Building Success Stories: Lieke Danenberg’s Elfin, the E-learning platform for female financial freedom!

Lieke Danenberg

Lieke Danenberg is the co-founder of Elfin. Elfin is the largest e-learning platform in Benelux that aims to help women find financial freedom, have better opportunities and more agency in their daily lives. An unprecedented initiative that brings women together in workshops and masterclasses to bridge the gender gap.

What inspired you to start your own business? And why this business, what drives you? 

I always saw myself as very entrepreneurial, but not an entrepreneur. But when I was preparing a report for the umpteenth shareholder or Supervisory Board, I thought ‘what if I set up something myself’. I had the network, the knowledge, but found it difficult to get started. I decided that I had to do that in a decisive way, and I resigned. Now I had to… After some freelance work, I started a marketing agency with a partner. We grew, had staff and everything ran smoothly. I then also had to do more with my personal finances. How should I build up my pension, how should I build up capital and what do I actually want with my money. When I couldn’t find good, understandable and reliable information about it in a way that appealed to me, it became clearer. What if I start using my knowledge, talent and entrepreneurial skills for an idea that makes the world a better place. A subject that is so close to my heart, and my knowledge of it has given me much more confidence. That’s where Puck and I found each other and Elfin was born.

What are some of the most essential things you did to get your business off the ground?

We first focused on reach. Is this indeed a subject that appeals to women? If yes, in what way. So we mapped out a target group and became active on channels where they are. We then collected information from those first followers through interviews and surveys. What is needed? What would really help? Based on those answers, we made products that fit and sold them. We have drawn up an ambitious mission to which we are fully committed. And then we connected all the dots. With this mission, these questions from the target group, this need and these types of products. What should be our next step. So very practically, we started before we were ready. We clarified where the need lies. We tested where sales would come from, and we put a clear dot on the horizon that influences our decisions. Because that’s where we want to go.

How did you build your customer base and grow your business?

We’ve learned that creating momentum is important when it comes to sales. So we do a lot of campaigns. Furthermore we create ambassadors of our members, they promote Elfin and receive a commission when someone becomes a member. And we reach out to partners to arrange campaigns or other content together, in that way we can reach women who are not familiar with Elfin, but are interested in investing, making money, money management.

elfin logo

What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way, and what did you learn from them?

Always test if your audience is genuinely interested or if it is an idea that you like so much that you want to bring it to life. We had an idea to create a financial magazine, and fell in love with this idea. We invested in that idea, hired editors and rearranged our channels. Not only that, but we were super excited. But our audience, not so much. We decided to send out a survey when the targets fell behind, and they told us. They didn’t need a magazine, but wanted information in long read articles and masterclasses.

What is your biggest achievement since founding the company, and how did you get there?

We are very proud that we created an ecosystem of women who are taking responsibility for their own finances and use their money to invest in perfect initiatives for people and the planet. For example, some women invest in female founders and sustainable projects. We are also very proud of the 200% growth we reached in 2023. And we are proud that we do it in a way that fits us as a person. With focus on mental health, work/life balance and having fun while working our asses off.

What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own business?

Imagine yourself looking back on your life when you are old. What do you not want to regret? This always helps me to take that leap to something that I find super exciting. In addition, really start with the smallest thing you can think of to test whether your idea is good. And keep doing this, so you avoid putting all your time and money into something that no one wants.

3 key takeaways

  1. Focus on reaching to start and don’t wait until you are ready!  

  2. Attractive campaigns and visuals  = More sales.

  3. Involve and ask input of your community and audience as much as possible!

If you’d like to know more information about Lieke and Puck’s company Elfin, click here!


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