Myrte Scheffer is a Dutch award-winning strategist, an international entrepreneur, coach, mentor, sister of a multi-disabled girl who is no longer physically with us, (officially former) foster mom of a beautiful teenage girl—and now she’s evolving her business into a global movement where she guides (aspiring) female entrepreneurs and leaders to transform their past pain into power, to return to their true STAR within: She Triumphs Adversities and Rises.
She officially started her business back in September 2009, which was 11 years ago. She started it as early as 23 years old, and since then she has gained more knowledge and expertise as she worked with a lot of different people, on different levels, and she has seen and guided many organizations in the journey of transformation.
In between the lockdowns in September 2020 she decided to move from Holland to London to start building on her dream. Currently, she owns three companies: one in Holland and two UK businesses; all three share the same vision. However, they all serve a different purpose in achieving her higher vision: no women (young and old) ever have to feel lost or lonely again and by transforming their (past) pain into an unstoppable professional power. Not only does she guide them back to their authentic self, Myrte and her team of professionals, also assure they have the business fundamentals in place so they can create an impact in the lives of others. Everything she does is dedicated to bringing back the sparkle in the lives of, and building futures for (young) women on an identifying journey to self-discovery, self-esteem, self-awareness, self-development, independence, self-employment, and overall authentic growth by providing a wide range of online, offline and on-stage activities and enriching content.
The movement she’s building is called STAR Women of Wisdom and they are only just getting started (Jan. 2021). For the next three to five years she wants to build a global brand to achieve its mission: to find, identify, enrich, strengthen, guide, connect and empower these STARS all over the world. In the meantime, she’s working with her existing clients to help them to the next level so they can inspire the new stars as well.
They unite as one big Global Star Movement that facilitates them into designing their desired life, so they stop existing and start living again. The reason she’s doing all of this is because she also overcame a lot of adversities and has turned them into power.
Since the movement just started, they are still in the process of setting up her websites and all her social media platforms. They are currently working really hard on those platforms because she wants to reach out and help as many STAR Women of Wisdom as possible—across the globe.
StarCentral magazine recently caught up with Myrte to discuss her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?
As early as two years old, my flair for entrepreneurship already sparked. I remember my mom telling me that I used to pick-up the phone for my dad and give messages and knew exactly what to tell, who to call back, and what was the call about.
Then at the age of 14, I had my first job as a car polisher. I recall asking the people who work there, why they do what they do, what’s the reason they like it so much; and found myself coaching them from a really young age. I was always curious about people’s intentions for working, and I already decided back then that I was going to work for myself one day.
I vividly remember whilst I had that job, that I didn’t see myself as an employee. Seeing those people going to the same workplace every single day, revealed something in me that wasn’t the kind of role I’m called for. That’s when it started.
We also have a family business which my dad founded when I was six years old and grew into 70 employees now, so I have always been exposed to business. Both my younger brothers are in the business with all their heart, only it wasn’t my path. Although I tried when I was younger, however in my family, I am the most adventurous entrepreneurial spirit and I always saw myself in a more “fluid” business.
As I said, I started my official first business when I was 24 years old in September 2009. When I was in my last year at the University, I was asked by Mercedes Benz to do a qualified market investigation for them in specific parts of the Netherlands where I lived. Since then I decided that it was the moment to start working for myself.
How did your life look like before being an entrepreneur?
Since I started pretty young, at the age of 24, the years before being an entrepreneur was pretty much my teenage years—which were quite turbulent, to be honest.
One of the things that describe my younger years is that we were in a family of four kids—and the youngest one, my sister, was multi-disabled. She was born when I was 11, so a lot of my younger years and years before being an entrepreneur, was focused on that. It shaped me into who I am today, however, that real journey of self-discovery only began after she passed away in November 2017.
I also experienced working in a job center before I became an entrepreneur. I was helping people find a job and at the age of 21, and I can recall that I was burned out because I was already responsible for multiple centers at a very young age and all my energy in life went to that job.
Even my manager back then told me, “Even though Í want you back, it’s not going to happen. You wouldn’t come back because you have so much more to offer in this world.” Which is true, it was something that I always felt back then and I’m very thankful for him expressing that. At the time I was always searching and by speaking up, he guided me in more ways than he probably could think of back then.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
What motivates me is a deep sense of meaning that I am here on a mission that is beyond me; that I am here to do something great in life, to serve a bigger purpose—that is to guide all the (female) aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders on their journey to create an impact in this world. So many women and young girls as well are searching for their identity, are being suppressed to find it in the first place by unhealthy and dysfunctional systems and most of them are not even aware of their full STAR potential as I like to call it. So much wisdom and talent go wasted because these women are not being supported and guided on the soul, mind, and strategic level. STAR stands for She Triumphs Adversities and Rises and that’s what I’m here for: to guide you back to your authentic self and heal the beautiful STAR you were always meant to be. And then build a badass business around that!
