Women Event 19914 omslag

Those essential not per se friends-colleagues-family people

“ok guys, that’s it, it’s all plain and clear to me now, I exactly know what to focus on coming months, from new hobbies to business ventures, all ready to get it going”

This is how I arrived at a terrace with friends on a warm summer evening last week.

I had been walking around for some weeks with a head full of ideas, plans and inspiration – and now I felt I’d cut to the chase.

So how did that come about?

That day I met with Lianne van Liere at the Dutch sunny beach to prepare the women event, that I’m organizing this time with her.

And the conversation naturally flowed from one topic to the other and – after 7 (!) hours of talking, sun and sand – we discussed about everything that mattered to us and felt light and excited – we exactly knew what to set in motion.

This leads to one of the myths and learnings on entrepreneurship I’m exploring these months…

Myth #1 : As an entrepreneur you need personal brilliance. You need to be able to keep yourself motivated and do it all by yourself.

hmm What else can be true?

One of my own learnings is that

it’s essential for me to have those not per friends-colleagues -family kind of people around like Lianne

people who walk their own path, can listen objectively and stretch me on the right moments (don’t take the bullshit or false excuses)

So instead of wasting my time trying to figure it all out on my own – such a conversation at the beach can make the difference.

I’d love to hear and learn from your experiences too. What kind of people would you like to connect with? How do you make sure you have those regular meet-ups that keep you sharp?

Let me know,


P.S. Since this seems so important – I love creating these connections and experiences for people like you too.

One is the entrepreneurial women retreat this September, the ticket sales opened today.

Please share the invitation with those great women you know, who are about to realize a new idea or start a new practice, so they can sign up in time, and make it all happen in a more easy and fun way. I’d love to meet them. Thank you.

P.P.S If this retreat is not for you right now (or you’re a man) I’d love to offer you a 1-on-1 session, in which I can be that person for you – we’ll cut to the chase and get clear on what ideas, projects you want to give priority and set in motion.
You can book your clarity session here You’ll receive an email with more info after booking it!

betahaus berlin

Can you think along for a moment…

Hi there, just a short note from my holiday location – because I’d like to get your input on something.

I’m sitting here in a co-working space in Berlin (you know – nice coffees, second hand furniture and macbooks all around) – I’m working on my new writing project in which I like to give you practical insights on some big topics like…

How to turn your ideals into practical business opportunities?

What myths on entrepreneurship hold many of us back from taking true action?

What are todays’ best practices on creating joyful and responsible work?

I don’t want to start a philosophical discussion though, but rather share concrete, actionable insights.

You could definitely help me out here by sharing what’s interesting for you in this – what questions pop up? What challenges are you facing – or what makes you excited? Just send a few sentences on what first comes to mind to mail@elselienepema.com. Thank you.

Liebe Gruesse aus Berlin




[Download Booklet] About Realising Ideas In A more Natural Way

Before I mentioned something about driving in my recently purchased rusty camper van, flower in our hair, remember?

Now I even wrote a booklet about it….The whole process of buying it taught me a lot about transforming my ideas into reality in a more natural way – a process that I’m excited to share with you, so that you can realize your own ideas organically and effectively. 

Maybe it’s not buying a camper van… maybe for you it’s building a webshop, sharing your creative work, or creating a vegetable garden. Or maybe you have no specific idea at all — just a feeling, an inkling of something that’s hovering on the tip of your tongue. That’s fine, too. Just jump in where you are at!

Click here or on the picture below to download the booklet.


2015 Manifest

Plant Your Seed In Fertile Soil – Let things Grow More Naturally

Yesterday I was driving in my recently purchased, old rusty camper van (yes, really) together with my friend Margot Kat. I was sitting in the the driver’s seat with the steering wheel in my hands. Although I was a bit hyper and clumsy, I was acting like it was all normal to me, while in truth I was secretly thinking: “woohoo, I’m driving my own camper van!” I love it when something that once was just an idea, big or small, becomes a reality. This post is exactly about that.

Margot and I were on our way to the Work Paradise in the Polder, a vivid soulful place, just above Amsterdam, to meet with the owner Fleur Bakker and prepare an event we’ll be hosting for other entrepreneurial women like us.

There we were: fully involved in conversation in that camper van, flowers in our hair. Talking passionately about our life and business, and how we both have a solid feeling of walking the right path, doing what we’re meant to do while having the freedom to spend our days like we want them to be. And we suddenly realised that 3 years ago, right when we first met, the situation was quite different.

At that time I was working as a freelance consultant and Margot as a designer at an agency. Our first encounter was at an event, to figure out what our next step would be. And there in an old renovated bakkery, at the top floor, with only dusty wooden roof beams above our head, we got a glimpse of what could be possible for us. And although at the time it seemed miles away, we shared our dreams in that small group and really got it out there. And now, 3 years down the line, we looked at each other and realised we were actually living our dream.

How did that come about?

Yeah, well, you know, I just worked hard, 80 hours a week, had a well-thought out business plan and did all what the marketing experts told me to do… Hmmm no, actually not at all. That’s the crazy thing about entrepreneurship, there is no one formula for success. You can work your ass off, apply all you learn about setting up a business and still don’t achieve anything.

