The brave own the (corporate) world: Our guest speaker Dr. Anouschka Strang knows from her own experience that the step into self-employment can be worthwhile – even in these difficult times. In 2010, she gave up her permanent full-time position in the health sector and founded her company Promotion + Erfolg in Bonn. Her motivation? “At that time, I absolutely wanted to test whether my ideas would be successful. In the “worst case” I could have applied for an employee job again. It wouldn’t have been a catastrophe”, says Dr. Anouschka Strang. Before her next webinars for the hochschulgründernetz cologne e. V., we spoke to the “freelance discoverer” about entrepreneurship and freelance work.
CBS: To what extent are founders and freelancers particularly affected by the Corona crisis?
Dr. Anouschka Strang: Freelancers in particular finance a large part of their private living expenses from their fees. They tend to have fewer operating expenses. Usually only the latter are covered by Corona-assistance payments. This brings many solo self-employed persons to their limits – professionally and privately. Moreover, many forms of assistance, such as short-time work benefits and additional protection against dismissal, do not benefit the self-employed. The rent or tax deferrals help temporarily, but later on they affect the budget heavily.
CBS: You yourself founded your company “Promotion + Erfolg” in 2010. Why shouldn’t people wanting to start a company be dissuaded from realising their business ideas in the current climate?
Dr. Anouschka Strang: Motivation, competence and intuition have accompanied me on my own foundation path. It was rather independent from external factors. At that time, I wanted to test whether my ideas would be accepted. In the “worst case”, I could have applied for an employee job again. That would not have been a disaster. I still see it that way today. However, starting a business out of necessity because job applications didn’t work out; this should be checked carefully and not done without external support.
CBS: In your view, is there the “entrepreneur gene”? What distinguishes a good founder?
Dr. Anouschka Strang: An entrepreneur believes in herself and her ideas, knows her weaknesses and focuses on her strengths. She does cold calling, bookkeeping and tax, even if she doesn’t enjoy doing it. Organising external help as well as professional and personal development are a matter of course for her. She cultivates her resilience and penalty kick competence, i.e. she puts herself on stage regardless of probabilities, offers her product and sustainably draws on the client’s loyalty.
CBS: What possibilities are there for founders and freelancers to use the crisis positively for their company?
Dr. Anouschka Strang: Whoever is creative and flexible now can score additional points, also in the future: The use of digital seminars instead of just classroom training, the passing on of crisis tips for a specific target group or a creative service that unexpectedly generates a brand – all these are market expansions that can flourish. At present, it seems as if expectations have been relativised, clients and customers are often happy when during the Corona crisis we take the initiative and new ways of meeting existing needs are offered. Many doors are open during the crisis, sometimes the “cards” are reshuffled.
CBS: Do you believe there will be founder boom after the crisis? How do you determine this?
Dr. Anouschka Strang: I don’t see a direct connection. Even in my economics studies I didn’t believe in the direct correlation of external levers such as tax burden and business start-ups. In my view, the only exception is the amount and structure of the start-up subsidies. For me, the founder boom has more to do with a versatile society, with a courageous atmosphere, curiosity, and love of life. The individual success of a business start-up has primarily something to do with one’s own energy balance, skills, and creativity as well as a little bit of luck. For me, success is created above all by personal enthusiasm.
CBS: Thank you very much for the interview!