Expat Entrepreneur: Nicole Jordan in the Netherlands
Canadian-Trinidadian expat Nicole is making her voice heard in the Netherlands, literally! A voice coach, she works hard at teaching clients from around the globe and making her business a success.
Name: Dr. Nicole Jordan
Nationality: Canadian & Trinidadian
Country of residence: Netherlands
Name of company: Open Up! Voice Studio
Date of company launch: 2006-1-01
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going?
I am a voice teacher, professional opera singer, and a PhD in Music Psychology. In my studios in Den Haag and Rotterdam, I teach beginner and professional singers and every voice in between. My motto is: “Everyone can sing, you just need to find what you’re good at.” At Open Up! Voice Studio, I help my students develop their voice and release their tension and natural expressiveness. I also offer regular workshops on singing, speaking, and vocal health for groups and private companies.
What do you like about doing business in your country of residence?
I love working in The Netherlands because there are so many people from so many places. My student base is wonderfully varied and everyone has a very different story to tell.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in your country of residence?
The tax system is rather cumbersome. I very quickly learned that I must have a professional tax adviser!
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
Publicity is always the first problem. I had a product, but I had to be patient in building my student base. Word of mouth is always better than a poster, but takes time to develop.
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
I notice that some people come less frequently for lessons- before they would come every week, but now they come every two weeks. I don't believe this is because they have less money themselves, but because their jobs are more and more demanding.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in your country of residence?
Be patient and be realistic - with yourself and with your clients. You may have to be flexible with your time and adapt your product to suit the market, but that's the case anywhere. Don't be frustrated with the red tape and tax system. Always ask for help!
How does running a business in your current country of residence compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
Where I live in The Netherlands, there is a high turn-over of students because many are expats. They are always coming and going, meaning I have to regularly start from scratch to let people know I exist, because I can't assume year after year that the new-comers will know who I am.
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