Expat Entrepreneur: Aileen Martinia
In this new series of Expatica interviews, expat entrepreneurs in the Netherlands share their experiences of setting up and running their businesses in the Netherlands.
Name: Aileen Martinia
Type of business: Interior design and functional art
City of residence: Amsterdam
Name of company: LevensSfeer
Date of company launch: end 2008
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going?
My company, Levenssfeer, provides inspirational interior design solutions for homes and offices; in addition to product design services for furniture manufacturers.
I think it is going well- considering this is my first business adventure; although someone with more business experience might do it better/grow it faster, I am very proud of myself.
Currently I am doing a lot of expansion (on the type of services), building many collaborations, and implementing ideas.
What do you like about doing business in your country of residence?
The "Netherlanders" are very logical, straightforward people. They are also very smart and savvy. I learn a lot from them.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in your country of residence?
Language is an issue. This complicates things, not only in marketing/communicating with (potential) customers, but also in understanding regulations and opportunities.
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
Lack of a network. Building it from zero. But the process is so rewarding. I've met some wonderful, open, and surprisingly helpful people. For example, I found my mentor from the Chamber of Commerce online forum, I asked for his help, and he said yes. I am forever in his debt.
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
Fortunately, ignorance is bliss. I started in the crisis, so I've never know how it was before.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in your country of residence?
Just do it. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Give to others. Surround yourself with positive, open-minded people who are the best at what they do.
While my advice for other businesses in general: advertisement doesn't work! I learned it the hard way :)
How does running a business in your current country of residence compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
There is a lot of corruption in Indonesia, so I can imagine that doing business there is more problematic. But' I can't honestly give a good answer on this topic because I did not run any business there.
Would you like to add anything?
Yes, my most favourite quote of all times, I think from Zig Ziglar (not sure):
“Other people and things can stop you temporarily. You're the only one who can do it permanently.”
Have a fulfilling day!
Joining your voice to Expatica's Expat Entrepreneur series
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