Interview with Carla McDonald – Travelling Guardian
Company: The Travelling Guardian | Website
Today’s interview is with a very special guest, Carla McDonald from right here in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has quite a unique business that I think you’ll all want to know more about. For those of you who are unfamiliar, The Travelling Guardian helps relieve the stress and worries of travelling alone with their travel chaperone service. Carla offers travelling companions for children, elderly individuals, mobility impaired individuals as well as a nanny air service for parents.
Ready to find out more?
Read on to find out what Carla had to say …
What inspired the passion within you to do what you do?
The love of the airports and my knowledge after working for 38 years in the industry which was carried over and turned into my dream job!
How did you continue to ignite that fire within you?
The amazing encouragement and support complete with colleague testimonials … gave me a huge boost!
Did you start with a business plan? If so, tell me a bit about your vision and mission.
My vision for my company, The Travelling Guardian is that I will have staff based in all Canadian cities within the next 5 years. Each employee will have worked with the airline industry as well as have excellent customer service skills. Having staff placed locally will ensure our clients can travel at any time they desire to anywhere in the world.
What are some of the biggest challenges you feel your company is faced with?
For me, it’s reaching out to the right target market. I have a niche business and it is very important for me to analyze who will be using my service. I also needed to learn more about social media in order to reach this target marker and fortunately I found a local marketing company that was just as excited about my business model as I am. They helped me and coached me though the steps in reaching the right market.
Walk me through a typical workday – from when you eat breakfast in the morning to what you about when you’re not in “the office”?
I try to start each morning with a good breakfast then a walk. I remind myself to prioritize and write down all the tasks for the day as well as for the next. I usually get about 4 to 5 hours of work done each day then go and network in the evening. I have not started flying with my clients yet as I am currently working on branding my business. Flying with my clients will be the next step starting in 2018.
What were some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are today?
I had no business background and quickly realized I needed some help. I am currently working with a local marketing company for my social media, found a mentor at the Women’s Enterprise Centre as well as started taking some business seminars with The World Trade Centre of Winnipeg (business information centre) and Entrepreneurship Manitoba.
What are three words you would use to explain your business? Your personality?
For me business, that’s easy … air, travel and companion then for myself … caring, knowledgeable and reliable.
Can you tell me about your ideal target market?
My ideal target market ranges between ages 5 to 90+. To narrow this down a bit this would include: people who are reluctant to fly alone, separated families, senior citizens, people with special needs, children requiring accompaniment and parents who are travelling with their children.
Looking forward into the next few years, what projects or goals are you most excited about?
I would say … having retire airline employees work with me throughout all Canadian cities.
If another entrepreneur asked for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
If you live here in Winnipeg and are just starting your business, start with The World Trade Centre of Winnipeg’s business seminars then from there, research every organization that can assist you or even offer your courses that pertain to your business.
Pick one thing in your life you may go back and do differently. What would it be and why?
I honestly wish I would have taken the opportunity to learn a second language.
What is it about your business that keeps you inspired?
I have a very unique business model that peaks people’s interest. I get to help that traveller get on an aircraft and take them to see someone that they may not have been able to see on their own. I will get to take them anywhere in the world and I am so very happy to be able to bring people together!
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