I can’t believe the year is ending, where did it go?
I had always heard that entrepreneurship is a roller coaster; and boy it has been the mother of all roller coasters this year for me! I started the year by paying it forward and opening myself to helping other travel agents and answering questions from those interested in joining the travel industry. One of those conversations led me to hiring an independent contractor. She’s a spunky, smart girl with a background in advertising and a passion for travel. I think she’ll be great for the industry.
My business took an unexpected change this year as I changed the name of the business in order to better reflect my niche–exotic beach destinations. There’s something to say about setting goals, I was able to do a lot of travel this year to include the Seychelles, St. Lucia and Fiji (where I am as I type this). Wow! Never in a million years would I have thought I would have reached and learned about those destinations in just one year!
I also set the goal of being very consistent in my marketing messages, and they have paid off. My business grew by at least 300% this year alone, not bad for my second year in business. I learned so much about my ideal client and realized marketing works when done consistently and through the right channels. Done and done!
Conferences, FAM’s and workshops got an overhaul this year as well. If they are not specific to my niche, I won’t be a part of them. I know it sounds easy to say but it is very hard to do when FAM opportunities come up and you have insatiable wanderlust. From a budget perspective, it also made sense for me to target the right ones. I just cannot fit them all in my budget and calendar.
By mid-year I was starting to feel the burnout, I created a #techfree experiment that lasted two weeks and was about 85% successful. It wasn’t perfect but I couldn’t believe how much I was able to accomplish! Of course, life wouldn’t be what it is without lessons, I had a few hard ones this year; and I learned to trust my instincts more often both personally and professionally. I was so glad to hear from so many of you via comments and emails, thank you for your encouragement and support.
One of the biggest lessons of the year was to surround myself with like minded people, after all the ups and downs, having a group of people to be able to confide in and listen to has been the most important element in helping move this business forward. Without my posse and all of you who read the columns and comment, I would not have learned as much as I have, thank you to all of you. Have a wonderful holiday season and Thank you again!
Brenda Llamas Young is the owner of Encore Romance Travel, which specializes in weddings and honeymoons to exotic beaches to include the South Pacific, Asia, Australia, Indian and African Coast. Brenda entered the travel industry in 2009 and after two years of education, opened her own home based agency.