“Everyone instinctively knows when the moment is right to jump in. And when you do, seize the moment, grab it.”
Peter de Meersman, Tulibris
I am very interested in people who have decided to leave their day jobs and try something completely different or venture out on their own. I’ve come across quite a few of these characters here in Brussels: the belgian civil servant turned book shop owner, the jewellery consultant turned entrepreneur, the european civil servant turned soup-seller on a food bike. And of course it’s not just in Brussels; in Frankfurt there’s a former Deutsche Bank employee turned food vlogger.
I interviewed the book shop owner and the entrepreneur for Together magazine, and I’m currently finishing up another piece on office workers turned chocolate makers, Mike & Becky. I really, really admire these people and I think I can sort of piece together some of their common traits.
First, these entrepreneurs, or ‘Bohemian Businessmen‘ as Tom Hodgkinson from ‘The Idler‘ would say, found a gap in the market and went for it: I think Peter de Meersman’s secondhand english bookshop may be the only one in Brussels. As for the jewellery consultant turned entrepreneur, Anne-Sofie Rehfeld found that coworking spaces at the time were not particularly homely or inviting so she decided to set up a space that was just that. Mike & Becky found that nowhere in Brussels sold a good hot chocolate.
It also seemed like they had some sort of security or support. Peter is on sabbatical from the civil service, Anne-Sofie has a very supportive husband, and Mike & Becky have eachother.
What I took away most from these conversations was that the decision to leave the day job was not exactly an ‘Eureka!’ moment. Rather, it was a process, or to coin Peter’s apt phrase, it was simmering in the subconcious. For Peter, his business idea was simmering in his subconscious for 25 years.
I had been keen to quit the day job. Perhaps, it’s age or perhaps it’s because I see life is a struggle that I realise for now, quitting the day job would envisage a lot of struggle. Struggle that I am too tired for. Instead, may be the best way is to keep it simple, keep going, keep allowing my ideas to simmer naturally, and enjoy the pleasure of the slow build. My right moment may not be here yet.
I hope you take inspiration from these entrepreneurs: quitting the day job with Peter de Meersman and breaking the norm of office space design with Anne-Sofie Rehfeld.