Today I have the true pleasure of announcing that the school for digital entrepreneurs is now open!
And what is this all about?
If you have a business or an organisation (or plan to have one in the future) and have goals to achieve them using digital technologies - then this is for you…
The school will offer various paid educational programmes such as a full 12-week professional diploma in digital entrepreneurship starting February 2018 and then ongoing every semester.
In addition, the school will also give you short courses that will bring you the quick fixes you need.
The first short course will be the 4-day digital marketing course.
A place for digital entrepreneurs to succeed
Let me enlighten you on the journey of the school’s creation.
I used to teach at a university in Denmark in the realm of online marketing. I educated clever entrepreneurial minds. From time to time, I also spoke at various digital marketing and entrepreneurial events.
Over the last several years I’ve also given countless hours of consulting sessions for aspiring entrepreneurs-to-be and successful people who already own businesses.
What I discovered was this:
Most entrepreneurs fail in the same way every time.
Many entrepreneurs lack knowledge as to how to succeed and go on to join a course onsite or somewhere online.
Some are great, others are not.
Unfortunately, often you realise that the content of such courses (even though they may be good) are restricted to knowledge in a specific field.
You might purchase an email marketing course.
Then you figure out after months of trying - that this is not your born ability to write those must-needed email newsletters.
You then might try purchasing a search engine marketing course because you realised that your website is not bringing in enough organic traffic from the search engines.
You then discover this is a hugely complex area and you don’t know where to focus.
And so on, and so on…
The trouble with these types of courses is that they don't tell you what you need to know in order to fully succeed as an entrepreneur, business owner or someone managing a complete project.
You end up taking lots of courses - or purchase consulting services - that focus on a specific area.
You don’t learn the thing that brings you the overall bird’s eye perspective with the knowledge you need in order to run your business and make a profit.
And that is such a shame!
In digital marketing, everything is connected.
Your email marketing must work in conjunction with your website.
Your website must work in conjunction with your social media channels.
Your online ads must work with your websites that should be split tested.
And I can go on...
If you don’t know all the available digital tools and techniques and how they must work together - then how can you make the right decisions for yourself and your business?
And I can guarantee - you will fail if you don’t know these things.
I see it again and again.
You will have to live with an empty bank account with all the frustrations this entails and in the end, you might have to close your business.
At some point, I decided to do something about that.
A project that was bigger than me, my skills and just making profits.
Something that will make entrepreneurs’ lives better by creating sustainable and long-term profit, while contributing to their community and the world at large.
I wanted to do what I do best and have other clever minds in their fields do the same.
That’s why the nonprofit foundation was established with the purpose of helping entrepreneurs using digital technologies.
I wanted to create the best educational place on earth for digital entrepreneurs.
And so I did.
I needed to do this by establishing a school where entrepreneurs could attend onsite at the school or join by distance learning, making the teaching available to everyone on the planet.
Most educational programmes also needed to be affordable for everyone.
A school where you learn everything you need to know in the digital and online marketing field; in order to succeed, make money and design the entrepreneurial lifestyle you want.
For the students that wish to study onsite, the school needed to be at a stunning location offering an attractive climate with natural inspiration.
It has taken one and a half years to create!
After the nonprofit foundation was founded at the beginning of 2016, I began doing a great deal of thinking and research as to where in the world I would like to live my life and locate the school.
I clearly wanted to move away from the low temperatures, clouds and rain of Denmark.
Not to mention, the funding options for such a specialised school is non-existent in Denmark, and the accommodation cost is extremely high.
As a laptop entrepreneur and digital nomad, I could basically work from anywhere in the world.
All I need is my laptop, a power plug and a good internet connection.
In mid-2016 I moved from Copenhagen in Denmark to Barcelona in Spain.
And what a lovely and beautiful city!
After living in Barcelona for about six months, around Christmas time I did an evaluation of my life and the Catalonian lifestyle in Barcelona.
I concluded that Barcelona was not the city for me.
Even with the many great things Barcelona has to offer, real life knocked on the door.
Don’t get me wrong, Barcelona is a fantastic city. To me, it’s a great city to visit, but not to live in permanently.
The local bureaucratic system regarding the establishment of a school was much more difficult than expected.
Almost no one speaks English when it comes to interacting with the public systems, even though it’s the most internationally minded city in Spain.
And with the Spanish laid back mañana mentality - Spain and I were simply not a match.
When moving to a different country you have to be there for a good amount of time to get the real feeling of everything.
It’s like being in a candy store looking at all the incredibly appealing goodies to choose from.
You have to taste it in order to really know if you like it.
Moving to the Caribbean
When I was back home for Christmas in Denmark, I saw a travel and lifestyle show on Danish television about the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
In the past, the US Virgin Islands were part of Denmark. Back then they were called the Danish West Indies.
The islands were sold to the United States 100 years ago.
What incredible pictures showing blue skies and sea and an incredibly relaxing atmosphere!
As I gazed out the windows with the lack of sun, grey rain and gloomy clouds, I wanted to escape instantly.
When I arrived back in Barcelona, I started doing research on creating a school in the exotic Caribbean.
Who wouldn’t want to go there to study for a few months?
And I would love living there - or so I thought.
The islands are a US territory, and after digging more into entry rules and requirements - along with studying Mr Trump’s intentions on closing the US from outsiders - it turned out to be a no-go.
I was then looking into all the other Caribbean islands.
Gosh, there are many islands with all their varying rules and laws.
After some time I discovered the island of Saint Martin.
It’s a small island split into two parts - the French side in the north, and the Dutch side in the south. There’s no border or border control between the two.
To my surprise, the French part is actually part of the European Union with an outermost region status.
