Starting your business during the lockdown…

It’s been a while since I wrote my last post in this blog. The reason is simple: I was extremely busy with a new job, multiple research projects, moving closer to work, and renovating my new house, which is almost 100 years old (but that’s going to be another story).

And then came the lockdown. At first, it was a ‘smart’ lockdown. Most stores were open, hotels were allowed to feed their guests, and for a short period in summer even restaurants on a beach offered some drinks and snacks. In September hospitals stated to fill again, and the lockdown became ‘strict’. Everything is closed except for food and drug stores, flights and public events are cancelled, and a lot of businesses are dying.

Perfect time to start a new business! Especially for a migrant woman with zero entrepreneurial experience. So, am I crazy? Probably. The reason I am doing it is simple: I am fed up with applying for jobs I am overqualified for and getting polite responses that they have found someone more suitable.

It is not a secret that women are discriminated at the job market, even in a perfect Dutch social democracy. Migrant women face double discrimination. And migrant women over 50 don’t stand a single chance of getting a decent job. So, for me self-employment is definitely not the first choice. It’s the only choice.

I am inspired by many brave migrant female entrepreneurs I met in the Netherlands over the years. Their enormous energy, resilience and creativity give me hope that against all odds my crazy plan can actually work out.

I was contemplating this step for a while, but now it’s definite: I made an appointment with the KVK, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, to register as a freelancer, or ‘zzp’er’.

Next week I’ll tell you how it went. Stay tuned for updates!

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