Creativity = happiness

Anneleen grew up in Eke, a town near Ghent in Belgium.  When it was time to decide what she would study at university, she wasn’t sure which direction she wanted to take. What would lead her way to a career, while still being true to herself? One day, she was reading an article that caught her eye. It asked the reader “Are you somebody who asks more questions than everyone around you?”?  It suggested that if you do, studying philosophy would suit your personality. This spoke to Anneleen and off she was studying philosophy!

With her master’s degree in hand, it was time to find a job. This proved to be the most challenging time of her life as this was in the middle of the economic crisis and she did not have any work experience.  She applied to every job possible, contacted recruitment agencies and received one rejection after another. She took the bull by the horns and decided to contact companies directly and convince them of her skills.  She noticed that the company “CUTESolutions” was looking to hire a senior content manager and she could really see herself in the job.  But she was declined once again. They told her that they were looking for someone senior and she didn’t have any experience. This time, she called them back and asked for a chance. She told them she even wanted to work for free if she had to in order to prove herself. Eventually she got the job, started as a junior content manager and stayed there for nearly 10 years.

During Corona, she was put on technical unemployment and actually ended up being sick for 1 month. As soon as she had regained her health, she wanted to go back to work.  But in just one month, things changed a lot. And she didn’t feel that she was that helpful to society anymore and was struggling to keep a good spirit.  Anneleen’s moto is that creativity = happiness.  As she was unable to get back to work due to the crisis, she discovered another type of creativity. She expressed it in cooking, learning graphic design tools and experimented with new habits like exploring different breathing techniques. 

It was also a unique time to reflect on the future, as she had worked for the same company for almost 10 years. It was time to think about choosing her next steps and work on her own.  After a lot of soul searching, she reached the conclusion that she was really talented for translating ideas into concepts and turn these business concepts into design.

Anneleen started making websites 2 years ago as a ‘side hustle’. But she noticed that a lot of people didn’t know what to put on their website. So, she helped entrepreneurs polish their story as well. She clarified it and made it more tangible for their customers. And that’s why she decided to do some rebranding of her own. Because it became so much more than only web design. This is when ‘sitehustle’ was born and it’s now welcoming entrepreneurs who are looking for ‘ideas as a service’.  

Anneleen found that there was a gap in the market as she experienced herself that entrepreneurship can feel like a big emotional rollercoaster with highs and lows.  Sometimes this rollercoaster takes you far away from your business. It takes you from…
– “Happily talking about your dream and story” to “having to sell something because the money is running out.” 
– “Working in your core strengths” to “doing stuff that you are not really good at but feel like you have to do”. 
– “Trusting your gut” to “second guessing yourself every step of the way”.

She helps entrepreneurs find the answer to these key questions:
– What is the problem you are solving? For who?
– How do you help your customers in changing their behaviour, so they turn your product/service into a need?

She doesn’t help entrepreneurs get off that rollercoaster but supports them with:
– New ideas and a fresh perspective on their business, from the standpoint of a customer.
– Hands-on creative support, on things that just don’t feel like their cup of tea. From web design, to creating e-books, to designing a great sales presentation, to copywriting, content creation, etc.

In order to be successful, she visualises entrepreneurship as a big hike: sometimes you’re in the fog or take the wrong turn, but you end up with a clear vision at the top. Just keep moving forward, one step at the time.   

Anneleen’s biggest inspirations are the entrepreneurs she works with; they have the best stories and journey.  She also loves podcasts from Timothy Ferriss, Tara Brach and Gretchen Rubin.

In order to be productive each day, she follows a strict ritual which allows her creativity to flourish.  The day starts by writing 3 pages in her diary which she sees as an active form of meditation and allows her to express what is on her mind.  Through this, priorities pop up and shape the day.  She then has breakfast with her boyfriend and follows it with 1/2 hour of yoga.  She doesn’t check the news or social media before noon.

At the start of each day, Anneleen gives herself a score of 1 (not well) to 5 (fantastic) that states how grounded she feels and this determines how long and on which activities she will work that day.  If 1 or 2, she only does the most urgent things and does artsy activities or goes for a hike to clear her mind and boost her spirit.  If 3, she’s good enough to go but needs a lot of breaks and prioritises the smallest thing that will have the most impact.

When asked about 2 tips she can give entrepreneurs today to come out stronger post Covid, she suggests:
– Sticking to the core of your business. A lot of entrepreneurs are panicking right now. Pivot, but make sure that you don’t move away too far from what you are good at and love to do. 
– Checkin during the day to see how grounded you are and don’t make rush decisions if you are not feeling balanced. Be honest with yourself about this.

Connect with Anneleen and discover her creative solutions for entrepreneurs.
– Claim your free Ebook: What are great questions to ask in order to get a fresh perspective on your business? (link).
– Ground down to rise up! Check these resources to experiment with for getting out of a frantic state of mind. 

Polish your ideas and share them with the world!