I’m also one of them.
Tryange bvba is my second business. Since 2014, companies need to provide a wellbeing policy for their workers and if they need help, they can contact us. With Kim, my managing partner and Els, our management assistant, we set up training programs, individual coaching and teambuilding activities for companies in order to prevent burn-out and help them manage stress. In 2014 I got my degree as stress and burn-out coach and with other freelance trainers, we travel through Belgium to teach stress management in Dutch, French and English. Our USP is “movement”: we ask our participants to move their body and mind in every possible way. “Learning-by-doing” is our method and with training titled “Mindful at work” or “Yoga at your desk”, you know that we search for our inspiration in a lot of disciplines. That explains our name by the way: “Tryangle” >> “Try a different angle”.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
I studied Romance languages and started teaching French in B2B-setting while I was in my last year of university. What started as a student job became my professional activity once I had my degree. I didn’t want to be fully independent (my parents advised me to seek some certainty and according to them a steady job was the best starting point in life), so I searched for a part-time job. And so I found a part-time teaching position at VDAB, the Flemish governmental organisation that helps the unemployed find a job. I started as a French teacher and grew to communication trainer. Then I discovered that stress was often an obstacle and since I had been struggling with stress as a teenager, I felt the need to dig deeper. My position at VDAB and owning my business DECAtaal was the perfect combination for me until I got my degree as stress and burn-out coach. I wanted to settle as a stress and burn-out coach and so I jumped into a new business with 3 associates so I could start my activities as wellbeing trainer and coach. This enterprise wasn’t the right place for me, so I sold my shares and with one of my business partners I launched Tryangle bvba. Very quickly I didn’t have enough time to combine all my activities. I couldn’t be a stress and burn-out coach who had too much stress herself, so I decided to quit my job at VDAB and become fully independent. Bearing in mind the “Start with Why”-philosophy, the only question I ask myself: “Why didn’t I become fully independent way earlier?” I love the 2 businesses that I own and for me, it’s a dream come true.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Don’t scare yourself and don’t hold yourself back. Believe in yourself, dream big, stay authentic and go for it!
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
Finding the time to do all those things that will help growing myself and my business. Since I have a split focus (language training, wellbeing training, commercial activities) and I also want a life next to my business activities, I guess you could say that “time” is my greatest obstacle. How do I deal with it? By prioritizing and some creative time-management. It’s a challenge and I realize that I still can learn a lot. So it doesn’t always work out the way I had in mind. Once I decided that the VIP’s in my personal life are my absolute priority, organising my work and finding my balance has become easier – still a challenge, but an easier one 😉
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
This is a difficult one because there’s a lot to be proud of! If I would have to choose, I think I would say the fact that with Tryangle we’ve become a trilingual organisation that helps organisations in Dutch, French and English.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
Nietzsche >> “You must feel chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
Steve Jobs >> I read his biography, twice, and I really like the way he organised his professional approach (walking meetings, creativity, thinking for himself instead of consulting his customers for creation and development of new products…). I could use a lot of his quotes, but the most important one is “Don’t let the voices of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
After a part-time career of almost 17 years as an employed trainer, I discovered I wasn’t born to fit in a job description nor to work for a boss. So I decided to be fully independent. For me, it’s very important to co-create: working together in an equal way. And as I didn’t find this philosophy in my former team leaders, I decided to create it for myself.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of fun too. I prepare by pumping up my energy because I want to make a difference. By being very quiet and attentive I can discover what the customer needs. It’s surrounding you with the right people and listening to your inner voice. And above all, I prepare for success by staying true to who I am: I don’t want to be “too prepared” because my biggest strength is my authenticity. When I find the balance, I know and feel that success is coming 😉
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
Yes, I did. It made me think about all the aspects of my business. Since I already had some experience, I knew in advance that my business on paper is not exactly what to expect in reality. That’s why I calculated and estimated in the most realistic way possible.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMAN BUSINESS OWNER?
My activities are situated in a rather female environment: a lot of HR-managers and training managers are women. It’s easier to connect with them being a woman myself.
A disadvantage is the ability to network: my male colleagues seem to have more possibilities to the network. They have more so-called “superficial” topics in common, e.g. sports.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
Linked In: easy to connect, to stay in touch and to the network.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”