So let me confide you into what worked for usWho knows it could work for you too!

One important aspect is to take a moment and metaphorically -or literally so you will, to make a ritual out of it- plant a seed in fertile soil, so things can start to grow more naturally for you.

It can all start by taking a moment to step away from your daily tasks, to reflect and share ideas in a safe and inspiring setting together with like-minded people who are not per se friends, family or colleagues. People who can mirror you and help you discover what is possible and encourage you along the way, just selflessly, without any conflict of interest.

Looking back, it seems that at that event a seed was planted in fertile soil; a plant that just wanted to grow and flourish. The process might be chaotic and illogical, but it always seems to work out one way or the other, in whatever pace.

Margot and I stayed in touch. This has been hugely powerful to me. To have a small network of people who are not per family, friends or colleagues, but who believed in what I was heading to and were also walking their path.

Since those moments and connections are so powerful, and since I see it as my task to bring people back on their path, I decided to organise such a setting myself so you can experience the same. The event is this month, hosted for and by entrepreneurial women.

I invited Margot and Fleur to co-host it with me, since they are for me an example of women who are walking their path. We’ll guide you through a process of good conversations, new experiences and time for reflection. All with the purpose to bring to the surface what it is about for you, in a relaxed and fun way. No big turning points, but to come to small actions that reconnect you to your path.

Imagine 3 years from now. Who knows, you’ll also sit with one of us in a rusty camper van, we might look at each other and suddenly realise that you’re living what once felt like a far away vision. You maybe even unconsciously took the exact right steps that were needed to make it happen. Not by working hard or rationally planning it all out, but because you just knew what it was all about, what you were heading to and having the right people on your side.

If this resonates with you, don’t hesitate to join! We’d love to have you there. Please find the invitation here to sign up.

That said, if you feel like connecting first via phone, e-mail or Skype to discuss some of your questions or ideas to get some clarity, then drop me a note mail@elselienepema.com


ondernemersdag 23 januari


plaatje hubdate mei

What You Want To Do, But Really Don’t Want To Do

“People believe that you can use your fantasy to envision anything you want, but that’s not true. You can only conceive what comes up in your mind”

This is what Dutch comedian Micha Wertheim shared in an interview in Kunststof. Back in 2012, when he was writing his new program, he had just become a father. Yet he planned to not integrate any of his experiences on fatherhood into his show, as he considered it to be something private. Besides, he didn’t want to be predictable and talk about how having children changes you in unforeseen ways. But during his creative writing process, sketches related to this topic kept popping up. When he was putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, he just had to incorporate the sketches on fatherhood. There was just no denying. This part of the program actually turned out to be essential for the whole structure of the program. He had to use what came to his mind, whether he liked it or not.

Okay, sounds fair, but what does all of this have to do with entrepreneurship?

As an entrepreneur you might hold the belief that you have all the freedom to envision and visualize everything you want to do. That is not necessarily false, but you’re at the mercy of what comes to mind. Whether you like it or not.

Of course you always have the freedom to choose whether you want to do something with an idea or not.

As author and trainer Marinus Knoope, states:

“You can’t choose what wishes come up, but you can choose what you do with those wishes.”

If you, at times, feel blocked or stuck, it might be because you’re ignoring your wishes. Perhaps you’re searching for the more appropriate ones or are forcing yourself to do the things that seem more logical or easy at first sight.

Let’s see more up-close how this works. You take time to relax and then all of a sudden a wish pops up. Maybe your wish is to start a blog, to organize an event or to develop a new product. It could be anything. Often, the first feeling of excitement is then quickly followed up by sentiments of resistance and “no money, no time, can’t do” objections. The wish might not correspond with what’s seen as right in your system, or how you see yourself.

A free spirited entrepreneur who takes responsibility for his life and business, regularly selects one of the wishes that pops up, explores it and then puts it into practice. Yes, in spite of persistent resistance and objections. Since your wishes say a lot about what you’re truly capable of doing, it often turns out to be quite successful. Or as philosopher Goethe has put forward:

”Our wishes are presentiments of the abilities that lie in us, harbingers of what we will be able to accomplish.”

In line with these wise words, Wertheim blended his stories on fatherhood into his show. And as a matter of fact, it not only turned out to be a huge success, he actually enjoyed it.

So is there something you want to do, but really don’t want to do?

Then it might be worthwhile to reconsider.

You don’t have to do this all alone though, it helps to create the new normal together. Read here about how connecting with new peers, helped me to realize an -at first sight- inappropriate wish that kept knocking at my door.

blog collaboration to speed up

Create Your New Normal Together

As entrepreneur or freelancer you might believe that you decide what you do and how you spend your days. And at a certain level this might be the case. But you’re also highly influenced by the people, the group… the system around you. And you tend to do what’s normal in this system, knowingly or unknowingly. Even if you’re that very independent headstrong entrepreneur. Your family, friends, co-workers and the groups you identify with influence your decisions every day.

There is nothing wrong with that, as they all helped you to be where you are now. But maybe there’s something you like to undertake, change or learn. And maybe you find yourself postponing it or making it a big thing. In that case (re)connecting with some of your current peers or adding some new people to your system can make the difference. As long as they are people who want to learn the same thing or who are already where you want to be.

