Riding the roller coaster together
Are you looking for a companion on the roller coaster ride that is entrepreneurship? That’s what I have been for the last 15 years.
Over the years, an “inner circle” of entrepreneurs has emerged, whom I closely work with. I help them navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
That “inner circle” can schedule time with me whenever they feel they are stuck, need a fresh perspective, or just want to talk something through.
I am opening up two additional spots in that inner circle.
You can read everything about it below.
A typical week
Last week I was on 14 calls with entrepreneurs.
They asked me for support, or feedback, or just wanted to talk through an issue.
These were some of the questions that came my way:
“An international customer didn’t pay and isn’t responding anymore. Should we litigate or not?”
“Somebody applied that we would love to hire. However, we aren’t sure whether it’s the right time and whether we can afford her.”
“I have a personal issue in my relationship. It affects my work, as I cannot focus and don’t get a lot done. We have some tight deadlines and I cannot take time off. Any advice?”
“We need to let go of a person. I want to do this right. Can you help me talk through the process?”
“My co-founder and I are in constant conflict. Can we talk through some potential solutions?”
“I have a hard time defining the right KPIs for my business. I am stuck and could use some feedback.”
“I am not doing well. The business isn’t going anywhere. Should I quit?”
“I spend way too much time managing our liquidity. Any ideas on how to handle this better?”
“We have the option to work with a bigger customer. It would be great for revenue, but isn’t our focus and has little strategic value. Should we take the money or stick to the strategy?”
“We just raised a round of funding. I know I should be happy and pumped. In reality, I am scared. It seems all so much. I am not sure whether we can hit the targets we promised. What to do?”
This is a pretty typical week for me. Just as typical as the challenges are for entrepreneurs.
It helps to not be going through the challenges alone and knowing that there is somebody at your side. No matter what.
That’s what the “inner circle” is for.
Being close to ‘my crowd’
Naturally, all entrepreneurs from companies in the PIRATE family are in the inner circle. However, I have been letting in non-PIRATEs for over a decade as well.
A few years ago, I put up a website, but I have been pretty low-key about this part of my work. This isn’t a scalable activity, and “renting” out time never seemed particularly smart.
And yet, it’s the most fulfilling work that I do.
I get to be close to ‘my crowd’ - entrepreneurs who have the will to change the world for the better. People I enjoy spending time with.
Delving into their world, understanding their challenges, and helping them navigate requires me to think and connect deeply.
It's about grasping their motivations, connecting with their needs, understanding the context, and helping them reveal their path.
The beauty? My questions, feedback, and insights have an immediate impact on people’s journeys. At the same time, it helps me reflect and grow.
Doing something useful, being good at it, and genuinely enjoying the process?
That feels like the Ikigai sweet spot.
A pretty good place to be in, to be honest.
Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey
I started my first company in 2003, more than 20 years ago. Most of the challenges that an entrepreneur faces, I can deeply relate to.
The tough conversation, the hard decisions, the setbacks, the personal sacrifices, the feelings of isolation, the mental exhaustion, the anxiety.
The reality is that entrepreneurship can be a lonely and - at times - overwhelming journey.
Being the leader of a company means that persistent problems eventually end up in your lab. And as a founder, those problems are everywhere. When mud hits the fan, guess who everyone is looking at for answers?
The issues often seem to have obvious solutions in isolation, but they are less so when put in the context of the specific business, team, and stakeholder environment.
And they usually come with decisions. Real decisions are hard because “something’s gotta give”.
That stream of constant problems and decisions can be exhausting. Eventually, it will reveal personal questions that were nagging below the surface. Questions closely related to our hopes, desires, fears, needs, or beliefs.
“Why am I doing this and what for?”
“The initial passion is gone, by now it feels like a constant rat race to hit milestones.”
“Is this what I want to be doing in the next few years?”
“How do I grow, transform, and build a life of meaning?”
On that lonely journey, it is hard to find somebody to trust and to speak with openly.
And yet there is hardly anything more effective than taking moments of reflection, structuring the challenges, and prioritizing well.
For the business, but also the personal journey.
Join my “inner circle”
I am accepting two more ambitious entrepreneurs into my “inner circle”.
This is what to expect.
Working together is going to be a no-BS relationship. No BS because it will only work if we are radically honest with each other and ourselves. Relationship, because this shouldn’t be a one-time transaction, but something meaningful that grows over time.
I will make it a priority to help you get to wherever you want to go. The only thing I expect of you is that you are sincere. Sincere about being radically honest. Sincere about putting in the work. Sincere about genuinely wanting to grow into your best self.
We will agree on one or two fixed time slots every month. This is our regular heartbeat. It keeps us on track and moving forward. You will decide on the topics. It’s your journey, after all.
My role? I'm your sparring partner, devil's advocate, mentor, sounding board, listener, motivator, or friend. I will help you gain clarity in your vision, confidence in your actions, and calmness in your mind.
What I have to say will be hands-on and straightforward, but always from the heart and with your interest in mind. Whatever happens, you can count on me. I am relentlessly in your corner.
When there is anything you need to discuss between the regular meetings, you get priority links to book time in my calendar. That way, we can address unexpected or urgent matters.
If I can help with my PIRATE network, I will gladly do so.
I am comfortable working with you in English, German, or Dutch.
You pay a monthly retainer. But it's not for my time; it's for my support and having your back. Cancel whenever - no strings attached.
Curious? Send me a message and let’s get to know each other.
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