Author: Nora Haldorsen Grønås
Janne Strømsø has always been an entrepreneur. Already at 23 years old she was running her own fashion business and store in Oslo. In 2014 Janne moved to Singapore with her family, continuing her work here.
Today, Janne is a yoga teacher and has her own company, Mojo Yoga. After five years in Singapore, she decided to follow another aspiration in life. Through hard work, a supporting community, and a burning passion for yoga, she was able to receive her work permit in 2021. Holding certifications in prenatal-, postnatal- and kids yoga, she has the opportunity to work with all kinds of customers. Janne hosts her classes at Sentosa, where she lives with her husband and their two children.
Is it difficult to start a business in Singapore?
-As a female, a spouse, yes, definitely. It’s hard to be a dependent pass holder and establish your own business. Even though it was a long process, I managed to get my work permit and set up my company!
Do you have any tips for Norwegians who would like to move to Singapore and start a business?
-You definitely need to have a good idea, a dream and a passion. It can be challenging to set up a company in Singapore. Think it through, have a plan and financial support.
What helped you the most in your career as a woman?
-To trust myself and have a passion for what I’m doing. I think this shines through in every business. For me, Yoga is both my hobby and my passion, and I’m lucky to call it my business. I think if you love what you do, your business does better.
When Janne’s customers come to her class, she provides them with a safe space free of judgment and labels. She wants to give them a break from their phones, and an opportunity to truly connect with themselves through their breath, body and mind.
-We are bombarded daily with phones and notifications. Your mind is more focused on what you are going to do, rather than staying in the present moment. I am trying to ground people down and make them relax (…) I have a no-phone policy in my classes so that my customers can really connect.
In February Janne hosted a two day yoga retreat, staying at a boutique hotel in Batam, Indonesia. Hosting a retreat has been a big dream of hers since starting Mojo Yoga. They were a group of ladies traveling, and Janne organized spa treatments, cooking- and yoga classes on the trip. This was a fulfilling experience, and she wants to continue with similar initiatives in the future. Janne is self-driven, creative and ambitious. One of her goals is to always push herself further in developing her business.
-I’m working alone in my business and wearing all the hats. I am the CEO, CFO, the creative director and the marketing and social media manager. It’s a lot of work to run a business on your own. Trust yourself. Learning by doing is a big part of what entrepreneurship is.
How should women support other women in organizations?
-I think that sometimes women are their own worst enemies. People can find it easier to criticize other people than to lift them up. Focus on cheering and encouraging others. Regardless if you are male or female, we all need support and encouragement when meeting challenges or going through tough times. Since I’m the only one in my business, the support from the community has also been very important for me.
What advice would you give the next generation of future female entrepreneurs?
-Dream it and do it! Keep going, and never give up. You will meet several bumps in the road. Go for it, believe in yourself and be creative. Find alternative solutions to how you can solve problems, and you will come out of it stronger and more capable of dealing with challenges in the future.