The ideas we had had grown into our own PR and communication agency: TALK ABOUT. I still remember it as yesterday. The first time to our office in the attic, the first brush stroke on the wall, the first cup of tea, the first email, the first phone call, the first appointment, the first customer, the first invoice, the first intern. But then came the second appointment, the second customer, the second invoice… And now we are ten years on. Ten is and remains a magic number. We loved two years, five years was great, but now we are really proud. We have been around for ten years! It feels like the adventure is even more real now; we have a real company.
I never thought that I would become an entrepreneur, do not come from an entrepreneurial family and there were also few entrepreneurs in my area ten years ago. But I can’t deny that Karen and I are entrepreneurial. We now know how it works to run a company. How you arrange tax matters, how to deal with impossible questions from customers and with successes. We became employers. We said goodbye to customers and employees, both desirable and undesirable. We learned how best to deal with setbacks and how to always keep working, even when things are not going well in private, for example. That is entrepreneurship and we benefit from it.
We made a lot of decisions based on our gut feeling and what we sometimes jokingly call our Brabant farming common sense. But no matter how stubborn we are, we have also experienced the benefits of asking for help and advice. Because only by opening up to new knowledge, advice and fresh ideas from others can you grow.
Our flexibility, inventiveness and creativity appeared to be intertwined with our entrepreneurship. Time and again we invented something new or adapted to the situation in which we ended up. We started in the middle of the crisis and now we are in crisis again. But TALK ABOUT has now proven that we can endure this. We are able to take on (almost) any challenge. And if a situation turned out to be difficult for one person, the other picked it up. That shows how Karen and I operate in our company. We are truly complementary, TALK ABOUT is the company of us together. Neither of us had embarked on this adventure alone. It is not without reason that together is one of our core values.
In the past ten years, we also regularly had to compete against prejudices. Prejudices towards women in business, Randstad prejudices towards Brabanters, prejudices about ladies who run a PR agency (little!). But all those biased opinions didn’t really affect us. Our passion and enthusiasm played a very important role here. We were proud of what we did and we always believed in our own ability. Moreover, with our sober outlook, enthusiasm and our knowledge, we were usually able to overcome prejudices very quickly. And we often saw the humor in it.
Karen and I have developed enormously as entrepreneurs over the past ten years. But the communication profession has also changed, of course. For example, when we had our first clients, our media relations were mostly editors of print media; newspapers and magazines. Today, digital media can no longer be ignored. And social media, they were only just emerging. Today we can no longer do without in our profession. Yet not much has changed either. Our main task still consists of translating and telling the stories of our clients. Ten years ago we were mainly concerned with the question: which story do you want to tell which target group and why? And that question still dominates our work almost every day. And that these stories are now more digitally shared than then is a fact, but in fact it does not change much in our work. When I started in this profession more than twenty years ago, I worked for a GGD campaign with a football player who pointed out the importance of a healthy diet to the youth, then I called him an ambassador, now we would call him an influencer.
If we look at the highlights of 10 years of TALK ABOUT (and there are many!), We always end up with all the beautiful moments with people around us. Our employees, former employees and relations, together with us, have shaped TALK ABOUT into what it is today. In ten years we got to know a lot of people. And especially in the past year, we found out that meeting people gives us the most energy and inspiration. Which of course we had to miss this year.
Dealing with people really makes the difference for us. And then it is super nice to meet the right people at the right times. For example, our first employee and our first customer, but also the sixth employee or the 23rd customer, not to mention our suppliers. Everyone has really contributed. We have also seen and learned who suits us. We set the bar high, want the highest quality, but that is not always easy for everyone around us.
However, it seems very much that we have created the ultimate team around us right now, both business and private. That gives us a lot of pleasure and that is just one of the things that we described in our sub-plan ten years ago. A plan that also consisted of only two words: money and fun, but formed the basis for the adventure that Karen and I experience every day.
We are extremely proud of our company; we work for the best clients, from Villeroy & Boch to NIBC Bank and from Wesco to Jaga and Van Loon. We’ve done some really cool projects with great results. But above all we can enjoy our hobby every day, which is and will of course remain great.
And we will see for sure what the coming year will bring us all, but one thing is certain; so we like entrepreneurship on to the next ten years.