- It fulfills your life’s passions and dreams
- It is an asset that supports your life
I like the ordering, first viewing my business as a vehicle for creating the life I want and for having a positive impact on others. Yet it’s easy to see success strictly in terms of the second, in terms of commissions, structures, and cash-flows. In the rush of leaving the corporation and starting my new business, did I get the balance right? I’ve been an ‘expat-indie’ for a full quarter now, so this morning felt like a good time to take stock of how things are going in light of these ideals.
Why create a new business in the Netherlands? For myself, I wanted to work with creative energetic people on innovative medical technology projects, and I wanted to live in Europe. For impact, I wanted to bring significant clinical innovations to patients, and I wanted to build a mentoring / incubating consultancy that could assure that good ideas don’t get lost.
My expertise is in clinical diagnostics, remote monitoring, and patient data management; my passion is for shepherding great ideas through a process that establishes feasibility, packages the product, and defines the business. There’s an underlying image of connecting raw concept with established feasibility through a solid process, spanning a difficult gap and providing people with passage. It led to adopting the metaphor of a bridge as the basis for thinking about the company.
Stone Bridge Biomedical BV, with an image of the venerable structure over the Maas River and a ‘leaping span’ symbol, was incorporated with this purpose. Its niche domain is remote patient monitoring systems, and, with a European base and an operating arm in the US. it can take advantage of geography to speed development and reduce costs for new product introductions. I’ve been fortunate to find early opportunities to work with companies actively developing great product ideas in this area, and am pleased that Stone Bridge hits its first full quarter with a solid structural base and positive cash flow.
Personally, it’s been a tumble of activity: half time spent on client contracts, the other half on raising the BV’s structures and services. I’ve simultaneously needed to make a complete transition from corporate expatriate contract to independent residency. It was both exhilarating and frightening: the opportunity to define a life and get things moving again, but still limited by time and funds available for the transition. Cutting the corporate connection was a constant tug between regret and resolve, giving up friends and security to get opportunity and momentum. The question “Why Europe” came up again and again: the answer was always connections with people, lifestyle, travel, and life balance. It was a conscious choice that forces future commitment to embrace the people, language, and economics of living in the Netherlands. Giving up the car for a bike and a train pass is only a start.
Still, it’s been a full and fun few months, and I’m looking forward to Autumn.
There’s lots to do in the next quarter. I need to establish a brand and message, supported by a web site and occasional blog. It’s time to reconnect with my professional network and to qualify contractors able to support the business’s tasks and needs better than I can. I’d like to ramp up the level of activity, expanding or adding work.
Personally, establishing the right balance in life will be important, more fully adopting the firm Dutch distinction between work and not-work time. My residency needs to get firmly established and I need to build in time for travel, friends, and language. I especially want to figure out how to integrate the important personal connections to family and to Cambridge.
In the end, I come back to the principle of building a business that enables and supports the life I want, to have the business work for me rather than the other way around. The ways that ambition, balance, and connections get defined and realized in both professional and personal life continues to be a constant issue for study and reflection.
And I’m making good progress.