“I was never taught entrepreneurship.” – Kimberly Ramsawak
“I wanted to travel more than two weeks a year”
After college, Kimberly Ramsawak got a job as a marketing promotions manager. But she immediately realized that it wasn’t for her.
“After about a month at my office job, I knew this wasn’t life for me. I wanted to travel more than the two weeks vacation I got every year. So I applied for an international graduate program where I would spend a year between Italy and Japan. I figured it was my ticket to escape the 9-5.”
The only problem was that she was not accepted.
“After that, I took matters into my own hands. I learned everything I could so I could make a living working and traveling at the same time. I read career development books, took dozens of personality tests and workshops, and researched the travel, tourism and hospitality industries relentlessly.”
However, none of the advice was specific to what she wanted.
“People have been rehashing the same tools and tactics over and over again. And nothing was specific to the travel industry.”
After 4 years of trial and error, Kimberly finally got her foot in the door. She then worked for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Times Square Alliance in New York City, and finally Macy’s, where she served as director of tourism marketing and development.
“I entered the travel industry with no experience and have built a successful career there.”
Her career has taken her to over 80 cities around the world – all paid for by the companies Kimberly works for.
This ultimately gave rise to her first business idea.
“I wanted to close the gap”
Kimberly’s success in the travel industry led to her becoming an adjunct professor of tourism at various universities.
“I always had a part-time job. I have taught tourism as an adjunct professor at St. John’s, Strayer, NYU and a few other places. After my lectures, students would come up to me and ask, ‘How do I get paid for travel?’”
“I wanted to bridge the gap between not knowing and having a great career in travel and hospitality.”
And that’s how the idea for Tourism Exposed was born. Kimberly started devouring whatever material she could find on the subject of entrepreneurship.
“I read books like Rich Dad Poor Dad and The 4-Hour Workweek. I was raised by immigrant parents from the Caribbean. They wanted me to get a job and work there until I retired. Entrepreneurship was rarely mentioned. But I wanted to learn more about this new world.”
“I loved it when successful people showed me the ropes”
After launching Tourism Exposed, Kimberly ran into some trouble.
“When I first started my business, I got stuck on two things. At first I was alone. I don’t live in a big city so it’s difficult to find people who can understand what you’re going through. I always ask myself, “Who else can I talk to about business and entrepreneurship?” Second, I didn’t have a mentor. No one was there to tell me if I was on the right track.”
“I had a friend that I talk to about business and professional success. And he forwarded me one of Ramit’s blog posts. I loved the free stuff. But I especially liked how he said it’s okay to want more. It was okay to break the mold of a traditional 9-to-5 job. That convinced me.”
With the free stuff being so good and Kim struggling with her business, getting Zero to launch was an easy decision.
“I was stuck for so long – about 18 months – that I felt like everything came at the right moment. So I joined.”
“When I was feeling alone, depressed and frustrated, it was great to know I could skype with someone and talk about my struggles. It gave me the community I needed. I also loved having access to people who were already successful and could show me the ropes.”
“I have an email list of 1,200 email addresses and I launched my first beta product.”
Thanks to Zero to Launch, Kimberly finds success with her business.
“Only with the community you get your money back. But the workbook exercises and videos were also fantastic. Any questions or concerns – whether it was building an email list or getting started – were all addressed in this additional material.”
And this led to a major milestone for Tourism Exposed.
“I had my first launch on a list of 1,200 people and got 15 people to buy something. It may not be a lot, but I’ve successfully gone from scratch to start. I want to take a break now and focus on delivering a superior experience for my customers.”
The road from zero to market launch has also made Kimberly optimistic about the future.
“I want to make sure my next version of the course is better than my first. I know if I can get 15 customers I can get 50 and even 500 or more. It is exciting to be able to do this.”
We brought Kimberly into the studio to tell her story. Watch the full interview where she reveals:
The best single investment you can make in yourself. Kimberly suffered a setback when she was not accepted into a graduate program. See how she continued to invest in herself and become an entrepreneur (1:10). How a part-time job turned into the perfect online business idea. Being asked the same questions over and over again could be a telltale sign that you’ve found your next big idea (2:20). Overcome your biggest barriers to success. Kimberly faced two obstacles common to new entrepreneurs – see how she overcame them (4:26)
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