Having your own business: what is it like?

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Hi there!

My name is Julie Ottevanger, 28 years old and owner of the Make My Day concept store located in Nijmegen. After a lot of trial and error, I feel like I finally am where I want to be. I took me a couple of years to get there, though.

At the age of 22 I had finished two forms of education (Fashion Management and All round styling) and after that I immediately tried to apply for a ‘’real’’ job. I worked for different employers for only a short amount of time because I didn’t really feel like those companies were a good fit for me. I did a lot of soul searching regarding what I was really looking for in the way I wanted to earn my money. That’s why I wrote my dreams down on paper so I could get a better vision for myself. After a while it all became clear. I wanted my own store (concept store) in which I could put into all of my experience (interior and clothing sales, procurement, knowledge of materials, styling and visual merchandise) I have gained over the years. And I didn’t want to dependent on others anymore. I wanted to be self-employed.

It was an exciting period… But above all very nice! I got an awful lot of energy of all the ideas and elaborations. When my financing was also approved it gave me such a rush! The first year I’ve worked really hard (often 7 days a week) to have a good head start with my new store. That same time I started to develop some breathing problems as well. My doctor said it was a light form of hyperventilation. She gave me the advice to slow it down a little bit even though she knew this wasn’t really realistic to ask when trying to get a new business off the ground. Luckily I got more help from my family (and my first intern) after that. This has definitely helped me to relax more and take better care of myself.

My breathing is still my weak point when it comes down to having complaints from working. Whenever I feel like I’m starting to have trouble breathing again I consider it as a warning sign. I’m getting better in reminding myself to take moments of rest so that it doesn’t get out of hand. In addition, we are trying to create a more clear structure within the concept store so I can delegate some more tasks. This is kind of difficult for me. It can be hard deciding what’s best for your company at times. You have no boss above you that tells you if you’re doing it right or wrong. You have to figure this out for yourself. I’m lucky to know people who have a business of their own. We often discuss the things we stumble upon and learn each other. My goal for the first six months of 2016 is to be less and less needed in my store so I can keep my own job demands within limits and I can really start to enjoy what I’ve achieved. Because of my store I can earn my money with my passion. Here is where I want to be. Despite the hectic times of having a company every now and then, I can honestly say I’ve found my dream job. The concept store is everything I’ve ever wanted.

Note. Thank you Julie Ottevanger for sharing your experience!

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kim.dejong@digneconsult.com'

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