I left Apple and Started my own Business! This is what I leaned!

Many people are dreaming of starting their own business. There also a lot who do not pursue a life as a business owner. So that’s ok. My parents teach me; Better a high position in a good business than being a small boss yourself. I am not sure if that is correct, but it is playing the safe card.

Many years I worked in different senior appointments in fortune 500 companies. That brought me the opportunity to live and work in many different countries. Last twenty years I  worked for PayPal, eBay, and Apple before I decided to start building my own business. The reason I left a high rank position at Apple? Because I thought that I gathered so much experience in my professional career, combined with working in so many countries around the world, made me feel comfortable making that big decision.

At eBay (2010) I was involved in the worldwide turnaround (which eventually cost me my job) and learned everything about change. How to turn around a global billion dollar business, the impact of employees and much more. How sad it is, the experience I gained is priceless. PayPal, back in 2005, was starting to grow into a multi-billion-dollar business. I was there to handle for the northern Europe area various complaint departments. And boy there were many complaints to handle. PayPal was at that time just acting as a payment service on eBay. That means that all buyer disputes, fraudulent transactions, hacked accounts and much more, came on my teams’ plate. That job brought everything about working in a fast and multicultural environment, with an enormous stress level. Later I moved to Apple’s HQ in Ireland. Although Apple is an established business for many years, it still feels like a freaking startup. Working with very talented individuals in many different fields, was an enrichment for my professional, as well as my personal life. It lifted me to higher grounds. A few years later, Apple asked me to help them build a new Apple Retail Store in the Netherlands. That was the most rewarding experience I ever could imagine. Besides that, I landed back in the country where I was born. Which I left approximately 15 years ago.

During the time running the new Apple Store, I became restless. I felt that I didn’t use my full potential. At Apple, I worked a lot with entrepreneurs and tasted their enthusiasm for building businesses. Their stories, the networking, the struggles, and successes are addictive. The idea of accomplishing something from nothing is advantageous. Many years I followed Grant Cardone, his motivation and unobstructed views on using your
potential to grow and become successful, taught me what to do when I had setbacks or lack of motivation. All these years were filling my knowledge with experience, learning from others and be open for ideas, I decided it is time to move on. So that is a frightening moment. Leave a well-paid job, with having a family, a mortgage and therefore enormous responsibilities, is a big step. However, I knew already what I wanted to do. My mentor Grant Cardone said: You need to have multiple income streams. So I started two businesses at the same time. I was ready! Most importantly, I had the support of my wife and family.

 

I learn a lot about hiring talent. What I also knew, was that many international companies are struggling to find talented individuals willing to work in another country. Almost all multinationals based in Europe, need to cover many different languages to handle their sales, customer support, and management. I started my first business with a dedicated niche to provide large organizations with Dutch, German and Nordic speaking talent for their offices around Europe. Mainly in the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Eastern Europe. Within one year I scored many different large clients. I made in the first half year more money than I possibly could make in two years at Apple. Simultaneously I started helping small and medium-size businesses in the Netherlands with digital marketing. With simple, low-cost packages, I worked within three months already with 15 clients handling their social media. These fifteen clients paid me between 300 and 500 euro per month. I tripled my monthly income within the first six months of being self-employed. The haters around me were telling me that I was just lucky and that time will change very fast. Some of them also said to me that I was stupid leaving Apple (because now they didn’t get the 17% friends and family discount anymore). One by one I banned them out of my life. I don’t need negativity around me.

Doing the things you love will ultimately guide you to be successful. I know this sounds too easy. And yes, it is too easy, but it helps you along the way. Being motivated and do everything you need to succeed is crucial. Forget nine-to-five, forget holidays and forget weekends. You will be working seven days a week. You may not compromise your time with non-productivity time. Every day you need to figure out how to get more customers. Your pipeline needs to be filled up with a constant stream of new prospects. Whether you are launching campaigns on social media, whether you download a list with 1000 potential clients which you are going to call, and not email. Figuring out what is the best sales pitch for your business, these are just a few examples of how you are spending your time when starting a business. Also, keep always an eye on innovation. Don’t take things for granted. Challenge the status-quo. So when you’re stuck, go for a walk. Clear your mind. The time and costs I spend with my social media clients bothered me. To handle all digital marketing, I had monthly subscriptions with several different platforms. Because I needed to build sales pages, I was using email programs, Facebook Ads-Manager and other services to create a successful digital marketing strategy. I was spending over 700$ per month on different subscriptions, and it was too complicated to connect these platforms to another. So I sat down, thought about how to innovate, how to make it easier, and most of all, how to reduce costs. That was the basis of Funnelting.

Funnelting is now one of the most innovated and revolutionary sales platform on the market. However, the road towards the idea and realization, was new for me. I am not a developer, nor I had the budget to hire developers to build software like this.  Creating four different solutions into just one platform demands an exceptional skill set. Most of all, making it from scratch. However, I had a bright idea how it should work, what it must do, and how easy it must be to build multi-step sales pages, set up an automated email marketing campaign and create Facebook/Instagram Ads which ultimately feeds your sales page with new leads. Knowing that only 19% of businesses using a CRM system, the platform needed to have an easy, but ingenious CRM system which collects all data and leads. I spoke with several IT companies and got a clear view of what my costs would be to realize this platform. Let me say it like this; it is costly. Because I believed in the idea to create a tool which would help millions of businesses, I started to contact some investors to see if I could find someone who might be interested in this idea. I soon figured out that the funding culture in Europe is very weak. We do not invest in startups. All the answers I received? Excellent idea, get some customers and when you make 250K a year then let me know. Well, when I make 250K a year with my plan, I don’t need investors anymore. Finally, after a few months, I found an investor who loved the idea I pitched it to him. Why? He’s a businessman and understands the opportunity what Funnelting is, and most of all, what it could become. Other investors had no idea how the digital sales & marketing world functions. Now, some of them contacted me back asking if I still need funding. It’s nice to be in a position to say no to money.

If you want to start your own business, I can advise you the following few things:

Take care that you are an expert in your field
Do not compromise on anything
Your family needs to support you and understand that you will be busy. No time for other tasks during the day. Your focus is the business, not hanging the washing, cleaning the windows or hovering the floor between 7 am and 7 pm
Learn as much as you can. If you don’t understand something, learn it. Ask around
Follow a successful mentor. Not someone who is showing off their big houses, Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s
Do whatever you can to get clients. Call, visit and email potential clients on a daily basis.
Get your self a notebook and write down what you want to accomplish that day. Do this every day. At the end of the day try to figure out why some tasks were not completed.
If you are stuck or have lacked motivation, listen to a podcast or go for a walk.
Keep a close eye on your competitors. Try not to compete. Your goal is to dominate your space.
Be everywhere! Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and write Blogs. This is your daily task to complete.
Funnelting can help you brand and promote your business. You can try it for free, no credit card needed.

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