It inspires me to guide people with a mission similar to mine; and I want to enrich and empower those who dedicate their time, life, love, energy, and passion to a purpose that’s bigger than themselves as well.
The other thing that motivates and drives me is the impact that I see with my clients when I work with them on a deep and energetic level. I see them grow spiritually, mentally, strategically, and financially.
It is truly fulfilling to witness how I can impact others on a deeper level that changes their lives and their businesses for good, and therefore creates a ripple effect that will go a long way…
In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur and explain why.
There are so many layers and stages in entrepreneurship that you go through and I choose to be fluid and firm at the same time. I choose to approach everything that comes to my path from a place of love, energy, and passion.
Being vivid is my personality. That is why when it comes to entrepreneurship, I want to be open to opportunities especially during this stage where I’m building my business from the start due to Covid-19—and I love it!
I also see being vivid as something like being vigorous in your business and whatever comes to your path. I continuously focus on that state of mind where, even during this situation, I can still enjoy it because I get to learn so much about myself. I am in my best state when I am in a vivid state. It is the fundamental state of being to amplify my core values: Purpose Driven DNA, Growth-Oriented Mindset, Human-Based Approach, Vivid Visionary Vehicles, Strong Strategic Thinkers, Creative Commercial Creators, heart-centered and Powerful Impact Generators.
For me, my personal state and my entrepreneurial journey are very much connected.
What were your top three motivations for starting your business?
My three motivations for starting my business are creative freedom/independence, financial freedom, and authenticity.
(1) Creative freedom; I’m very visionary and very creative in my thinking. I see business structures, I see where people’s paths are going. I knew that I’m an independent thinker—I wanted to be present in the places where I was needed.
(2) Financial freedom; I never was drawn into a 9:00 to 5:00 job, and I tried once but it wasn’t really a success. I want to create a lifestyle that allows me to travel, to learn in the different places of the world. I just want to be financially flexible as an entrepreneur.
Also, when starting a business, or when experiencing something like the current situation (Covid-19) we have now, being financially flexible is really important. One needs to make the right decisions about where to invest in. Being financially flexible is being able to play and still benefit from whatever situation life throws. I’ve known both situations: having money and not having money. And I’m grateful for both and I know I can adapt to all situations. For me, it’s most important that I know I’m building something very sustainable and it takes time. I want to stay flexible so I can adapt, and that will be my strategy for the coming years at least: build a strong financial framework yet working fluid at the same time.
(3) Authenticity; I want to do something authentic. Everything in my life needs to be authentic. I always felt I was put on this planet to do something bigger than myself, something purposeful and fulfilling.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
One must get their WHY clear.
Your WHY is your spiritual vision; what it is that you are here for even without your business in mind because this is specifically about you.
That’s what I do with my clients. I bring them back to their authentic self, and from there we build a business. That’s really a key element for me to start a specific business.
Determine what you do and what you don’t want to do. You build your business based on your needs and your desires in life. For example, my needs and desires (my top 3 motivations) are independence, freedom, and authenticity.
So if those are important to me, then I should build a business around that, that serves me instead of the other way around.
Be very clear on your WHY and determine your needs and desires in life then build it from there.
In running the business, it has to do with leadership—you hold yourself responsible. So if your business or your team aren’t working the way you want, it has something to do with yourself.
A lot of my clients come to me with problems in their businesses and then during the training process, they find out that the problem is not in their business but with themselves.
So it’s the lack of clarity most of the time.
If I extract that a little bit more, it means you shouldn’t focus on the functional problems but the contextual problems. For example when your team member is running late every day; instead of blaming him every day for being late, you can also start questioning yourself why someone is late. Maybe he doesn’t even know what time he should start. Always try to find ways that you can improve yourself. Know and accept that you are the one who’s in-charge.
What are three biggest challenges you have faced growing the business and how did you overcome them?
(1) Loneliness; I experienced a lot of loneliness during the years when I wasn’t doing what I was put in this world for.
Everyone has an entrepreneurial journey and you go through stages where you experience that not everything you do is the ultimate fit. You also know that you need all those stages, all those stepping stones to discover your purpose, the real reason why you are here. Then the loneliness will mend itself.
