Wonder Woman of the Week: Kristien van Elteren, serial entrepreneur and owner of Jachthaven Vinkeveen and Short Stay Houses.
“Stop waiting and start making decisions today.”
Tammy: Tell me about your biggest business successes.
Kristien: In my early twenties I earned my bachelor’s degree in economics and moved to the island of St. Maarten. From there I built my international art trading company, which had me traveling to many tradeshows, including ArtExpo New York and ArtExpo Las Vegas.
I later sold this company. When I look back, I’m proud that I was able to break into the American art world as an unknown, and build up a successful gallery.
I’ve always been fascinated by innovation and technology. While owning and running Jachthaven Vinkeveen and Short Stay Houses., I also hired a team and launched a tech startup specializing in listing management for real estate. I built and sold the company within three years.
My latest achievement is acquiring property which is being reconstructed as a parking lot for the marina, offering Jachthaven Vinkeveen guests even more convenience when visiting their boats.
Tammy: Why are you such a successful entrepreneur? What are the traits and habits that got you to where you are today?
Kristien: Every day provides new opportunities to enjoy what I’m doing even more. I wake up very early with a positive vibe and focus on my main goals for the day. I always have a bigger plan for success and keep that in mind. I celebrate both the big and small steps that I make towards reaching my goals. I really enjoy the process of achieving, and of taking the necessary steps to see the companies grow — this drives me to move at such a fast pace. I’m also a strong believer in continuous learning. You don’t want to be a “know-it-all”; you want be a learn-it-all’.
My personal inspiration for growth is this quote from Richard Branson, “If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.” You must think big if you want to grow.
Tammy: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had in business and how did you resolve it?
The biggest challenge was that one of the companies that seemed like a good acquisition, was in very bad financial shape. I knew this when I bought it, and had to rethink the business model and be innovative in order to turn it into a profitable company again, using the skills I learned while earning my MBA in Business Innovation. I succeeded and am happy to report that the company is back in good financial shape and growing.
Tammy: What advice would you like to share with other female entrepreneurs?
Kristien: Stop waiting and start making decisions today. Clearly define what you want to achieve and imagine that you are there already — then the opportunities and people you need to get there will automatically come across your path.
Finally, in my role on the board of the Amsterdam American Business Club, I’m responsible for making connections with other (international) business clubs and embassies. I’m always open to connect with other entrepreneurs and businesses. If you’re interested, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.kristienvanelteren.com to learn more.