We’ve met Beth for the first time in one of our Women Entrepreneurs more than a year ago and it was at first sight that we were impressed with the sweet softness behind her assertive American attitude. Beth is a marketing consultant and business mentor for starting solopreneurs and we are curious to hear more about her personal story here as an expat in Amsterdam.
Thank you for accepting our invitation for this short interview with a few questions that we are curious about! Shall we start?
To start with, where do you come from in America and why did you choose Amsterdam as your new home?
I grew up in New York and spent many years in Washington D.C. In 2014, my husband and I spent a year backpacking around the world. Visiting Amsterdam, I remember saying to him, “This is such a cool city, I could see us living here.” Once we were back, he saw a great job post on Reddit, applied for it on a whim, and got it. (ha!) So we had a big decision to make. But by then we knew we could adapt to a different country. And Amsterdam was a perfect fit. A city that feels like a village. A cool and laid back vibe. A strong international, tech and entrepreneurial community. Biking vs. sitting in traffic. Work to live vs. live to work. All in one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen.
For how long have you been living here and how is it going with adapting to the Dutch culture?
I’ve lived here for 4 years now and adapting pretty well I think. I grew up in a family where expressing strong opinions and beliefs was encouraged, so I don’t really mind Dutch Directness. That, along with their dry style of humor kind of cracks me up! As far as restaurants go, I’ve gotten so used to the bad service that the other day, when we had a really attentive server, I felt smothered and annoyed! During the first year I worked at a local software company and definitely struggled a bit with the change in work culture. Loved the lack of hierarchies and ability to discuss and debate. But I also found it incredibly frustrating, wanting to make faster decisions.
What about Amsterdam as a cosmopolitan center?
The fact that Amsterdam is home to the highest number of nationalities out of ANY city in the world– still blows me away. It beats New York and London even. Lots of multicultural festivals and food. Lots of museums and cultural events like the International Documentary Film Festival (my favorite).
Socially: Do you hang out mostly with fellow Americans or is your social life more multi-
More multi-cultural. I haven’t gone out of my way to seek out friends in any particular category (American, Dutch or other). I appreciate the common ground I have with my American friends, and love the things I learn about other cultures from my non-American friends. You know how when you meet someone you either feel a “click” with them or not? Because they have a similar vibe, values or interests? I find that’s pretty universal. Sure we may have different accents, backgrounds and
experiences, but there are similarities at the core. That’s what I look for…
How did you get to know the Amsterdam International Women and how has been your
experience leading the Women Entrepreneurs?
I was looking for networking events on Meetup and I noticed one for women entrepreneurs, hosted by Paula. It sounded great and it was! So I kept coming back. This meetup is unique in Amsterdam because it offers a more intimate and casual environment to connect, learn and grow. It’s a supportive group for aspiring and established entrepreneurs where you don’t have to be the “perfect entrepreneur.” Through leading this meetup together with Pamela, I’ve met so many amazing women. Some have become good friends. Others have become business partners or clients. I’m so grateful to be part of this community!
Knowing that you work with starting solopreneurs, is there anything special about being an entrepreneur in Amsterdam, anything you find unique? Please share it with us.
Amsterdam has a creative, entrepreneurial spirit that opens your mind to the possibilities. There are lots of events, groups and co-working spaces geared towards entrepreneurs and start-ups. A unique aspect is that everyone speaks English, with most being multilingual. This means you can safely market your business in English if you don’t have the resources to maintain a website and social media presence in multiple languages.
Thank you for your answers! We are connected, see you around!