How Solo Travelling Made Me a Better Entrepreneur

solo traveller

How Solo Travelling Made Me a Better Entrepreneur

Oh we are mid-way through 2018 already! Are you graduating and planning for a well-deserved graduation trip? Or are you a working adult pondering on taking a break from work to recharge?

Wait! If you still have not found the right buddy or travel mates, why not try something different this time by considering a solo trip to explore the uncharted terrain? I believe you’d have heard many stories about how travelling solo can be a life-changing experience. The fear to make that move is always there, especially as we Singaporeans are always so “overprotected”. I understand because I’ve been in that situation before.

That is why in 2013, I finally mustered the courage to make that bold move of travelling alone to South America for two weeks covering Argentina, Peru, and Brazil. Many discouraged me to go solo especially when it was only me, a lady travelling to such a far place like South America. But I took some calculated risk after doing some research and went ahead!

A Trip Full of Learning Experiences

Besides admiring the awe-inspiring natural sceneries like the Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil, and the Colca Valley in Peru, I had to be wary because of the high crime rates there. It was a trip where I was on my own, in a foreign place with practically no safety net. It was just me, my backpack and a dusty trail. (Isn’t an entrepreneurial journey the same where it’s just you, your ideas and how you turn them into reality?)

It was a trip about constant learning and finding a path within the uncertainty of changing conditions. It was during the trip that I discovered and learned valuable lessons that helped me become better at what I do.

Regardless of whether you’re a fresh graduate or a working adult, if the thought of starting out on your own has been lingering in your mind for a while, I hope these lessons can encourage you to make that bold move like how I did.

1. Having an open mind.

I did not know what to expect but yet was excited to experience what was ahead. Immersing in a culture I was unfamiliar with gave me the freedom to go in with an open mind and experience everything as it came my way. Just like entrepreneurship, the courage to go out solo and do our own things is inside us. All we need is to look deep within and find it. We won’t plunge into something with a perception that we’ll fail if it was something we truly believe in and have done enough research on it.

2. Getting out of my comfort zone and rediscovering myself.

As a solo traveller, we are constantly being placed outside our comfort zone. I used to be very fearful of loneliness. This unique experience taught me to love myself more and strengthen myself from inside out. Just like starting our own business, it requires us to always be out of our comfort zone. We have to tackle new things all the time and we cannot let stress and anxiety affect our thoughts and decision making.

3. Ability to adapt to changes.

Being in an unfamiliar environment alone somehow taught me to become adaptable to the surroundings, the people and the food. Similar to managing our own business, we need to constantly try new things and ways to work. Things go wrong at times, but there’s no time to be upset as we’re still exploring an amazing journey. We accept things, seek solutions and make the best out of it. It pushes me to be a problem solver to conquer new challenges and become more independent.

My Greatest Achievement from the Trip?

I’d believe that hiking up the Machu Picchu in Peru was indeed a wonderful experience for me. This UNESCO world-historic site is located on a mountain ridge at an altitude of 2,430 metres above sea level. Getting up there came with a risk of getting altitude sickness, and to reduce that risk, I spent extra time at each level, to allow my body to acclimate to a new altitude.

Sometimes during our entrepreneurial journey, we do need to pause and rethink our strategies forward at certain stages to achieve the best possible outcomes. And the result?

Well, I managed to reach the site and experienced the most amazing serenity and embraced solitude. I was surprised by how my tiny body could actually brave through the tough challenges to conquer the quest. This hike brought great improvement to my mental well-being. Ultimately, it was all in the mind!

Safety Tips for Female Solo Travellers

We do face some challenges when we leave the comfort zone of home. This is especially so for us as women as we are bound to face more problems than men when we travel. But with careful planning and applying some street smarts can minimise the risks that we may face.

Always ask for help when in need but always trust your instinct. If a deal is too good to be true, or when you meet someone overly nice, they usually have other motives. Stay away.

Ensure that you’ve travel insurance. It always comes in handy in the event of an emergency. Lastly, stay sober at all times and if possible, learn some basic self-defence tactics.

