Hi likeminded business women,
I met Lisa at a “Inspiring Rare Birds” event last year and we connected very quickly. Our ideas about business are so similar, it's wonderful to meet somebody that 'gets you' so when she asked if I wanted to write articles for Business in Heels I gladly accepted.
So here I am…
But before I start creating blog articles I wanted to tell you my story of entrepreneurship, adventure and getting things done… (mostly, but not always)
My name is Ivanka Menken and I was born in The Netherlands. I did a batchelor degree in Agricultural Science and Education but eventually ended up being an IT Management Consultant, specialising in organisational change and process implementations. Although I really liked my job there was always this desire to do something different so during a holiday in Jamaica (in November – hiding from the horrible Dutch weather) my husband and I decided to take that leap of faith and move to Australia to start a business.
And we did… in February 2000 we arrived in Brisbane to do our market research, not just for the business but also to figure out where we wanted to live. We traveled from Brisbane to Adelaide and even Perth and while the business opportunities in Sydney were probably better, we chose for a lifestyle that only Brisbane could offer.
Our business is 'The Art of Service' – initially focusing on consulting IT Organisations and departments to design and manage the services they offer to their clients and end-users. Within a few months we had our first contract which let to the first OOPS moment… we were only doing market research, remember?? Which meant we didn't have the visa to have clients and work in Australia.
Not a problem – we quickly hopped on a plane and through a number of 'lucky breaks' and 'coincidences' we managed to obtain a 4-year 457 visa sponsored by the Queensland Government.
Our business grew and changed constantly. From being a consultancy company with 20 employees to now being a 100% online content development company, delivering on demand online IT courses.. it has been quite a journey.
In the mean time we started a second business: Horses-Store.com (I will tell you why we did this in an article later as it's an interesting story about opportunity and financial challenges). Horses-Store is the exclusive importer and distributor for Australia of Q-Linn sports Lingerie (http://Q-Linn.com.au ) .
This business is totally different from The Art of Service (TAOS for short). Where TAOS deals mainly with corporates and business professionals, Horses-Store sells directly to the client from our showroom in Brendale (QLD) and our mobile pop up shop at major equestrian events and competitions.
The difference between an information based company (TAOS) and a business with physical stock (HS) is super interesting.
Besides being the owner of these companies (with my amazing husband) I'm also a mum of a beautiful 16 year old son. I am a mad keen horse rider and have 2 horses.
The articles I have in mind are about my journey into entrepreneurship and things I do, see and learn in business. But of course if you have a specific question you would like to see answered I'd be delighted to do so!
The first article I will publish is a reprint from my blog called “Business is about Money” – we might as wel get that out of the way first 😉