What I believe in...

I’ve always found it very difficult to explain who I am and what I do, so instead are here a few things I believe deeply in (which are also more or less the topics on my blog)...

  • 📖

    I have wanted freedom my whole life and went after it by being self-employed, traveling full-time and to construct a life I love. Not giving my kids the same freedom seems weird. That’s why we don’t send our son to daycare and plan to homeschool / unschool.

  • 👨‍💻

    Entrepreneurship is an incredible tool to live an awesome life. The freedom, the adventures, the number of directions you can go in, the things you can combine and the opportunity to make more money. I started my first business when I was 18 and consider myself unemployable.

  • 🏔️

    Living an exciting life keeps the mind fresh and that’s why I try to prioritize adventures in different forms, from visiting new places in Denmark to bigger adventures like climbing a mountain or visiting North Korea. When a year is over I want to have done something memorable every month.

  • 💰

    Money is not the goal, but an extremely important tool. That’s why I always keep savings to take a few years off, we live way below our means and I work towards being able to retire at around age 40.

A few events in my life that shaped me…

Growing up

I remember very early not liking school, not feeling like I fitted in. I was stuttering quite badly and I remember very early that I thought that I had no chance to compete with all the other kids and I started pretty early worrying about “making it” as an adult.

2003

Dropped out of high school, got a job at a supermarket and saved money to start a DJ company (went out to parties with a lot of gear to DJ). Had to learn marketing to get clients and stumpled upon entrepreneurship as a term. Went to an entrepreneur event and my life changed big time. Knew right away that was the way I wanted to go.

2007

Started a free magazine about entrepreneurship for young people that was handed out for free in stores and on high schools in Denmark. Crappy business model, but was super fun. Founded with two others I had meet at a Danish entrepreneurship forum. One of them is one of my best friends today and we are still doing business together.

2011

Did an Ironman triathlon after 10 months of very structured training after having done a bunch of marathons with crappy training. Prioritized training a lot for around 3 years, doing a personal best Ironman in 9hr 34 min. Since then I’ve prioritized to always be in a good shape mainly with running.

2012

Was afraid of water when I was a kid, so after having learned to swim in my triathlon training, I decided to try to swim 10k in open water. Was an awesome feeling learning something new, becoming quite okay at it – even if it had been something I was a bit afraid of before.

2012

Moved to Beijing for a year because my better half studied there. Tough city to live in, but it kickstarted a big love for traveling and living abroad.

2012-2018

Pretty spontanously post on my old danish blog asking if some other entrepreneurs were up for a week in a spanish villa for work and hanging out. Within a few days 20 spots were sold and a new concept, Refuga, was created. Through 6 years I traveled with entrepreneurs from over 50 countries around the world.

2013

Wrote and self-published a book called “BEDRE” (Better) in Danish. I think it was just a bit of a life-crisis and I needed a small project, but actually sold okay and I got invited into live Danish national TV to talk about it.

2013-2014

Founded a startup with a famous Danish entrepreneur. Failed. Realized that doing startups the traditional way was probably not for me and that I had to do stuff my own way completely. Haven’t had an office since.

2014-2018

Full-time travel including living longer periods in Malaysia and in the French Alps. A period which was focused big time on experimenting with different ways of living. Do we like living near the ocean, in the mountains, small village, big city, which culture? Instead of a clear answer, it was obvious that this kind of living – traveling around and being more free was maybe viable.

2014

Decided to do something else with the Refuga trips and arranged a trip to Kilimanjaro for entrepreneurs. Some of the participants are my absolutely best friends today and being my first time on a pretty big mountain, it started a big love for being in mountains. I have since climbed and run in a lot of mountains, including climbing Elbrus in Russia and Mont Blanc in France.

2018

Expanded the family with our first kid. A few years earlier we had started talking about alternatives to schools etc., and getting a baby was a real turning point in being even more proactive about how we wanted to live. We wanted to use our freedom to be a family, so we decided to keep him out of daycare, only work part-time and we are working towards homeschooling.

2018

Did my very last Refuga trip, a desert island survival trip to Panama. Felt very emotional and weird about ending that chapter of my life, but it was the right decision and a cool way to end that big adventure.

What I do for a living

I'm 100% self-employed and I've been running my own projects since I was 18.

Nikolaj Astrup Madsen ApS (started in 2017)

This is my overall company that owns everything I do and where I do consulting, savings and so on. Main activity is consulting as an external CMO for a bunch of clients and doing bigger IT projects.

Radimet (started in 2017)

Radimet is a radon detector company that I own a small stake in. We help both consumers and companies with measuring radon in their buildings. We have built an industry leading IT system automating the whole process and are approved by the Danish Health authorities.

OOB life (I’ve been a part of the company since 2017)

OOB is a small triathlon coaching service mainly in Denmark, but recently also launched in the US. I own a small stake and help out with IT and marketing. I use the company when I did Ironman races myself.

Refuga (2012 - 2018)

Refuga is a travel agency for entrepreneurs. I did trips to Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, North Korea, Morocco, traveled with entrepreneurs from +50 countries and got the project mentioned in Bloomberg, Fast Company, CNN, Forbes and many others.