We got together with Lynda Dennis of Northstar Travel to learn more about her journey as an Entrepreneur. Read on for inspiration:
1.Describe your business/career/what you do in a few sentences.
I am a Certified Travel Consultant. This is a second career for me as I lost my job in the 2008 recession when my American company closed our Kitchener Lighting manufacturing facility and moved the production to the US. I discovered the Travel and Tourism course at Trios College in 2009 and studied for about a year. I have been in the industry since 2010.
2.What ignited the spark in you to start your business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
I had worked in a couple of Travel agencies, in an office environment and had been between opportunities when I reached out to Northstar Travel. I knew their reputation and history and the owner/manager asked me if I’d start working from home. It was a foreign concept at first and even a bit scary. Not having peers around, not having the day to day, face to face contact with colleagues and clients. And at my age, not having health benefits and pension plans. I considered the offer for a couple weeks and my husband asked me “Why are you afraid of doing what you’ve been doing for the past 7 years?” So true! I had nothing to be afraid of. I was the only one holding me back. By the way, my husband is my biggest cheerleader!
3.What sets you apart from other entrepreneurs/companies in your line of work?
I don’t want to negate any of my colleagues or industry peers. There are plenty of great agents who love what they do and are great at their specialty.My focus is Europe. My passion is European Travel. I have travelled to Europe a dozen times in the past 5 years. I love geography and history, so the fit just seems right to me. I also love exploring food and wine (or beer) of the places I visit. I feel you learn so much from a destination through their food history.You have to eat, so it might as well be local!
4.What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur/business?
You must be disciplined. It is so easy to get distracted or just to say, ‘ I don’t want to work today”. But there must be a balance there too. You have to know when to take a break. I schedule my lunch break with a reminder on my phone or else I forget to eat and suddenly it’s 3pm and I haven’t eaten. You must also learn how to do things yourself. Due to budget restrictions, I do my own marketing, social media, promotions, networking, events, bookkeeping. Soon enough, I will be able to outsource some of those tasks. I think you must be a risk-taker too. Accept new challenges. I’ve started doing more presentations and that used to be way outside my comfort zone. You can only learn and grow from those experiences.
5.What book has inspired you the most? (OR What is your favorite book?)
I go through phases, I used to read True Crime Non-fiction. Then Historical Fiction such as Phillipa Gregory. She’s a great writer, by the way. A lot of history woven into her fictional novels. Now I enjoy Travel -related Non-fiction such as Frances Mayes or Peter Mayle. I love to dream about someday living in Italy or the south of France with an olive grove nearby. Truly, I want to live where rosemary and basil grow year-round. I don’t read a lot of inspirational books but one that I did recently read was “She Means Business” by Carrie Green. She said if you want something ask the Universe for it. So, I’ve starting asking Madame Universe to bring me more clients and I believe it has worked.
6.What accomplishment are you most proud of? (either for you as an entrepreneur, or your company)
The growth I’ve seen in terms of clients and revenue in the past two years working as an Independent Contractor. It is satisfying to see that. Especially when I have repeat clients. That means they are loyal and trust me.
7.What has been your biggest failure? How did you overcome it?
A booking error with an airline that I fixed and paid for out of pocket. The client was unaware and was very happy with her vacation. I learned from that mistake and vowed that will not happen again.
8.What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this?
Working from home is like living on a deserted island sometimes. That’s why it is very important to connect with peers via Social Media groups and in person trainings and workshops. It is also very important to make connections face to face in my networks. You chat about all kinds of things work and non-work related and you never know how ideas can be sparked.
9.Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
Retired and living in that villa in Italy!
To find out more about Lynda go to : www.Innernomad.ca