Insights From the Founder of Travel Startup eola

eola founders.

Any entrepreneur can tell you, launching a startup is a learning process. Therefore, one of the best things you can do prior to launching a startup of your own is to learn from those who have blazed the trail. We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Callum Hemsley of eola that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

“When it comes to giving advice, it’s always best to focus on the individual you are speaking to and work out what they need. I find when someone asks me this, it’s best to ask them what the challenges are that they are facing. Because there are so many problems entrepreneurs face, no one knows all the right answers. 

As such, I say to people, find yourself a wonderful group of advisors who challenge and question you and allow you to think about what you’re doing. But remember, you’re the one that makes the decisions, so you need to really listen and consider whether you need to make changes or if you truly believe you are on the right course. Advice from people you trust is always worth listening to, [and] you need to hear what your advisors have to say, then dive into it yourself and consider whether it is right for you. It’s a very difficult balancing act, but the better your network, the easier the journey can become. 

The other piece of advice I would give is to know your red line in the sand. What do you stand for, and what is important to you? And furthermore, what are you willing to accept? 

My co-founder and I have very strong views on morality, on what kind of money we will accept, and what kind of company we are building. And so, at every point, we had a motto, that we were going to succeed or fail for the right reasons. We would succeed by being a good company, or we would fail by being a good company. 

It’s very difficult building a business and obviously for the first phase, you don’t have any money beyond your own and whatever you can pull together from friends and family. You need to ask, if you run out of money, how are you going to put food on that table? If you have a family, are you still going to be able to support them? 

Working out to what extent you can be exposed is extremely important. We did put ourselves at huge financial risk, and I would never advise someone else to do the same. Even though it worked for us, that doesn’t mean it will work for anyone else, and we were unbelievably privileged. If we ran out of money, we could have moved home, we could have gotten new jobs, we didn’t have families to support or mortgages to pay, or long-term rental contracts. We had no outstanding loans, so we were in that fortunate position that we could afford to take a risk. 

But for each individual entrepreneur, this will be different, so you need to take the time to understand what the line is for you.”

What is your advice for entrepreneurs in your industry specifically?

“The obvious answer is to say that there is a future coming. We are in a particularly disruptive time. There are so many things happening in the world right now that are awful, difficult, and challenging. And I know that so many businesses are struggling and trying to find new ways to work and operate with this uncertain future. So, work to find out what you think the future looks like and be prepared to adapt.

Secondly, I would say, work together as much as possible. I think working together in the tech startup world means we all succeed. I’m always happy to chat to anyone in our sector about anything and I think that’s really valuable because ultimately, what [we] are delivering is wonderful experiences for people.”

What is your advice for coming up with a unique startup idea?

“If you are searching for ideas, it can be difficult. I think one of the really funny things about starting a business is that every day you will find you’ve run into a million different things that could be turned into a business, but you have just not noticed. 

If you asked yourself, ‘what is causing me frustration and wasting my time,’ you will generally run into a bunch of things that you could actually probably create a business around. That’s what starting a business is, spotting a gap and saying how do I fix that?”

What is your advice for overcoming challenges and failure?

“When overcoming failure, the best bit of advice is just learning to pick yourself back up. It is the hardest thing to do when you have had an enormous failure, you just want to hide and feel sad, but you can’t afford to do that. 

You can afford to take some time to gather your thoughts and feel better, but ultimately, you need to get back up. Part of that is having a great support group around you. Another part of that is having a wonderful co-founder (if you don’t have one I would say they are the best support group you could possibly find). It’s just finding that way to get back up and go. 

One of the things that I always find is that any challenge can look like a mountain. You look at it, and you think, ‘How the blazes am I going to climb to the peak of that?’ While it’s been said a million times before, it’s all about taking that first step forward. You take one step in the right direction, then you take another step, and another step. Eventually, once you’ve taken those steps, you will have overcome it. When you reach the summit of that challenge, you will feel wonderful because you can look at every step and see how much you have achieved.”

What is the biggest lesson you learned and what can aspiring entrepreneurs take from it?

“The best lesson is that there really isn’t any right answer. When you create a company, there is rarely an opportunity where you can ask, ‘what is the right answer to this question?’ You have to constantly work to find those answers. I love this because you are presented with incredibly complex questions, and sometimes, they have simple answers, and sometimes, the answer is even more complex than the question, but all of the time, you’re just trying to work these things out.”

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