I started my first business as a student – ever since, I've had a passion for strategy thinking, developing and launching ideas.
It’s true that I love to create new solutions. During my time as a law student I took my first steps as an entrepreneur. Together with a like-minded partner, I wanted to disrupt the rather traditional field of real estate auctions. This became our first real business idea. From there we took part in a few competitions and joined the first batch of the Start it @kbc community.
Unfortunately, incubators and start-ups were still new in Belgium, and as young starters we didn't really know how to turn our idea into a money-making machine. After a while – but with lots of valuable experience and knowledge in our pockets- we decided that the time wasn’t right for us. I focused on my studies again, with a new challenge in mind: getting an internship at The House of Marketing.
The next step
As an intern at THoM I took my first steps under the wings of Filip Vandegehuchte. He introduced me to one of his ideas: the E-commerce Barometer. An innovative project that has quickly turned into a valuable research tool in marketingland. My internship was a journey filled with many lessons and lots of top-notch experiences where I got the chance to learn the ins and out. As consultant I became lead of this exciting project which we’re trying to reinforce continuously. It’s safe to say that joining The House of Marketing was a great move.
Looking back, I continued to think like an entrepreneur, but within a different context. Through consulting and interim management, you get in touch with a variety of clients, sectors and cultures. But next to that, there’s room to launch ideas within The House of Marketing. Whoever wants to start a project or is looking for a challenge, will receive a platform within the company.
A good example is The Garage. This innovation funnel-based project is a place where we come together to exchange ideas. The point is to ignite innovation by letting your imagination run free, and distill these ideas into a pitch. As a prize, I had the chance to attend the Tomorrowland for marketers: the Web Summit. What makes this kind of projects interesting is that you constantly get triggered. There’s room to experiment, to try out and to fail. This makes The House of Marketing a truly unique place to work.
Being a consultant
The big advantage of my position within The House of Marketing is that I get the opportunity to do my own thing. I can boost and practice my creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. When you come up with an interesting idea, you’ll be surrounded with the right set of people to help you develop your project and make it happen. To put things in perspective, it’s exactly this support and coaching that I missed as a starter.
I see many similarities between entrepreneurship and consulting. You both go into markets where your fresh perspective is a systemic advantage. You can come into an industry and ask questions about things that, for everyone else, have become unquestioned assumptions. Then, unburdened by old ways of thinking, you can challenge those assumptions to come up with entirely new ways of looking at a problem. A lot of people think innovation is thinking outside the box, when in reality innovation comes from thinking about a problem from a different box. Newness is valuable.
To end this talk, I want to stress that you can do business in every possible way. Don’t give up your entrepreneurial spirit because the circumstances might not be ideal. That’s why I took a different approach and started my own modest boutique agency. With the right mindset and some creativity, you will be able to make your dreams happen. So grab every opportunity and go for it!