Inspiration story 

Starting a business later in life

Suzan (age 58) has been itching to start her own business for some time now. But what is the right time? And how do you go about it? She took the plunge. She explains how it went. 

‘My conviction: keep developing yourself’

“I love my profession. The combination of people, their development and organisational goals. As an HR advisor, I deal with all those aspects, which is what keeps my role so interesting. When I was about 48, I began to get the urge. Could I do this on my own? The seed had taken root. In my job, I supervised reorganisations and saw that people often have difficulty finding a new job in later life. This strengthened my conviction that coming to a standstill is not good for anyone. You have to keep developing yourself. Think about what you want, what you are good at. You can make great use of that power to keep advancing. That was also true for me.

‘At 53 I took the plunge’

I started to make further enquiries as my desire to start my own business remained. I started talking to many people in my HR network, joined LinkedIn groups and visited the Chamber of Commerce for more information. At 53, I made my decision: I am going to do it, I am going to be a self-employed person as an HR advisor and coach for career issues. Very exciting, because what if it didn't work? Maybe I wouldn't get any assignments at all. I also found the timing difficult. When do I start and how do I limit the risk?

A cautious start

An important step in the process was a conversation with my employer. I wanted to inform him of my intention. He was enthusiastic and fortunately very cooperative. I was given the opportunity to work part-time and build up my own business. That was great. Fortunately, my savings account allowed it, because when half a salary is lost, you feel it. It gave me an extra incentive to close that income gap quickly. In two years, my customer group grew and when I could no longer combine it with my salaried job, I resigned. It felt very cool. It gave me an energy that I had not experienced before. I am glad that I was able to take the plunge in such a phased manner. Partly thanks to my employer, I am very grateful for that.”

Are you ready to take the plunge?

If you consider starting your own business, you have loads of questions. Therefore here are three useful sites for enquiring and starting entrepreneurs:

A collaboration between the government, chamber of commerce, the Tax and Customs Administration and the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). Even if you start your own business later in life, you will get an answer (in Dutch) from the government here.

Ik word zzp’er
A complete platform (in Dutch) for enquiring and starting self-employed persons. Check here for a handy roadmap and useful webinars (in Dutch).

ZZP Servicedesk
On this platform you will find many articles and information about self-employment. Employed and working as a self-employed person? Read more here about this construction (in Dutch).

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