Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melinda Jarrell, Owner of Winner Destination, located in San Marcos, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a travel advisor, but that title does not explain what I do. When someone calls and wants to take that perfect vacation, I owe it to them to do my due diligence. I will start by asking questions that will help lead me to what exactly they are looking to do. There is a perfect fit for everyone, but you must invest time to figure out what “that” is.
My customers are people who appreciate the assistance that I can provide and do not want a vacation. They could buy online. They want to know if I have any personal experience or a close relationship with the suppliers. I want to be able to bring value to the conversation.
Tell us about yourself
I have been a travel advisor for over ten years now. I started wanting to help clients put together events, as I did in my past job experience. However, someone pointed out that I like to travel and that travel pairs great with event planning. I decided I wanted to do it right, so I took six months of courses online and then chose my business model.
I have also supplemented that training with supplier training conferences/classes, attending events, and exploring many destinations on my own. I am motivated to help others to do what I do, explore something new, and love the journey.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of the most significant accomplishments is achieving ten years in this business with all the ups and downs, especially in the last few years. Then, taking my education seriously, I was certified by ASTA as a Verified Travel Advisor. Travel Institute awarded me a Certified Travel Advisor, and then I am also an Accredited Cruise Counselor by CLIA. All of these certifications have taken some serious time and effort to achieve.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
To be a business owner takes a lot of strength and determination to succeed. But you cannot rest there. You must keep climbing to a higher goal you have set for yourself. For me, it is to continue with education and work with even more people on their vacation plans to grow my business.
I think you also need to be fluid. Sometimes that goal might change and grow in a different direction. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It could even bring you more success in the long run. You need to have that ability to decide which direction to go and remember that even if it was a mistake, it is a learning moment, and you can probably get back on track. Have faith in yourself.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
To start your own business, I recommend you check out who your competitors might be. See how they do things, what you would do differently, and if you do, what that could mean to the bottom line.
I would also explore other partnerships. It is hard to go through it on your own sometimes. Having someone else with you can talk over ideas can be a great stress reliever.
Thirdly, I would recommend finding a mentor who can help steer the business or call you on your decisions. Just because you decided to be a business owner does not mean you have all the answers. Reach out to someone you know and trust.
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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