Let me explain this by sharing one of my own experiences.

When I took the leap to work independently about 5 years ago, I imagined myself taking the time to learn how to write, taking time to reflect, analyse and be creative. Yeah! I already clearly visualised how great that would be: sitting somewhere outside in the sun with a nice view, a cup of coffee, a notebook, just enjoying my creative writings. The reality was that after about 2 years of working independently I realized I didn’t do this at all.

Ok, maybe only secretly

Yes, secretly. That’s how it felt for me. And this is where the system and it’s beliefs come in. Carved somewhere deep down inside of me, there was a strong belief that “you don’t just do creative work for the fun of it” and especially not on weekdays between 9 am to 6pm. No. You have to do something useful, like… working hard to make your business work. So, if I did spend some time on contemplating and writing, it felt as if I was skipping classes in high school. Hope nobody finds out! I even compensated it often with working some extra hours in the evening. Yes, I agree, this is totally nuts!

At that time it was totally unconscious behavior. I just told myself all kinds of reasons why I didn’t do it: I had no time for writing, it was not useful, I couldn’t do it or it was something for later, when I was older, more successful and so on.

Fact is that at that time nobody around me seriously took the time to do creative work. So no wonder I didn’t take it serious either.

But the idea of wanting to write kept knocking on the door, louder and louder. At a certain point I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I googled “writing coach”, booked some sessions with writing coach Rinske Verberg, connected with some people with a creative occupation and followed creative bloggers like www.rowdykittens.com. Slowly creative writing became the new normal for me.

Due to these connections, my belief shifted from “writing equals skipping school” to “creative writing is essential for my business”. And guess what…it is. I use my creative writing skills for many purposes now, like creating course materials for my programs, copywriting for my clients websites, writing profile texts, blogging and many more. Yes, developing my creative writing skills is now one of my top priorities and one of the things I start my day with.

So what about you? What’s knocking on your door? This can be anything from running a marathon, eating healthier to starting a new venture. Take a moment now to answer the following questions:

What do you want to undertake, learn or change?

Who wants the same or is already where you want to be?

How can you connect with those people?

Find the right peers for the direction in which you’d like to develop and make it happen. Never worry alone.

P.S. Are you about to start your own business or make a new start? And does it feel like something is in the way…you keep on postponing things or feel overwhelmed by all possibilities and to do’s? Then let’s work together and create your desired new normal, book a free Strategy Session with me to get clear what you want and what you need now to achieve that. Every month I’ve some openings on Tuesday or Thursday late afternoon. Just send me an email mail@elselienepema.com or give me a call right away +31 (0)614355996 Looking forward!


Are You Painting Burglars on Your Window?

Probably you have been defining some goals for the New Year. And you might have some mixed feeling about them. On the one hand they can excite you, give you some direction, something to hold on to in this life full of possibilities. On the other hand you know that they can spoil the whole journey. You might get disappointed by not reaching them (well enough) or they make you blind for unexpected opportunities along the way.

You consciously define goals for yourself; double your profit, triple the number of visitors on your site or start a new business in New York. And as a consequence these goals can dominate your mood and how you evaluate your own life.

From euphoric feelings when reaching them:

“Yes! extra visitors on my site, what a hero I am, I’m able to reach my self-defined goals, I’m in control of my life, there nothing I can’t do, poor other people out there, dwelling in their misery”.

To a feeling of defeat a week later:

“&*#, no visitors at all?? What a crappy person I am, I can’t even do this crappy simple thing, I’m lost and at mercy of the quirk of fate!”
Or your new business in New York. You imagined it so beautifully, talked about it with friends and got fired up by inspiring stories of others. But after taking the first steps you find out that the move is actually an awfully time-consuming hassle.

And you start to get stressed. What if this self-created image of my future, won’t happen…

This goal setting is as crazy as painting a burglar on your window and then calling the police in panic that they have to come and rescue you.

It’s actually not that big a difference. Pay some attention to your thoughts when worrying…it’s often because you ‘painted’ an imaginary image in your head about your (future) life, and find out that reality is different.
What to do then? Should you throw your plans, ideas and goals for the New Year in the garbage bin and just go with the flow as an amoeba… ?

No. But you can better spend your time and energy on the things you actually have influence on; the right actions, and not the fruit of your actions.
This isn’t my imagination going crazy, it sprang from the great mind of Ghandi, he said it like this

“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action.”

This means you don’t stress about getting imaginary fruits, like tripling the amount of visitors on your site. But you start to take the right action. For example to connect more with your clients and create valuable content for them to share via your website. Maybe at first you have less visitors, but might find out that you attract surprisingly more loyal clients you love working with.

What are the right actions for you? If you already have some goals for the coming year you can use them to come to these right actions. The simplest thing you can do now is asking yourself the following questions:

What will reaching this goal bring you?
What does this say about what you truly intent?
What actions are expressions of this intention?

Then let go of any preference regarding the results of these actions. Just be curious what it will bring.
You might get surprised by something better you’d ever be able to paint yourself.