Lien De Pau

Lien De Pau

Founder, The Big Exit

The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.

As the founder of Belgium's largest online business school, I've transformed 1,400+ women from freelancers to freedompreneurs.

Lien De Pau is up.

Lien De Pau

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Lien De Pau and I am a trailblazing freedompreneur-turned-investor. I'm the force behind The Big Exit, aiming to educate a million business owners on making their business exit-ready. As the founder of Belgium's largest online business school, I've transformed 1,400+ women from freelancers to freedompreneurs.

I am also an angel investor in seven impactful startups, showcasing my commitment to diversity and equality. My bestseller, Get Real, offers a practical guide to living freely, and as a Forbes contributor, I share insights on freedompreneurship and small business strategies. I am a guiding light for entrepreneurs, merging freedom with fun and success.

What did it take/how did you get started?

Let's paint a picture: In the US, every day, a whopping 12,000 people turn 65, hang up their hats and head into retirement. Of these, around 20% own small businesses. Do the math, and you've got nearly 2,400 businesses daily needing a new captain at the helm.

This trend has tipped the scales, creating a buyer's market, which means fewer businesses get sold. So, guess what? It is time for small business owners to step up. How do they make sure their business sells for what it's truly worth when buyers are having the luxury of choice? I launched The Big Exit with the goal to educate one million small business owners to get their business exit-ready.

What does the future look like for you and your business?

Knowing what we know about the growing market we operate in (nearly 2,400 businesses daily needing a new captain at the helm and this number is growing), I'm expecting The Big Exit itself to grow exponentially in the next 5 years.

What drives / motivates you on a daily basis?

Freedom is my north star too. And I believe it is for most entrepreneurs. But a lot of them lose their freedom being in the day to day hustle and grind of building a business. Helping these small business owners to create the freedom they long for is what drives me.

What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?

I would like to quote a piece of advice I got from Sir Richard Branson when I was masterminding with him for 5 days on his private Necker Island: "People always want to speak to the person on the highest floor if the building. If that is you, you need to get yourself out of the building."

What has been the hardest part of your business journey?

Finding what I call the "Zone of Freedom" which combines 3 crucial things to build a freedom business:

1) your unique talents and skills

2) what people want and need

3) what people are willing to pay for. If you find your unique Zone of Freedom, you'll have a great business, lots of money and will enjoy yourself along the way.

How have you managed burnout thus far?

When I was still in corporate, but never as a freedompreneur.

What are a few resources that you'd recommend?

I'm a avid book reader. More than a decade ago, The Four Hour Workweek changed my view on doing business forever. There are a lot of smaller entrepreneurs building multi-million dollar, highly profitable lifestyle business with a very lean (or even no) team. Follow them, it'll blow your mind.


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Lien De Pau

How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?

Very flexible. I prefer to do more intense sprints of a few months (working like a 30 hours workweek), balanced out with long periods of disconnecting and recharging.

# of Employees?


When did you start?


How much did it cost to launch?

Besides time, brain power, energy and some software tools, nothing

What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?

Over 14 years in business, I raised in total 225K euro's

Annual revenue?

Sold 1million+ USD in online courses

Projected revenue?


What's the number one thing you need right now?

A gazillion case studies of small businesses who multiplied their biz valuation thanks to what the learned via The Big Exit.

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Lien De Pau

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