(©Sixshooter for FF Rustig podcast)
Jack-of-all-trades Erik Goossens (55) is an entrepreneur who has one foot in culture and the other in entrepreneurship. But has it always been that way? Actually yes, although it took him 30 years to find a sustainable way. And that is where his mission now lies: building bridges between culture and business. “I have always found it strange that those two worlds are so far apart because they could support each other very hard. What one world has an abundance of, the other lacks.”
Where it all started for him? In the supermarket chain that his parents ran. Erik Goossens is the son of self-employed people. Entrepreneurship was therefore instilled in him with the young spoon. Although in his younger years he dreamed of a completely different path.
He auditioned at Studio Herman Teirlinck, along with 300 other dreamers. Three of them were admitted, only one graduated. His name? Eric Goossens. He immediately landed a role in a feature film and a contract with a theater company. Then there was the Flemish band Leopold 3 and the VTM soap Family, then the hidden camera program “Kan dit?!” and a little later the launch of his Arte theater in the heart of Brussels.
Step into business
The theater eventually had to make way for entrepreneurship. It was time for Goossens to spread his wings and fly towards the business world. He took his steps in making recruitment clips for companies, but soon he lacked appreciation. Advertising agencies took the upper hand and took all the credit. “It is no longer just about being creative, the practical side of your company must also be arranged.”
Goossens did not give up and started researching what making music does to your brain and its impact on your empathy. Soon PLUG & PLAY was born, a streaming service that gives other companies and their product global visibility from one space. The audiovisual sector, event sector and IT sector join forces at PLUG & PLAY, a combination in which Goossens can express all his passions.
Growing pains are crucial
Before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, Goossens decided to live completely differently: no more alcohol, read a lot, get up at 5 a.m. every day and exercise more. A lifestyle that ensures that he can move more than before, such as running a marathon in Berlin after a night of performing (and sticking around) in Antwerp.
I am naive and in the business world that is still a negative word
Growing pains are crucial in a marathon, in a company or in your job! If you don’t like something, say so. This is the only way to initiate change, says Goossens. “Honesty is such a great strength, it’s anything but a weakness. And also say what you can’t. Making mistakes is not a bad thing, but not admitting them is much more difficult.”
I am naive
“I am naive and that is a negative word in the business world. But I still want to keep it because it represents the beauty of wonder,” says Erik Goossens. To me, someone is good until proven otherwise.” Goossens believes that you always start from trust and once that is broken, the boundaries are defined.
I sometimes envy people who have no ambition
He sees it as follows for the next five years: further expanding what he is doing now, trying to keep focus and be zen. “I sometimes envy people who have no ambition.”
What is his wise advice to 20-year-old Erik Goossens? After a moment’s thought, the answer follows: “Gut feeling. Honesty. And keep focus, but still taste as much as possible. Or knowing where I want to go because of the many tests.” The best is yet to come!
You can listen to the full podcast episode with Erik Goossens below: