Emerging Entrepreneur | Sheresa Dixon - Finding her niche in cultural tourism
Today, The Gleaner continues its series on individuals, aged 20-29, who have successfully started business ventures and are experiencing steady growth. If you know someone who should be featured, email email@example.com.
Unfiltered delivery of Jamaican culture coupled with customer service excellence is the vision behind the tourism-branded brainchild of a 29-year-old Wolmerian.
Sheresa Dixon, an alumnus of the University of Technology (UTech) and holder of a BSc in hospitality and tourism management, acted on her passion in December 2014 by starting Eventuality Tours - a cultural tour company that allows tourists to interact with Jamaican people, eat great food, and enjoy the environs.
"From a tender age, I had larger-than-life business ideas, always awaiting the opportune time to put them into practice. However, the idea of a tour company was born in 2012 while I was enrolled at UTech and on summer internship in the United States," said Dixon with exuberance.
"I was a cocktail server on a beach in Rhode Island during the Olympics and I had my flag and was just constantly cheering and spreading the word of Jamaica's greatness. As a result, I was in constant dialogue with persons I served, encouraging them to visit Jamaica and see the island first-hand. They loved the idea, but expressed that they could go to any resort in the world, hence they would only visit if they can experience the true culture and not be confined to walls."
Eventuality Tours was given legs to the start-up tune of US$3,000, which Dixon acquired from her endearing father, who encourages foundation and field research.
BOOKED IN ADVANCE
Tours are booked in advance via travel sites (TripAdvisor.com/ Viator.com) and see visitors venturing islandwide to their heart's content. Inclusiveness such as airport pickups are also on offer for those wishing to delve right into the adventures.
In recounting her first experience atop the coffee-rich Blue Mountains, Dixon recalls a nervous girl aiming to make an impression.
"Once I started talking, it just became natural, as if speaking with friends, and I was subsequently given a five-star rating online. Since then, the adventures have widely expanded to the level of me taking persons to parties off Waltham Park Road and they're desirous of staying the entire event," she shared.
Dixon currently operates from home with an occasional rented office space. She has also partnered with Rafjam Bed and Breakfast, where she credits its owner, Susan De Campos, as one of her mentors.
She also cites several mentors from the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and Cheryll Messam from UTech as sources of inspiration.
In expressing that the majority of her clients are European, Dixon is set for longevity in the field of tourism.
"It brings me happiness. I love meeting new people across the world and experiencing their culture through interaction. It gives me a deeper understanding as to what makes them unique as people.
"I take great pleasure in putting smiles on people's faces and to be able to entertain them. For those who are reading and wishing to develop businesses, I would say, go for it, but ensure it's something you enjoy. It will take a lot of commitment, bring frustration and hard work, but once the teething pain passes, you will be overjoyed," she said.
- Employing two part-time staffers.
- Going from generating income every other month to a steady monthly income flow.
- Providing contractual jobs for individuals on a regular basis.
MUST-DO LIST FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
- Prior to starting, research your idea thoroughly.
- Seek mentorship from someone in your field at soonest.
NO-NOS FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
- Never start a business just to make money. Ensure it's something that you love. You will invest 60-80 per cent of your time doing it. If it doesn't make you happy, you will quit and see yourself as a failure, which will not be a true test of your ability to succeed.
- If things aren't going accordingly, don't be timid in making changes to get results.
- Choose to focus your energy on one good idea at a time and master it.