I read somewhere that when starting a new business ~ one must prepare a captivating “elevator speech”.
I learned that an “elevator speech” is a short, 3 minute or less (the time it takes to ride an elevator with someone) speech providing information about a business.
The”elevator speech” is a mission statement of sorts; the purpose behind the business, it answers the question WHY this, WHY now?
I got that ~ it made sense and I figured that when I decided to finally take the steps necessary to pursue my dream of creating a unique Adventure Travel Company, the “speech” would come easily to me.
I have had the idea for an Adventure Travel Company brewing within me for years. I always knew there was something within me that seemed to intrinsically know how to travel “in through the back door” of any place I would visit. Something within me just knew, that to actually experience a place ~ I needed to “become” a part of it ~ rather than watch it from afar. It is has always been a part of me. It comes easily and I enjoy each and every step of the travel process.
But why now?
At first I thought that my current urgency for this concept came from my overwhelming focus on figuring out a way to temporarily “run away” from my day-to-day routine. Having always been an adventure-seeker, a wanderer and a lover of anything spontaneous, my current life went against these natural traits, sometimes bringing a feeling of suffocation stemming from my somewhat unnatural role as “housewife” and mother. (the fact that I have lived in the same state for 13 years and the same house for 7 nearly causes me to break out in hives)
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love most of what comes along with both of these roles. I feel gratitude on a daily basis for being blessed with an incredible family and a truly wonderful life. Still, I sometimes wake at night, overcome by both fear and dread that the spontaneous and wanderlust side of my life is gone forever; snuffed by the day-to-day routine of wiping counters and putting away laundry.
It was during one of the many long and dark winter days (winter is LONG in Minnesota), that I came across a box of journals from years gone by. As I was reading my way down memory lane, I came across entry after entry, speaking about my concept for a unique Adventure Travel company. In that very moment, I decided that there was no time better than the present to pursue my dream and promised myself that I would wait no longer….that I would do what it took to turn the dream into a reality.
And so it began. The concept was officially brought forward; out of the archives of the dream-filled journals.
It seemed that the next steps would be simple ~ all I needed to do was create a business plan, write my elevator speech ~ and I would be off…seeing the world ~ “teaching” others how to experience the world as travelers.
Only it was of course not that simple.
First of all, I quickly learned that there is not a “Create an Adventure Travel Company Book for Dummies” on any shelf that I could find. I scoured the bookstores and libraries. I googled Google, Yahoo and every other search engine only to discover there was not any “how to” manual anywhere.
Sure, I was able to find a book on starting a business and a LOT of fabulous Adventure Travel company’s websites providing me with information useful in creating a business model. Still, there were large holes in my plan and many questions left unanswered.
I began researching podcasts, travel twitter feeds and travel blogs in the hopes of discovering more direction. And while I listened and read amazing ideas ~ I still did not have a “proper” business model to work from.
So I did what comes naturally ~ I asked questions. I created a list of questions and emailed them to a multitude of adventure travel company’s websites in hopes of receiving answers.
I received SILENCE.
Not surprisingly, as it is probably not industry standard to share “business success” ideas with a potential competitor.
So I continued to research and read…..and read and research, hundreds of company sites in the hopes of discovering a business formula that would become the foundation for my company. And after hours/weeks/months of academic and intellectual “guesswork” ~ I felt that I had enough of a framework for an initial business plan. Or, at least something that allowed me to move forward with my next step toward creating a perfect “elevator speech”.
My next step was to “test the waters” and plan my first trip for a small group of friends ~ as their group leader and Adventure Company owner. I created an “invitation/brochure”, sent it out to a group of women and Voila! the first trip was planned.
“Wow!”, I thought ~ this may be easier than I had thought. (ha!)
Once I had the trip planned, I knew it was finally time to create my “elevator speech”. I decided to try my 3 minute “elevator speech” on someone I did not know very well ~ to gauge their reaction. Kind of like a “soft grand opening”.
The perfect opportunity came the next week at my son’s school event. I began chatting with another mom and “just happened” to bring up the subject of traveling.
The Mom: “where do you work out?”
Me: “I like to work out at Victory fitness…..it has great work outs; perfect as I prepare for my trip to Belize and the launch of my new Adventure Travel Company”
Once I brought up the “launch” of the company, my elevator speech came easily. The concept and style of travel rolled easily off my tongue. She was captivated.
Then she completely caught me off guard.
The Mom: “How in the world did you come up with such a great idea? How long have you been planning this?”
Me: “I started this plan when I was nine.”
What?? The words came out without even a thought ~ where did they came from?
It was at that moment that it hit me.
This concept was far more deeply rooted within me than I had first thought. It went much further back than the journals found last winter. My “elevator speech” had just become more intriguing….and complicated.
In that very moment I understood for the first time the adage…..do what you love…..do what you have always loved…..follow your passion.
I was on my way.