TOP FIVE LIVE
How I started Explorateur Travel
After posting on Facebook about my humble beginnings in starting Explorateur Travel, I thought it would make sense to get a little vulnerable about how I started my business and how I sacrificed to get my dreams off the ground. Disclaimer: I am not a small business consultant and I am not saying that this is the only way to do things! I am just merely hoping to share my journey with you… and maybe inspire a couple of people along the way!
I was a sponge. There is a wealth of free information online about every topic imaginable so take advantage of it! When I first had the idea about starting my travel company, I listened to travel podcasts non-stop! It is so important to soak up as much information as you possibly can, especially in the beginning when you are starting from square one.
I was willing to work for free. I am not necessarily recommending this. However, I believed that I had to sacrifice a little to create something that would one day become a lot more. I worked for free in Italy (workaway.info) to gain knowledge and experience. I beta tested my business for a year doing itineraries for people free of charge. And I did all of this because I always had to do something that was pushing my business forward. However, the downside to working for free is that I did not value my knowledge enough. I think that this is typical of people starting a new business. It is important to remember that you are coming to the table with something, so don’t discredit yourself.
I quit my corporate job. I took a risk by leaving my comfortable corporate job with a salary, health care, and normal working hours because I had to make space to travel and create my vision. While this was hard at first to wrap my head around, I got closer to doing what I wanted to do because I was no longer working towards someone else’s dream.
I was poor. Like no money poor. I had to be okay with not buying a new dress, not going on a group trip, or not getting a new couch for my apartment because every dollar I saved was another dollar I could pour back into my business. These are the scary things people don’t tell you about starting a business but always remember that this season is temporary and it is all a means to an end. Just know that it is okay to not be rolling in dough right away! Side note: I highly recommend reading Shoe Dog. It is about the founder of Nike… who didn’t pay himself for years in order to build this brand into what it is now. Also, Girl Wash Your Face is another great inspirational book that makes you want to run head first after your dreams! I highly recommend them both!
I ignored what other people told me would work. I believe that I was secretly fortunate to not know anything about this industry before I started it. I came into it with such a fresh and creative mindset that wasn’t squashed by following someone else’s processes and vision. Don’t get me wrong, I found mentors later on. But by ignoring what other people thought would work, I let the other’s anticipation of failure fuel me!
Bonus: I started to celebrate other peoples successes. Instead of fearing or be annoyed by other people’s successes, I learned to be excited about them because I wanted that to someday be me. Comparison is the thief of joy. Everyone has to start somewhere so don’t beat yourself up about the current season you are in because it is all part of your journey.
Bonus: When I wanted to stop, I didn’t. There will be setbacks and hard days and doubts, but you must not allow yourself the option of giving up. Treat everything as a lesson, admit your mistakes, own your short comings in the beginning, and be okay with not knowing everything! You got this!