Spontaneous photoshoot

some photo’s made by the Danish photographer Justine Høgh, who stayed with me and my flatmate last week via Airbnb – http://justine-hoegh.dk/

<3 <3 <3

One day after breakfast we decided spontaneously to take some pictures in our neighborhood, lucky us!

Some are for the website of my flatmate Dalia Jurado Vargas, designer of jewellery (rings, earrings, wowowwiwa, que quapa!)http://www.acocojewellery.com/

And some for my website, which I’m redecorating these days




Earrings, Acoco Jewellry Barcelona

Earrings, Acoco Jewellry Barcelona


What creative project could set things in motion for you?

This is my favorite post from the Shift Forward photography project. I love the way that it creates a moment of stillness for me, to connect with what’s meaningful to me now.

The Shift Forward Photography Project is the latest labor of love from Lianne van Liere, who is coming onboard for the next Women’s Entrepreneurial Retreat that I’m hosting.

Few weeks ago Lianne and I spent 7(!) hours at the beach having a natural flowing conversation. While preparing for the upcoming retreat, we also came up with a new creative project for each of us – one that would stretch us to learn and create what’s alive for us right now.

Not by setting goals and pushing ourselves, but by giving ourselves a creative challenge that playfully sets things in motion.

Lianne felt like taking more time to create, just for the fun and beauty of it.

Not something that would take her a whole lot of time. No, something in alignment with what she felt drawn to already.

As we talked about her unique talents, interests, what was cooking for her right now, the puzzle pieces all fell into place and she decided to challenge herself with a new photography project: to take pictures and share what ‘clicked’ for her when seeing them.

Now two weeks later, she’s enjoying the fun of exploring her world from another perspective and creating more than ever.

I’m constantly inspired by these kinds of projects – the ones that help entrepreneurs and creatives get more in alignment with what’s really alive for them right now, instead of focusing entirely on strategy and the bottom line.

Just to name a few…

Tammy Strobel created a photography project that helped her grief over a loss of a loved one.

Jolie Guillebeau started sharing a new painting every day for 100 days – which ignited her professional life as an artist.

Leo Babauta simplified his life with one challenge every month.

Such a project helps you to do those things needed to foster your creativity, like…

  • creating time every day for something that’s meaningful for you (just sit with it every day, sometimes 15 minutes can do it)
  • consciously changing something in your daily routine
  • being committed to the desired change (by letting other people know about it)

How could this work for you?

What’s alive for you right now? What would you like to learn or change?

What creative project could set that in motion in a playful way?

Something that stretches you enough to get fired up, but also feels like something you just feel like starting.

This can be big or small, in your personal or business life. Like running daily, writing a professional blog or setting an intention to create new connections.

Let me know what comes up for you.

Have a great day,


P.S. Oh hey, this happens to be exactly the main quest of the women retreat this September — if you would like to discover what the perfect project or challenge is for you right now, and how it might impact you and the people in your community, please join us!

P.P.S . Yes, I created a challenge for myself that day on the beach, too — more on that soon…

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