Amsterdammers, let’s face it: The first year of college is a daunting prospect. In addition to adapting to student life, there’s the task of finding student housing in Amsterdam. And we all know that the housing market, especially in the nation’s capital, is highly competitive. If you haven’t yet done so, try visiting our housing section to explore available listings in your area. If you’re not in luck, keep on reading. We’ll teach you how to tackle this problem like a true entrepreneur would.
But what characterizes an entrepreneur? Something that immediately sets one apart are the deliverables (the product or company), but those are the result of a specific set of behaviours that together form the DNA of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs go out of their way to exercise soft skills: teamwork, negotiation, creativity, nonverbal communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking, to name a few.
That’s why they are practically custom-built to navigate Amsterdam’s housing market, where it’s often about who you know. The keyword is ‘built’. They weren’t born this way, with an innate nose for the art of deal-making (well, most weren’t). You too can cultivate the skills that enable you to get what you want with integrity.
Finding student housing in Amsterdam is like making a business deal. Apply these four entrepreneurial behaviours and you will enjoy a high advantage over your competitors.
Firstly: Entrepreneurship is a mindset in which you see unlimited possibilities.
1. Put on your opportunity glasses. See opportunities where others see problems and see them EVERYWHERE.
This mindset makes entrepreneurs equal parts brave, creative, and stubborn. They believe they can, so they come up with a plan to get there and execute it. They are brave enough to run straight at a slightly-opened door because they saw a sliver of potential there. Or they flat-out ask for things that look hopeless to obtain. And they keep doing it – a process of repetition.
When looking for student housing in Amsterdam, this means that every single moment is an opportunity for networking. Analyze the composition of place, time, context, and people to see if you can combine things to your advantage. Are you in a bar with a group of new students that are also looking for housing? You’ve all got the same problem. Great! You can band together and find a student house.
2. Be brave and network. Your student housing in Amsterdam is just one conversation away.
Exchange banter with baristas, waiters, and people at the tram stop and tell them your story. Ask them for contacts. Ask if they know someone offering a room. Scour Facebook groups. Use every contact in your address book. Go to free events to connect with new people. Spread the word of what you’re looking for.
Which brings us to our next point:
3. Communicate the vision of your ideal student housing clearly and honestly.
Entrepreneurship means connecting with people in a meaningful, open, and honest way. Entrepreneurs are great communicators and have no problem getting their vision to resonate with others.
When you go to a viewing, tell your potential landlord or flatmates your aspirations: what your life goals are and how living in this particular student room in Amsterdam will allow you to pursue them. Be as transparent as you can about your lifestyle and who you are. The foundation of these relationships should be trust.
Of course, communication is a two-way street in which listening is equally as important as speaking. Entrepreneurs recognize that cooperation is essential, so they cultivate empathy to understand what another party needs to move forward. Then, they incorporate the feedback into the reality they are creating.
4. Co-create the ideal living situation.
Listen well to the needs of the people you will be living with. Repeat their most important points out loud for both your memory and their reassurance that you listened. Perhaps the flatmate requires cleanliness, a calm environment, and some personal space with occasional conversation, and the landlord needs you to keep everything in peak condition. For everyone to co-create an enjoyable living situation, their needs must be equally-represented.
Entrepreneurs are collaborators who work to build a collective vision – not just their own, but one they happily share with many people. In the process, everyone gets what they want. They first identify a need (housing), and then involve others to meet it (forming a team to find a student apartment; caring for children in return for a free room).
With these skills, you can literally talk your way to a free house. In 2005, over the course of a year, Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald traded his way there from a single red paper clip. Networking yourself to good student housing in Amsterdam will be much less of a feat.
Thus, the simple essence of entrepreneurial house-hunting:
- Spot the opportunity
- Be brave enough to plunge in
- Communicate your vision
- Co-create a viable solution
Entrepreneurs succeed not because of some innate charisma, but due to rigorous practice of soft skills. If you do the same, you will be well on your way to the perfect student housing in Amsterdam.