A heart to heart
3310 Behind the scenes
Hello! 3310 - School for Millennials just had its seven month anniversary and it has been a while since I have written a blog. Since the press release and launch in mid October, I have received so much attention I didn't dare to dream of. Kudos to all the people who has put all that faith in my business. In my excitement I have shared posts on social media when I was on the radio, TV, news paper, etc. Right now, you see all posts about going abroad, nice shots on Instagram of me speaking for groups and setting up new programs. Bumping into people who haven't seen me for ages, they say "Wow, you're doing very well huh?!". On September 26, before the launch of the school, I posted a picture portraying 'Don't be fooled by social media'. To practice what I preach, and because I'm turning a year older (and wiser) tomorrow, I want to share a personal story about the life behind 3310. It is not a story to glorify myself or 3310, nor a cry for help or pity, just sharing my thoughts as a Millennial.
Work hard, work harder
In April 2017 I felt this urge of to stay true to myself and that it was my time to put my idea of a school, my passion project, out in the world. Tada, six months later I gave birth to 3310. You might imagine that putting a business together takes hard work and perseverance. What my pictures on social media do not show are all the hours it takes, the late nights and weekends of work, the deprivation of a social life. But what is least visible are the hours I worked in my mind. You might catch me outside in the sun and staring in the blank for hours or doing origami and think, wow, life is good for her. While actually my brain is running a marathon to come up a coaching exercise that will blow one's mind. Take for example one pixel image for a 3310 class. You glance at it for half a second. The filling of pixels costs me at least 16 hours and a RSI. But it actually takes up my non stop brain power for sometimes two weeks to come up with the concept. I'm not a genius and my creativity can't be forced (well, now I know mine comes mostly in the shower) nor measured. Until the launch I spent six months, including a full summer, of creating seven classes, with each a pixel art, at least four original exercises and forty powerpoint slides, a full operational website plus three Instagram posts every week. Yes, I love the entrepreneurial life and wouldn't do it any different, but man, I wish there was an off-button on my brain sometimes.
Am I heading towards another burnout you ask? Probably not. But what I should answer when one asks me how I am doing? I don't know. Before I started the school I have asked myself what would my success look like. Throughout my recovery of my burnout I have learned to look for intrinsic motivation and my success would be to launch something that I truly believe in. The urge to express myself was so strong that I was not afraid to put it out there. How it would be received was not my priority. Therefore, I can say I'm successful and happy. It was a true revelation when the first month in I realized that everything I was doing, from creating content to helping people and even filling in pixels (as my meditation), I loved! And yes, the recognition of the media for my idea and the importance of burnouts felt like the cherry on top of my cake! "It's going so well, you must be able to support yourself now right?" Yes, I created my dream job, but I cannot support myself. What do I miss here?
I'm probably die tryin', Fiddy
Sure, I totally understand that a business needs three to five years to make profits. Since I have started something new that did not exist before, and without prior experience and network in the coaching field, it will probably take twice as long. In some masochistic way, I do like the hard way to success. The limitations challenge me to be creative, smarter and more effective. Before the school I was a starting entrepreneur doing freelance jobs with limited savings. The idea of 3310 has always been in my mind, but due to my projects I was never able to fully focus on it. I wondered, 'What will I need to put my passion project out in the world?' and 'What would be my biggest fear?'. As Millennial I saw asking for help as a weakness. I have been given so many opportunities in life, like education and technology, that it made me think that at this age I should be able to support myself. My need was financial aids for full focus, my biggest fear was asking for it. Fortunately, my parents were happy to chip in as a kickstarter and with a lot of reluctance I accepted it. To keep the business going now, I'm still doing freelance jobs. Others tell me that they find it brave for me to start my own business. However, until this day I wonder, am I brave? Or am I just naive and stupid for pursuing this fairy tale of a dream job, not contributing to this society?
Inspiration as a currency?
From what I hear and mostly from what I strongly believe, I do think there should be a 3310 - School for Millennials to teach grown ups life skills we missed out at school. And I believe that Millennials are going to be the change makers, since we are in the middle of this transition from an old, full capitalistic system to a new, more purpose driven society. To me, living in this transition, the struggle is real. My motto is to inspire others and that if it is just one person in a class, it is at least one and my goal has reached. The impact of my words, actions or lessons might not apply immediately and, like a seed, needs to grow sometimes. But can I measure its success in KPI's or a spreadsheet, or even better, can I express this in a currency? No. I'm stuck in a world where there is a need to be and do good, but I'm limited by the old system of profits. And the more people I see burnout, the need for change and life skills is growing bigger and bigger. How do I live with the urgency and desire to have a positive impact in the world while being held back by the system?
Mission behind memes & pixel art
Should I quit? Taking away 3310 is like erasing who I am, leaving me without passion, joy, hope. You'd better just shoot me now, because living life without being my true self has caused my burnout before. What only a few know is that my mission with 3310 is more than just putting out workshops with memes and throwbacks. Being discriminated, bullied and always felt like the outlier, I have a strong desire to provide a space where people of all sorts feel at home. A place where people of different ages, social, cultural or any other level meet other like minded persons and learn from each story, because we all have something to offer in this world. With this community I hope to reach a level where we all respect and desire to help each other, but also to inspire others with ideas to give back and to have a positive impact in the world. Whether it would be learning to communicate better to your family members or getting inspired to build a new app for urban farming, 3310 will provide a platform to do so. An offline platform though, because I believe that we need to make time for what is really important in life and to genuinely reconnect with each other again. My mission behind 3310 is to start a positive movement. Now, I might sound like a United Colors of Benetton commercial, but this is what I truly believe in. This current system might demands me, as a founder, to adjust the focus and strategy of 3310, but know that this idea will always be my personal, core motivation driving it.