There are loads of articles, forums and groups out there aimed at the “female entrepreneur”, especially when they are in a male dominated world. What I love about Julia is that she doesn´t make a “thing” about it (I wonder if it even crosses her mind?), she´s just courageously building a life she loves. So, business. How? When? What? Ahh!! How hard is it to buck The System and start something well and truly your own?
Julia doesn´t credit it down to some magic formula or even to 5-year plans but simply to doing what feels right at any given moment and not biting off more than you can chew. “My philosophy after Gareth died was just to live one day at a time, because ultimately none of us have any idea about the future. You can have all the plans in the world but then life can suddenly throw you a massive curve ball….Yeah, it´s good to have plans, but not so much that you don´t focus on the day in front of you and the little next steps ahead.”
Wow! In your face business-gurus! Let´s remember that behind every business is a human being who wants to live a full, happy and rounded life too please. Thanks Julia!
That´s all she was doing, loving it and responding to more opportunities that came up. There came a point where with so much experience she started thinking about running her own trips, although with no major pressure. Just a couple of her own things that she likes the idea of. That´s not to say she wasn´t scared when actually doing her first ever one!
“It was really daunting because when you´re the one running it, you know that you´re the one everyone is looking to as to whether they have a good time or not.”
For her first trips she picked out the trails she knew from growing up in the Lake District which are as fantastic today as they were then. 2 long weekends with accommodation, food and transport. But it didn´t take away from the day-job as a guide for other businesses too. Slowly, she just added more trips to her menu, day trips, bike packing and even mechanics courses “Just stuff that I´d want to do myself” although that´s not a fool-proof tip for success as some trips were super successful that she is still running today, and others not so. Trial and error is the process, giving time for reflection and analysis - was it the trip itself that nobody wanted? Or was it just marketed more poorly?
And then there was the desire to start trips in her beloved French Alps, but it is a little more complicated because recently French law has really clamped down on foreign guiding businesses and there are a lot of hoops that need to be jumped through. It can put many people off from trying but Julia knew she had the experience and qualifications, so embraced the laws as a structure for protecting customers from cowboy firms without first aid knowledge or correct insurance. Seeing it through the eyes of the customer and wanting them to be fully covered and safe pushed Julia to happily cross all the t´s and dot the i´s “I´m just not very good at doing things I´m not supposed to!” Even if it took longer than she hoped.