New entrepreneurial (ad)ventures

Ventures? Yes, I’m now officially an entrepreneur, in China!

Change and chance

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before on this blog, but I have a favourite definition of crisis:

The moment that change becomes inevitable

I think we can safely say that a global pandemic is a crisis. The Covid-19 situation has brought interesting perceptions, and not all of them were bad, such as the realization that reduced travel and consumption is doing a whole lot of good for the planet.

Personally, I learned a lot about what I’m made of. I stepped up to the challenge at hand and became the centre point for the international community of Kunming, providing fact-checked information on GoKunming.

Another big result of this particular crisis was that it offered a chance to reflect on my life in China. Until Spring Festival – the moment that China effectively went into lockdown – I was working my head off for the Best of Kunming awards and all the other ongoing tasks that I took on since becoming editor-in-chief in the previous summer. All of that hectic activity ground to halt end of January.

This has resulted in some profound realizations and dramatic changes. My last job has been an amazing opportunity to learn, to move into a direction that I like (writing!) and to get to know a lot of interesting people in Yunnan, many of whom have become close friends.

But, in other ways the job held me back. No time to study Chinese, no time to enjoy the great outdoors on my doorstep, and a lot of stress caused by a crazy workload and continuous changes within the company.

Which has led to the only logical conclusion: starting my own business in China. Because that is obviously a good idea – enter a life of financial insecurity in a global crisis, in a country that is globally vilified because of its atrocious politics. I also have zero experience as an entrepreneur, always having worked as an employee.

Yet, I am hopeful: extremely motivated, nervous, excited, buzzing with ideas, loving the positive feedback from all my connections here after I announced my solo (ad)venture. So far I love the feeling of endless options, the freedom to live and work wherever and whenever I want, to develop my own ideas, to have full control of all the admin such as work permit and bookkeeping.

Welcome WenLan

WenLan, or 文兰, is my Chinese name. The ‘wen’ part means culture and comes from an ancient oracle bone character depicting a tattooed man or shaman. The ‘lan’ means blue, and is also part of the Chinese word for the Netherlands – 荷兰he lan.

It is also my one-woman show here in Yunnan. The plan is to find a part-time online writing job, and use the other half of my working hours to develop and produce cultural projects here in Yunnan. One of my goals has always been to facilitate cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world. Perhaps I’m naive, but I do believe that an artistic dialogue between people from different nationalities will hopefully effect some change.

The WenLan website is where I will continue to blog – about the trials, tribulations and top-of-the-world moments as a female entrepreneur in southwest China. If you’d like to stay updated, please sign up for the WenLan newsletter, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Thanks all for your ongoing support. I hope you are all well and happy and also getting something good out of the current crisis. If you want to work with me, please reach out!