I am Astrid van Leeuwen – the owner of TekstAppeal, an agency for journalism, editing, and communication, and owner of coaching practice MovingMinds Coaching Amsterdam. Unraveling people’s dilemmas, drives, and (hidden) passions with warmth and commitment is second nature to me. After a challenging start of my career as a press officer at Het Nationale Ballet (Dutch National Ballet), I have developed into a versatile freelance journalist and communications consultant. Besides, after extensive training in this field, I started my coaching practice. I focus, among other things, on career guidance, guarding your limits, high sensitivity, and effective communication.
What is your story, and what led you to join the entrepreneurial world?
Autonomy is a high priority for me. I thoroughly enjoy the freedom and flexibility I have as an entrepreneur. I come from a family of entrepreneurs – father, brothers – and already knew at an early age that I wanted to be my own ‘boss.’
What have you learned in your entrepreneurial career?
It is a continuous learning process in which you keep growing and keep responding to changes and new developments. The most important lesson for me was: always follow my intuition.
What is one thing you still really want to do in your entrepreneurial career?
I want to inspire young people to be the best they can be and, above all, to believe in themselves.
Looking back, what is one thing you would do differently?
I would have paid more attention to my pension accrual. As a young entrepreneur, I was – foolishly – not concerned with that.
What is the reason you joined FEMpreneurhulp?
I have had many ‘mentors,’ people who believed in me and who helped me take a step forward in my career. I am now at a point in my life where I can and want to take on that role myself.
What are common challenges women face in the startup world, and how can we tackle them, according to you?
What you need is the focus, passion, capital, and belief in yourself. What you run into are prejudice, indifference, and gender inequality. How you can break through all of that is different for each situation.
What would you advise women to start their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?
As I said before, above all, follow your intuition and believe in yourself.