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Tips for Business Success

How far are you willing to go to succeed?

One of my favorite shows to watch with my wife is “Shark Tank,” a reality show in which inventors, entrepreneurs and other business owners pitch their products to a panel of high-profile “shark” investors in hopes that one of them will invest in the company. Entrepreneurs who successfully land deals with these sharks often see exponential growth in their businesses, sometimes overnight.

The companies and products featured on the program span almost every kind of consumer good and tech gadget imaginable, from boutique cookies to surfboards, phone chargers and toys. The entrepreneurs represent a broad slice of America and come from all sorts of backgrounds, from MIT-trained engineers to farmers and even child inventors.

To find success on “Shark Tank,” participants must start with a good idea. But good ideas alone are not enough. The business owners with the best chance of getting a deal are also the ones who demonstrate the most drive to succeed and ingenuity at overcoming obstacles.

I recently saw an episode of the show with an entrepreneur who was a striking example of this. Her name was Tammy, and she was the mother of two toddlers and just two months from giving birth to her third child. She had invented TushBaby, a harness-like device that makes it easy for parents to carry babies and young children on their hips.

The investors liked her product, but they were even more impressed by her story. In addition to being a mom, she had a full-time job at LinkedIn. TushBaby was her side hustle. And she had established a habit of making great sacrifices in her pursuit of success.

“I wake up at 5 every morning, work on TushBaby, go to work at LinkedIn, come home, take my kids for a couple of hours, put them to bed and work until midnight,” she told the sharks.

“I’m really impressed with you,” one of them replied. “I think you work harder than me.”

I was impressed, too. Holding down a full-time job and raising young kids can be overwhelming for any parent. Add a start-up side gig to the mix, and it can seem downright impossible. Tammy sleeps only five hours a night, and I honestly have no idea how she does it.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because the travel industry is full of entrepreneurs and side-hustlers. From independent tour guides to the owners of the biggest tour companies, a huge portion of people in this business work for themselves. If you’re among that group, you know the thrill of starting something new and the nerve-wracking feeling of betting your future on a big idea.

As you plot your steps through a landscape full of uncertainty, it might be worthwhile to ask yourself if you’re doing everything necessary to reach your goals. Success rarely comes in the form of tidy 40-hour workweeks. More often than not, extraordinary results come to those who put forth extraordinary efforts.

On “Shark Tank,” Tammy’s hard work won the day. She got a deal with the investor she had targeted from the beginning. And though it’s too early to say what will happen with her company, chances are TushBaby has a bright future.

If you’re willing to dig deep and push hard, your travel company can have a bright future, too.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.