Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lara Sidhu, Founder of Hotelevating, located in Langkawi, Malaysia.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is commercial training and consulting in the hotel industry.
Tell us about yourself
Well, I was born into the fourth generation of a hospitality family business, and I was surrounded by hard work, and when the time came, I was raised with the same fortitude. Serving customers, I truly learned what it meant to be hospitable. It's not just about providing a service but about real human connections and empathy. Yes, a simple concept, yet I still find it eludes many. Through genuine service, I became accustomed to providing solutions and, in turn, noticed an increase in sales. Real hospitality meant never faking a smile and making each welcome authentic. This naturally led me into hotel sales as I worked my way up from Manager to Regional Director and into a VP position leading successful teams all along the way. I have worked for amazing brands such as the Hilton, Marriott, Radisson Blu, and a range of independent hotels, island resorts, and service apartments. I even once owned, operated, and sold a cafe and a food truck. It was recognized for Best Branding Small Business at the Asian Summit of 2015.
Even though I had the privilege to experience some amazing teams and mentors, there were many moments when I was surrounded by toxic colleagues, poor management, and sheer incompetence. There were also many times of feeling alone and unsupported. I turned to educational support and found too many to be outdated and often boring. My best lessons came from mentorship - the constant motivational support, education, and nurturing of my talents that catapulted me to the highest of highs. This made me realize there shouldn't have been a struggle to begin with! This inspired me to create Hotelevating so that now I can mentor others to do the same.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Being recognized and headhunted for my methodologies and leadership and being able to sell my courses.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
There's a lot of hard work that is required to set something up in a niche market, especially during the pandemic in which my industry was one of the hardest hit. There's a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into it. It's definitely not all peachy to be your own boss. You have to stay motivated and driven through all the struggles, put in the hours, keep learning new things and make sacrifices along the way. There's quite a bit of anxiety and fear to work through, but the payoff is worth it in the end.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Grow a pair!
- Don't give up easily. You're gonna get knocked down, so pick yourself up, shake off the dust and get at it again.
- Make sure it's for you that you have that fire and drive to want to go the distance. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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