I also joined communities and networks to help mend that loneliness. I started working with mentors, and with a virtual team to attract more people to my business and share my vision. You don’t have to stay in your own zone alone.
(2) Cashflow; when I started my business, it was mostly consultancy-structured. I was highly dependent on two or three big clients. I guided organizations and leaders for transformational/personal development, so it was more interim-based. For example, I worked as a Strategic and Trusted Advisor for one of the directors of the national football association in Holland. When Covid-19 happened, I saw my business crashing from one day to another because those clients were no longer allowed to work with people externally. I was already in the process of scaling my business and changing my model, but this forced me to speed that process up and I couldn’t be happier it happened.
That’s when I decided in March-April that this is not what I am going to do. That’s when I started focusing on developing my business online, offline, and on-stage, like a hybrid model.
I built an online, more vivid, and fluid company, that is scalable at the same time. Businesses today are now mostly tech-based, more online-based, and going face to face is now considered more “premium” instead of the other way around. So basically I turned everything around.
(3) Personal/business growth; I used to work on my own before. I was getting clarity on my purpose, getting my message out there, keeping up with all the client work—I was doing everything myself. It felt like I was running around or like I was working in the house all day or all week. I juggled between managing my personal and professional growth. I wanted to continually grow my professional skills to keep updating my level of knowledge and do the inner work myself that’s needed to stay connected to my core. That was all a bit too much at the same time.
So, instead of focusing on my business growth, I decided to “use” the first period of Covid-19 to focus on my personal growth first because I really believe in “better you, better business.”
What I did is a lot of inner work, a lot of meditation, visualization. Because I lost the clients, I had the time to do all those things.
That’s also the time I realized that everything that I wanted to do in life—all my needs and desires, is the opposite of my situation back in March-April 2020. So I decided to follow a mentorship program in London because I needed to change my environment to grow personally, to grow my business, and to build a global movement as mentioned.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
(1) Networking (new and existing) and word of mouth.
(2) Creating my own authentic gatherings for big clients, such as motorcycle trips for entrepreneurs (I am planning on doing this for female riders soon!) and a boat trip with all established business owners and CEOs who strategically had common ground to talk about. Very interesting to see what comes out of personal events like this!
(3) Story-telling in different channels; through videos, written content, or through social media channels. The main thing is to share my story. This is also the reason why we are reaching out to magazines and papers—to inspire people with my entrepreneurial and personal story that made me who I am today.
As you grew the business, what have been some of the most important leadership lessons you have learned?
(1) Responsibility; if you don’t lead, no one can follow.
I think leadership in general has different stages. First when you are leading a small group of your closest clients, and then when you’re starting your exposure on a city level or on a national level. Every stage of leadership asks something from you. What I really learned is that we can be a natural leader because of our personality, but the skills that come with leadership is something you acquire. That is also something that I help my clients with.
(2) Do what’s right; I heard mentors say that leaders must do what’s best, not what’s right. I disagree with that. It depends on what kind of group you are leading. For example, I am leading and guiding people to get back to themselves, so I strongly believe that I have to do what is right. If you lead from the heart then you will do what is right for that person or for that group.
It’s a delicate process that requires doing the right thing and speaking the truth.
That’s the kind of leader I want to be—I want to live in authenticity for myself and for the people I inspire.
(3) Check if the backyard is as pretty as the front yard because some leaders present to be very pretty in front. My advice, my lesson is to not only focus on the front yard but definitely focus on the backyard as well. Be aware that not every leader can, wants, and will lead you all the way through.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Trust your gut, then use your head. Most people use their heads first, but I personally don’t believe in that.
I believe that if you come from a place of purpose and meaning, you create a business around that, and that’s when you need your head. They work together but for me, it must start with the intention first, it must start with your soul.
It may take a bit longer, however, it will be 1000 times more sustainable, credible, and fulfilling in the long term.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Get help in the early stages. Try to really find people around you that are a little bit further and more experienced than you, but are also not too far away to disconnect with you. Find people and a support system around you and involve them in the process.
Trust your heart, it’s talking to you in a language only you can hear. Give yourself permission to dream big and follow through on those dreams. Don’t be distracted by others who don’t see, get, or share your vision (yet). The only person who needs to believe in your vision is you. You don’t need to ask for permission. If you can see it, if you believe it, if you long for it: go create it and MAKE IT COUNT.
And finally: be the STAR in your own life!