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Erwin Wils of Millionaire Life Strategy: Why We Need More Women Founders & Here Is What We Are Doing To Make That Happen

An Interview With Jerome Knyszewski

We need you! Women have greatness men don’t have, and vice versa. When I look at my personal life, my wife and I complement each other perfectly. I would not have become this great coach if it wasn’t for the support and inspiration of my wife. I firmly believe it is the great synergy between men and women that help each other reach their full potential. So why should that be different in business? I believe that keeping things in balance is key for success and, the scale is still heavily unbalanced — although improving year over year, decade over decade.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Erwin Wils.

Erwin Wils, Mindset Coach and Business Strategist at Millionaire Life Strategy, empowers tech experts to boost their business and themselves, transforming them into the person that achieves their ambitions, goals, and beyond. As a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering by education and certified professional hypnotherapist, master Soulkey therapist, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and IEMT (Integral Eye Movement Therapy) practitioner by training, Wils brings 25+ years of experience to show the tech-geeks, nerds, and other left-brained technical experts how they can use their expertise to make a positive impact in the world and make a good living doing it.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Sure! When I graduated back in ’96 as a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. I rolled into the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) world and stayed in that branch for about 20 years, serving in several roles within 5 different companies. I always thought that optimizing processes was my added value, until I got interested in changing people’s mindsets and lives in 2014.

You can optimize a process and have all the numbers and figures to support that, but if the people that are using the process don’t change, the process itself won’t change. I changed my focus towards people, started hypnotherapy training, and truly found my purpose: my added value to this world.

I love to help people; not by telling them what to do, but in a coaching way. I need a challenge in my work. Since every single person is unique, each new client is a new challenge for me. I’m now optimizing the most complex processes, those of the internal human being. Fun fact: the first manager I had, was a woman who had worked her way up in a men’s world: the engineering world. At another company, we had a female director that was responsible for the BeNeLux region (I was working in the Netherlands part). The rest were all men. I have deep respect for women who do that — especially back in those days. Today, it’s not uncommon to see a female in engineering, but back then, it was a rarity and I still admire them for it.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Let me tell you one that happened when I started my entrepreneurial career. In October 2017 I met a business coach from the USA (born Canadian) and he inspired me to take my business globally. Since I was already doing an advanced Hypnotherapy program online in English, I thought to myself, “Why limit myself to the Netherlands?” I jumped on this train, a month later I was interviewed on stage in front of 2,500 millionaires and other entrepreneurs from 71 countries and met several celebrities backstage. In meeting them, and realizing they’re “just human” like you and me, with all their own challenges and struggles, it definitely impacted some of my beliefs. I remember one of them went from “I will never be able to achieve that” to “when they can do it, why shouldn’t I be able to do that?” You just have to put in the work and be fully committed. And that’s one of the things I help my clients with.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Well, during one of my early hypnotherapy sessions (I was still in training), I used an arm levitation as a trance test. An arm levitation means you ask the subconscious mind to raise one of the arms. When it does, it is a confirmation that your client is in trance. We were told that a trance test was used for the client to experience whether s/he was definitely in trance, but to be honest, for the hypnotherapist it is also great to see it happening (thus knowing your client is in trance). So, the hand and arm raised from my client’s leg, only to go sideways. And I was shocked? What happened here? That wasn’t how it was supposed to go! A little panic got into me, but I just went on. The arm went all the way sideways and when it had turned 90 degrees from the beginning position (being right in front of my client), it went straight up! At that time, I just thought “Okay, that’s also a possibility” and I continued the session. After reviewing what happened (and having similar experiences later on), I learned some beautiful lessons:

  • As a hypnotherapist, you don’t control the client. The subconscious mind itself chooses how to react/interpret your questions and/or assignments.
  • Nothing will go “by the book” or how you have been thought. You have to be able to improvise, be creative and adapt to the circumstances.
  • When the feedback you’re getting isn’t the result you wanted to see, keep adjusting your own behavior until you see the desired result.
  • If there is one thing I know for sure, is that each session will go differently than planned.

