I was born in the Netherlands, where I lived for the first 28 years of my life.
I always struggled to find out what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. There was too much to learn about too many things! I loved learning but hated sitting still at school. So, at 17, I decided to enrol in the “school of life” and I started working full time, while still going to school one day a week to study the industry I was in at the time.
I started my working adventure in hospitality and moved on to retail for several years as a manager of a toy store. After that I was lucky enough to work in the healthcare sector as a social worker with mentally disabled people and I ended my time in the Netherlands working at the complaints department for a global logistics company.
Because all the industries I’ve worked in are so different, it gave me the opportunity to learn lots of practical skills: Sales, customer service, planning, managing employees, administration, marketing, delegation, time management and so on. But what I now value most is how I learned to have empathy, patience, understanding, confidence, solid relationships, optimism and (most importantly) how to use my sense of humour to get through tough times.
So, how did I end up in New Zealand? When I was 22 I enjoyed a huge adventure travelling through New Zealand for three months, which is when I fell in love with this country and the people in it. At 28 I decided to give it a go and live here for one year, starting in September 2008.
This is when I found a passion for tourism and for everything New Zealand has to offer as a travel destination. My first job was cleaning cars for a rental car company in Auckland. I quickly transitioned into an office job and was later involved in setting up a new branch at Auckland Airport as the assistant manager, alongside my manager at the time.
After the year had almost passed, I had decided to stay in New Zealand and start the immigration process. This period was one of the hardest in my life. Obviously, it was sad to leave behind everybody that I love, but the actual process of immigrating was also a lot harder than I ever imagined. This is when I decided to put my inquisitive mind to use! Processes can be boring and frustrating but familiarising myself with the immigration process really gave me a sense of peace and involvement.
During this time, the before mentioned manager offered me the opportunity of a lifetime by asking me to help him set up his own rental car company in December 2009, of which I became a 50% shareholder and company director over the course of the next eight years. In all honesty: This was the making of me and I still refer to the first years of being in business as “character building” times. I felt completely lost in this sea of decisions and I would have loved a helping hand at that stage. Unfortunately, I was entirely too stubborn to actually ask for the help that I needed.
Luckily my inquisitive side kicked in again and I decided to study everything and anything that I felt could help my business succeed. I quickly realised the power of bookkeeping: How to read my profit and loss statement and the balance sheet, so I could make informed decisions. I also decided to put my pride aside and enlist the help of a business mentor. Both decisions made a huge difference to my business.
The company was sold in May 2017 and in the final year I decided to reinvent myself as a certified bookkeeper. The reason for this decision was simple: I wanted to be that helping hand that I had missed when setting up my business, but also in the course of running it.
My mission became for my clients to feel supported, prepared and optimistic about running their business. And nowadays with all these wonderful software solutions in the accounting and business world, the numbers can in fact be truly inspiring, which I feel contributes to the success of any business!