In actual fact, a truly solo trip doesn’t exist. You’ll meet and interact with new people. You’ll learn about them, their culture, their lives, and gradually make new friends along the way. This is truly opening yourself up to new things and the true value of a solo trip.

Ms Eunice Yuen is an avid entrepreneur, currently managing a group of over 100 financial consultants and a team of 10 agency leaders. To find out more about Ms Eunice Yuen, please visit her Facebook Page or email eunice@jcorganisation.sg

7 Practical Tips to Become an Entrepreneur with No Money

Entrepreneur

7 Practical Tips to Become an Entrepreneur with No Money

In a generation where self-made success stories are synonymous with inspiration and most people desire to make it on their own, the allure of entrepreneurship has spread far and wide. For the most motivated individuals, the only thing left to do is to take action.

If you are one of them but you feel cash-strapped to put your plans into motion, here are 7 practical tips for you to start embarking on your own entrepreneurial journey without breaking your bank! Lack of funds should not, in any way, deter you from pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams!

1. Put your hands to work

One of the easiest ways to keep costs low is to employ a hands-on approach. On top of reducing the need to utilise and finance manpower. By taking a hands-on approach means that you will most likely be dealing with a service-based business, which is more no-frills than a product-based business would be. If there is something in particular that you are good at which also has potential to generate revenue, you can turn it into a business at a relatively lower or no cost.

2. Begin with what you already have

Do you have the knowledge or skills that someone else might be prepared to pay for? Can you paint, design, code or speak a foreign language? If you possess knowledge or a skill that other people do not, or would need to spend time and money learning themselves, that would immediately put you at a big advantage. Tap on your skills to provide these services at no cost!

3. Look for free resources online

The beauty of the internet these days lies in the fact that you can access information quickly and tap on all the online resources for free! Build a website at little or no cost via online website builder platforms such as WordPress or wix. Then get onto the social networking platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. They are free, easy and an amazing way to reach out and promote your businesses without spending much money. Start small and grow it!

4. Get a little financial help

A budding entrepreneur can head to a bank to obtain a bank loan for his or her starting capital to get the ball rolling. But of course, banks are strict with their loans, and the process of obtaining a loan may end up to be more cumbersome than otherwise. The good thing is that banks are not the only option. There are often government grants and funding schemes like Startup SG or Capability Development Grant targeting entrepreneurs of various categories and industries. If your business idea fulfills the criteria, then you are more than eligible to apply for these grants.

5. Get help through crowdfunding

In this era, there exists platforms that help budding entrepreneurs get an early head-start, and surprisingly, it isn’t too difficult to figure out. Like Kickstarter or FundedHere, there are platforms for budding entrepreneurs to put out their new innovations and seek funding through any keen consumer who stumbles upon their page. On top of financing their plans, this is also a great way to get one’s name out there, and as we all know, word of mouth is sometimes the most powerful way to get around. Utilising such platforms not only helps you attract investors, but also gets you a solid customer base when your business becomes a reality.

6. Join a career that lets you run your own show

How does a career that challenges you to grow as an entrepreneur sound like to you? If you like to have the flexibility to choose your target markets and build your team, consider becoming a financial advisor. Financial advisors work with people to help them (and yourself too) prepare financially for the future, and the work you do can transform the lives of your clients and their families. It may be tough in the beginning, so joining an agency or network that provides you with free trainings and access to like-minded peers from across the country can give you the support and advice specific to your practice and career path.

7. Last but not least – Think partnership

Tap on the capabilities of others which you may not possess. This can reduce your costs of outsourcing or employing someone to do the job. But you may ask, where can I find my partners? Well, join networks, meet more people, and start establishing trust and credibility. If you’ve had prior business success, talk about it. If you haven’t, discuss your professional achievements so they see you as someone they can trust and work with. Then, make him or her an offer that they simply cannot refuse. With the same passion and constant communication, you can benefit from this synergetic partnership to achieve your desired success from your entrepreneurial journey!

Eunice