And those are not only valid during a session, they also apply when doing business.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Without a doubt, that is my wife. I met her in my first year of university at a dance party. Somehow, we ended up dancing together on the dance floor, had some drinks, and at the end of the evening, we said goodbye with 3 kisses on the cheeks (typical Dutch good-bye). And somehow, it felt like we knew each other for years. I went home with my friend and all I knew was her first name, the city she lived in, and the car she drove. The following days I visited that city on a quest to find her, and actually I did!, 10 days later. I found the house she lived in. I gathered my nerves, rang the doorbell, and asked her mother if she lived there. In fact, she did. We went out for a drink that night, exchanged our contact information, and I wrote her a letter telling her that I wanted to see her again. A week later she invited me to the movies. I happily agreed, and that day was the beginning of the rest of our lives. I consider her to be my soulmate. I feel blessed that she supports me in everything I do, gives me the space to do what I want, and to become the person I am today. I definitely improved myself because of her. We went through a lot together and still have each other’s back. It’s been 30 years already and we’re just starting.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I have a lot of books that impacted my life in a positive way, this time I would like to mention Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. Even though it was published in 1937, its content remains relevant today. I think it should be a must-read at school. Especially the quote “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Definitely resonates with me, and has become one of my core beliefs and drivers. Everybody has a certain dream. Some turn that dream into a vision and create a new reality, and others don’t. The difference is in truly believing in it, then taking the necessary steps to achieve it. That can be a real challenge. That’s where I come in as a mindset coach.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

One of them is “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, as long as you know you gave it everything you had.” As a teenager, I competed in judo. At my high time, I trained 20 hours a week. I am a very competitive person, yet I don’t mind losing. As long as I can look myself in the mirror and know by heart that I gave it all I had at that moment, I had peace with that. Then I knew, it just wasn’t my moment, but I also knew my moment was coming because I was training for it. This quote taught me to keep a positive mindset. Never focus on the failures, just accept the situation as is and learn from it. Over time this quote thought me that the only person I have to answer to is myself. As long as I know I did the best I could at that moment, negative comments bother me much less. And in case I get it, I use it to review my actions and improve myself.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Well, I’m transforming lives, so I think that counts, right? Ha ha, now seriously, when I started out as an entrepreneur, I worked as a hypnotherapist, helping people overcome all kinds of mental challenges. After 18 months, I changed my focus towards coaching, because I saw a lot of unused potential with my clients, and I wanted to put my clients into their full potential. We are habitual people, formed, and thus limited, by the frames put on us by our parents, teachers, society, cultural rules, regulations, thoughts, you name it. Before we know it, we get disconnected from our talents. It is my belief that every single person is here with a reason―to make a positive impact―and when I can help a person to reach his or her full potential, becoming the person they were destined to be, it truly gives me a rush. Besides that, I love to inspire people and share my knowledge and wisdom, because what good is knowledge if you don’t share it? And it always amazes me how certain things I have done or said, impact other people. That’s what’s energizing me.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Throughout history, women had to fight much harder for the same positions. As far back as history goes, men were meant to take care of the food (by means of hunting, fishing, etcetera) and women were meant to raise children and take care of the home base. Later on, many jobs were physically challenging, and since most men are better equipped for physical roles, they would get those jobs. We didn’t have management studies back then, you just got promoted and since most men fulfilled those jobs, they got promoted to the higher ranks.

Nowadays that is nonsense, but we still carry the same mentality from our ancestors. In order to overcome that mentality, women spent years proving to themselves and others that they are equally, if not more than capable for the same positions held by men. Because of this perceived gender equality, women practically needed to be overqualified to even be considered for the job. The women who succeeded, like my earlier mentioned managers who had climbed to the top in a man’s world, had to be tenacious.

This tenacity also applies to founding a company. I think a lot of women hold back from founding companies because, in their minds, it needs to be perfect in order to become successful, and that perfectionism is what’s keeping them from getting started. Every possible issue that might go wrong is placed under a magnifying glass and prevents them from starting. They become their own worst enemies.

Another thing I have noticed, is the absence of an absolute belief in their own capabilities. Women are tougher on themselves than any other person in the world, which can hurt them in business. When I was young, I used to watch an animation series about Calimero, a little black bird with a white egg-shell hat. One of his famous quotes was “They are big, and I am little, and that is injustice!” I think a lot of women have a little Calimero inside of them preventing them from achieving their dreams because they focus on what they don’t have instead of what they do have. Men have this issue too, but women, in my anecdotal research, tend to be harder themselves than men.

Can you share with our readers what you are doing to help empower women to become founders?

Well, you could say that I help that little Calimero grow up and takes its place in the world. I help my clients overcome the limiting beliefs that they grew up with― which have nothing to do with their capabilities! I reconnect them with their inner talents and regain their confidence, so that they, too, will achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Whatever journey that lies ahead for them, it all starts with the first step, no matter how small. The hardest thing to do, is to make something out of nothing, but as soon as there is something, no matter how small, it is much easier to make that grow. Getting started is the hard part. That first step. I help them get started. Then I become their accountability partner to keep them on track and guide them as they navigate the obstacles along the way.

