How I ended up in the Lonely Planet Philippines with my first business
This is a personal story about crazy dreaming, and how I got my first business into Lonely Planet Philippines before I had even truly started operations.
Well, that’s what I thought as well. At the same time it’s not crazy at all, because I know that’s how the Universe works. You have to dream big, visualize your goals, and keep at it with actionable steps until one day – BAM.
You are there.
The classic burn-out
It all started when back in 2012-2013 I was slowly but surely burning out from my corporate job. I wanted to do something else with my life, something that felt more meaningful.
After my first near escape from a burn-out (which I patched with a 5 week trip to the Philippines) I discovered coaching, and decided to invest in a Life Coach training of 1.5 years.
This training was in many ways the starting point to my wild dreams, because all of a sudden I was surrounded by encouraging people 3 days a month.
Together we would structurally clarify our goals in life, remove blockages and limiting beliefs, and move forward towards a brighter future we’d visualize about often.
For some reason my future was always on a beach. In meditations I would see myself on a beach as a healthy and happy woman, free from stress and worries. My future self would raise her arms and tell me to “get over here already, you can do it, you see, I am here!”
Related: Career change after 30 (or 40)
At that time my reality was very different – I was living and working in Finland, my home country, and as you may know it’s severely limited in daylight during the winter months. Whereas my vision board was full of mangos, sun, yoga and beaches, my actual life was stressed, dark and overwhelming.
My vision board was almost as far away from my reality as possible, but that didn’t matter. I kept ignoring my reality and kept meeting my future self in my meditations.
At the same time I made small steps towards my dream – I registered my company and made plans to “one day” jump into my own coaching business.
I had added a sentence into my vision board that said “Something totally different for the new year.” I was nervous placing that sentence on the board, because by then I knew the powers of a vision board, and I was unsure I would be ready.
After all, it was only few months away.
Why I chose to quit my job
Towards the end of 2013 everything culminated, I burned out again, and this time I didn’t even see it coming. That “one day” came sooner than I had anticipated.
So I had a choice. I could stay on with my employer for 3 days a week, a very generous offer considering that it wasn’t really done in my company. Or I could leave and receive a severance package of few months.
It would have made all the sense in the world to take the 3 days a week contract. It would have provided me a secure foundation while growing my coaching business in Helsinki.
I remember splashing cold water on my face in the ladies room one November morning, when I heard a clear voice inside of me, and she was not joking around.
You have to jump, and you have to do it fully! It’s now or never! You cannot fully embrace the new that is emerging if you don’t let go of the old.
It was the scariest message, but at the same time it made sense to me. It felt terrifying and peaceful at the same time.
On the surface of life I was freaking out, but my heart was calmer than ever before. I knew it was the right thing to do.
Against all logic I made my jump, pressed Enter on the email that told my boss I would choose the package and leave. I hyperventilated for the next few weeks, and my contract ended on 31.12.2013.
Yep, something totally different for the New Year.
The timings of the Universe
The strangest thing is this: the day after I signed my exit, we (my hubby and me) received an offer from the Philippines to come and run a resort there.
This was of course not completely random.
During the years before we had gone to the Philippines for holidays, and fell in love with scuba diving, my husband more than me. While I was busy with Coaching and Yoga trainings my husband trained as a Scuba diving instructor.
We fell in love with a particular island in the Philippines, and kept visiting a particular resort.
Later my hubby worked at the same small resort as a Dive Master Trainee, and on that faithful day he received an email where they asked him to come back with me and run the Dive school.
Mind you, the owners of the resort had no clue I had just quit my job. Universe is so fantastic with timing, I swear.
Three months later we were on a one-way flight to Manila, and started our three-year adventure on the beach.
But we also had a business plan of our own.
We changed my company into a Ltd. so we could both be part of it, and the plan was to run Yoga and Diving retreats from the resort where we were going to work.
We made a website, drafted content and packages, we printed business cards, we had a logo and a house style, t-shirts and brochures.
But no actual clients yet.
Introducing, Lonely Planet
Four months in to our new adventure we heard that one of the writers of Lonely Planet Philippines was headed our way, and was actually going to stay at our resort.
As you can imagine, this was very exciting for us, and I wondered if I should have my beat-up Lonely Planet book signed by him.
I can still remember the evening we were sitting at the bar telling him about the island, the latest ins and outs and where he should go during his visit.
Eventually I nervously handed over my business card with our logo and website, and told him that we were running a business on the island.
He got interested, and was asking for more information.
We whipped out brochures and told him all about our concept. He then asked “Should this be mentioned together with the resort, or separately?”
“Separately, please” we said in tandem, and floated back to our hut that evening.
Everything was the same, yet it was all different.
We just ended up on the Lonely Planet!!!
When dumb luck meets prepared mind
In every success story there is dumb luck involved. You could say that we “just got lucky”, which is very true. We got very lucky that the writer of Lonely Planet happened to favour our Resort.
We got lucky we were there during his yearly travels, after all, Lonely Planet is renewed every 3 years. We got lucky that he agreed to write a section on about our yoga and diving retreats.
On the other hand, every success story also comes with a mad amount of work, preparation, hoping, dreaming and investment. This is the part that is usually not visible to others.
Before our “lucky coincidence” we had spent 2 years visioning, dreaming, training ourselves in our new desired professions, learning new skills and walking in the dark December snow storms without any proof that our wild beach-dreams were ever going to manifest.
We had invested in ourselves, into our future, and most importantly, we never gave up or doubted where we were headed. It just felt right, and in my heart of hearts I KNEW that it was going to happen.
Not that we’d end up in the Lonely Planet, not even that the ‘beach’ where I saw myself would be in the Philippines, none of those details.
I wasn’t interested in the details, because Universe handles those always better anyways. I was interested in my vision, in how I wanted my life to look like, how I wanted to feel in my skin, in my life, and how I wanted to spend my days.
And we kept preparing, we kept building. We believed in ourselves and moved forward. And when the opportunity walked into our resort, we were not starting a conversation with “You know we have been thinking about doing Yoga and Diving Retreats, but are not yet sure so we haven’t actually done anything, but what do you think?”
You can only guess if that would have ended up in the book.
No, when opportunity walked in, we were able to present a ready framework, a real company, including a beautiful design. We simply said “We HAVE a company and this is it. Check it out!”
Related: How to find your passion
Preparation (and Design) matters
I know many out there say that website or design doesn’t matter before you actually get clients. That first you should focus on building your business before you build anything else.
Although I partly agree (I mean you cannot have a business without any paying customers), I also disagree.
Your preparation matters, image matters, visuals matters, design matters.
Let’s say you are going to choose a coach for yourself. Are you going to choose the one who pencils you their phone number on a piece of paper, or the one who can show you a branded website with professional images and clear, descriptive text about how he/she is going to help you?
It matters a lot what you project. Proper design and a website project trust and professionalism.
That doesn’t mean you have to invest all your money into design before you even get started.
And you are not stuck with one design forever, life is always taking you forward and you can update your business design as you grow as well.
But when you get started, do yourself a favour, and take your business seriously.
Take your beautiful, wild dreams seriously!
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Contact me and let’s work together!
Hi there, I’m Kaisa!
I’m your coach, friend and webdesigner when you want to get serious about your Passion project and make it into a business with a beautiful online presence.
I’ll help you with tech, design and courage. Contact me and we’ll create some magic for your Passion Business!