After her daughter was born, Le’Keshia Smith wanted to not only provide for her, but also leave her an inheritance and not a debt. So she got certified as a travel consultant and went into business with her best friend! Read our interview with the lovely Le’Keshia below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
My daughter inspired me to start my own business and an old college roommate motivated me. I wanted to show my daughter that anything is possible and I want to leave her with a legacy and an inheritance, not debt. My old college roommate has always been the one to make me push myself past my limits even when she wasn’t around and now we’re business partners.
Tell us about your business.
I am a Certified Travel Consultant. I help aid corporate companies stay within their travel budget. I also book family group trips as well as helping my clients with identity protection, cable service and concert tickets just to name a few. My goal is to help people save money while making more memories in life. Most of my clients turn into friends or family. We check on one another.
Where is your business based?
My business is based out of Hammond, Indiana. Midwest region, but my business is global. My clients are assisted with booking trips for all over the world and at wholesale prices.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first steps I took to get my business up and running was praying over my business and talking to my coach and mentor because I wanted to be held accountable and have realistic goals while having faith to stretch myself beyond what I believed I could do. When I started my business, my team supported me 100%. I’ve never had that before and they still help me today. I am blessed.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I would say the most effective way of raising awareness about my business has been one or one encounters with people.I believe that I have God’s favor on my life and once people meet me and see that I am genuine and honest they trust me to help them.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge so far has been building my business. I am so picky about who I partner with. I pray diligently to God for discernment and wisdom so that I am able to help those who join me. My business is not just travel, but personal development, finance and health care. We stretch you and encourage you to believe in yourself. We help you to maintain and budget the money you earn so that you come out of that poverty mindset and stop living paycheck to paycheck and we teach that health is wealth and how to care for your body because without you, your business doesn’t grow and who can you help then.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Honestly, I am still overcoming. My team encourages me daily to not be so picky and to train anyone who is coachable and ready for a life change. Now, I am more willing to meet people where they are and to help them to reach their full potential.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I stay motivated through difficult times with prayer and worship. My best friends and my team keep me going as well. When you have quality people in your corner that pray with you and genuinely support, it makes the hard times not be so rough. I do have times where I internalize things and when I get that way, I usually write or turn to music.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I honestly don’t feel like I have competition. We are all trying to succeed. I am bit old fashioned in that my word is bond and I have integrity, loyalty and honesty that is the foundation of my business. I am for my client. I think when you genuinely care about and love on people, they want to do business with you.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The best advice I have recently received was “Before something great happens, everything usually falls apart. The only people that experience the greatness are the ones that stay on the path after it falls.” See usually we want to quit right before we are blessed, that’s when we should keep going.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
My advice to other entrepreneurs would be to pray over your business and listen to what God tells you to do, never get comfortable and get yourself a mentor. Many times we get complacent especially once we start making the money we set out to make and we never think to get a mentor to learn from the ones who went before us. We can learn from their experience.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
My favorite business tool is Hootsuite and Travefy. Well Hootsuite isn’t my favorite, but it gets the job done. I dislike being on social media everyday with all of the negativity and recent killings happening, it’s just sad. Travefy helps me give my clients who are visuals and extra special experience when looking at their quote(s).
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend is a book that has helped me grow in so many ways. I’ve been through a lot in my life and this book helped me understand the why of some of those things. My other recent read has been “MUD Works” (My Unique Design Works) and it has helped me to understand people’s personalities, even my own and how best to work with them. Most people bring their issues to work and even some of my clients call just to vent and so this helps me with the ministry part of my business. It helps me to help those in need.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I just finished an 8-hour training under a travel university that is made available to me through my company and I am learning more about safety precautions and religious respects in other countries so my clients will know what to expect when they travel. I am currently looking for a style guide to help with branding, someone who can help me bring out my personality and values within my brand without me having to compromise who I am as a person.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goals for the next few months is to partner with at least 30 people as I am currently hiring and I am striving to achieve those goals by setting an exact date by which I want to accomplish this goal. I will be reaching out to different companies who are struggling with their travel budget for their business and reaching out to those who need a lifestyle change and don’t mind keeping their income options open.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Stay connected with me on social media as that is how I will announce my vacation give aways, all inclusive specials and promotions there.