This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

We need you! Women have greatness men don’t have, and vice versa. When I look at my personal life, my wife and I complement each other perfectly. I would not have become this great coach if it wasn’t for the support and inspiration of my wife. I firmly believe it is the great synergy between men and women that help each other reach their full potential. So why should that be different in business? I believe that keeping things in balance is key for success and, the scale is still heavily unbalanced — although improving year over year, decade over decade.

Another reason is, as being a certified professional hypnotherapist, I know that the subconscious mind is much more powerful than our conscious mind. Most men make decisions based on their conscious mind (they think), while most women tend to listen to their intuition, which comes from the subconscious mind. And even though they cannot explain it, most decisions women make are right, because they rely on intuition. On average, women are more emotionally connected to the universal resources we carry around with us, while men tend to listen only to things they can explain (logic / left brain vs. emotions / right brain). Of course, this is a generalization and many women are logical thinkers and many men are emotional decision makers, but for the sake of the argument, let’s take this statement at face value.

A third reason is my belief that everybody is here to make a positive impact on the world. In my opinion, the best way to do that is to become an entrepreneur, because as an entrepreneur, you are in the driver’s seat. So please take the step and become the founder of your own destiny! Start by answering this question: “The world would be a better place if only…”

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share 5 things that can be done or should be done to help empower more women to become founders? If you can, please share an example or story for each.

Of course! The first tip I would like to mention, is to “lose the female.” I don’t mean lose your femininity. Please, cherish that! I mean the actual word. Don’t call yourself a “female founder,” “female speaker,” “female entrepreneur,” “female coach.” Lose the “female” part. Just for fun, go to LinkedIn, put “female” in the search bar and see how many women have added “female” to their title. You’ll be shocked. In my opinion it doesn’t add any value to it, as a matter of fact, it almost diminishes your title. We never add the male variant, so why would you? In order to be considered equal, lose the “female” and own your role “Coach.” “Speaker.” “Entrepreneur.”

The second tip I would like to share is that it’s not about you! It is about the value you add to the lives of your clients. These are the results you deliver that your clients are looking for. When I started as an entrepreneur, I had some discussions of what to charge for a session. Some fellow hypnotherapists felt they couldn’t charge as much as 150 Euros for a session that might only take an hour, because “who is going to pay me 150 Euros for an hour work?”. Then I replied that when you go out for dinner with your partner, you’re spending easily 50–100 Euros. How long will you benefit from that? When buying a jeans brand, or quality shoes, prices start at 100–150 Euros. How long will those last? And they had the skills and toolset to release someone from a mental challenge that has been bothering them for 5, 10, 15 years, maybe longer, in one session. How much is that worth for them? So, remember it is not about you, it is about the positive impact you make in the lives of your clients. Just become the best person that can deliver the results they are looking for.

The third tip is to allow yourself to make mistakes. When you do everything right the first time, you’re actually doing things you already knew how to do. When you get out of your comfort zone and start doing things for the very first time, you’re bound to make mistakes. That’s part of your learning curve; that’s how you grow. And remember, you already made a lot of mistakes in the past and those didn’t stop you to start standing up when you were a toddler, to start walking when you were a year old, to learn how to read, or tie your shoe. Making mistakes is the fastest way to learn and grow as a person.

The fourth tip is to embrace your inner strengths and powers. When you love to visualize about your future, please do so, and focus on the feelings and emotions you experience. How do you feel when your visualization will be reality, how will you be as a person? The answers to those questions will tell your subconscious mind what you actually want to achieve and will help you take the right steps towards your goals. This is a great tool to align your subconscious with your goals and vision.

The fifth and final tip is to surround yourself with people that elevate you. Like Einstein said, if you keep doing the same things, you will get the same results. By changing your environment, you will change yourself, thus your results. Find other entrepreneurs, become inspired by reading books, follow trainings, join a mastermind, connect with positive people and best of all, take a coach. Remember, not a single top athlete has reached the number 1 position of the world without a coach, why should that be different in business?

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

That’s a tough question to be honest. Although, considering the context, I would love to inspire all mothers that are reading this interview. Because we are talking about why we need more women to become company founders, they need to take action. If I can inspire mothers to take action, not only do we achieve the intention of this series, they will also inspire their children, which will be the next generation of entrepreneurs. By leading by example, they show their children that whatever their mind can achieve and believe, they can achieve. Can you even imagine the snowball effect that could have on the future generations?

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love to meet Oprah, because I think I can learn a lot from her, she has a lot of wisdom to share. She is a true inspiration for all women out there.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can connect with me on LinkedIn ( or follow my website My company is also present on Facebook and Instagram, enough ways to follow my work and be inspired.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.




In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Jerome Knyszewski

Jerome Knyszewski

CEO of HeavyShift

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