YTN welcomes entrepreneurs to inspire the next generation
“Act, feel, become; believe in yourself and it happens”
YTN members, along with other young professionals and students, gathered at William Angliss Institute Thursday evening to hear from four leaders who started their own tourism ventures.
John O’Sullivan, founder of Walks101, kicked off the event with his story that took him from midwest America, across the pond to Ireland where was introduced to both his Aussie wife and walking tours and finally to Melbourne, where he now owns the largest and highest-rated walking tour company in the city.
Realising the lack of walking tours Australia offered, O’Sullivan set out to fill the gap in the industry and started Walks101 in 2017.
“Power through the doubt, power through the uncertainty, that’s the only way you’re going to be able to achieve the things you want to achieve,” O’Sullivan advised future entrepreneurs.
The second speaker and co-founder of Pink Boots Hire, Jessica Gilchrist, discussed her journey through several entrepreneurial ventures. Gilchrist started an events company until she took over and expanded Chocoholic Walking Tours. Her battle with cancer required her to sell the walking tour company, but led her to another venture in a completely different field: access equipment hire in business and construction industry.
“It’s actually really easy to start a business, you can Google it,” said Gilchrist. “It’s the why you’re [starting the business] that makes it keep going.”
Gilchrist advised that future entrepreneurs seek two things: (1) formal education about business plans that help work out the problem, affordability and accessibility of the business and (2) find an industry mentor who will help you keep going when you want to give up.
Kathryn Farrell and Melissa Tuliranata, co-founders of Trashbags on Tour, never realised their mutual desire to create change in the world would lead them to starting an eco-education tour company.
“Passion [is] the first step, then action…you might have a great business plan, but until you actually do it, it’s just a business plan,” advised
Farrell and Tuliranata found time and balance were (and still are) their biggest challenges when starting Trash Bags on Tour, especially because the business was just a side gig for both of them, a common trait for entrepreneurs.
The partners also advised that future entrepreneurs stay true to their values and visions for the company by not giving in to opinions from others in the industry who try to pull you in different directions.
The event wrapped up with Michelle Gatzoubaros, founder of the hospitality coaching and consultation agency 2aspire2. Gatzoubaros discussed the importance of self-care and wellness when building a career or starting a business.
Gatzoubaros gave six key insights for future entrepreneurs:
- Educate yourself yourself about the industry (which all four speakers recommended!)
- Find a good support network from friends and family
- Get a coach who will “get what’s in you out and help move you forward”
- Build a personal brand and get it out there
- Network, network, network – not just at events, but also over the phone and through LinkedIn
- Make sure you have a short, punchy statement that explains what you do
“Attitude plus effort equals energy; everything we do is energy. When you walk into a place, you need to know how your energy is…Energy is everything you need to create a great business,” advised Gatzoubaros.
The speakers answered questions from the audience about outsourcing, dealing with surprises and finding the right business partner, followed by drinks and networking (of course) at the Mint.
YTN thanks our partners, William Angliss Institute and Clementine’s, for their support and contribution to the event.
Written by: Olivia Salsbery
Olivia has experience in agency, non-profit, public and private communications. Her major focus has been on strategic digital communication, research and cause marketing. She has a bachelor of Arts (Public Relations and International Studies) and is currently studying her Master of International Sustainable Tourism. Connect with her on Linked In @oliviasalsbery.