“Do you want to know more? Because I have another conversation and I will be full of appointments until tonight.” Liesbeth van Duijn (62) has to laugh about it herself. “Yes, although things are going much worse than usual, my schedule is quite full.”
‘Much worse’ is halving its turnover. From March 2020, the month that the Netherlands went into lockdown for the first time, the revenues of the Rotterdam dietitian and orthomolecular therapist plummeted: from about 27,000 euros in turnover to 7,000 euros. “At that time we were just working on a new website for my company. We stopped that immediately because I wanted to save those costs.”
Liesbeth started in 2012 with Nederland Slank, a company that uses a blood analysis to help people lose weight, and has ‘grown well’ all this time. So to corona. Why the Dutchman suddenly had no interest in losing weight since the start of the corona crisis, Liesbeth does not know exactly. “Well, who knows? I think people suddenly got different priorities and didn’t spend anything out of fear of the unknown.”
And that while – we know from today’s knowledge – overweight people run a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from corona. “We do know that now. But not yet. In addition, weight loss is a very competitive market. In this day and age it is better to sell pills than a personal weight loss program.” Nevertheless, a few more applications were suddenly received last September. And even now, in January, the turnover was ‘quite good’. “My work is very much related to good intentions. But where other years people already anticipated this in December, they waited until January this year with an application for a consultation.”
‘It’s not working anymore’
Still, in order to survive, things had to change. One of the two ladies who work for Liesbeth had to work fewer hours. “That is certainly not fun to say. But I had to: it just isn’t working anymore, I don’t know where to look.” Liesbeth has started doing more tasks in her company and has also hired three trainees. “I asked them: ‘Do you want to work for the’ Red Nederland Slim ‘project? They wanted to. “
In addition to the TOZO (Temporary bridging scheme for self-employed entrepreneurs, ed.) – and the Allowance for Fixed Costs for SMEs (TVL), Liesbeth asked for a postponement of the continued payment of wage tax. “Fortunately, all of that has been awarded. That gives some relief. But as an entrepreneur you have to get everything out of yourself. Then it is nice if someone is there to watch you. Another keeps you on your toes.”
She found this in a coach who scrutinizes her personal finances and two entrepreneur coaches – ‘one that challenges me and one that reassures me’ – who include a worst case scenariobudget are putting together.
Pretty expensive foreign doctor
Thanks to the insights of her coaches, Liesbeth realized ‘that a lot can be done cheaper’. “I even thought: ‘Wait a minute, I really could have been a lot richer’. But I was very fond of the school: expertise and quality have to be paid and I was quite allergic to people who lived very frugally. corona crisis, I started to think differently. ” For example about her ‘quite expensive’ doctor abroad who always prescribed prescriptions that are not reimbursed in the Netherlands. And about collaborating with other – cheaper – suppliers.
Liesbeth also decided to get rid of her lease car, on which she spent 900 euros a month – “Why on earth did I do that for so long?” – and instead of hiring an accountant who costs 10 thousand euros a year, she took one who does it for 100 euros a month. In addition, she took a critical look at all her ongoing subscriptions and hardly bought any new clothes last year. “I thought that was a thing,” she admits. “But I also know: I have enough and it can be done with a few cheap purchases. Especially now that we are always at home.”
She cannot predict whether Liesbeth will continue to live in this way if things go well again. “But the idea is that I am going to live properly”, the Rotterdam woman laughs.
Liesbeth has perhaps ‘been awake for three nights’ throughout the year from all the misery. “Of course it is fierce. It is not without reason that I have worked my teeth up to the mark. But I can put it into perspective: I always have food and will always have a roof over my head.”
Free advice if necessary
She is also optimistic about the future: “I assume that at the end of this year I will be on the same turnover as at the end of 2018. And the aim is to have 50 percent more turnover in 2022 than this year.” And if this scenario does not materialize, Liesbeth will still continue to proclaim her message about healthy eating and losing weight. “Free if necessary. But that doesn’t seem like the smartest plan to me.”
This says the expert
Frederieke Kokol, heads the helpdesk of the telephone number for money concerns 0800-8115: “The case of Liesbeth is actually quite a complete picture. The turnover of her company halved in 2020, but in January of this year applications are already coming in for help, which offers perspective.
She herself has already made a claim to government schemes for entrepreneurs who had to deal with a loss of turnover due to the corona crisis. She has also requested a postponement of continued payment of wage tax. She has started working more herself and has given one of her employees fewer hours and hired three interns for her company as compensation.
Put it into perspective well
Through her personal and business coaches, all her expenses have been scrutinized and she has already made cuts. She also sold her lease car, which also saves her 900 euros a month and hired a cheaper accountant. She is good at putting things into perspective: she always has food and a roof over her head. She has a positive attitude and is already making plans for the future of her company.
As it now appears from the case, I do not think Liesbeth experiences that she has money worries. The only tip we could give her: reserve money for the wage tax. She has now requested a postponement, but will have to pay for it in due course. But since her business coaches are already working on a ‘worst-case scenario’, I assume that they will also take these things into account. ”
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