GUEST POST 16 - Jin Mehta: Why I built yo-kerala.com

Editor: "My cousin Jin is a scrappy entrepreneur. He has cut his teeth in startups and sales. If you want to take a well-organised trip to a beautiful part of the world then please try his service"

I went travelling for 18 months around SE Asia, India and Australia a few years ago. As Parin is fairly well travelled himself, I imagine most people reading already know a fair bit about travelling. So I’m not here to tell you about what a life changing experience I had and how I “found myself”. If anything, I came back more confused than when I left. This blog post is to tell my story of how an epic 18 month trip has led to me now having my own business. 

What is my business? Tailor-made package tours to the South of India and the state of Kerala. I started my own business as:

1. I wanted to have my own business 
2. I have a passion for travelling 
3. I wanted others to experience what I experienced 
4. I have a good contact in Kerala who has his own travel agency 
5. I spent a lot of time in Kerala so have good local knowledge 
6. I had some spare cash to invest 
7. I was already doing what I do now- but not charging for it* 
8. I wanted to have business cards 
9. I like to be in control 
10. I don’t like having a boss 

*when I returned from my trip, I found myself arranging holidays for friends and family, through my contact in India.

If I’m honest, it took about 5 years to finally take the plunge and make a venture from it. I knew I wanted to use my experience and contacts to build a business. I just love to procrastinate, for one reason or another. 

But one day around March this year I decided that enough was enough and I commissioned my best friend to build a website for me (fortunately, he is a web designer by trade). 

July 2nd 2013… I launched. It was exciting. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Would I suddenly be inundated with calls and emails? How would I be able to manage all the enquiries on my own? In reality, this was my optimistic imagination working over time. Through Facebook marketing, I did get a few leads (one of which has now converted – cha ching!), but in terms of random people finding me on Google searches, I quickly learnt that this will take time and effort. 

It was only after I launched the website I realised “Oh s***, I’m gonna have to do some actual work to get customers now”. Figuring out the best marketing tactics is proving to be a challenge, but over time I’m sure things will become clearer. As I’m sure all other business owners will agree, it’s a steep learning curve. I’m learning very quickly. For example, today I learnt that I absolutely hate admin. But this is the case for everyone, right? 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading. I think you deserve a nice long holiday now. Luckily I know a man who can help…. www.yo-kerala.com