We ask our members share a few thoughts: to introduce themselves to fellow members, and those who are interested in our community.
In this instalment, we interview Natacha Villedieu-Silvestre of Optirisk Solutions.
Tell us about your business:
My niche is helping freelancers and “start-ups” of non-Dutch speaking expatriates and partners to rapidly and smoothly set up their business in the Netherlands, on the project management and administrative side.
What 5 words would you choose to describe your business?
Business set-up Advisory, Small and Medium Enterprise, Administration and Project Management
What are your most popular products or services?
- Business Critical path (nicknamed : “forget me not”)
- Starters tools (time tracking, invoicing and accounting templates)
- Customised training materials, such as 1st VAT declaration
What do you like best about owning a business?
Steering your own boat and learning something every day from new situations and great people.
What or who inspired you to start your business?
The Hong-Kong business and resilience model I experienced during the SARS crisis of 2003 and the pragmatic Dutch business spirit.
What makes your products/services special?
First, I carefully study the working patterns and needs of my clients.
I know what is available on the market and I propose what is the best for them. I don’t hesitate to spend time to customise and to explain again and again.
Who is your role model or mentor?
The founders (Frederique and Delphine) of the French speaking business women network “Work in the City Amsterdam” as well as an English friend of mine (Anna), an entrepreneur, inspired me and believed in my project. That gave me the kick-start and we stay regularly in touch.
What is your biggest fear?
Loss of reputation or misconduct from the market competitors.
What motivates you on a daily basis?
I am happy to wake up every day to learn from new situations. I meet great people with various cultural and work backgrounds. That gives me energy.
Finally, I have work flexibility to balance well with my personal life.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
The transition between a Director role in a major bank in Hong-Kong into a one man business in Europe.
What tip would you give women who are starting a business?
Be honest with yourself, believe in yourself, assess your strengths and weaknesses and join a business network.
What is your favourite business book?
- Harvard Business review publications
- Jack Welch : “straight from the gut”
- Spencer Johnson : “Who moved my cheese? : an amazing way to deal with change in your work and life.”
What are your top tips for networking?
Apart from attending professional events and a disciplined follow up of your contacts, keep some time aside to make voluntary / charity activities and you build your network and your image in this field too. Personally, I volunteer to help jobseekers in South Holland in an association. This is rewarding.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Doing sport on a weekly basis, keeping a week-day afternoon free for my family as well as organising my working week ahead of time.
What is your motto or theme song?
Optirisk Solutions turns your business idea into a reality. This applies to my life ideas too.
How do you relax?
I am a sea lover …so anything in relation with it relaxes me: watching, swimming, sailing, surfing … whatever the weather conditions.
What place inspires you and why?
Hong-Kong: it’s energy, it’s islands and unknowns heaven of natures … and the dunes of Meijendel nearby Den Haag bring me clarity and serenity.
People may be surprised to know…
I am 1st dan of Karate (black belt) and a fan of macaron cooking.
What do you care most about, as a business owner?
My reputation and the joy of discovering.
What are your future plans?
Being an entrepreneur is a chance to contribute and bring benefits to the world around you.
Now located in the Netherlands, I am developing my knowledge and network in sustainability.
For more information about Natacha Villedieu-Silvestre and Optirisk Solutions, please visit http://optirisksolutions.wix.com/optirisksolutions