'Many people think it's a cakewalk, but you have to be aware of what you're getting into' - Henrik Nielsen

Tell us who you are?

My name is Henrik Nielsen, I am 45 years old and married to Katrine. Together we have eight-year-old Clara-Sofie and five-year-old Ella-Rose. I am approaching 25 years in the transport and forwarding industry and in March 2020 I established ScanCargo ApS.

You and your wife started your relationship a little 'untraditional'?
I met my wife when I had just moved to Italy in 2006. I had actually said that I should not have a relationship, but fate would have it otherwise. And for the first four years our relationship was long distance. It was before all the cheap budget flights, so we only saw each other maybe 1-2 times a month, but we talked a lot on the phone, so we got to know each other really well.

You have lived in Italy several times. What has it meant to you?

When I was young, I had a dream to move abroad to work. After I had been trained as a freight forwarder, in 2002 I was given the opportunity for a two-year secondment to Italy. A fantastic experience where I learned a lot, not least the language and the culture.

After being at home in Denmark for a few years, I traveled to Italy again for the same employer.
This time to establish an office from scratch, hire staff etc. A really exciting task with lots of challenges along the way. There is a big difference between the Danish and Italian labor markets, not to mention the challenge of making it profitable and making money.

Which fortunately succeeded. I ended up staying in Italy for four years. Since my first posting, Italy has almost been my second home country. I still have lots of good friends and a large part of my business today is related to that.

Are you still attracted to foreign countries?

In 2019 I have a year commuting to Italy for another employer, we had just had our first child. It was insanely hard. But of course, it drags and occasionally Katrine and I talk about it.
On the other hand, we have two children now, and it is also of great value that they thrive in kindergarten and school, and that we have the grandparents close by.
So right now it will probably just be a dream.

You became self-employed in 2020?
I started my own freight forwarding business in March 2020 – shortly after I got home from commuting. I couldn't find a job that I thought was right, and then I had a couple of clients who asked if I shouldn't just start on my own.
It wasn't exactly in the cards to become independent, but
I sat down and made a budget and then we decided it should have a shot.
I started the company on 1 March 2020 - that is, a few days before the corona basically shut down everything. Especially in
Italy, where several of my clients and potential clients were.

I have to admit I thought ' What the hell is this going to end up with '. It was a crazy market and impossible to get out and hold meetings.

It was my strong network that kept it going.
Since then it has gone well. Today there are eight of us in the company, after I merged my company in 2021 with my partner, Peter, who also ran his own.
We have a good partnership.

What would be your advice to others who dream of starting their own business?

The first piece of advice will always be: Consider it not just once, but twice or thrice.
Make a list of pros and cons. Many think it's a bed of roses, but you have to be aware of what
you go in for - especially if you come from a job with a good salary.
I certainly don't make the same salary as I did before. We have a healthy company with good finances, but I have taken a bit of a pay cut, and it can be difficult to get used to.

We have privately really had to look at what is 'nice to have' and 'need to have'.
On the other hand, I have freedom. And time for my family. I can help drop off and pick up my children - something I couldn't do before.

I wouldn't trade that for money.

So what do you do when you're not working?

Of course, I spend a lot of time with my family. Both girls go to gymnastics several times a week, where I often drive along.
In addition, I have been running for many years and love to use it to de-stress and clear my head.
Now I have started to expand to a little triathlon and have just tried my hand at a quarter Ironman.

I love setting goals, it motivates me. Both when it comes to sports, but also in work contexts.

What is your relationship with clothes and your dressing?

I would say it means more and more as I've gotten older.
It started when I lived in Italy, where I thought the level was higher than at home in Denmark.
At work I always wore a suit and tie, which followed me for many years when I came back to Denmark. Nowadays, I rarely wear a suit, although I still think it's a cool look.

I often style myself with some trousers, a shirt and a bold blazer. My wife has worked for many years in the fashion industry, which of course has influenced my style.
When I shop at Ulrik, I am still challenged and influenced positively with new styles without it being too special for me.

I shop pretty much my entire wardrobe at Ulrik, as he knows my style and always makes sure to have the newest and coolest styles in the store.
I love coming to the store, as the atmosphere is always good and cozy. Ulrik knows his customers and is passionate about what he does.

A big thank you to Henrik Nielsen for wanting to be part of 'Man of The Month'.