I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Moni for over 4 years and the moment she mentioned to me that she would be started a travel service and blog, I was so excited! Countless Miles aims to curate unique, cultural and fun destination experiences. I wanted to interview Moni to gain insight on her journey so far as an entrepreneur. Let me know what you think!
When starting a company, what is one thing you would tell those hoping to start a business to make sure they do?
My advice to anyone hoping to start a business is to have a clear vision, because you don’t want to be caught up in someone else’s vision. While this may be easier to say, it makes all the difference. I had this grand idea of what I wanted to do with CountlessMiles, but I didn’t quite have a clear vision on how to execute. I spent some time doing research and figuring out how I was going to add value. This process made my vision clearer and made it easier to develop the steps to take to achieve my identified vision. Having a clear vision made me more confident in the business idea. In addition to having a clear vision is “Do your research”. In doing your research, you are able to clearly identify your target market, your value proposition, and then you realize that your vision becomes more precise. A successful combination of these two things is an almost guaranteed win-win for your business.
What is your advice to emerging entrepreneurs about overcoming challenges in business?
My advice to emerging entrepreneurs is to keep working through every challenge. Stay optimistic. This doesn’t only apply to business but also in everyday life. If you think about life, every stage is always a challenge. Remember when you thought finishing college with good grades was a challenge? You somehow made it through. Then remember when you got worked up about getting a job? Somehow, you got that job. This also applies to starting and growing a business. First, you face the challenges involved in starting a business, and you make it through that stage. Then you move on to the challenge of growing, standing out from your competitors and sustaining the business, and the cycle goes on. I’m sure you get the picture but the underlying lesson to be learned here is this – every challenge is a phase that has a start and finish, so just push through to the finish line and never give up.
What is a book that changed your life and why?
This is a tricky one because I’ve read quite a number of books and they’ve had different impacts in my life. But to answer this question, I’d say the one that spoke to me the most was “Find your balance point” by Brian Tracy and Christina Stein. I think for I like this book for this reason: I read the book during the phase when I was deciding what I wanted to do with my life. The book gave me clarity and solidified things I already knew but I could relate with. It just gave me that extra push I needed to prioritize and get things started.
What is the best business advice you’ve received?
Actually I have two: the first one was – why are you looking for a job when you can create jobs. This statement triggered the full pursuance of CountlessMiles. The second one was – You can’t wait till everything is perfect, sometimes in business you just have to get going. This really spoke to me because I always had the mindset that to start a business, you need to have it al planed out. This is not a bad thing but I’ve realized that the longer I waited to have things figured out, the more I got discouraged by the challenges that came up and the more I lagged behind my competition. Also honestly speaking, you can’t possibly have it all figured out because you’re not God.
What is a valuable lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
For me, I’ve learned to stop listening to everybody. Everyone has an opinion about what your business should be but in reality you had the idea. That is why it is your business. While I’m not implying that you should not heed advice from people, make sure you’re able to filter out the distractions and naysayers. I have about 2-3 people I ask for advice relating to my business, and I like to keep it that way. You don’t need thousands of people to advice you – it is not a market survey.
I also learned that in running your business, it never gets easier. The key is to remain focused on your vision and big picture. If you think being an entrepreneur is like being on vacation, then you got it wrong. It is a continuous learning and growth process. You will definitely fail, but that causes you to pull yourself together and think differently. For me that is one of the biggest lessons of entrepreneurship.
What is a financial tip you would give to emerging entrepreneurs that has helped you?
This may not apply to all businesses but for me, my financial tip is to start small and grow organically. I realized that sometimes you don’t need a lot of money to start. Start work on aspects of the business that doesn’t require a lot of finances and as you go along source for capital/investment. People are more willing to assist you when they see you’re already doing something in the business. You may actually just get people throwing money at you instead of having to take a loan. So that’s my 2 cents on financials.
I hope you guys enjoyed this interview as much as I enjoyed getting to know more about Moni and the Countless Miles journey. If you want know more you can visit her website here and on Instagram she’s @CountlessMiles!