For some entrepreneurism is in their blood… At the sweet age of 10, Caroline Van Keymeulen, started selling school newspapers to her fellow classmates. She had her work cut out for her – being the writer and the publisher of this mini organisation, and this was the kick start of her entrepreneurial journey.
Aside from the self-employed roles Caroline holds, she also keeps very busy as a business coach and researcher at the Artevelde University College, with a focus on HRM, Intra- and Entrepreneurship and Market and Business processes.
To say that the love of business and the process of creating something new is her passion is an understatement.
Through opportunities gained in her younger years, Caroline was exposed to recruitment giving her valuable insights into starting Agence C. Then in 2016, while traveling through South East Asia and Europe, she was exposed to a lot of coworking spaces and freelancers and found the need for support was lacking. This discovery coupled with her business nature, sparked a new business idea in coaching and mentoring.
Caroline endeavoured to become a qualified coach through a program in London, where she now focuses on Leadership and Self Leadership, Energy Leadership Index, Start-up/Scale-up support, Soft HR support and her most thrilling area; Coworking support.
Here Caroline’s support is two-fold – working with community managers in the coworking spaces, and working with independent professionals on their self-leadership road.
Her drive to support freelancers comes from the fact that they exist on a more volatile working environment, where their roles are to play the salesman, support team and the developer in many instances. Caroline herself works from a coworking space to feed off of the inspiration she gets from the environment, and the learning she can use being exposed in her efforts to work with these individuals.
On the other hand, Caroline noticed a gap in the coworking industry, with no clear task list for community managers to operate according to, who are often the owners too. It is therefore so important for these people to be well equipped to run a business, as they play the role of the accountant, the salesperson, the host – the list goes on. The need for a defined structure, and learning to how run a diverse and inclusive coworking space lies within Caroline’s goal to introduce a course of this nature at the Artevelde University College.
Covid-19 hit her coaching business hard.
Face to face sessions were forbidden, and spaces were going into hibernation mode to make it out the other end. But, as we gradually move past the pandemic, there are small signs of life as companies are now discovering the value of coworking spaces, and are opting for the use of freelancers. Caroline envisions city hubs sprouting up as this trend takes place… An increase is remote working, adds to building a community, minus the tedious task of travelling, equals a boom in both coworking spaces and independent professionals.
Caroline is looking forward to the space in her mind and schedule, to invest more into her coaching.
And, with a second arrival of a little boy in her life, coupled with her research position, her days are guaranteed to be full of excitement.
Caroline notes the damage that lockdown has had on the mind and soul of many people across the globe. It has sparked a realisation of how precious time really is, and that we can never take that time back.
When asked how she manages to keep positive and motivated – it’s all down to attitude. An attitude of making the most of the day she’s been given – she speaks of the ‘joy of missing out’, she paces her life, she seeks wisdom within herself, and she’s conscious of the consuming effect that social media has… She’s learnt to be more like her children, living in the now, adapting to changes and enjoying every stage of her life and the challenges and rewards that lie in front of her.