I'm 31 and I am from Martinique. I have spent 5 years in Paris for both my studies and my first job.
I have a diploma from a business school with a specialty in International Management. Few years after my diploma, I went back to school to gain another diploma in financial analysis. My last job was as a financial analysis manager. But I didn't appreciate it and the way my life was. Since a young age I have always wanted to have my own company.
I am passionate about travel. So I found an idea for people like me who love traveling and learning about new cultures to discover my own island but with locals!
Now for the 1st time in my carreer I love what I do, even if I work a lot!
SB-C: Tell us about your typical day. What time do you start? What do you do? How does your day end? LF: Usually I start my day at 6:40AM. I wake up my daughters and check my new messages, bookings and emails. I try to answer to the emergences and then I bring the girls at school. Then I answer to some emails and have some meetings. Never before 9am! With my new company Go Beyond, a transportation company specialized in touristic tours, I am on the road until 2pm. Then I go back to work, have some calls, and manage my 2 companies. Between 5pm and 8pm I am taking care of my daughters and then continue working until 11pm! Then not enough time to watch a movie or something else. I directly go to bed!
SB-C: What do you do to preserve your health as you run your business? Do you have any rituals, for example? LF: I have some breaks with my kids, go out with friends sometimes, try do to some sport, and try not to be stressed! I love what I do and I try not to do what I don't like!
SB-C: Can you discuss some of the major changes that have occurred between starting your business and where it is now? For example, business model or management changes? LF: The business model is still the same. Beyond the Beach links tourists with locals in order to discover an authentic and friendly Martinique. I have created a new company, Go Beyond, because I have noticed that there is a need for tours in small groups. Tourists also wanted to go out at night and discover special activities. That's why I have created innovative tours in my island, and offer customized and private tours.
SB-C: What are some of the challenges you are facing or have faced this year? LF: I am working a lot! So it is a bit difficult sometimes to manage my personal life and my professionnal life, espacially because I have children. So I had to explain to them that mommy has a lot of work to do to earn money to buy them beautiful things, for instance. It is for a moment and it will not be like this my entire life, so I am patient!
Another big challenge is being a woman in the transportation field. Because usually only men are working in transport. So I have to do a very god job and find MY place!
SB-C: Describe what innovation means in your business and how do you go about it. LF: Innovation for me means "do something new, something different, something positive and great for my potential customers." So my challenge is to be the first doing innovation in the tourism field in Martinique and bring new products, and new services, as long as I can.
SB-C: How do you balance being a "big dreamer" vs setting realistic goals for your business? LF: I thing that you have to dream big first. This is important. Then you have to organize your ideas and set goals for your business and time them. My opinion is that if you don't have realistic goals sometimes, you will be often disappointed because you will not achieve your goals.
SB-C: Who or what motivates you to keep going with your business? And Why? LF: My family, my daughters, my friends all motivate me to keep going. And, when I think about my former colleagues when I was an employee, I know that I can't be an employee ever again, so I have to go back to work or I work harder!
SB-C: Has your definition of success changed since you have started your business? If so, How? LF: I was always thinking that success is about money and celebrity. Now, for me, success is winning your own money by working for it. If you can pay yourself with your own company, now you have succeed!
SB-C: What would you say is the most important skill required to run a business? LF: Be serious, patient and honest. It can take a long time to achieve your goals so be patient. Be honest with you first. Be serious because you will have a lot of work!
SB-C: There are a lot of myths about entrepreneurs. Now that you have started and are successfully running your own business what would you say is the biggest myth? What have you learned most from it. LF: That entrepreneurs are rich! That's false! They have a passion, they trust themselves, they are motivated, so they can accept to not have a lot of money for years before they can have money to be good.