That means that all EU rules apply both in terms of funds available for studying abroad, building the school and everything else that’s beneficial from the European Union.
And perhaps most important - the EU right of free movement means that every EU citizen can move there with no questions asked.
The islands have the most connected airport in the Caribbean with many direct flights to the US and mainland Europe.
I hired the greatest intern named Mads to help out with the project. I also hooked up with a local guy named David, a resident of the island.
We worked intensively with the French legislation, having lawyers looking into the various regulations, filling out forms, creating legal documents, and preparing everything.
There was lots of work in order to clarify if this could be the destination for the school.
In the process, we were trying to find accommodation options while also determining whether this was the right place for me to live and bring in students from around the world.
To make a long story short: It was not.
It would be tremendously expensive for students to rent a place and it would take many years to build a campus to make things affordable.
The crime rate is extremely high, with robberies in clear daylight. You cannot go outside at night. You have to live in a protected area and cannot have a decent car without being associated with drug dealers.
And that’s just part of it!
Apparently, this is the case for all the Caribbean islands, even though Saint Martin was the island with the best options.
It turned out, I wouldn’t feel good bringing a young blonde Scandinavian girl to this island.
Personally, I wouldn’t like living there myself on those terms.
So, back to square one…
And perhaps I was lucky to not settle over there. The Caribbean islands were hit by some devastating hurricanes which destroyed almost everything in sight.
I spoke with David - he and his family are all right, but the infrastructure and many buildings are destroyed.
A sunny island in the Mediterranean
With all things learned from both Barcelona and perhaps especially from Saint Martin, I wanted to focus more on a secure location within Europe.
Cyprus came to mind.
It’s an island located in the east of the Mediterranean sea.
I have been working closely with lawyers and professionals in Cyprus for years, assisting entrepreneurs to operate tax efficient company structures.
So, I did know quite a lot about the country already.
I’ve visited Cyprus a handful times before in the past, but back then I didn’t think of it as the place for me to live.
Mainly because I believed I wanted to live in a big city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
In some ways, Cyprus is 10 years behind what I’m used to in Denmark and Spain.
It’s clear that there is a lack of education on many levels and the use of digital technologies, especially in the public sector is very limited.
I thought, “I guess I’ll just have to influence some high-ranking politicians and departments and teach them how to do things in a clever way.”
On the other hand, Cyprus has other great things to offer like lots of sun year round, a warm climate even in winter, a low cost of living, and is one the most secure countries in Europe.
Most importantly perhaps, Cyprus is an old British territory and the legal framework is based on British law. Plus, everything is available in both English and Greek.
Everyone speaks English - what a blessing! Finally, a place where I can do things myself without a translator.
The capital Nicosia is in the middle of the island with no ocean, too hot in the summer, and a bit too cold in the winter. It’s a no-go with no waterfront or sea.
Limassol in the southern-mid part is the most cosmopolitan city on the island. Many rich Russians live here, resulting in triple pricing on everything including housing.
My focus was then on the city of Pafos in the south-eastern part of the island with a population of around 35,000 people in the entire region.
I was on vacation there about five years ago, so I had a feeling of what to expect.
Pafos has been named the European city of culture 2017, resulting in millions of euros from the EU trickling in for development and renovation of the city.
The city and region offer breathtaking sea views and the hills present you with fantastic panoramic sea and mountain views.
Check out my Instagram profile to see for yourself.
And even more attractive, it is the most affordable region on the island.
Compared to the pricing in Barcelona and Copenhagen, this place is cheap.
It's time to get settled
In May I packed my bags, terminated my apartment lease, and took the flight from Barcelona to Cyprus with my dog in the cargo.
All my belongings had to be shipped by boat and arrived a month later.
I rented an apartment for two months on Airbnb and started the search to find a large and nice villa in the hills with a great view, pool, garden and everything I ever dreamed of.
About a month ago, I moved into a magnificent 350m2 villa in the hills of a quiet village with the panoramic sea views I wanted. Lots of guest rooms, a nice pool (the dog takes a swim every day!), a lovely garden, and everything I was looking for.
I’m writing to you right now from the terrace - just the right place to sit and get my thoughts down in writing.
My team and I have been busy getting things set and ready for student-intake for the school's educational programmes.
If you choose to study on site, you may use the pool, take a sunbed and work with your laptop or perhaps chill in the lounge area with some of your fellow students discussing digital or entrepreneurial subjects.
Of course, there is free wi-fi and plugs!
We’re also in the process of establishing and building our very own entrepreneurial hub!
It will be a one of a kind place using state of the art environmentally friendly and sustainable resources.
A place where you as a student can come to live affordably and develop your business, whether you come for a few days or to study for a full semester.
The place will have its own private chef creating healthy organic food specially designed to keep your performance level and your body at its best.
We’ll fly in industry experts from around the world to speak at various events and teach at the school's educational programmes as guest speakers.
The project will be partly funded by the European Union and will also be supported by some of our ongoing sponsors.
That’s for the future. About 2 years from now.
Now we have to focus on today. And so should you.
And now we are ready to open the doors!
The first seat has just been taken for the 12-week professional diploma in digital entrepreneurship. Check it out - perhaps it’s something for you.
If you don’t have the time to take out 12-months of your life dedicated to building your business (and have the money for it), then you should look into the quick-fix short courses and perhaps join the digital marketing course.
If you don’t know where to start or are in doubt about your current digital strategy - please remember that my team and I offer a free consulting session.
There are no strings attached and the initial session is absolutely free.
Both I and all my team members want to help you move in the right direction so you can live just the type of entrepreneurial lifestyle you want.
Let me hear your true and honest thoughts on our initiatives by leaving a comment. How can the foundation and the entrepreneurial school help you reach your entrepreneurial dreams?
All the best,