Since the start of bitgog, we have been interviewing successful entrepreneurs to get inspired from their journey. Today, we have with us a successful travel business woman entrepreneur from Philippines. Please welcome Florence Rivera, she started Travelbug Philippines (Travelbug PH) in 2014. She was in the peak of her career in a promising start-up company when she decided to quit and start her own business. Today, she is sharing about her wonderful journey with us.
1. How did you get into entrepreneurship? Please share your journey with us
I wanted a lifestyle that isn’t bound to 9 to 5 (or in my case then as country head of a start-up, 8AM to 10PM). Then I became an entrepreneur and I realized I have to work even harder and longer! Ha-ha!
There’s much more flexibility in the entrepreneurial lifestyle – you can pace your schedule as you see fit, and the freedom that gives is worth so much more to me than anything else. I can travel to different places and still run my business. I can work in coffee shops and still be productive. I can meet clients who are my friends, and friends that became my clients and talk about life and travel for hours! Corporate life won’t give you these little perks. When I understood the value of time in my life, I knew then that starting my own business is the key.
2. Did you read any books that inspired or motivated you in your journey?
I love Malcolm Gladwell and his first few books (The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers) have influenced the way I think tremendously. Eric Reis and The Lean Startup is another big influence in the way I do business and gave me so much confidence as a young entrepreneur.
3. Please tell us about your company TravelBug Philippines.
Travelbug Philippines is a full-service travel company. We can assist those who want to see and experience the amazing islands of the Philippines, and we also have outbound tours for Filipinos who want to visit other countries. We can book flights or arrange cruises, tours, and hotels for you in the Philippines and everywhere else in the world.
4. Which places would you recommend for everyone to visit at least once in their lifetime?
This is a difficult question but off the top of my head, I would say, visit the Philippines (of course), Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Prague at least once in your life. You won’t regret it.
5. What’s your most memorable experience as an entrepreneur?
I’m lucky to be in the business of leisure and making experiences memorable to our clients. Each time a client comes back with wonderful stories and feedback to share about their trips, that becomes really memorable to me too as an entrepreneur. It gives meaning and relevance to what I do.
6. What’s your greatest fear as an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is like riding a roller coaster, there are times you are up there screaming your lungs out and other times, you are so down, you just fall prey to all your fears. Fear of failure, of taking risks, of financial woes – I think these are the greatest fears of entrepreneurs like me, but then what sets good entreps apart from the rest is our ability to manage fears and face them head on.
7. Are you using any online marketing strategies for your company?
Yes, we are doing some work on our Online Marketing strategies, though we could still do more. We have invested in web design, email marketing, some traditional media and online press through social media and blogs. We are yet to go into search engine optimization and other strategies but those are in the pipeline.
8. How are you using different social media channels to market your company?
If we talk about social media marketing, Right now, we only use Facebook and Instagram but we have not really optimized our presence online. This is something we plan to focus on in 2020.
9. You are using WordPress for your website? Why did you go for this platform?
WordPress is easy to use and very friendly. It’s also flexible and secure so it’s perfect for a young business like us.
10. Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you understood about entrepreneurship before you ever got started?
That cash flow is king. When we started, we didn’t really have a clear path to positive cash flow. We had to rethink our strategy but I wish we had done so from the beginning.
11. Would you like to share any success secrets that helped you – ‘the successful woman entrepreneur' in your journey?
Success is a long and continuous journey, and may be measured in many ways (not just the monetary reward) so don’t lose your values in the process. Honesty and integrity should be at the core of everything we do. Don’t forget to give back to the community. Start a business that provides meaning and impact, and share your resources or skills to help the community around you. There’s such a thing as business karma and the more you practice fairness and generosity in your dealings, the more good karma will come back to you and your business.