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My Business Story

I always wanted to work for myself, I just didn't know where to start. None of my friends and family worked for themselves and I went to school with the expectation being that I would get good qualifications, to go to university in order to get a job. But I always knew I didn't want to spend my life working for somebody else. This is the story of my business journey so far...

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My Story

After a couple of years of working in hospitality in Australia I went to go and spend a summer season working on the beautiful island of Ibiza. Here I got a job working on 100% commission selling tickets for a boat party. This was the first job I had ever had where the harder I worked the more I could get out of it and the job was such good fun walking around in the sun chatting to people that I found that for the first time in my life I found it was easy to work hard and stay motivated at work.


​​I found I had a natural affinity for sales and quickly rose to be consistently one of the top sellers in a team of around 50 people. I got a promotion to manage a team of ticket sellers and was responsible for recruiting and managing the team as well as being out on the streets selling myself. It was a really great company to work for, they always took us out for meals and on team days out and treated all of their staff like family.

When the summer season ended I had to face the dreaded prospect of returning to the UK for a cold dark winter and to find a job working in a bar, earning a fraction of what I was earning in Ibiza where I would no doubt be overworked and undervalued. I had saved some money over the summer and decided to use this to start my first business. The problem was deciding what business to start? My I.T skills were quite poor and I knew that most businesses would cost a lot more to set up than the few thousand pounds that I had managed to save. I had done various bits of DIY and decorating in my mums house and so settled on the idea of starting a decorating business. I knew I could do this and didn't think it was an especially grand ambition, so when I proposed the idea to my family and friends I was disappointed to find them to be largely discouraging. Telling me things like 'I don't think you have enough experience' or 'I don't think you will get enough customers'.

The decorating business turned out to be a success. I wasn't great at the start and I made some mistakes, but along the way I learned and improved until eventually I was confident and competent in what I was doing. Although I wasn't making a huge amount of money I found myself so much happier and more motivated being in charge of my own work schedule and having the autonomy to make my own decisions to improve the business.

That summer when I returned to Ibiza I had a new business idea. I had noticed from living there that the island had some really beautiful hidden spots, like quiet little coves where you could go cliff jumping and abandoned nightclubs high up in the hills. But the majority of the tourists never ventured out of the resort other than to go to the nightclubs. No one else at the time was offering island tours and so I decided to rent a car and take people on my own mini tours (maximum capacity 4 people!). I didn't have a website, Instagram or Facebook page, but I knew I could sell things face to face. So I made a flyer with pictures of me and my friends at some of the places I planned to take people and set off along the beaches to sell my excursions.


I didn't have any tickets to begin with so I would just take a 20 euro deposit off people and send them a WhatsApp message with the details. I could tell sometimes as I walked off people were discussing if they had just been scammed.


But people absolutely loved the tours! So much so that some people would cry at sunset at the end! I realised I loved creating unique experiences for people and it was a great feeling to realise that you had created a beautiful day that some people would remember for the rest of their lives.


I decided that I was on to a great idea, but the business model as it stood was somewhat limited because my car only had 5 seats and I could only do a maximum of 3 tours a week because the other 3 days I would be out selling the tickets on the beach.


So the following year I created the business Hidden Ibiza. I hired two mini buses, employed a second tour guide, learned how to build a website and got our excursions on Trip Advisor and Air BnB experiences. 


Carl my business partner and dog joined the business the year after and the business continued to grow. I bought two of my own mini buses and within 2 years we were the top ranked Trip Advisor activity out of 170 activities in Ibiza. I think the main reason for this is that my primary motive wasn't just to make money, I genuinely wanted to make a day of someone's holiday amazing, so I spent a lot of time thinking of ways I could improve the experience to make it as memorable as possible. I started to get enquiries from people through the website asking about boat trips and other activities and so I expanded the website to take bookings for various activities including yoga and brunches, kayaking and even hot air ballooning. In 2023 I sold this business for an undisclosed amount.

In 2019 I had started practicing yoga as one of my housemates was a yoga teacher and she encouraged me to take up the practice to help with my bad back. I started practicing just for the physical benefits but soon found that it was a great way to slow down my overactive mind and after I would feel calmer, happier and more focused in the present. 


At the end of the summer season I went to stay in a yoga retreat on the island for a few days. I really enjoyed the classes at the retreat but felt for me that something was missing. The retreat lacked the activities and the sociability which I enjoyed so much in my tour business. On the third day of the retreat feeling restless I asked some of the other guests if they would like to go for a little tour in my mini bus. Everyone had a fantastic time and agreed it had been their favourite day of their holiday.


This gave me an idea. I decided I wanted to open a new kind of retreat that would appeal to people like myself, one that took people out on adventures around the island and where everyone would feel welcome regardless of age, level of ability or their lifestyle choices.


In 2020 I used my savings from the tour business to rent a beautiful big villa, with a swimming pool, dining casita and gardens full of fruit trees. As it turned out I had picked a pretty bad year to start a new travel business. The lock down started in Ibiza just two days before my first guests were due to arrive and after a couple of months living in a villa I couldn't afford without guests, I packed everything up, put it in storage and moved out before my savings were completely depleted...

The following year with tourism slowly returning to normal we ran our first retreat in Ibiza in May of 2021. By this point I had had plenty of time to plan the retreat and although I still had a long way to go to make things perfect all of the guests were happy and enjoyed the experience. That first summer we ran 6 sold out retreats in Ibiza.


 At the end of the summer I decided I enjoyed running retreats so much that I wanted to live somewhere that I could do it all year round. So I packed up my mini buses with everything from the retreat and travelled 4 days to the sunny Canarian island of Tenerife, where I had been lucky to escape to the previous winter for 6 weeks during lockdown.


This island is now mine and Carls home and we have had 3 winters of running sold out retreats. Last winter we sold out 12 retreats in 6 months and this year we are going to do 14.


Once the retreats were well established and we were running them regularly I started receiving messaged from friends of friends asking for advice on how they could run their own retreats. I found I really enjoyed helping people and surprised myself with how much useful knowledge I had accumulated over the years of running my own tourism businesses. 


I realised that if I had had someone like myself to coach me on my business journey, I could have avoided many of the big and small mistakes I had made along the way. I realised I could make a nice balanced life for myself doing 2 jobs which I really enjoy, running yoga retreats and helping other people to run their own. This is when I decided to start Business Coaching by Bliss Yoga :)

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