I guess I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.. As a teen, I can remember getting babysitting jobs and having a summer’s worth of income and the spending of it figured out before I drew my first paycheck. By then I would have detailed on a note pad how much I was going to make for the summer, how much I was going to save and how much I was going to spend on school clothes or whatever. I also would have set aside some to use to make more money. Of course, just like in grown-up business, plans did not always go as, well, planned...
Now, many years later, I’ve had a number of businesses, cake decorating, SCUBA Travel and Instruction, newspaper publishing, vacation rental management, and now, kind of, sorta, retirement. Yes, that can be business, too :-) (read about Workamping :-)
And, I’m still making my lists. My yellow pad is filled daily with ideas and thoughts about how I can make our life/business better. How can I show my guests how much I appreciate them staying with me over the years. How can I increase the guests that return each year to our little cabin in the woods? And, how can I get them to tell their friends?
Then, of course, there's the business end of things; How can I lower my spending on a cell phone, landline, utilities and such? One little tweak and next thing you know I’ve saved hundreds of dollars this year. Yeah! A small mistake in judgment and I’ve spent hundreds I didn’t need to... Tweaking the small stuff can make a huge difference!
With the amazing opportunities now in technology, you can do business almost anywhere and in the blink of an eye. If I have a connection and an iPhone, I’m in business. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the forest at my cabin in Florida, on a boat in Sitka Sound or sitting on the side of the mountain, enjoying an incredible Alaskan sunset, we can take a reservation for a guest and have them start packing for their trip all within a matter of minutes.
This all excites me to no end that we have so many opportunities to us, “even in Alaska” smile, but, in the end, I’ve learned that it’s that friendly voice on the other end of the line telling me what a wonderful trip they had and how much they loved the house that makes it all worthwhile.
I tried once to have an employee take over reservations for me, but what I soon learned was, it’s the connections with people that I love. Business does not appeal to me without it. I love what I do. I love walking through a home and envisioning guests spending their time there with friends and family, enjoying the sunset, cooking a meal. That little tweak, a lamp to where they can read in bed, a table so they can sit their coffee on it while they sit there in the morning admiring the sunrise. I love it!
I love connecting with them on the phone and hearing what their dreams of vacation are and helping them to reach them during their stay, be it through a place to stay, a whale watching trip, or an ATV Alaskan Adventure. And, I love hearing about it after.
Business is just a means to an end. It’s all about “connections”. It’s the people and the connections made along the way that makes it worthwhile.