Learning from successful Entrepreneurs : interview with “Tobias Wilbrink”

[dropcaps type=’square’ font_size=’80’ color=’#4a4a4a’ background_color=’#ffffff’ border_color=”]I[/dropcaps] am an aspiring entrepreneur and work in my family business with my father.I joined the Enterprise India Fellowship 2 Years back in January 2020 Jan. I was working on different projects and simultaneously grew interest in reading blogs and creating too. I got a question back then which I could relate to myself completely, how do entrepreneurs achieve so much? How did they do it? We only see the good, the rosy and the successful parts of their journey. But just like me, they must have also struggled and failed to turn their ideas into reality. That’s when I decided to interview entrepreneurs and understand what’s beneath the surface, what’s under the water, what’s the hard work they did that we didn’t see.


I was continuously discussing this with one of my partners for 1 to 2 months and he connected me to four different entrepreneurs from four different continents. This enabled my curiosity to connect with them and ask questions and write a blog. But, to be honest, I heard those same cliche practices from them as well, and I wanted to confirm if those could help someone like me who was just starting his entrepreneurial journey and get to the point where they are, and I started applying some of them in my life and guess what? Well, they are genuinely metamorphic. For the things I was sceptical about a year ago, now I can bet on them; they truly work. 


The story starts with someone who shared the importance of passion in life, “Tobias Wilbrink” is a social entrepreneur from Netherland, who runs ‘EarthToday’ which serves to accelerate funding for land conservation on a global scale. Tobias initially started out as a filmmaker; whenever he saw a cool film, he would trace the film team from the credits and ask for internships. He always wanted to learn from people who were already doing the kind of work he wanted to do in the future. His go-getter attitude taught me that I can always learn more about anything I want just by humbly asking. In order to bring my next idea to life, I need to first seek out experts to work within the concerned industry.

  1. How was your routine at the start of your business? 

People are talking about talent. Like, yeah, you’re born with a talent. And I think that’s, that’s just half of the story. I think the other half is that if you really have a passion or belief in something, I think it all starts with a passion for something. or you really want to achieve something, and the amount of motivation you have, and you keep in pursuing this, that’s the talent. 


Well, it’s also, of course, what can do something or you don’t, you have some skills, or not, but you can grow those skills. And you grow them just by doing. I was really persistent in what I wanted. I wanted to become a filmmaker. So I needed to be on the film set. That means that I was watching all the credits at the end of the series, and I recorded this, then writing down the names, who were working for the series, and then was picking up the phone and it was calling these people, “Hey, I saw that you are working on this series. Although I’m 16 years old, I can help you carry some lamps or tripods or whatever”. 


I was just super maybe a little bit blonde. Blonde in a way like, going out there and explaining what I want and really like. And also, willing to assist, like also being the assistant of the assistant of the assistant, not being paid, just working 20 hours a day shifts, whatever, just working super hard and willing to contribute and always have to make a picture of why I was doing it. So it’s like, you don’t need a routine, you just have the persistence to do something. What you like, what you want to I think when I was young, like my teenage and begin 20s I think there was not so much as a routine. Now. I think. I believe that for some people, it’s, it’s, it’s working. And that’s great.

2. Is asking the question the most powerful tool? 

Exactly that’s a powerful tool. But if you think the other way around, like, if you want to grow, don’t only ask questions, but also ask somebody to start asking you questions. So you explore more, and ideas get better and better. And I think the foundation gets stronger and more concrete. 


3. Why do you think meditation and yoga are important?


There was some reason for adopting this. I think, first of all, we tend to think way too much. Our brain is super occupied all the time and we also want to have these feelings. We are striving for success. And now I think I’m more and more in a state that I want to be overseeing the whole and more, have a clearer perspective on things. And so it’s just, I, I’m, I’m happy you asked right now and that you are young, so you don’t go for the young, go-getter mentality. But you start with your version of the practice, already now. Because this will save you some years already. 


4. How did you maximize your potential?

I think I had a discipline problem. Because I could work super hard. But I was like, on five projects at the same time, all the time. So I couldn’t keep myself accountable for it. So I asked someone else. So my tip to you would be like, if you’re starting something, just reach out to somebody, it can even be your neighbour, or your mother or whoever. And you say to them like, okay, let’s talk about this. They don’t have to know anything about the content that you’re working on. But you just say I want to reach this stage of my project, please call me or let’s please schedule a meeting where I present my progress. So that you are not the only one, looking after yourself and keeping yourself accountable. But ask someone else to help you out as well, like a buddy, as a sparring partner. Who will ask you questions like, Hey, did you do that? Okay, so like doing this what was the effect? What were the results you got? Did you apply for it currently in your business?


Really creating something, you, it’s so hard to do that alone, you need a buddy to do that you need someone as a sparring partner to really go into this creating moods. So for now, I have an intern just on one of my projects, just helping me out at one project and although she’s just graduated, and she knows maybe 10% of what I what I’m working on, she’s now already contributing so much to my project. Because she asked questions and this can be like super basic questions. But because she asked these questions, I start to think about it and have to explain why and then maybe you go and that and then suddenly she makes me think and I think like wow, that’s okay. Yeah, let’s go in that direction. So you cannot do it on your own, you cannot have these conflicts. You can try to have these conversations with yourself as it will go right then I turned out this way that way. But you will always do the same. Take the same routes. And if you have someone else asking you these questions. It can be anybody. It will help you. So I think yeah, grow a team of organized people around you only for a quarter of an hour of their time a week where they give you a call and ask about your project. 


5. How did you deal with the hard times?

I had some good friends and I was never afraid to share my feelings. So good friends, that’s really important and maintaining those friendships. Like last Sunday, I went out with six of my best friends I have kept since childhood, some of them I only know from my third onwards. So I have already known them for 33 years, and I don’t see them that much anymore. But when I see them, they’re still my friends. And I think really trusting your friends and daring to share your emotions, is great. It really helps us to express our feelings in an honest and good way. 


[highlight color=” background_color=’#949494′] In my teenage years, I had a passion for sketching but after that, I couldn’t find what I am actually passionate about. But talking to Tobias I got some clarity that it’s not about knowing the answer but start doing somethings you are interested in and being persistent about that even if you are the assistant of an assistant for that particular work. Right now I am working at my das construction company not as an owner but as an intern. Because as Tobias said, start working even for small responsibilities. Applying this I talk to the labourers over the site and ask questions about the work and how they do it which gave me the clarity of work and also made me confident for the basic executions on site. Being an intern gave me a huge door to learn from and strengthen my foundation of knowledge. To realize your passion takes time and I am still finding it with the route of doing.[/highlight]


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