Many business professionals, including consultants, crave the opportunity to work on a variety of projects that combine their skills with their lifestyle, interests and passions.  As an independent consultant, you’re free to choose projects that both spark your interest and let you explore new industries and problems. We sat down with Marije Kleverlaan, who was previously the General and Operations Manager at 8Hotels group, but now runs her own life coaching business, ‘The Grass is Green.’

Marije is using Expert360 to find projects that combine her business knowledge with her passion for health and lifestyle.

Combining business with life’s passion

I’ve always been interested in finding what motivates people to give 110%. I wanted to be able to help businesses, as well as people, achieve their goals and I realised that the two are very similar and often work in conjunction with each other - if the people are motivated the business benefits. So whilst working in the hotel industry, I also studied for a diploma in life coaching.  Working in the hotel industry in Holland, the UK and Australia gave me the foundations for developing and implementing operational procedures. While I loved the work I wanted to devote my time and energy on cultivating my own business as well as to explore my passions further. I wanted to work with a variety of companies, enjoy more flexibility and coach managers and their employees using my holistic approach to developing procedures and implementation.

Working with Orchard Street

I registered with Expert360 and was soon put in contact with Orchard St, a juice cleanse and health business. They were looking for a consultant who could develop a new management and operations strategy as well as work with the team to help execute and achieve their business goals. I’m extremely passionate about healthy eating and living which ticked another box. I applied for the position on a Thursday and by the following Monday, I’d had already an interview and won the project. Orchard St was a great match as it aligned with my passion for coaching and utilising holistic approaches to achieve business objectives. The initial project ran for 6 months and they’ve since re-hired me for another 3 which is great!  Finding a project like this not only helps me combine the best of both of my worlds - my business development skills and life coaching skills - but it also helps me deliver the best possible work for my clients.

If I can do it, so can you!

Working independently has enabled me to start the journey of discovering my passions in life and to put these passions into practice with consulting projects.  In the beginning, I took on too many projects, I think partly because I didn’t want to turn down work, but also because I hadn’t quite worked out how busy I would be. In the past year, I’ve learnt a lot about how to balance my workflow and manage my time. I still have deadlines to meet but I do have the flexibility to determine how many projects I’m working on and can decide my own downtime.  If being independent and working for yourself is what you want to do, then it’s up to you to make it happen. I think people sometimes let fear get in the way of giving it a go,  but there’s many of us out there doing it, and if we can do it, so can you!