Hello travel lovers,
I am sorry I haven’t been super active on the blog lately. The reason is I have been busy PUTTING MY BUSINESS TOGETHER! Yes…At 21 years old, I will start signing my own paychecks. Now, before some assume this is a post about bragging and teling the world “How awesome I am.” I want you to realize this is a post of empowerment. To help any of you reading to follow this dream you have on the inside of you or to simply keep pushing if you already started something.
My business, is an entreprise operating in the tourism sector in Haïti, providing all-inclusive packages with a 100% local experience. What I mean by local experience is: An experience where the tourist will learn about Haitian culture, our cuisine, our art, our music and not only see a beautiful landscape. The goal is to discover Haïti while engaging in some activities (depending on your interests) like island hoping, hiking, cave visits, snorkeling and more but where local activities such as Haitian cooking classes, bwa fouye riding and more will be included. Also, instead of staying in expensive hotels, the objective of this tour is to offer different experiences like sleeping or couchsurfing at a local’s or simply have an outdoor sleeping experience near the sea.
This initiative that I like to call social and sustainable tourism will not only satisfy the adventurous backpackers or tourists but will also create jobs for many locals that will either sell their art work on the island where the tourists will be based, those who wil be part of the cleaning team, the fishermen who will teach them some technics or even the coocking team.
Now, before I get into too many details, I want you guys to know that the official launch is in February but that I am organizing a pilote/test tour this November. This pre-launch will be an occasion for the excited clients to test the service before it is made official and also for me to make it better before the big publicity in the newspaper and website launch!
I am so excited these days that I feel like a mom who just gave birth to the most adorable baby. I think about it all the time. Every time I see something I could buy to make the business better, I want to buy it. I think about it when I eat, shower, drive and even in my sleep! No need to say, I am passionate about this! This idea started growing for more than five years now. It all started when I wanted to own a hotel. But with all my travels, meeting new people, discussing with interesting entrepreneurs and some working experience, the idea evolved.
Many people tell me how proud they are or how brave I am to do this. Truth is… I have no idea how I came to this point. The way I started this business had nothing to do with any kind of expertise in the sector or tons of money from rich family members..really..none of that. It started with a little seed that was on my heart and that I watered often. It was me, being in touch with my strengths and weaknesses, asking God for light and not getting scared enough to drop everything. Because yes, I get scared. But I never allowed the space between where I am now and where I want to be to intimidate me. I am a strong believer in growth and getting back up after a mistake.It started with small savings in a bank account. Not even enough to buy a ticket to Africa. It started with a purpose, a passion, a dream. I am only 21 years old but one thing I know for sure, is that I am a fighter for what I believe in. I have no guarantee that this will be a huge success and I am pretty sure that, while starting now, I will make some mistakes. But you know what? I am SO ready for this! I am blessed to have the support of my parents and friends and I know that even if I never asked for anything till that day, my family is ready to help out whenever I need it. Of course my pride and my ‘Miss independent attitude’ (haha) are pushing me to do whatever I can to start this with the resources I have and not ask for anything besides useful information. Not that I am stubborn, I just like to fight with what I have.
“I teach you how to fish. I don’t get the fishes for you” This is what my dad told me when I was about 8 years old. I remember him giving me $10 to buy a big bag of little packs of gums that I later on sold by unit to my classmates. Made more than 200% profit. Or that time I sold seashells at schools. I have always known that I was created to do business. But it takes determination and faith to trust the days of small beginnings.
Yes I am sooo proud of myself. Yes, I am. We need self-love to get through this life. And by writing this, I am not saying that this is the best thing I’ll ever accomplish in my life. I don’t know that. I don’t know what obstacles I will have. I don’t know if my projections are false. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t know if this business will turn into something completely different as I start it. But what I have is faith. Also, the determination to plan everything ahead and get what I want. A few days ago I had this meeting with this grumpy old lady to try to get a deal. As I saw her face for the first time, I felt like giving up. But guess what…I made her smile! She loved me. Your attitude is your business card. Whether you have no experience or just starting something, your attitude will make a difference. The way you carry yourself or approch people can open doors that would have remained closed otherwise.
I am no expert in starting a business or human psychology (even though I think I have some natural skils and gifts) but all I know is that you should never be afraid to try. You should also ask for help and recognize areas where you lack experience. You can’t do it alone. I am following some intensive courses and working on the side right now. Also, I just hired three great young adults as part of my staff.
Here are some simple tips:
1- Feed your idea
Having an amazing idea is great. But it is just a seed. And if you don’t plant that seed the right way, you won’t get the results you need. Think about your idea, put some stuff on paper, make some ressearches.
2- Talk to other business men/women
Stop thinking everybody wants to steal your idea. It is important not to let all the juice out until you have a clear idea of how you are going to start it or what your vision is but by sharing your ideas, you might get many great strategies from people with more experience. People who listen to you don’t know your vision. Even if you try to explain it, they will never fully understand the vision that only you know you have in your heart. Relax
3- Take your time but not too much
It is important to take the time to sit down and analyze but numbers will never be 100% correct. Once you’ve made the necessary ressearches, make the first step. We all learn along the way.
4- Don’t rely on people
Don’t depend on anybody. Start what you can, where you are with what you have. You need to work part-time while starting the business? It’s OK” Do it. You need to buy some equipments but this friend of the family tells you he can give some for free? Test him and see if he really answers the phone after that glass of wine around the table. People talk and make promises but you need to always plan for the worst and do it on your own!
5- Encourage yourself
Keep yourself motivated. The road might be long but you are able to do it! Anything your mind can concieve, it can achieve
6- Have faith
You don’t need to see the entire stairs. Just start walking.
7- Be flexible
Ideas grow and change. Don’t be afraid to modify your first plans.
It is not about making your own money or being called “boss” (I will never let them call me that btw). It is about following your dreams and have the courage to make things happen.
There are so many more advices I could give! Are you starting your own business? Do you have a dream? Does it scare you? Share with me
A travel lover and Business woman!